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"Big Brother" Is Back, And Here Are All The Changes They Made Due To The Coronavirus Pandemic

Masks, frequent testing, and color-coded pods are all part of the new norm enabling the reality show to continue production.

Last night, Big Brother returned for its 22nd season, featuring a cast of All-Star players. But given our current circumstances, this episode looked a little different from what we're used to.

Host Julie Chen Moonves on stage
CBS

Of all the reality shows to be on during a pandemic, Big Brother is probably one of the safest bets. The competition itself is basically its own form of quarantine, in which the 16 houseguests are locked in a giant house together for up to three months, having no contact with the outside world.

CBS

Houseguests are evicted from the house each week, and toward the end of the season, some evicted houseguests are sent to a "jury house" where they'll stay in isolation until the show's live finale.

Big Brother, like other live shows that have returned to in-studio production during the pandemic, had no studio audience.

CBS

As usual, the show began with competitors entering the house four at a time. Each group of houseguests were masked and stayed 12 feet away from host Julie Chen Moonves while inside the studio, but they were allowed to remove their masks once they officially entered the house.

Nicole F, Dani, Da'Vonne, and Christmas in masks, then entering the house without masks
CBS

Once inside, everything was more or less back to normal for the players as the house became their new "quarantine pod" and they no longer were socially distancing from one another.

Houseguests hugging and sitting close together
CBS

In an interview with CBS Los Angeles, Julie explained that prior to the premiere, players were flown out to LA for a mandatory two-week quarantine, during which they were frequently tested and ultimately cleared to appear on the show.

Kevin, Tyler, Ian, and Enzo wearing masks
CBS

As for the show's crew, they are being tested weekly and are required to wear masks at all times while on the set. There are no camera operators inside the house with the contestants because most of the show is filmed on preinstalled cameras or behind a glass screen.

Multiple photos of the cameras inside the house
CBS

Julie explained in her interview with SiriusXM that crew members are in color-coded pods and are only allowed in areas with their corresponding colors in order to enforce social distancing.

Julie confirmed that while she won't be wearing a mask on camera, she has been tested multiple times and continues to wear a mask when she's not broadcasting.

CBS

In her weekly interview with the recently evicted houseguest, Julie and the player will stay a safe distance apart and no longer shake hands or hug.

Julie Chen Moonves and 4 houseguests socially distancing 12 feet apart on stage
CBS

While the show might feel kinda different this season, it's certainly nice to have a little return to normalcy in the form of some good old-fashioned Big Brother backstabbing!

CBS

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