Big Brother Canada is back, which means a new house to explore and new houseguests to meet.
Last Wednesday, the 14 new house guests were revealed after weeks of anticipation; they’re set to enter the sleek Big Brother Canada (BBCAN) house very soon, with Season 7 premiering on Global on March 6 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
The Season 7 house guests are competing for a grand prize of $100,000, a $25,000 home-furnishing makeover from Leon’s, $10,000 worth of groceries courtesy of Summer Fresh, and an unforgettable trip for two anywhere in the world with Contiki Holidays.
WATCH BELOW: ‘Big Brother Canada’ S7 House Tour
Global News sat down with Big Brother Canada host Arisa Cox in Toronto to discuss this new season, how many twists and turns audiences can expect, and much more.
Global News: I’m here with Arisa Cox, host of Big Brother Canada and Season 7 is coming out on March 6.
Arisa Cox: Yes! I am thrilled. I’m so excited. Every year, I’m amazed at this amazing massive show and it really gives us a chance to showcase this amazing country full of people to other Canadians. We don’t get to see it all the time so when we do, it’s great.
What are you most excited about when a new season begins?
Mostly I love the preseason hype. I love that everything is wide open and then slowly you start to get some of the pieces of the puzzle. You find out the theme, you get some of the pictures of the house, you find out who’s playing, you find out if there are any opening twists that are going to start with the game. I love that aspect of it, just as the hype continues to build. And then because it’s not a show that’s just on an hour a week — this show was on three nights a week. The live feeds are on 24 hours a day on BigBrotherCanada.ca. There’s so much content that you can really make the most out of the show if you want to. And that’s what I get so excited about, just this ramping up and then it’s this huge explosion of content and these amazing personalities.
With the live feeds I think it’s so funny because I watched Big Brother basically my whole life but I never was a live-feed watcher until probably last year.
Oh, you’re kidding!
It’s so different, such a different aspect because you see things that are maybe not in a storyline and you think, ‘Wow this is really happening.’ And those fans are intense (laughing).
Those fans are very intense! The Big Brother fandom is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. You cannot compare it to any other type of television show, that’s one thing that Big Brother has over every other reality show is these live feeds where you really get to know people on a different level than when you’re watching them for a couple hours on television. And I think that’s really fun especially if you find people that remind you of yourself or that you really enjoy their story or it’s the kind of presence that you don’t have in your life but you love being around. I think that one thing that’s really, really special about our show is you really can fall in love with people. I mean, you can fall in hate with people too.
Oh yeah totally! That always happens.
But it is the game ultimately. So I think that one of the most amazing things is that you know you’re watching people come together in ways that people in social groups do. But you’re also seeing ways in which people manipulate each other and are duplicitous with each other. And you know some people walk away from this game going, ‘Wow, I was really had,’ and then some people walk away going, ‘I was so hurt by what happened,’ because for us, it’s a TV show. For the people who are living it, it is their real life and we forget this all the time. Just because there’s money at the end of it, this fantastic prize package, it’s not like the emotions that you feel while you’re there aren’t real because they are. I think that’s one thing too that makes our show really special is these are not characters and storylines that have been concocted and in a meeting in a boardroom rather by writers. These are real people making real decisions, making real mistakes, having real triumphs. I think people will always surprise you in ways that no characters that are devised beforehand ever can.
What is the hardest part for you when you host the show live?
I don’t even think of it as hard. I feel like it is tailor-made for my personality. I love the hype and the excitement. I love watching the game when it’s happening in front of me live, it’s the most intoxicating thing. And I feel like I’m in a unique position in that I love each and every person who plays like even if they are a villain, even if they’ve made mistakes, even if they’re horrible at the game or amazing at the game, I do love them. I have fallen in love with them through this process because I know how difficult it is to open yourself up to this amount of love but also criticism. So I think for me, I’m always rooting for everyone and I’m devastated when anybody is evicted. When they walk out, I really feel that and I feel like I’m that person. For me in the live show, I love not knowing what’s going to happen next. And every season, there are moments that really truly surprise us or shock us or blindside that we don’t even see coming. And being part of a crowd of hundreds of people who are witnessing that as it happens is the coolest thing on the planet.
That was a really rough one and not one we expected. The finale was going very smoothly and it looked sort of from the jury questioning, we could sense that is probably going to be a very close vote,a 5-4 vote. I think we all knew at that point after the questions, who was going to take the win. When I was reading out the votes and it came to Topaz has voted for Jillian, I was like… I think you could actually hear it in my voice. I looked, I’ve watched it back and you can hear my voice because I’m like ‘What?’ because Gary [Levy] was her best friend and Jillian had majorly screwed her over. So the one thing that’s different of course about finale night is that you vote for who you want to win, not who you want to evict. It’s different and I think it was, it was a simple mistake.
Watching Topaz go through, honestly, it was like watching the five stages of grief live. She was sure it was a mistake and then, ‘Oh this must have been done on purpose,’ and then, ‘No, that can’t be right.’ And then, ‘Oh no, can we do it again?’ ‘Oh my gosh, I made a mistake,’ ‘I’m so sorry,’ and it’s live and everyone heard it. It was really rough, that’s not one thing we’ve ever done. We’ve never redone a vote so that was a really painful moment. But also I think it also spoke to how classy a guy Gary is — he really still enjoyed himself. He didn’t conduct himself with any bitterness. Jillian was very gracious and Topaz ultimately was very very gracious as well. I know from from the viewers’ perspective, it was unbelievable and I know afterwards some people were like, ‘That was clearly planned.’ Let me tell you, if you were one of the hundreds and hundreds of people who were in that room, that was the realest thing I’ve ever been through. But I think that kind of helped our show go through the fire. This was our first season and we were just figuring everything out ourselves as well. And when all that happened but we managed to pull it off and everyone was so frankly Canadian about it, I was like, ‘We’ve got something really really special here.’ Here we are seven years later.
How do you feel that the Big Brother Canada house differs from the Big Brother house because for me the have-not room this year is insane.
So if you haven’t seen pictures the have-not room is pretty crazy this year. If you’re not familiar with it, there are competitions each week. And if you lose this competition — if you’ve become a have-not for the week — that means you have cold showers, it means you’re only allowed to eat slop for a week which is sort of like a form of oatmeal. And you also have to sleep in this room called the Have Not Room.
So this year, it’s called the lab and it looks like if you’ve seen The Shape of Water or Saw. It’s like a grungy laboratory where some bad stuff happened. That’s the kind of vibe you get with light flickering, fluorescent lights and antique dental chairs. If you can imagine, it’s quite something. I honestly forgot your question because I was so horrified.
(Laughing) How do you feel that the Big Brother Canada house differs from the U.S.?
I think we really lean into whatever theme we’re going for. So if we’re going for a steampunk theme, we’ll go all the way there. If we’re going for space in a spaceship, we will make a spaceship and I think that’s kind of fun. On one hand, it’s just really entertaining, light fun, reality show. But on the other hand, this is an incredible design challenge and our production designer Pete Faragher is an award winner for a reason. He gets nominated every year because these aren’t just sets, people have to actually live in these spaces that him and his team have created. The house reveal has become such a fun thing for fans to get excited for and that’s how you know you’ve got something because lots of other shows happen and I don’t think twice about the set, right. But this is something that’s such a big deal. And we really revel in that.
It really is amazing. When I was in the Big Brother house last week, you came on the TV and I got goosebumps because I really felt like a house guest. And you said, ‘Remember, someone’s always watching,’ and it was crazy, I kept thinking, ‘I’m really in here.’
Could you imagine!
If you weren’t the host, would you ever want to be a house guest? Was that ever something you thought about?
Well, I actually was on a reality show a long time ago when I was 22 but it was more like The Real World, not so much like Big Brother. So I have lived on camera before and I lived on camera for a year. So I know I have that kind of stamina. But I am extremely competitive and I think if I played and I didn’t win, I’d be really bitter (laughing). So I really love the place I’m at right here. I mean I think I do have a lot of skills that would make me a really good player. But all those same skills make me a good host and I love my job are you kidding! I get to be there — sometimes for the worst day of somebody’s life — but every single year I’m definitely there for one of the best days of somebody’s life. And that’s a treat.
I know you can’t reveal a lot but what are you most excited for viewers to see this season?
Well, we do have some surprises coming and that’s one thing we are known for. Then again, every Big Brother and every year always has something that they do differently in terms of twists. But I really love the ways in which Big Brother Canada includes the rest of the country to be able to vote on aspects of the game which is really, really fun. There’s some cool things built into the house, there’s some cool things built into the season that I can’t wait ’til people see because it’s something that they’ve never seen before in any other Big Brother.
Do you have a most memorable moment from hosting Big Brother Canada so far?
Every premier, every finale, every winner, every loser is special to me. For me, it’s interesting because being part of the Big Brother world on set is one thing but I also exist in the real world. I’m a mom of two. I’m at Taekwondo, swim, piano and all those things too and schools and the conversations I have with people out and about, those are memorable moments for me because anyone knows you want to talk game with Arisa Cox. You just catch up with her at the grocery store and we’ll definitely talk about what’s going on in the house because it’s so fascinating. And when you talk to someone and find out that they’re also a Big Brother Canada fan— Oh man. Then it’s like, ‘OK pull up a chair.’
And one thing I didn’t expect when I started the show is that when I run into other parents, my kids are smaller, but when your kids are a little bit older, sometimes you have a hard time sitting down and talking to them about some aspects of the modern world. You don’t know how to get into some of these conversations but you sit down to watch Big Brother Canada with your kids if they’re teenagers. The amount of really profound conversations that can come out of that just by witnessing other people and how they interact with each other is really special. I think that is something very, very unique because it is real life.
Have you ever tried slop?
Yeah. You know it’s not bad. And people have been creative over the years especially people who have played before, you see this with vets a lot. They come in and they got all the recipes they can make slop pancakes, they can bread something else with it. They can put it on fruit. There’s a whole bunch of recipes that people have and people who are creative or smart. It can have a really good impact on their game if they’re good at cooking slop for other people whether they’re on it or not.
Can you sign off with one of your iconic lines?
You can and you will.
You know it’s funny about that? That was literally the mom in me being like I’ve got voices in my earpiece going ‘Hurry up, we gotta go, we gotta get to commercial. This is a double eviction. This is so much going on.’ That’s what came out of my head to get Cindy to hurry up and that ended up being part of one of the most epic double evictions I’ve ever seen in my life to this day.
Big Brother Canada continues to offer digital extensions that augment the social dynamics and real-time momentum of the 24/7 television production. #BBCAN7 extends from series to site at BigBrotherCanada.ca with exclusive content, full episodes, 24-hour live feeds, and a host of surprises and opportunities that allow fans to directly impact the show.
Big Brother Canada premieres Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. ET/PT, and continues to air Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET/PT, Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.
For Season 7, viewers can stream #BBCAN7 live on GlobalTV.com and Global GO by signing in with their TV service provider credentials or catch up the next day on GlobalTV.com and Global GO (now available on Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV), and BigBrotherCanada.ca.