Arisa Cox: This season will be better than ever
John Powell – GlobalTV.com
It is lucky season number seven for Big Brother Canada. This season Big Brother Canada is getting back to the roots of the series and the franchise with emphasis on deception, manipulation and deceit. Ahead of the season premiere tomorrow night, returning host Arisa Cox spoke to us about the back to basics approach, what makes the Canadian series standout from the other franchises around the world and why an older cast could be the best cast ever.
John Powell: What is it like to be back for a seventh season of Big Brother Canada?
Arisa Cox: “I thank my lucky stars each and every year we come back. As you know covering Canadian television, it is a singular joy to be brought back year after year to bring amazing entertainment to the country. I am really proud of our show and I think this season will be better than ever.”
John Powell: What do you think will set this season apart from the rest?
Arisa Cox: “This season is really getting back to the roots of what makes Big Brother, well, Big Brother. What it comes down to is it is a game of deception, manipulation, spying and surveillance. So, it really fits the theme this year. I love the idea that we don’t have 14 houseguests this year. We have 14 agents. They have all got one mission: to escape the house with $100,000 and all sorts of assorted goodies. Just seeing how they maneuver themselves to that goal is fascinating each and every year. This is such a strong group of houseguests so I cannot wait.”
John Powell: Speaking of houseguests, tell us a bit about this year’s cast.
Arisa Cox: “This is what I love about the cast as a whole this season. As always, we have a really good range of people from Canada. When it comes to regions and culture, I think we have represented a lot of different kinds of Canadians but also the individuals themselves. I feel that this is a really strong cast with big personalities and people who truly know themselves. Part of that is the median age of our houseguests this year is a little bit older. That is a noticeable change from previous seasons. This cast is really here to play and they are here to win. I haven’t heard too many of these people say…I am just here for the experience. These are people who are on the show to challenge themselves.”
John Powell: As a Canadian, I thought it was curious that some people from other nations where Big Brother Canada has a following were saying…What a diverse cast! In my mind, that is just Canada as we know it each and every day.
Arisa Cox: “That IS just Canada. The funny thing is though there are lots of other countries that are very diverse but you don’t necessarily see that reflected in their own shows. I think that’s the thing. It is not just the reality that you live but it was important for us to reflect that reality on our show. Representation does matter. It does mean something to people to see versions of themselves in all kinds of different ways. I think that is one thing we have been able to get right with Big Brother Canada. It is a huge point of pride for us as a country and for the show.”
John Powell: Looking back at last year’s finale, some fans were surprised at the outcome. What is your take?
Arisa Cox: “Well, here’s the thing. If you have played the game and made it to jury you have earned your vote. I am a huge proponent of that. As fans, we can say who we think people should vote for or who we expect them to vote for but that is their right. They have earned it. It is easy for us watching the show to have an idea of who deserves to win based on what we have seen. The people in jury though have not seen what we have seen. Part of your job as a finalist is making people who you have burned award you the money, whether they have seen your game or not. One thing Paras did right was her social game was en fuego! My girl knows people! She had a great relationship with almost the entire cast. She got one vote against her all season long. That is to be commended. The finale may have been surprising for some people as Kaela really played a dominant game. She played from behind and managed to make it all the way to the end. Socially, Paras had her beat though in that respect.”
John Powell: You are more than a host. You are at heart a massive Big Brother fan of the franchise all around the world. Do you think being a fan gives you a unique perspective as a host?
Arisa Cox: “All I know is I am trying my hardest to be the host I would want to see, a host that I would appreciate as a fan. As a fan, I would want a host who is just as invested as I am. For me, that really comes naturally because I have lived on reality television before (U8TV: The Lofters) I have a unique perspective and have a lot of empathy for anyone who would put themselves out there. I know how difficult it is and how easy it looks to people on the outside but I live for the franchise. It is my thing! I follow tennis, Big Brother and Survivor! There is no show on the planet that gives you such an immersive experience because of the live feeds. It is amazing to be a part of such a production. Our team really, really cares.”
John Powell: You and Big Brother Canada have such close ties to Big Brother UK. Nikki Grahame starred on the fourth season of Big Brother Canada and you have appeared on Big Brother UK as a special guest. What do you think the future holds for Big Brother UK?
Arisa Cox: “That is a great question. Big Brother, the franchise, has been going strong around the world for 20 years. It started as this cool social experiment in the Netherlands and has grown into such a world-wide phenomenon with something like 14 or so countries in the world airing their version of Big Brother right now. I would love to see more cross-over between countries. I am still devastated that the UK series is where it is now. I personally have reason to believe in TV miracles. I have seen a miracle or two. (Laughs) The UK is such a special series. It had such a significant cultural impact in the UK that I cannot see it being away for very long. I think that is the future of Big Brother though, more collaboration between territories and countries.”
John Powell: You have touched upon a bit of this already but you have watched UK and USA. What makes Big Brother Canada stand out, sets it apart from the other productions?
Arisa Cox: “I wonder if it is because we as Canadians have a bit of a complex, we are a smaller country in terms of population and that we are so used to consuming American media that we are going to try harder. We are never going to phone things in. It is impossible for us to do so. We attack each project like it is the most amazing thing we have ever done. What makes our show special is that it is a hybrid between the USA and UK versions. While we have US rules but we also do a lot of tasks that are like Big Brother UK. I think our sense of humour is more like Big Brother UK as well.”
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 #BBCAN 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.