Deadline understands that preliminary production prep has begun on the show’s set at CBS’ Radford lot in Los Angeles. The production team has received approval to start preparation, meaning that there’s a chance that the 22nd season of the John De Mol creation will air this summer.
However, it is still early days for the show’s return as producers still need to receive union and guild approval to sign off on principal photography and filming. There is also no word yet on casting.
The teams that have begun work are, as you’d expect, following strict health and safety protocols with crew being tested for COVID-19 and continuing to be tested regularly. They are wearing PPE equipment and observing social distancing as they go about construction.
The show, which is produced by Fly on the Wall Entertainment in association with Endemol Shine North America, itself should be relatively COVID-proof given that it follows a group of people living together in a house outfitted with 94 HD cameras and more than 113 microphones, recording their every move 24 hours a day. The trick now is to ensure that the crew can also safely go back to work.
CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl told Deadline last month that he was optimistic that Big Brother, and Love Island, would air this summer. “We still hope to have [these shows] on the air this summer, it could be a little later than usual but we’re still optimistic about getting those on,” he said. “Those shows turn around pretty quickly, Big Brother has live shows every week and… those shows do not have long post processes.”
Big Brother has traditionally begun airing at the end of June. The show, which is hosted by Julie Chen, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, having launched on July 5, 2000, making it the second longest-running adaptation of the Dutch format following the Spanish version.
This comes as a number of non-scripted entertainment formats begin to take similar steps to ensure a safe return to production. NBC’s America’s Got Talent became the first major broadcast network show to film at the end of last month, filming on a large outdoor set in the Simi Valley for its upcoming Judge Cuts episode. Production on the upcoming season of The Bachelorette is still hoping to get underway later this month with ABC programming boss Karey Burke telling Deadline that producers had put together a “thoughtful” production plan to get the dating show, with Clare Crawley, safely underway in time for its fall schedule.
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