CBS’s “Big Brother” and “The Talk” host Julie Chen got a chance to revisit pop culture’s biggest moments as a guest on Bravo’s new show, “Then and Now With Andy Cohen.”
“Andy Cohen will name a certain year and a certain event,” Chen told Business Insider of the new Bravo’s show’s format. “And then I weigh in on it like Heidi Fleiss, O.J. Simpson.”
Kelly Ripa, Connie Chung, Dr. Drew, Mariel Hemingway, Billy Eichner, Bethenny Frankel, and Margaret Cho also take part in the three-part series that will look at years 1989, 1994, and 2000.
“It wasn’t just random headlines, he picked specific years,” Chen said. “And one of them was 2000 and that was pivotal for me, because ‘Big Brother’ came on the air. So, some of it was big news stories and some lighter moments like fashion.”
While Chen got to revisit joining “Big Brother” — something that would significantly open up her career after a decade of working in news — she also revisited the nickname she got from being on the show: Chenbot.
“Anyone who’s a diehard ‘Big Brother’ fan of a certain age all know what Chenbot is,” she said. “That was me, season 2, when a diehard fan strung together every episode of me saying, ‘But First.’ This viewer realised that Julie Chen was so stiff and robotic that she delivers that line deadpan the exact same way every episode down to which foot hits first as she’s walking to the camera. The only thing was different was my outfit and my hairdo.”
While at first the nickname stung, Chen now laughs at how accurate the name is.
“I was trying to be a very serious news journalist, because I was doing a slightly trashy show,” the 45-year-old said. “I love ‘Big Brother,’ but it’s a little bit trashy. I was trying to hold on to my news cred. It was funny and I realised I am the Chenbot. Even if they were making fun of me, they had every right to because the person was dead-on.”
Watch a compilation of Chen’s “But Firsts” below:
“Then and Now with Andy Cohen” premieres Sunday, December 13 at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
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