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Big Brother may be over, but to ease the pain of having to wait another nine months before the start of the eighth season, TVgasm will be taking some time this week to ease your separation anxiety. Yesterday, we featured some exclusive footage from the Big Brother All Stars wrap party (tonight’s clipgasm will feature “Chilltown Mountain”). Tomorrow we will post a new episode in The Adventures of Julie Chen, but today we will feature an exclusive interview with Julie Chen courtesy of TVgasm friend Meaghan Murphy of sickcandy.com. Full interview after the jump!sickcandy: You’ve become something of a cultural icon with this whole Big Brother gig–did you expect that during the first season?
Julie Chen: It’s crazy! I don’t know how it happened. And no, I didn’t expect it. I was already working for CBS when they approached me for this job, and part of me didn’t understand why they were asking me if I wanted to do this and part of me did, because they explained it as, “you know live television, we want someone within CBS and you have interviewing skills.” So I said, “Oh, OK.” But I didn’t quite understand. I mean, like, did they want someone who was Asian? You spend your whole life being a minority and feeling like you have to do so much more to get ahead, and then you think, “Do they want a woman? Do they want an Asian woman?” I mean, why didn’t they get an actor or some game show host?
sickcandy: But now you’re indispensable. No one could imagine Big Brother without you! The web site TVGasm.com even has a “But First!” tee-shirt!
Julie Chen: I haven’t seen that! Oh my god! How funny.
sickcandy: Fans of the show were really disappointed that you didn’t say “But First!” in the season premiere.
Julie Chen: Of course I did!
sickcandy: Apparently you didn’t, because they wrote about it and they were so disappointed. They were sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for you to say the first “But First!” of the season!
Julie Chen: We did it in a different way. In the last few years, it was always like I’d walk out in a certain way and turn at a certain time and then there was that big “But First!”–it was like a big build-up. We did it in a different fashion, but we did have a couple of “But Firsts!” I said it on the Early Show, too! You can’t help saying it–it’s the easiest way to transition!
sickcandy: What was your reaction to that Internet video montage of all of your “But Firsts!” from last season?
Julie Chen: I thought it was hilarious! I was like, “Oh, my god! I AM the Chenbot! Now I know what they are talking about!”
sickcandy: And that’s what made you an icon.
Julie Chen: It’s funny you say that, because that’s what my husband says. I had never thought of it that way. There was a man wearing a homemade “But First!” tee-shirt outside the Early Show plaza and Les said, “Oh, my god! Do you realize that you have turned into this pop culture icon?”
sickcandy: Do you have a personal favorite this summer in the All-Stars house?
Julie Chen: I have a few personal favorites! Part of me is rooting for Janelle, because I really like her and part of me is rooting for Danielle because I thought she played such a good game in Season Three. I would like to see her succeed. Part of me likes Jase this season–I’m pleasantly surprised that he’s matured and is playing a very smart game. And I think Howie is funny.
sickcandy: Don’t you think that Howie has kind of gone off the deep-end this season, with his Dr. Will love-fest and constantly bashing Nakomis?
Julie Chen: Well, last year he bashed “Busto” pretty badly, but the Nakomis thing is pretty unfounded and not very nice. It’s different with Will, but with Beau–”Bo-Bo,” that was just playful flirting. But with Will, you can tell that Howie really idolizes the way that Will played in Season Two, and almost can’t believe he’s in Will’s company–but I don’t think that’s going to last long.
sickcandy: I have to know–do you and Les watch the feeds late at night?
Julie Chen: No! We watch the show, but we’re really too beat to watch the feeds. No, no, no.
sickcandy: Season One was such a different game–what do you think about Chicken George being back in?
Julie Chen: I was excited to have someone from Season One, and he was probably the most memorable person, so I’m glad he’s back in the house. I don’t know what his strategy is, but it seems to be working! Is he crazy like a fox? I don’t know–he might just make it to the end! No one sees him as a threat and no one is annoyed by him. There’s no target on him at all. He’s just laying low. He was more active as a player in Season One. In Season One, you really didn’t have to be active in the game because we left it up to the audience.
sickcandy: That format works in Europe–why do think that it doesn’t work here?
Julie Chen: We want everyone to get along. We want the troublemakers out. I think that the people watching it get too heavily invested in the characters–they relate to that person, so when someone else becomes the enemy, the viewer’s like, “OK, you’re a jerk and I want you out! I don’t want you to win it!” Meanwhile in Europe, they have a sense of humor and they like the drama. It’s a little bit sick and twisted!
sickcandy: Tell me about bopping Marcellas on the head with your cue cards.
Julie Chen: He’s so cute. You know, I thought to myself, “He did not just make that mistake!” I thought if he has a grandmother watching somewhere in Chicago, she would slap him upside the head, so I had to do it for any relative who was screaming at the television. If he makes another foolish move, he’s going to get another bop. If he makes a foolish comment, he’s going to get a bop!
sickcandy: Would you ever consider doing a reality show about you and Les?
Julie Chen: Never! Like Nick and Jessica? Never, Never, NEVER! But let me just say–it WOULD be funny!