Big Brother’s back with a familiar face, but new style
SONIA Kruger breathed new life into Big Brother when Nine revived the popular reality show.
Now, eight years later, she's ready to do it again on Seven. But few fans would know she nearly hosted the groundbreaking series when it originally launched on Ten in 2001.
"When Big Brother first started in Australia 20 years ago, the executive producer of it called me and said 'Look we want you to come and audition to host this show'," she says.
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"I didn't turn up for the audition because I was at Seven at the time and Ten were doing it. I just felt I couldn't go because I couldn't leave Seven to do it.
"Low and behold not long after that Dancing With The Stars started and it was like the universe was telling me 'This is not your time'. But this show keeps coming back up for me."
The long-running series has been given a world-first overhaul. Major changes include moving the hi-tech Big Brother house to Sydney, pre-recorded episodes and Survivor-style nomination challenges.
"One of the criticisms of the new style of the show is it's not going to be live and therefore that's a problem, but in reality I might have topped and tailed the show in a live sense (on Nine) but the episodes people watched were (based on footage) recorded the day before. The producers had 24 hours to put the episode together and there were limitations … with this new reincarnation they've been able to finesse every episode," Sonia says.
"There's an epic nomination challenge and an eviction in the first episode. It's a world-first, and I'm confident if it's a hit here in Australia then it will be adopted globally."
With the housemates deciding who gets eliminated - viewers will vote for the grand final winner - strategy plays a bigger role.
"The nomination challenges are a bit of a double-edged sword," she says.
"If you win the challenge, then you win the right to nominate and you're safe, but unfortunately you nominate three people and the two aren't evicted are probably now coming after you. Do you try to win the challenges knowing you become more of a target every time or do you try to be everybody's friend and but go through at the mercy of everyone else?"
With the coronavirus pandemic hitting Australia in the middle of filming, Sonia broke the news to the housemates - who were completely isolated from the outside world.
"You just coudln't write that could you? They were all very safe, quarantined in the house, but their families weren't," she says.
"We had a wellness co-ordinator who checked in with their families daily so we could let the housemates know if anything happened.
"The concerns we've all had and probably still have would be exacerbated in the house, where they're cut off and there's very little they can do - plus you've got so much time to think about these things."
Big Brother premieres Monday, June 8 at 7.30pm on Seven.