Arisa Cox promises Big Brother Canada: Odyssey will be out of this world
Arisa Cox. (Supplied Photo)
How lucky are we? Not only are we already immersed in an epic all-star Survivor installment titled Game Changers but tonight, we’re going to jump into the first hybrid season consisting of new and old players on Big Brother Canada: Odyssey. Yep, this year the theme is outer space.
As previously reported, returning to the Canadian Screen Award-nominated reality TV series are: Gary Levy, Neda Kalantar, Kevin Martin, Bruno lelo, Ika Wong, Sindy Nguyen, Dallas Cormier and Cassandra Shahinfar.
Newcomers include: Andre “Dre” Gwenaelle, Mark Chrysler, William Laprise Desbiens, Emily Hawkin, Demetres Giannitsos, Karen Singbeil, Dillon Carman and Jackie McCurrach.
“I like a newbie season and I love an all-star season,” says host Arisa Cox. “But I’m also psyched about this hybrid season because it’s fascinating to see how vets react to people who haven’t played the game. As much as we want to believe that all our favourite players will join forces in a brilliant alliance, that’s never happening.”
Postmedia Network spoke with Cox to chat strategies and why she won’t pick an early frontrunner.
Fans have been clamouring to see their old faves play again ...
I feel amazing about it. The fact that we’re in season five is unbelievable — and that’s a testament to the fans and the passionate crew and network. So this season, we decided to do a hybrid arc.
The cast is impressive.
I’m excited about our returning players because they represent some of the most iconic moments on our show. The first truly flawless blindside was engineered by Sindy. The first triple eviction knocked out Kevin. Neda training her protégé, Jon, so well that he knew to cut her at final three was incredible. Gary not winning the first season because Topaz voted incorrectly is the biggest moment in our history. Now entering the house for a second time, they’re hungry and want redemption.
Was it a Sophie’s Choice picking the Second Chancers?
With 60+ houseguests in our vault, there was a large pool to choose from. When someone’s fave isn’t cast, fans will feel tragic for a moment but they usually move on. I’m hoping the show has a super long run and we’ll be able to pursue other all-star possibilities down the road. In the end, we have to think about making the best show this season — and this is who we picked.
What’s your advice to the returnees: do they mix up their strategy?
There are people who are coming back eager to play a different game because they learned from their mistakes. Then, there are others who say they’re going to do that but won’t because they’ll fall into the same patterns. But we know people don’t evolve easily. Then, there are people, like Cassandra, who say they’re going to play the same game. Tweaking your strategy is important – whether you play the same or different. But, I think, the ability to adapt is the most important skill in that house.
Twists you can tease?
We’ll keep you guessing! We don’t rest on our laurels. We really are a part of the new school of Big Brother where we keep changing and evolving. As a fan, it’s such a gift to be able to host and see it all from this vantage point.
Canada always has some kind of power or say — can we expect that this season?
I would say it would be fair to expect something like that again. But I can’t tell you how.
Last season, you killed your fashion game. What can we expect this year on Cox’s bod?
I hate the gym but I do have a rowing machine so that’s been getting steady use. Every year, we try to take my (style) to the next level. This year, won’t be any different. If you’re someone who appreciates a good look, if even just for a moment, then you’ll be very happy.
BB Canada’s companion series Side Show was cancelled in favour of a weekly Facebook Live feature with you.
Side Show was a huge part of our show so part of me is sad. But the other part of me is excited because Facebook Live allows me to sit down with the guests without a clock ticking and I get to drill down their game. I’m a trained journalist so the chance to dig deeper is going to be great. Fans will also be involved.
Any favourites yet?
I’m not going to answer that question! This will sound trite but I really care about all the houseguests — even when their game drives me crazy. I’m the show mom and very protective of them. Whoever wins, I’m genuinely happy for them — no matter how they got there. But I can’t wait to see all the fan drafts.
Off season, you’re very interactive with the fans on social media — will that continue?
I’m on social media — whether I’m tweeting or not. I read everything, I’m in the (message) groups and listen to every podcast. With other shows, I can go further with my opinions/tweets because I’m just a viewer but that doesn’t mean my sense of humour changes so I will be visible but not that regularly. Remember I’m a wife and mother so during my free time, I spend it with them.
Watch Big Brother Canada on Wednesdays at 9 p.m., Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Global TV.