It’s strange to be talking about the Big Brother finale in November, but the summer labor dispute that spilled into fall did a number on the primetime schedules. So here we are.

And we’ve got a favorite going into tonight’s season 25 ender!

Here, host Julie Chen Moonves shares her pick for this season, what she thought about the delayed launch of CBS’ long-running franchise, and why she decided to drop a memoir in the midst of it all.

DEADLINE So we’re hours away from the finale. Who are you thinking will take the grand prize?

JULIE CHEN MOONVES This is Jag Bains’ game, no question. He earned it. SEVEN power of veto wins. He broke the record. He didn’t mislead or blindside anyone. He’s played it pretty straight. His resume is airtight.

How weird it must feel to crown a winner in November. What did you think about how the show was launched late? Did you worry it would hurt the franchise?

CHEN MOONVES It shows we can hold our own in the all important fall season. It wasn’t totally foreign to start so late in the summer because we did the same in 2020 when the pandemic hit. But we were longer this year so [CBS would] have original programming for the start of the fall season, despite the writers strike and then the SAG-AFTRA strike. It’s great to see the show thriving as part of the fall schedule.

If there is one breakout moment that this season should be remembered for, what should it be?

CHEN MOONVES I love the reactions of shock when each evicted non jury member found out Jared and Cirie are mother and son. So fun to watch and so great they pulled it off!

If you had to pitch your perfect version of Big Brother in the future, what would it be? Another celeb one? An all-star one? A BB with only talking parrots? The world is your oyster, Julie. 

CHEN MOONVES Ha! I would love to put the genie back in the bottle and find 16 new houseguests who have never seen the show. They would be entering the house pure. We’d have to go back to the rules and comps we had in seasons 2-8. They wouldn’t be consumed with memories of things because we wouldn’t have those advanced competitions. It would be incredible to see the reaction of the new set of HGs to the genius of this game we call Big Brother. Either that or have Zingbot as one of the HGs in a celebrity edition and Ricky Gervais would be in the cast.

CHEN MOONVES It’s been wonderful. I love hearing from people how it’s helped them with their own relationship with God. It’s also amazing to see how it’s made some people question and look at how they’re living and where they’d like to grow or change.

Why did you decide to do it, knowing that you would probably get a lot of questions about your marriage? 

CHEN MOONVES I was pitched this project after getting declined on my offer to read the Bible for free as an audio book. I was convinced by a Simon and Schuster executive that telling my personal story would be of interest. I felt doing this could help others start their own journey of faith and find true peace.   I couldn’t be more grateful to use this public platform to be a witness for God. Hallelujah!

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