Posted Wednesday, February 7, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
I can’t imagine how much money CBS guaranteed Omarosa Manigault to spend up to three weeks inside the “Celebrity Big Brother” house but whatever it was, it’s worth it as perfect Olympics counter-programming.
Omarosa is a legend not only in her own mind but also in the annals of reality show history going back 15 years. She has a PhD in back stabbing, back-biting and sowing discord, key ingredients for most reality competition shows. And the fact she spent a year on the ultimate reality show, “The Trump White House,” makes her that much more enticing.
In other words, she is the ideal candidate for the very first American edition of “Celebrity Big Brother.” (The Brits have been doing celebrity versions for years, even importing American celebrities. I am amazed that CBS has shown so much restraint over the years stateside.)
The cast overall is largely the usual suspects you’ve seen on “Dancing With the Stars” or “The Apprentice” before. Some will be grating (e.g. Brandi Glanville), some deceptively nice (e.g. Ross Matthews) and some will be über competitive (e.g. Chuck Liddell).
And for me as an Atlanta entertainment blogger, there’s one Atlanta resident to keep an eye on: actress Keshia Knight-Pulliam, best known as Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.” She makes very little impression the first hour, which is very much Omarosa-intensive.
Here are my early impressions based on hour one. (The next episodes will air on Thursday and Friday, when the first celebrity is sent home.)
Tension already: Brandi probably won’t last long given her penchant to annoy. And being drunk all day long won’t help her. Not long in the house. she effortlessly irritated and disrespected singer and actor James Maslow (“Big Time Rush”). He already wants her out.
Gender politics: Omarosa immediately decided it was #timesup for men picking off the women, a common practice on “Big Brother.” So she gathered the six ladies to form an early alliance to take down the five dudes. She wants an all-woman final.
Can’t get enough of Omarosa: For the first Head of Household competition, the 11 celebrities hugged oversized Oscar-like statues several feet up in the air in a classic endurance competition. Surprisingly, the two male athletes Metta World Peace and Liddell were gone early. It ended up being a batttle between Maslow and “American Pie” actress and “Big Brother” super fan Shannon Elizabeth. Maslow tried to make a deal with Elizabeth but Omarosa interceded before Elizabeth even gave it a thought. In the end, she wins. Yet there’s a twist that may cause her to lose her title.
Omarosa who? Maslow, who clearly pays no attention to politics or reality TV, has zero idea who Omarosa is so when she references “The Apprentice,” he asks, “Who was the person you were apprenticing for?” She was bemused, not offended.
It’s all about honesty – or is that desperation?: Glanville’s strategy is encapsulated with this quote – “I’m a desperate middle-aged woman who has to pay for private school.” Later, she said: “I’m just gonna start hookin’ on the side.”
Future conflict guaranteed: Matthews’ distaste for Omarosa will certainly turn into a nasty clash down the road. Then again, she did wear a fancy gown to enter the Big Brother house. Then again, later on, she confides with Matthews about her time in the White House:
Ad back-load: CBS started the hour with 22 minutes of no ads so the final 39 was packed with them. Fortunately, I watched it on DVR.