written by
Jun Song

CBS Big Brother 20 ushers in a new CTO while pushing out their CEO

Knowledge 5 min read

While most of America was just getting back to work after a long Labor Day weekend, and unbeknownst to most Big Brother fans, CBS hired Philip Wiser as their new CTO just last week.

Wiser's official start date: September 4, 2018

Phil Wiser to help accelerate CBS's tech efforts

Wiser's a veteran trailblazer—from both Silicon Valley and corporate America, and he's just about perfect on paper. He's probably exactly what CBS needs at this point, but his entrance through the doors of CBS Corporation was a sober one.

Perhaps for good reason?

Wiser can get to his job at hand in New York City while the circus continues in Los Angeles.

Because for weeks now, most of the attention averted CBS's way has been on "the other C-suite guy," Les Moonves, the very-soon-to-be-ex-CEO of CBS Corporation.

Les Moonves's impending exit provides boost to CBS stock price

There are still multiple and ongoing investigations into the allegations of sexual misconduct brought against Moonves. He has stepped down as CEO as of Monday, September 10, 2018, and 6 board members have also been replaced as a result.

He'll probably take his wife, Julie Chen, with him. But she'll most likely finish out hosting this season of CBS's hit summer reality show Big Brother.

Julie Chen continues to stand by her man

Chen became the face of Big Brother, and landed herself the role as "first lady of CBS," after publicly dating Les Moonves while he was still married with children.

This season of Big Brother marks the 20th in its history.

To-date, there were a total of:

  • 240 Houseguests ("HGs")
  • 600 Competitions
  • More than 10 million dollars in prize money

This 20th season boasted all new Houseguests (meaning no returning players from past seasons), 16 brand-new ones for that matter.

Big Brother 20 Cast Photo
Big Brother 20 Cast of Emoji

CBS also promised this season to be the first in which "technology dominates the game."

For a show based on the premise of locking up strangers with no access to television or computers or smartphones, and no tablets or social media, this was indeed big news.

I quote CBS, "Technology has taken over the world and this summer it's taken over the house. There'll be hacks, apps and robots. High tech twists, upgraded powers and punishments, and the most TECHTACULAR competitions ever!"

Big Brother 20 promised a lot and delivered much more

"Technology has taken over the world and this summer it's taken over the house. There'll be hacks, apps and robots. High tech twists, upgraded powers and punishments, and the most TECHTACULAR competitions ever!" —CBS

Granted, the host of the show Julie Chen has been called "Chenbot" for many years now because of her, well, mechanical mannerisms. She claims to have embraced the nickname herself.

But her lack of EQ is no laughing matter considering how she got to where she is.

Julie Chen and Big Brother 20
Big Brother 20 Promo

But the promise of robots this summer had nothing to do with Chenbot.

CBS even went to the trouble of casting its first ever "cyber security engineer" who allegedly "fights cyber security terrorists every day" when he's not walking through lightbulbs by night.

Brett the cyber security engineer

The producers of the show had good intentions. They really did.

It was high time that Big Brother addressed the digital transformation the world is going through.

But perhaps they should have consulted a bit with their soon-to-be CTO Phil Wiser before deciding on a technology-themed season.

The season started off with some interesting competitions, indeed, like ones revolving around "the BB supercomputer" and balancing on surfboards while "surfing the BB Web."

Cute stuff.

There were even nods to tech giants and startups and unicorns alike, like Yelp, Uber, Amazon and Reddit. We saw references made to "the cloud" and "product launches" like the one yours truly, Story Chief, just completed with success on Product Hunt.

But as the season went on, the level of knowledge and research has declined rapidly and the show's production team has all but forgotten the technology theme. We're lucky if we get to see some emoji pillows thrown around here and there.

I'm sure Phil Wiser is a busy man, but I know he wouldn't approve...

Thankfully this cast of newbies has delivered one of the best seasons we've seen in a very long time. They came to play.

The 16 HGs are the saving grace of CBS's summer.

In Conclusion

If there's one thing that CBS's summer has confirmed for us...

Technology thrives without or without it being a theme on some reality show.

As a matter of fact, the hashtags #TimesUp and #MeToo were there before Big Brother 20 was even a thing, and will continue to live on once the show's season is over.

CBS will also be making a sizable donation to the Time's Up cause. Bravo.

Long live social media.

Long live technology.

Long live justice.

Best of luck to CBS and Philip Wiser, and to Joseph Ianniello (CBS's COO who will be filling in for Les Moonves in the interim).

They've done the right thing. 👏 👏 👏

Now it remains to be seen if Big Brother will be making a comeback at all, as it hasn't been renewed yet for another season. And if it does come back...who will host?

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