EXCLUSIVE: ‘Big Brother’ Winner Dan Gheesling Won’t Do All-Stars Next Summer -- But Here’s Who Might!
By Brice Sander
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Next summer, Big Brother turns 20 -- and fans and former houseguests alike are calling for an all-stars installment. There hasn’t been an all-veteran cast since season seven, back in 2006.
“It has to be all-stars!” season 16’s Frankie Grande pleads to ET. “If it isn’t all-stars, you guys are seriously f**king up! Like, come on. It’s 20! It would be amazing.”
ET caught up with Frankie and other former houseguests -- Nicole Franzel, Victor Arroyo, Jessie Godderz, Da’Vonne Rogers, Caleb Reynolds, James Huling and Austin Matelson -- on set of a special mock movie trailer shoot for Big Brother 19 in Los Angeles in August, which will premiere during a competition on Sunday night’s episode.
All eight of them are up for another go at the $500,000 grand prize, but there is one alum that fans won’t see back in the Big Brother house: Dan Gheesling. The season 10 champ, and season 14 runner-up, says he’s more than happy with his two times in the game.
“I do want [season 20] to be all-stars, and I want it to be all-stars with me watching from my home in Michigan,” he tells ET. “I just think [there are] enough players, and enough people, that need to play again. In particular, some winners that have only played once. I feel it's their time to come back and, if they deserve to be in the top five or the top three, they should go play again.”
“I always tell people, when I got off the first time, I had an innate desire like, I gotta go back,” he adds. “The second time was about 10 times more work, because you're fighting off a persona. All these people know all this stuff about you. So, it's a lot more work and, when I'm there, my brain doesn't shut off. I wouldn't want to do it again.”
Dan is now married and a dad to a 1-year-old son, Desmond.
“Different life,” he says. “But never say never, I guess.”
While he has no plans to compete, Dan does have some casting ideas. He says he would like to see season 17’s Vanessa Rousso back in the game, along with season 16 winner Derrick Levasseur and season 13 champion Rachel Reilly.
“You bring in some people that are gonna have opposition, then you bring in some … competition people,” he explains. “I think you could see Rachel one more time, and she could even win again. You don't know. But I just think there's enough players -- even standing in this green room with all these players, there's a lot of alpha males up there. They're all jacked, throw a couple of them up there and you'll get some good TV.”
Those alpha males include season 16’s “Beast Mode Cowboy,” Caleb Reynolds, who admits to ET he was a little starstruck by Dan in that green room.
“I kind of feel like the guy that's coming back to high school when it's about 10 years too late,” Dan jokes. “I walk around and it's like the new school of Big Brother, and it's cool to see all the new faces, the new players.”
“Equate it to the NBA,” he adds. “You have the Wilt Chamberlain era. You have the Michael Jordan era. You have the LeBron James era. I'm not saying I'm any of those people, but there's seasons of Big Brother and I feel like there was a cutoff, and now we're on a new era. I just sit back and enjoy that.”
“The biggest thing that I tell Big Brother alumni is, when your time's up, still talk about the show, but talk about that season,” Dan continues. “No one cares about season 10 or season 14. Let's talk about season 19. I think a lot of people hang on too long. Now, I'm past being a competitor and I'm back to being a fan again.”
Still, there is one thing he’ll talk about from his time on the show: the infamous season 14 funeral. After suffering through a day-long solitary confinement punishment, Dan emerged and held a “funeral” for himself, laying his Big Brother game to rest -- but it was all an elaborate plan, which worked, to bounce back.
“Everyone always asks me about the funeral and if I thought it was going to work,” he confesses. “It’s funny. Chris Roach is an executive producer and he, on my first season, he was the guy in the [diary room], and you don't get to know who's behind the camera until the wrap party, so I met him after season 10, and by season 14 he's been elevated.”
“I can just always remember -- and I've never told this story,” he continues. “After things were looking bad, like, my biggest fear was getting trapped in a room for 24 hours, and that happened, and the people in the [diary room], I was like, 'I don't want to talk to you. Get Chris in here.' I was at, like, my low point. But, just to see how everything's changed over the past decade and how the show's still around 20 years later, it's just fun to be just a small part of this big production."
Big Brother airs Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays on CBS. For more of our chats from the set, check out the video below.