The Big Brother family recently said farewell to a long-time member when casting director Robyn Kass left the franchise to pursue new opportunities. She had been at the helm of casting the long-runner reality show since the very beginning.
Fans were quick to wonder if Jesse Tannenbaum, the man who was primarily in charge of casting Big Brother: Over the Top, the online-only season of the show, would step into Kass’ vacated shoes and now we have our answer — the answer is yes.
Here’s what you need to know about Tannenbaum and what he recently said about how season 23 is shaping up.
Tannenbaum Is the Casting Director for Several CBS Reality Shows
Tannenbaum’s Instagram profile now reads, “Casting Director: Survivor/Big Brother/Amazing Race.” He took over as casting director for The Amazing Race in 2017 and for Survivor in 2019. Prior to that, he was a casting associate for both shows — Amazing Race starting in 2011 and Survivor in 2016. Tannenbaum also served as casting director for Big Brother: Over the Top in 2016.
Other reality shows he has worked in casting for include Millionaire Matchmaker, Masterchef, The Biggest Loser, Dance Your A** Off, Shear Genius, and What Chilli Wants. Prior to working full time for CBS, Tannenbaum was a freelance casting producer for Entertainment Partners, and before that, he was an agent for Next Model Management and then Wilhelmina Models. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida in 2003, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Fans are jazzed about Tannenbaum taking over casting OG Big Brother because the “Over the Top” cast was one of the best casts the show has had in recent years. Fan account Reality BBQ actually tweeted back in 2018 that the two best casts of the past seven years were Celebrity Big Brother season one and the “Over the Top” cast — and they were the only two not cast by the regular casting team.
Of the last seven season, the two best (CBBUS and BBOTT) haven't been cast by the regular team.
If that doesn't tell you a shakeup is needed, I don't know what does.
— RealityBBQ #BB23 #BBCAN9 (@rbbq) February 16, 2018
There was also a large contingent of fans who called “Over the Top” the “best cast in years.”
Sorry Morgan the cast doesn't suck it's one of best in years #BBOTT
— Lindsey (@08Jayhawk) November 8, 2016
— Mike 🏳️🌈🐲🐉🌹 (@MikeGiuda) October 12, 2016
#BBOTT was actually the best cast in years!!! Season 20 is the close to that. Give us more people like bbott on the summer seasons. 🤗
— Mack Rhea (@troll1234586) September 21, 2018
Other fun facts about Tannenbaum include that his birthday is May 31 and he’s turning the big 4-0 this year, 2021. He also appears to be very tight with his family. He posts photos all the time of himself with his mom, dad, siblings, and nephew — he adds the hastag #unclejesse to some of those photos, which is funny. He also has the most beautiful gray cat.
Casting for Season 23 Is Underway
In one of his first Instagrams since taking over as casting director, Tannenbaum informed his followers that casting started February 15 and encouraged everyone to apply.
“Know someone who would make a great Houseguest? Have them apply on our website today! … The Casting Team starts Feb 15th. We watch every submission that comes in. Looking forward to a great season!!” wrote Tannenbaum.
Someone also asked if you should reapply if you have previously applied for the show, to which Tannenbaum said, “If you applied within the year, we have your submission and will start reviewing in a few weeks.”
To another commenter, he added that applications are still good even if they were sent before Kass left, but “if you haven’t applied since last year, it can’t hurt to apply again. Update us on your life in your video.”
Tannenbaum also said they don’t mind if your video goes a little bit over the three-minute requirement.
“As long as you are able to upload it, I am fine with that. For some reason, if it doesn’t upload, you can always upload it to YouTube and set it to unlisted and just include that YouTube link in your bio that you create in the application. If it still requires you to upload a video as well, it could be a super short video explaining that the real video is in your bio,” he told one commenter.
Big Brother 23 will return in the summer of 2021. Until then, we might get a new season of Big Brother Canada this winter/spring.