When Does 'Big Brother' 2018 Start? Emma Willis & Rylan Clark-Neal Are Returning With An Unexpected Twist

I know it might be hard to believe, but Love Island isn't the only reality show in the world. And if you're wondering what on earth you're going to be watching once the villa closes its doors this summer, then wonder no more, as a certain reality show is returning to the telly very soon. Come on, you know what show I'm talking about. So, when does Big Brother 2018 start and what can we expect from this year's season?

Well, in a twist no one saw coming, Celebrity Big Brother is going to air before the civilian version, according to the Huffington Post. CBB will launch on Thursday August 17, reports The Sun, and once that series finishes in early September, the civilian housemates will enter the iconic Elstree bungalow.

Usually the summer series of Big Brother airs in June and July, but this year's season was delayed after the show took a beating in the battle for ratings, reports the Metro. It ran at the same time as Love Island in 2017 and boy did it know about it, according to the Evening Standard. The shows started on the same night and ran in parallel. Although the launch episode of BB attracted 3 million viewers compared to Love Island's 2.1 million, as both series unfolded, the tables turned, with Big Brother's audience shrinking to under 1 million, reports Telly Mix.

This year, the show is hoping to put all that firmly in the past, by changing the rules. The civilian series is now set to run throughout the autumn.

In anticipation of the new season, Channel 5 bosses released the new Celebrity Big Brother eye on Wednesday. Last year the show went for a muted, more luxurious feel, in contrast to the garish themes of previous years, and was met with accusations that it was trying to mimic Love Island's winning formula. But if early images are anything to go by this time around, fans can expect a return to CBB's former wacky self.

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As of yet, there's no trailer for the new series, but there is a short teaser featuring the eye set against a seriously stormy backdrop. A spokesperson for the show also hinted that controversy will play a major part in this year's series as all of the contestants will have weathered their own media scandals.

"All of the celebrity names entering the house will have been caught up in their own media storm," a CBB representative told Radio Times. "And now, the celebrities are once again putting themselves in the public eye and this time they have a lot to prove."

So who could those brand new housemates be? Rumours are swirling that Meghan Markle's half-sister Samantha could be heading into the house, reports the Mirror. I reached out to Channel 5 and to Samantha to see if there was any truth to this. A CBB spokesperson tells me, "We wouldn’t offer comment on speculation around possible housemates." Samantha's publicist also tells me: "Unfortunately we won't be commenting on any rumoured TV appearances, I'm afraid."

Jeff Spicer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

But the drama isn't the only thing returning to the show; host Emma Willis will be back to oversee proceedings and keep the live audiences at the evictions in check. Meanwhile Rylan Clark-Neal will be back to get all the inside info on Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side.

Sounds like it's shaping up to be an intriguing series! And if nothing else, there'll be something to distract reality TV show fans from the Love Island-shaped hole in their TV viewing schedules.