Being related to a celebrity undoubtedly has its perks.
It could result in a $100,000 payday for one “Claim to Fame” contestant.
ABC’s new game show (premiering Monday, 10 EDT/PDT) brings 12 fame-adjacent contestants – kin to actors including Zendaya and Chuck Norris, “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg and Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles – under one roof. (Fun fact, even the Los Angeles mansion has famous connection: it was previously owned by Katy Perry.)
The show is a lot like CBS’ “Big Brother,” with the mystery of “The Masked Singer” mixed in: Each participant attempts to outsmart their competitors and uncover their secret superstar connections, while concealing their own. To make things more challenging, they have no access to their cell phones or the Internet.
Here’s everything we know about “Claim to Fame,” co-hosted by brothers Kevin and Frankie Jonas.
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The ‘Claim to Fame’ house and rules
“The entire house was art directed,” says Kevin, 34. “Every statue, every little item could be something that is a clue that relates to someone else.”
Winners of challenges receive immunity and extra clues. Losers can be elected as guessers who take a stab at identifying a roommate’s famous family member. If they guess right, they stay. If not, they go home. With $100,000 at stake for the winner, “There’s a lot of storytelling, lying, deceit,” Kevin says, “but in a fun, comfortable way of putting them all in a house together for (three) weeks.”
“It’s Guess Who? meets Clue meets tabloids meets a really fun romp,” Frankie says.
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‘Claim to Fame’ hosts Kevin and Frankie Jonas
Kevin – along with his younger siblings Joe and Nick – released their first Jonas Brothers album in 2006. Frankie, 21, says he’s perfectly fine not being a member of the band, which reunited in 2019. “I saw day in and day out, so I was like, ‘I do not want to do what you guys are doing. That is not my thing.'” And it’s that lack of a professional relationship that has Kevin and Frankie so excited to work together on “Claim to Fame.”
“I would prefer to work with him over anyone else in my family, anytime,” Kevin says. “I get to work with my other brothers pretty much every single day, so that dynamic is set in stone at this point. Working with Frankie was new, and it was fresh, and it was wonderful because we hadn’t worked together, since we were very much younger, and Frankie was in (the 2010 Disney Channel movie) ‘Camp Rock 2’ with me.”
Frankie, who has found fame in his own right, with nearly 2 million followers on TikTok, understands having celebrity ties. “My role in this show was really to relate to (the contestants) in a way that potentially even Kevin couldn’t,” he says.
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The ‘Claim to Fame’ cast members
Take a peek at the 12 “Claim to Fame” contestants, and you might be clued in to some of their celebrity relatives. Connections for a couple of the participants are revealed in Monday’s premiere, in addition to the person eliminated from the competition.
The hosts were also kept in the dark about the cast’s family connections.
“There were some that should have been obvious to us that were not, and then there were some that were like, ‘Oh, this person is that.’ And then we were so wrong. That’s why this show is really interesting for people to watch at home because there is a play-along factor that will be very fun.”
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Nick Jonas is already hooked, says Kevin
Kevin says their brother Nick – whom he stayed with while shooting “Claim to Fame” last spring – is already a fan of the show. “I would come home from set every night, and it was super late most of the nights, and they were still up and he’d be like, ‘All right, so tell me what happened now,'” says Kevin. “They wanted the updates on who was who and who got eliminated.”
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Kevin and Frankie Jonas on Maxwell’s cheating ‘curveball’
Moments before contestant Pepper was to guess the celebrity connection of another, Maxwell, the “Claim to Fame” director interrupted and pulled the hosts off camera. Kevin informed the participants that Maxwell had brought a phone into the house, which he was caught using on camera. So Maxwell, who’s actor Chuck Norris’ grandson, was disqualified from the competition.
“If the phone wasn’t seen, I would’ve been celebrating tonight,” Maxwell said on the show. “I broke the rule.”
Kevin says he was informed of the cheating at the evening’s ceremony, adding the infraction “threw us all for a curveball.”
“It definitely wasn’t staged,” he continues. “This person actually smuggled another phone in. It’s like, did you not see the 98 cameras just in your room alone? I don’t understand it.”
In the moment, he thought the entire competition might be at risk. “I actually thought, ‘Oh God, it’s all over. We’re going home. There’s no more show. It’s over,'” he remembers. “But luckily they had a plan.”
Frankie’s brief concerns quickly vanished: “Wait, this is great TV,” he thought. “This is awesome.”
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