'Brother' host's robotic side immortalized on merch

“Big Brother” host Julie Chen is embracing her inner Chenbot.

Chen’s husband, CBS supremo Leslie Moonves, told Daily Variety earlier this month that he and Chen are now proud owners of coffee mugs emblazoned with what appears to be his wife’s silhouette and the word “Chenbot.” Mugs were purchased via TVGasm.com, a small-screen fansite that popularized the nickname as a sort of homage to Chen’s occasionally robotic delivery of “Big Brother” script staples such as “But first” and “The power is up for grabs.”

“We love them,” Moonves said of the mugs, a statement Chen backs up.

“I think it’s the funniest thing,” Chen said. “My girlfriend and I were looking on the Net, and we saw the site that had all the Chenbot stuff. I went to Leslie and said, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but I think there’s a (mug) with my head on it.’ “

Before Chen had a chance to buy some Chenbot merchandise herself, someone in Moonves’ office decided to surprise the couple by ordering the mugs for them. “They’re sitting in our cupboard right now,” Chen said. “No one’s used them yet.”

Rather than being offended, Chen — whose day job is co-anchoring CBS News’ “The Early Show” — is taking the Chenbot craze in stride. She says her precise on-air style stems from a desire to be objective.

“I never want anyone to know what I think about something,” she said. “And I’m also a perfectionist, always trying to get it right.”

Chen said Moonves seems to be enjoying his wife’s moment in the zeitgeist. “Leslie said, ‘Hey, you’re like this icon now. You’re part of the culture,’ ” Chen said. “It’s weird.”

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