Only six of the 12 all-star Big Brother cast will be chosen by viewers to ensure a good vs. evil “showdown”

Excellent news: We don’t have to wait until July 6 to experience the joy that is Julie Chen “hosting” Big Brother. That’s because she’ll reappear in prime time for a one-hour special on June 21 at 8 p.m. to reveal the 20 candidates for Big Brother 7: All-Stars.

How exactly Julie Chen will fill an entire hour all by herself isn’t clear, but there will probably be clips involved, and perhaps live appearances by the 20 candidates. After the show, according to, voting begins, and will stay open for one week, until 11:59 p.m. ET/8:59 p.m. PT on Wednesday, June 28. We’ll be able to vote online.

However, we won’t choose the entire cast. Probably smartly, producers will allow our votes to select only half the cast because they “opted not to cede casting of the entire show to viewers in order to ensure what [executive producer Allison] Grodner calls ‘the right balance’ of contestants,” Variety reports. Grodner says they want conflict: “We’re looking for a showdown. You’ve got your ‘Big Brother’ heroes and villains, and that’s what’s going to make for the best drama.”

Viewers will select “[t]he top three male and female players,” while the “[r]emaining six slots will be filled by producers,” according to Variety. Those who are selected will be told live on July 6, the day the show debuts, as will the losers.

As to the season itself, producers are apparently taking a break from creating fascinating new game elements, at least based upon what they’re telling us now. The prize is still a cheap-ass $500,000, and the web site explains that “choosing between any pre-existing relationships and building new alliances could be a challenge.” There’s no suggestion that anything will change to throw off their game, although undoubtedly the season will be full of challenges and twists that appear to have been made up five minutes earlier. I’m so excited I can hardly breathe.

Big Brother 7 [CBS]
All-stars vie for ‘Big’ break [Variety]