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 CBS.com, 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]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.