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10 of 13 Big Brother: Over the Top houseguests are in their 20s

10 of 13 Big Brother: Over the Top houseguests are in their 20s
Neeley Jackson, one of three Big Brother: Over the Top contestants who aren't in their 20s. (Photo by Cliff Lipson/CBS)

The cast for Big Brother: Over the Top was announced today, 12 people who will compete for $250,000 on the show’s first-ever online-only season—and compete for viewers’ vote, as CBS All Access subscribers will choose the winner.

Those 12 will be joined by one more cast member: either Jozea Flores (from BB18) or Jason Roy (BB17), based on subscriber vote, which is ongoing.

This new group has something in common with most other Big Brother casts: they’re very young.

Both Jason and Jozea are in their 20s, meaning that 10 of the 13 houseguests are 20-somethings. There is one person in his 40s, a 41-year-old man named “Cornbread,” and two women in their 30s, Neeley Jackson, 33, and Kryssie Ridolfi, 31.

That’s significant because Big Brother’s average age has been decreasing, and a lack of age diversity—and life experience—is noticeable and affects the entertainment value. The show has just concluded one of its worst seasons, and a significant amount of that falls on casting.

BB:OTT, however, was not cast by Robyn Kass and her company, Kassting, but instead by other casting producers, including at least one who worked on casting The Amazing Race. That made me hopeful that the show would return to casting people with more life experience. Of course, CBS executives have the final say over casts, and participate in later stages of the process, so they’ll get the cast they want.

And what they seem to want is young people. I guess we’ll see if other young people are willing to pay to watch this season.

That said, this cast does seem to have more diversity in terms of their occupations and their geography. Only one person is from the Los Angeles area, and she is a recent law school graduate. And ultimately, it’s difficult to judge a cast from their biographical details and intro videos; we’ll know more Wednesday night, when they enter the house.

The BB:OTT cast

Here’s the full cast, along with their CBS-provided job descriptions:

  1. Alex Willett, 25, Dallas, Texas, animation designer
  2. Danielle Lickey, 23, Visalia, Calif., pre-school teacher
  3. Justin Duncan, 27, New Orleans, La., seafood restaurant owner
  4. Kryssie Ridolfi, 31, Schaumburg, Ill., waitress
  5. Michael “Cornbread” Ligon, 41, tree removal company foreman
  6. Monte Massongill, 25, Olive Branch, Miss., engineer associate
  7. Morgan Willett, 22, Austin, publicist
  8. Neeley Jackson, 33, Fort Worth, Texas, sales associate
  9. Scott Dennis, 24, Bangor, Maine, debt collector
  10. Shane Chapman, 24, Pisgah Forest, North Carolina, roofer
  11. Shelby Stockton, 24, Simi Valley, Calif., law school graduate
  12. Whitney Hogg, 21, Whitesburg, Ky., medical assistant

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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