Two weeks after inviting fans to vote for their favorites, CBS unveiled the “Big Brother All-Stars” Thursday night. Following in the “Big Brother” tradition of surprise twists, 14 players made the cut, not the anticipated 12. Eight contestants were selected from America’s votes, while the show’s producers picked six of their own to balance out the mix.
As for the six that didn’t make it, well, some were best left at home (I’m looking at you, Lisa). Others, like Monica or Ivette, will be missed. Those ladies knew how to turn up the heat. And what about Bunky, the one-man tear factory? No one benefits from Mike “Boogie” raising the in-house dunderhead count when “The Bunkster” could have had that spot. Still, other than a couple of gaffes, the final 14 are mostly aces.
Now that viewers know who’s playing, here’s a handle on what to expect.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/George.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy he was chosen: As the only season one “star,” George was a shoe-in.
What to watch for: Comic relief is his specialty, but he’s good for the odd strategy session, too — emphasis on odd.
Game odds: Is it possible to have less than a 14:1 chance in match with 14 people? Luckily George is happy just to play the game.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Will.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy he was chosen: It couldn’t be called “Big Brother All-Stars” without the notorious evil doctor.
What to watch for: Don’t bargain on much change from his second season victory-earning antics. He won by manipulating and lying — look for a reprise.
Game odds: Even if his past victory wasn’t enough to put a target on his back, this season’s savvier competitors just won’t fall for his weasely tactics. There’s no win for Will this time.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Mike.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy he was chosen: Surely producers wanted to increase Will’s chances by bringing back his old “Chill Town” ally.
What to watch for: When he’s not playing wingman to Dr. Will, “Boogie” talks a big game. But the skills aren’t there to back it up.
Game odds:He’ll be out faster than you can say “Chicken George.”
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Danielle.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy she was chosen: Her reputation for deserving better than her almost-win in “Big Brother 3” made her a natural choice.
What to watch for: Bet dollars to doughnuts that Danielle started playing before she walked in the door. She’s all about the competition.
Game odds:There is such a thing as over-playing. Most likely outcome? She’ll meet her end by working both sides in an alliance showdown.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Marcellas.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy he was chosen: His snarky monologues were reason enough to bring him back.
What to watch for: He’s capable of some covert moves inside the house, but keep an eye out for his diary room confessionals. That’s where he shines.
Game odds: Assuming he learned his season three lesson concerning the value of veto, Marcellas will go far if he makes a sweet alliance.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Erika.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy she was chosen: Hmmm. Why was she chosen?
What to watch for: Expect accusations of “flying under the radar” sailing in her direction. In a cast with so many big personalities warring for top dog, Erika should avoid much of the heat.
Game odds: As the quiet type who’s unlikely to ruffle any feathers, she might just be this year’s dark horse.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Alison.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy she was chosen: Lying, backstabbing and flirting her way through male contestants, Alison’s résumé practically assured her return.
What to watch for: More of the same is the order of the day. Male contestants get a sneaky cuddle-mate, and everyone gets promises that she never intends to keep.
Game odds:Much like Will, she relies heavily on being disliked — the old “hate me all the way to the finale” approach. Hey, it worked for her once, don’t be surprised if it does the trick again.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Jase.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy he was chosen: Every village needs an idiot.
What to watch for:This master of buffoonery can’t help but draw attention to himself. He’ll fight hard to wrestle the spotlight away from Howie and Mike.
Game odds:Not known for his brainy ways, the best Jase can hope for is a halftime exit.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Diane.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy she was chosen: She’ll rule the house or get caught up in hanky-panky distractions. That makes for a good show either way.
What to watch for: Diane knows how to read a room. When she smells a threat she’ll turn the game around.
Game odds: Without the distractions of Drew from “Big Brother 5,” Diane will have her poker face thoroughly in place. A spot in the final two isn’t out of the question.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Nakomis.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy she was chosen: A shrewd player with her own vibe provides relief to the cookie cutter casting.
What to watch for: Not one to shrink into the background, Nakomis will be a standout competitor during her stay, however brief.
Game odds: It’s not looking good for her. Given her outsider style, she’s hardly a social fit with any of the others. Plus no one will forget her smart game-play during season five.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Howie.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy he was chosen: His big mouth never fails to entertain.
What to watch for: Last year he lost focus and let his temper get the best of him. “All-Stars” should see him keep his clown act up and his blood pressure down.
Game odds: His goofball tendencies will lead some houseguests to forget that he’s a serious contender. Howie has staying power.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/James.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy he was chosen: He’s good for a shake-up when things get boring.
What to watch for: Expect the unexpected, as James is very much the wildcard.
Game odds: With his strength in competitions, and a possible reunion alliance with last year’s crew, the odds are in his favor.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Kaysar.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy he was chosen: He already proved himself a favorite with viewers by being brought back into the house last summer with 82 percent of the vote.
What to watch for: In addition to smoldering good looks, fans can anticipate a repeat of the mental chess approach that served him well before.
Game odds:With smart strategy and several season six friends in the house, Kaysar could avoid eviction for quite a while. But ultimately, in a competition where standing out for doing well will hurt you, he’s not winning it.
right/msnbc/Components/Photos/z_Projects_in_progress/_Ent/Big Brother/Janelle.jpg1707000right#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.comCBS1PfalsefalseWhy she was chosen:With her strong performance and fan following from “Big Brother 6” days, Janelle made an easy choice for America’s vote.
What to watch for: It’s going to take a whole lot of veto wins to carry her along. If her past performance is any indication, she’s up for the challenge.
Game odds: Unlike last year, no one will underestimate her in this house. Even with a tight alliance and veto victories, Janelle’s ouster by mid-game is all but a forgone conclusion.
Ree Hines likes to pretend that she has better things to do this summer than watch “Big Brother” three times a week. She does not.