'Big Brother: Over the Top' cast announced — and the new season looks bargain-basement


As one season of Big Brother ends, another begins — and with a cast that looks all too familiar.

The new season, called Big Brother: Over the Top, won't be airing on CBS proper. Instead, it will air on the network's streaming platform, CBS All Access. The live feeds, usually bonus content for zealous Big Brother fans, are now the main event. Aside from a few regular weekly events, viewers will be expected to keep up with the show roughly on their own time.

The format change is a huge one — perhaps to avoid too much change at once, almost every member of the new cast looks and sounds strikingly familiar. This becomes most prominent when comparing them to recent seasons' casts.


We've got a pair of blonde sisters (Alex and Morgan Willett) that recall Big Brother 17's Liz and Julia Nolan. Liz's former flame Austin Matelson has a doppleganger, too, in North Carolinian roofer Shane Chapman. Scott Dennis is a discount Big Brother 17 winner Steve Moses, who was himself a discount Big Brother 14 winner Ian Terry. Monte Massongill is a Southern hunk who recalls Big Brother 17's Clay Honeycutt.

Other seasons have duplicates in this set, too, including Big Brother 16's funky hipster Joey Van Pelt, matched with this season's Kryssie Ridolfi, and Donny Thompson, a down-home kind of guy who resembles this season's Michael "Cornbread" Ligon.

Admittedly, we're trading in generalizations and stereotypes here — but that's the bread and butter of reality TV. Casting for shows like Big Brother is often all about filling types; the Over the Top cast is just a remarkably literal interpretation of that method.

Big Brother: Over the Top begins Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern and will be available only with a subscription to CBS All Access. Viewers can learn about the new cast by reading their bios and watching their first on-camera videos on CBS' website.