"Big Brother 16" premieres June 25 on CBS. Just a day after the smash summer reality show's long-time host Julie Chen publicly dished on the 2014 season's plot twists, the highly anticipated cast announcement followed on the morning of June 19 and immediately sparked controversy.
The 16-competitor house guest list includes a wide array of interesting characters who range in age from 21 to 42 years old. Eight of the players will be formally introduced to America during the June 25 season premiere, while the other eight will make their official public debuts a day later, when the first episode concludes on June 26.
The bulk of the "BB16" casting controversy swirls around 31-year old Frankie Grande, an ex-Broadway actor turned YouTube star whose followers number more than 185,000. He is the older brother of pop superstar and "Sam and Cat" actress Ariana Grande. His inclusion on the roster immediately sparked concern among show viewers that he will enter the house with a significant and unfair advantage over his fellow competitors.
In a June 19 article published to People, the elder Grande revealed that he plans to use his father's last name, Marchione, to minimize the connection to his famous sister. He also plans to hide his status as a YouTube star from the house guests in order to try to keep himself safe.
Seven other men are also scheduled to compete for the $500,000 grand prize. Included are adventure hiking guide Caleb Reynolds, 26; sales account executive Cody Calafiore, 23; police sergeant Derrick Levasseur, 30; former pro baseball player Devin Shepherd, 26; school groundskeeper Donny Thompson, 42; pedicab driver Hayden Voss, 21; and recent college grad Zach Rance, 23.
The cast is completed by eight ladies. Included in the mix are esthetician Amber Borzotra, 26; event coordinator Brittany Martinez, 29; barista Christine Brecht, 23; minister Jocasta Odom, 33; makeup artist Joey Van Pelt, 27; recent nursing graduate Nicole Franzel, 21; DJ Paola Shea, 27; and photographer Victoria Rafaeli, 22.
"Big Brother 16" kicks off June 25 on CBS at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. The premiere will conclude June 26 beginning at 9 p.m.