CBS show kicks off July 5 at 8 p.m.

CBS is making “Big Brother 8″ more interactive than past editions, plotting a twist in which one of the game’s players will be controlled by the whims of the American public.

Net’s annual summer sudser, which kicks off July 5 at 8 p.m., has also locked in its cast. It’ll once again be a young bunch, with most of the 14 players in their 20s– and the oldest contestant just 44.

And, in a nod to a past “Big Brother” theme in which players were surprised to find out that their ex-flames had been recruited, this year’s cast will include a few pairs of players with unresolved beefs.

The biggest twist, however, is a game element called “America’s Player.” In a nutshell, that contestant will have the chance to win extra sums of money– but only if they carry out certain actions mandated by viewers via internet or text message voting. Chosen player might be asked to vote somebody out of the house or something more personal, such as flirting with another player. Eye is hoping the twist will give viewers more of a stake in the outcome of the game, in the same way auds who watch “American Idol” get to shape that competition.

Theme for this year’s “Brother” house is “Alice in Wonderland,” with a number of eclectic touches throughout the pad (think really big beds and tiny chairs).

CBS has high hopes for this year’s edition of “Brother,” the Allison Grodner and Endemol USA- produced skein that has be-come a summer staple for the net. Its perf is particularly important this year since the net is launching a new fall lineup marked by some particularly ambitious, younger-skewing skeins– some of which will no doubt be hyped endlessly during “Brother’s” run.

That appeal to youth is evident in the makeup of this year’s cast. Half are under the age of 25, with one player below the age of 21. Four players hail from the Los Angeles area, and there are no less than three players who work at a restaurant or bar.

And this year’s contestants are:


Amber, 27
Las Vegas
Separated
Cocktail Waitress

Carol, 21
Lawrence, Kan.
Single
Student

Daniele, 20
Huntington Beach, Calif.
Single
Waitress

Dick, 44
Los Angeles
Single
Bar Manager

Dustin, 22
Chicago
Single
Shoe Salesman

Eric, 27
New York
Single
Talent Management Assistant

Jameka, 28
Waldorf, Md.
Single
School Counselor

Jen, 23
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Single
Nanny

Jessica, 21
Haysville, Kan.
Single
College Student

Joe, 23
Chicago
Single
Receptionist

Kail, 37
Married
Business Owner
McKenzie Bridge, Ore.

Mike, 26
Three Lakes, Wis.
Single
Painting Contractor

Nick, 25
Kimball, Minn.
Single
Former Pro Football Player

Zach, 30
Burbank, Calif.
Single
Graphic Designer
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