CBS has revealed the identities of the 16 all-single houseguests who will be competing on Big Brother 9 and announced the season will feature a creative twist that will force the show's cast to pair up with their show-selected "soul mate."

During Big Brother 9's premiere broadcast on Tuesday, February 12 at 9PM ET/PT, the group will be told they are being matched up with their "soul mate" -- a "stranger who may prove to be their true love or their worst nightmare," according to CBS. 

"Sixteen singles, living in a house, suddenly discover that their perfect love match is sitting right next to them," executive producer Allison Grodner told Big Brother host and The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen during Tuesday morning's The Early Show broadcast.  (As part of the application process, the show required each of the houseguests to fill out a "love-match profile," according to Chen.)

"Your life in the house depends on this other person.  You're going to sleep in the same bed together, you're going to compete together, you're going to hold the Head of Household together, get nominated [for eviction] together -- and ultimately -- get evicted together."

Big Brother 9's cast appears to be geographically diverse and consists of nine men and eight women ranging in age from 21- to 45-years-old, however all but one of them are 29-years-old or younger.

"We have a group of really energetic people.  These people are over-the-top.  Some amazing characters," Grodner told Chen.  "There will be some gay men in the house, and certainly you can expect therefore it won't all be heterosexual couples."

Left unaddressed in the network's announcement was whether, for the first time since Big Brother's 2002 third season, each Big Brother 9 houseguest will actually be a "stranger" to all of the rest their fellow houseguests.  As Chen noted during a recent Late Show with David Letterman appearance intended to promote the upcoming season, beginning with Big Brother 4, each of the show's last four seasons has included at least one pair of houseguests that were related or already had some other form of pre-existing relationship -- romantic, formerly romantic or otherwise -- with each other. 

"It started out [with] ten complete strangers thrown into a house... but over over the years -- since we're coming on the ninth season now -- we started by Season 4 throwing in twists where they weren't always complete strangers living together," Chen told Letterman during the January 28 appearance.  "You would go into the house thinking 'OK, well, it's the ten of us and none of us know each other' and then we would say 'Surprise' and we'd throw in like five ex-boyfriends or girlfriends of people who were in the house.  Imagine being locked in a house with your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend for three months!"

CBS did not immediately respond to messages seeking additional clarification about its announcement.

In addition to the season's twist, CBS also announced that Big Brother's two-story house -- which was first introduced three seasons ago and replaced the single-story building that had served as the home of the show's first five seasons -- has been redecorated for the new season.  The house will now reflect a rustic modern-day lodge, complete with stone walls; a free-standing fireplace; a full-size, authentic handmade canoe hanging from the ceiling; a new diary room with real tree trunks in the background; nautical-themed bedrooms; an island oasis-themed HoH room; and even a few live animals.

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Sparked by the still-ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, Big Brother 9 will be the long-running reality show's first-ever winter edition. The show will use the same three-nights-a-week broadcasting format as the show's summer editions.  In addition to Tuesday night broadcasts, Big Brother 9 will air Wednesday and Sunday night editions at 8PM ET/PT beginning February 13 and 17. Live weekly eviction broadcasts will air Wednesday nights, with the first eviction airing on February 20.

Big Brother: After Dark, a live feed program that aired nightly on Showtime Too during last summer's Big Brother 8, will also return for a second seasonBig Brother: After Dark will air nightly from 12AM to 3AM ET beginning February 12 and feature footage from the same live camera feeds that are made available to online subscribers of the show's 24/7 live Internet feeds. 

The 16 contestants who will be competing for Big Brother 9's $500,000 grand prize are:

- Adam, a 29-year-old public relations manager from Cherry Hill, NJ who currently resides in Del Ray Beach, FL

- Alex, a 24-year-old DJ company owner from Staten Island, NY

- Allison, a 28-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Boston, MA

- Amanda, a 23-year-old paralegal from Fridley, MN

- Chelsia, a 21-year-old college student from Cedar Falls, IA

- Jacob, a 23-year-old electrician from Dallas, GA 

- James, a 21-year-old from Sarasota, FL who CBS claims is currently "riding bicycle around the world"

- Jen, a 26-year-old bartender from Columbus, OH

- Joshuah, a 25-year-old advertising media buyer from Dallas, TX

- Matt, a 23-year-old roofing foreman from Charleston, MA

- Natalie, a 28-year-old bikini barista from Salem, OR

- Neil, a 29-year-old realtor from Los Angeles, CA

- Parker, a 26-year-old paparazzo from Northridge, CA

- Ryan, a 27-year-old college student from Columbus, OH

- Sharon, a 23-year-old realtor from Olathe, KS

- Sheila, a 45-year-old single mom and former Penthouse model from Memphis, TN who currently resides in Reseda, CA

(Photo credit John P. Filo/CBS) About The Author: Christopher Rocchio
Christopher Rocchio is an entertainment reporter for Reality TV World and has covered the reality TV genre for several years.