Before every season, Survivor host Jeff Probst tells me the players he thinks have a good shot to win. But what’s always more fun is when he IDs the players he thinks can’t take home the million dollars. At the top of his list for Survivor: Philippines is a former Miss Teen Utah, Angie Layton: “She’s just naïve,” Probst told me on location right as filming on the season began. “She has a beautiful tan. And she’s concerned about it. And that’s a clue. You shouldn’t be thinking about that. Angie’s probably three years too early for this game and we probably shouldn’t have put her on.” READ FULL STORY
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'Survivor: Philippines': Is Jonathan Penner already making a fake hidden immunity idol? -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
That Jonathan Penner is a crafty fellow. While I was on location at the start of Survivor: Philippines I saw the returning player schooling tribemate Katie Hanson on the nuances of searching for a hidden immunity idol (tip #1: If the camera crew does not bother following you while searching, you’re not close; if they scurry over quickly, however, BINGO!). While there, I also saw him do something else, and this being Penner, he completely ignored the rules about taking to press and/or cameramen while the game was afoot and told me all about it.
In the video below, you can see Penner tell us all about the items he is collecting for — yep, you guessed it — a fake hidden immunity idol. You’ll also be treated to part of my pre-game conversation with Penner, in which he compares the shame and humiliation of being medically evacuated to being voted out. “It’s harder to take and infuriating,” says Penner of being taken out of the game due to his infected knee in Fans vs Favorites, “but in some ways it’s easier than getting voted out.” Click on the video player below to learn why. And for more Survivor news and views all season long, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. READ FULL STORY
'Survivor: Philippines': Jeff Probst explains why this next season is old school 'Survivor' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
If you are a fan of water challenges, then you have reason to be excited for Survivor: Philippines. That’s because the last eight seasons have been in locations (Gabon, Tocantins, Samoa, Nicaragua) that did not allow for underwater challenges. The best the show could do was have contestants paddle on top of or run through a few feet of liquid. But now you can expect full-fledged swimming, diving, and other assorted water-based activities. READ FULL STORY
'Saturday Night Live' host Seth MacFarlane breaks his silence on Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson split -- VIDEO
Between the presidential elections and very important pop-culture developments like this, first-time Saturday Night Live host Seth MacFarlane has a lot of ground to cover when he takes the reins during the season premiere of the sketch comedy series this weekend. But one topic the Ted and Family Guy creator likely won’t touch is the
heart-wrenching headline-blazing breakup between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.
“Who f**ing cares?” MacFarlane told EW, after we gave him a quick primer on the obsession that is “Robsten,” during rehearsals for SNL. “I still have my house, my cat is still alive. I don’t care what happens.” (Make sure to watch the video below to see his complete hilarious reaction).
'Survivor': Lisa Whelchel says 'Facts of Life' tribe could have beaten 'Diff'rent Strokes' tribe. Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Lisa?
All 1980s TV addicts know that The Facts of Life started out as a spin-off from Diff’rent Strokes when Mrs. Garrett took her talents from the Drummond household to the Eastland school. But now that the woman who played Eastland’s Blair Warner, Lisa Whelchel, is competing on Survivor: Philippines (premiering Sept. 19), one can’t help but wonder: What if The Facts of Life girls had taken on the Drummond family in Survivor? Who would have won?
I posed that question to Lisa herself in the Caramoan Islands just prior to filming. “Well, this sounds kind of crass but I’m going to have to say Facts of Life because we’re still around.” Not now, Lisa! I’m talking about back in the day! “Facts of Life for sure!” she insists. “Because we were tough girls.” To hear more about why she thinks Natalie and Tootie could kick Mr. D’s ass, as well as my interrogation on The Facts of Life Goes To Paris, check out the video below. And for more Survivor news and views, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
More on Survivor: Philippines:
'The Walking Dead': Norman Reedus says 'I can sleep with everyone. I can kill everyone.' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Norman Reedus’ Walking Dead character of Daryl Dixon is a bit different from the rest, and not just because he wields a kick-ass crossbow and can empty the remains of a zombie’s stomach. Unlike Rick, Lori, Andrea, Glenn and the others, the character of Daryl was not imported from the comic book on which the TV show is based. And the man who plays Daryl, Norman Reedus, says he likes the fact that his character is completely unique to the television version. “Not being a character from the comic book is kind of cool for me because I can do what I want to a certain extent, “ says Reedus. “I can sleep with everyone. I can kill everyone. I don’t know when I’ll die.” READ FULL STORY
'Survivor': Where are all the women? Jeff Probst explains why they keep bringing male players back -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Math was never my strongest subject. But it doesn’t take a genius to perform simple arithmetic, and by my count — not including the All Stars or Fans vs. Favorites type seasons — Survivor has now brought back nine returning players to compete alongside newbies. And only one of those nine — Stephenie LaGrossa in Survivor: Guatemala — was a woman. The rest — Bobby Jon Drinkard, Russell Hantz, Boston Rob Mariano, Ozzy Lusth, Benjamin “Coach” Wade, and now Michael Skupin, Russell Swan, and Jonathan Penner on Survivor: Philippines — have all been dudes.
What gives with the discrepancy? I went to the host himself for answers. While on location for the new season (premiering Sept. 19 on CBS), I asked Jeff Probst why the show keeps bringing back men instead of women. “There just aren’t as many colorful women characters in Survivor history, and we’ve used up the ones we can,” says Probst. “For whatever reason we’re loaded with interesting guys.” READ FULL STORY
'Survivor: Philippines': Russell Swan will try his best to not almost die this time around -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Jeff Probst called it the scariest moment in Survivor history, and we’re not arguing with him. When Russell Swan’s eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed during a challenge in Survivor: Samoa, it looked like it might be game over for the player. And we’re not talking about his actual game (which was cut short as he was helicoptered out to safety), but his life.
So why, after that brush with death, is Russell back to tempt fate again on Survivor: Philippines? “My wife is extremely worried,” Russell told EW.com while on location the day before filming began. “We had to have some long conversations about me coming back here.” But what was Russell’s reaction when he first got the call asking if he’d like to return? He shares his initial response in the video below, as well as his reasons for why he ultimately decided to come back. Just click on the video player to learn the method behind Russell’s madness. And for more Survivor news and views, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. (P.S. DRINK WATER, RUSSELL! LOTS OF WATER!) READ FULL STORY
'Survivor: Philippines': Michael Skupin says he still has the fire to compete (no pun intended) -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Life can be cruel sometimes. In a position of power on a tribe with superior numbers with the merge closing in, Michael Skupin dozed off by the fire, severely burning both of his hands. That lead to him being helicoptered out of Survivor: The Australian Outback in 2001. Now, 11 years later, Skupin is finally getting another chance. But does the now-50-year-old still have what it takes? After all, his fellow Australian Outback castmate Colby Donaldson seemed far less dominant in his two follow-up appearances.
Skupin, who comes into the game looking as fit as a fiddle, claims he will once again be a physical powerhouse. “I still think I’m that 39-year-old guy, that 38 year old guy that played 22 seasons ago. I still think I’m that guy — just a smarter version.” (He means 23 seasons ago, but you get the point.)
To hear more from Skupin on why he’s ready to do some damage, click on the video player below. Speaking of damage, check out the in-game footage: Is that already a big cut on Skupin’s head? Can this guy ever not injure himself?! And for more Survivor news and views, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
'Survivor: Philippines': Jeff Probst says Lisa Whelchel's 'biggest obstacle is going to be her age' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
We all know how Blair Warner from The Facts of Life would do on Survivor — the super snob would quit five minutes in once she got her first mosquito bite. But how will the woman who played her, Lisa Whelchel, do when she (bathing) suits up for Survivor: Philippines? We asked the host with the most, Jeff Probst, about Lisa’s chances while on location in the Caramoan Islands right as the game kicked off. And while he was excited to have the sitcom star and self-proclaimed super-fan on the show, he worried about how the 49-year-old would fare.
“I think her biggest obstacle is going to be her age,” says Probst. “In the grand scheme of life, she’s not old. On Survivor, she’s older. And I don’t know how to get around that.” One thing Probst does not think will be a problem for Lisa, however, is her past. (Click on the video below to see what he has to say about why her fame will not be a hindrance.) READ FULL STORY
I was embedded with the contestants before filming began on Survivor: Cook Islands, and after seeing the way the players reacted to each other in that environment (even without speaking) I was sure of one thing: that Sekou Bunch and Jonathan Penner would be the first two people voted out. Well, turns out I was half right. Sekou was, indeed, the first person eliminated, but Penner not only had a nice run — finishing in 7th place — but he even became a Jeff Probst favorite and was asked to play again in Fans vs. Favorites and the upcoming Survivor: Philippines.
Now, Penner reveals that he was close to appearing in Heroes vs Villains as well…until a new face with a similar affinity for headgear burst upon the Survivor scene right before filming commenced. After Russell Hantz showed up in Survivor: Samoa (which filmed right before Heroes vs Villains), Penner got a call informing him that his services (and Alan Alda sound-alike voice) would no longer be required. “They said, ‘There’s a guy out here that the producers say has to come back,” Penner says the folks in casting told him. “‘He’s the ultimate supervillain.’” READ FULL STORY
'Facts of Life' and 'Survivor' star Lisa Whelchel picks Jeff Probst over George Clooney! -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Lisa Whelchel not only is about to have the honor of starring on two iconic TV shows three decades apart — The Facts of Life and Survivor — but that means she will have also starred alongside two notable TV hunks: George Clooney and Jeff Probst. Which got me thinking: What’s better, sharing a show with Probst or Clooney? I asked the woman formerly known as Blair Warner that exact question, and was surprised by the answer. READ FULL STORY
Jonathan Penner and Jeff Probst have a habit of mixing it up. Turns out the player doesn’t like getting sassed by the host and usually has a biting reply on the tip of his tongue. So perhaps it is no surprise to learn that it takes but a few seconds for them to go at it again at the start of Survivor: Philippines (which debuts Sept. 19 on CBS). In the video below (shot on location in the Caramoan Islands), Probst gives the lowdown on what happened when he tried to give Penner an ultimatum at the outset of the game. Penner’s response is…well, pure Penner. READ FULL STORY
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