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'Survivor: Caramoan': Malcolm Freberg shares midseason secrets from the island. Plus: Exclusive merge feast photo!

The merge is happening on Wednesday’s episode of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites, and if you don’t believe me, then check out the exclusive merge feast photo above with the fancy green buffs, abundance of fresh food (of course Dawn is handling the bread), and booze (of course Eddie is handling the booze). Also, is it just me, or do Cochran and Andrea look like they’re on a super-awkward first date?

To celebrate the halfway point of the season, I checked in with the man who has been playing back-to-back seasons in the Philippines, Malcolm Freberg, to get some insight on what the first 19 days have been like for him, as well as a reveal of something we didn’t see on TV.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You played 38 days last season, got a break of a few weeks, and are now halfway through your second of back-to-back seasons. How were you holding up physically at this point?
MALCOLM FREBERG: My body was a wreck. With almost no time to put back on muscle mass in between seasons, my strength level was radically lower come merge time in Caramoan. That being said, by now starving was second nature, and the hunger didn’t bother me at all anymore. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor: Caramoan': Jeff Probst weighs in on Phillip's claim that he threw the challenge

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites’.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Please say something about Julia since we did not hear her say anything all season long. And what are your thoughts on the flavor vanilla?
JEFF PROBST: Julia. Well, in fairness to Julia I think part of the reason you didn’t hear much from her is because she was playing in the shadow of Phillip, Brandon, Shamar, Cochran and others. Julia is a young person and young people often suffer on our show due to limited life experience, but Julia had life experience so we took a chance. I’m not surprised she was quiet, she was on the quiet side in casting but we really found her endearing. Sometimes those qualities just don’t make it into the game.  Now to the topic of Vanilla. Vanilla Ice was clever for a moment. Vanilla Sky is underrated. Vanilla Frosting isn’t worth the calories. Milli Vanilli is almost the same as Milli Vanilla.  Finally, Vanilla spelled backwards is Allinav. READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Matt talks about Stealth 'R' Us and where it all went wrong on 'Survivor'

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Fear the beard! Or don’t.

Matt Bischoff of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites thought he was sitting in a pretty sweet spot on his Fans tribe at Gota. But think again! Because after Jeff Probst reshuffled the tribes, he found himself down in numbers on a clearly weaker Bikal. That’s a bad combination and it meant bad news for Matt, who was voted out by the Favorites alliance. So what does he do now? He calls in to the InsideTV Podcast of course! Matt plays a nifty game of “What If?” and tells us his strategic plan had the tribes not been reshuffled. Plus, he shares his thoughts on The Specialist, Shamar, and whether he had plans to turn on alliance partner Michael had he lasted longer in the game. It’s a fun and enlightening conversation that reinforces what a cool and down to earth guy Matt really is, and all you need to do is click on the audio player below to hear it for yourself. (The Survivor discussion starts at 31:30 and interview commences at 41:25.)

But first we “check in” with Clark Collis about Bates Motel, the newest drama from former Lost executive producer Carlton Cuse. How does the Psycho prequel stack up? Was it a mistake to set the show in modern times as opposed to the timeline-appropriate late ‘40/early ‘50s? And should we just hand the Emmys to Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga right now? We deep dive into the eerie drama.

Then, Annie Barrett puts her dancing shoes on to break down the season premiere of Dancing With the Stars. Who is the couple to beat? Which couple will go home first? Will the show rebound after its poorly-viewed All-Stars season? And can Annie possibly carry on without Maks! All will be revealed! (The DWTS chat starts at 14:00.) READ FULL STORY

Jeff Probst says whom he would have voted off on last night's 'Survivor: Caramoan'

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites’.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’m sure you all in production are almost as nervous and giddy as the contestants before a tribe reshuffle — wondering how it is all going to play out and who will end up where. Tell me your immediate reactions when you saw how the new Gota and Bikal tribes were divided. 
JEFF PROBST: Anytime we do a tribe shuffle what we are hoping for is a shake up in the game that leaves us with two evenly matched tribes and many broken alliances. We knew going in that we’d have uneven numbers of fans and favorites simply due to the math of who was left, but the big unknown was how the strength would be divided. It was pretty clear pretty quickly that Gota had a distinct advantage over Bikal when it came to physical strength. Fortunately, not all challenges are based around strength so there is still hope for Philip and the remaining members of Bikal. READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Brandon Hantz says 'You're welcome' for his 'Survivor' outburst and that he is happy with what went down

Image credit: CBS

Image credit: CBS

Watching the last episode of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs Favorites was one of the most awkward and uncomfortable television-viewing experiences I can remember. A guy who was clearly emotionally unstable his first time out on Survivor: South Pacific was brought back to compete again, and suffered yet another emotional breakdown, tossing his tribe’s food all over the ground while trying to start a fight with another contestant. That guy is Brandon Hantz, and Brandon called into this week’s episode of the InsideTV Podcast to discuss what the heck happened out there, his take after watching the episode, and how he is doing now back home with his family.

You never know what you are going to get with Brandon, but cohost Jessica Shaw and I are thrown for a loop as Brandon talks about how happy and proud he is of what happened out on the island. In fact, his only regret has nothing to do with throwing out the food or verbally attacking Phillip Sheppard, but is the point where he momentarily thought about quitting because he missed his family. He stands by everything else. He also insists there is no need for concern about his emotional or psychological state. It is a conversation you are not likely to soon forget, and to listen in, all you have to do is click on the audio player below.

Then, we move from one reality franchise to another as Jessica and I chat with the latest person to be fired on All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, Dee Snider. When it comes to being fired, Dee is not gonna take it! (Although, technically, he did kind of take it seeing as how he pretty much asked to get the boot.) The Twisted Sister frontman has no problems whatsoever giving us the inside scoop on what goes on in the Boardroom. He spills secrets on Trump, Amanda the receptionist, Adrian the elevator operator, and the other element of the last task that we never saw! [The Dee Snider All-Star Celebrity Apprentice interview starts at 30:00.] READ FULL STORY

'Survivor: Caramoan': Jeff Probst explains how he handled the Brandon Hantz meltdown and what we did NOT see

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites’.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I asked you before the season started if Brandon was really emotionally stable enough to come back and play this game again, especially after we saw what happened to him last time. Now that we’ve all seen the result, I wonder if you can speak more on the decision to bring him back and how you all determine where the appropriate line is in terms of who is psychologically fit enough to handle this experience and who isn’t.
JEFF PROBST: Regardless whether you are a new player or a returning player, every contestant on Survivor undergoes an evaluation from our show psychologist each time they play. We never let anybody on the show who can’t pass the psych test. Brandon passed. He was also great in our interviews before the show began. We were actually very excited because he had a new approach to the game. He said he wasn’t going to be as emotionally reactive and felt that after playing once he was better prepared for the 39 day adventure. We felt Brandon had the potential for a true underdog story of a young man who was overwhelmed the first time he played and was seeking redemption.

READ FULL STORY

CBS sets finale dates for 'NCIS,' 'Big Bang Theory,' 'HIMYM,' and more

The end of the TV season is closer than you think! So start setting your plans — or, really, canceling all your plans. Need specific dates? You’re in luck. CBS has announced the finale dates for all its shows.

Check them out below. READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Shamar from 'Survivor' reveals the other injury that sent him to the hospital, while Laura claims she knows how to swim

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

It was double trouble for the Fans tribe on Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs Favorites last night as they lost two members. Shamar Thomas — who had threatened to quit earlier in the game — was pulled by doctors after scratching his cornea, while Laura Alexander was voted out after the Fans lost their fourth challenge in a row. Jessica Shaw and I spoke to both of them on the newest edition of the InsideTV Podcast to get the inside scoop on what really went down.

Shamar tells us about Jeff Probst’s visit to the beach that we did not see, reveals the other injury that sent him into emergency surgery, while also sharing his feelings on the players —including Sherri — who blasted him on camera. Then, Laura speaks about not being invited to the cool kids table, while identifying her biggest ally on the island, and sharing her background…on the swim team? You will have to hear it to believe it. And to hear it, all you have to do is click on the audio player icon below. (The Survivor chat and interviews start at 24:00.)

But first, we preview the big Bachelor finale. And to do that we bring in the world’s two foremost Bachelor experts: EW’s own Kristen Baldwin, and 83-year-old Nanny from Oklahoma, who is the grandmother of EW’s Breia Brissey. Nanny likes what she sees and sees what she likes when it comes to Sean, but she remains upset about the woman he did not pick to be his soul mate.  Listen in as she and Kristen debate the merits of the two remaining “ladies” and, as an extra bonus, hear Nanny go on and on about her Chippendales calendar! It is a must-listen discussion for any Bachelor fan. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor: Caramoan': Jeff Probst reveals that was not the first time he visited Shamar at the Fans camp

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites’.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve had people that have been seriously hurt and needed to be evacuated from the game, and others that maybe used not feeling well as an excuse to leave a game they were no longer prepared to play. Obviously Shamar’s eye injury ended up being serious enough that medical recommend he be pulled, but given his previous inclination towards quitting, when you were on your way out to the tribe camp, did you think maybe it was a case of someone looking for a way out?
JEFF PROBST: Being completely honest, yes. It went through my head because I had already visited Shamar a few days earlier (which we didn’t air) and he really seemed to want to go home, but his tribe talked him into staying. So when I got the call that he needed to see medical I was already speculating about the situation. But when I arrived it was clear his eye was injured, and when it comes to vision, you can’t take any risks. The call from the doctors to pull him from the game was an easy one to make. Whether he was secretly relieved, only he truly knows.  READ FULL STORY

'Survivor: Caramoan': Jeff Probst previews tonight's episode (and possible medical evacuation)

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

If you’re a big Survivor fan, then you know what that picture above means.  It means trouble. At least for one of the contestants. And it goes down in tonight’s episode of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans Vs. Favorites. In addition to some exclusive pictures, we also got host Jeff Probst to weigh in with some teases on what we can expect tonight. “Anytime you see me approaching the Survivors’ camp, followed by two doctors, it’s not good news,” says Probst. “Somebody may be going home without a visit to Tribal Council…” Ah, but who? Whichever poor sap requires the medical attention, his or her outlook for staying does not look to good judging by the comment overheard in a CBS promo by the doctor that “I would like to pull you from the game.” Traditionally, if medical wants you out, then you’re out.

But that’s not all! Just check out the photo of the dude below. Who is he? Why is he so happy? And who is his dentist? Probst offers an answer…at least to the first question. “One tribe wins a visit from a local who radically improves their camp, and he is one of the funniest characters that’s ever been on the show,” says Probst. “If we could invite him back we would!”  (Oh, but you can, Jeff! It’s called Fans vs. Favorites 3: The Reckoning.) READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Is Shamar ruining this season of 'Survivor'? Plus: Ousted Hope says the entire Fans tribe is now on the 'No Talking' list!

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Jeff Probst has been hyping this season of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites as one of the franchise’s best ever. However, three weeks in, there has been one big problem, and his name is Shamar. On the latest edition of the InsideTV Podcast, I explain how Shamar’s endless screaming at tribemates has hijacked the season. While producers were no doubt hoping Shamar would become a character that viewers would love to hate, his antics have inspired not anger nor fascination, but rather boredom. It’s like watching the same scene over and over and over again. Frankly, it’s exhausting. In fact, this entire season so far has been heavy on big personalities (Shamar, Brandon, Phillip) but light on big gameplay. To hear my thoughts on Shamar, the sudden disappearance of puzzles, and if anyone can stop Sherri, just click on the audio player below.

And that’s not all! I also spoke with the freshly ousted Hope Driskill about her experience on the Fans tribe. Why didn’t she keep her mouth shut and vote off Eddie to save herself? Are she and Eddie an item outside of the game? How does she feel about basically never being on screen? And why is she and every other member of the tribe now on the “No Talking” list? She tells all in our revealing chat. READ FULL STORY

Jeff Probst breaks down episode 3 of 'Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites'

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites’.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s get your take on the Shamar situation. What would you do if you were playing and had a guy that you needed in terms of numbers for a majority alliance, but he was tearing apart tribe chemistry and had already threatened to quit once? Would you keep him or cut him loose? 
JEFF PROBST: I would probably go to someone who I felt was on the bottom of the other alliance and make the following case:  “We have the numbers and we will vote your alliance out one by one.  There is an opening for you to make a move and join us but you have to decide right now.”  And then to add a bit of leverage I would add “and if you say no or if you tell anyone else — you will be the next one out.”  If they said yes — I’d make the switch and get rid of Shamar.  If not, I think you have to hold onto him a bit longer until you have enough numbers advantage that you can spare him.  At that point you get rid of him. READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Allie from 'Survivor' calls Shamar a 'disgrace'. Plus: We talk 'Girls' and 'The Good Wife'

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Or a woman voted out first from her tribe on Survivor. We found that out first hand when Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs Favorites bootee Allie Pohevitz called into the InsideTV Podcast to discuss her time on the island. She wasn’t too happy about being labeled “not the cutest” by cuddle-partner Reynold, but she saved the bulk of her ire for dehydration-phobic Shamar, labeling him “disgusting” and a “disgrace.”  “I cannot stand that man,” she says in case there is any doubt as to her true feelings. Click on the audio player below to hear more as Allie explains her biggest mistake, shares what really happened between her and Reynold on the night vision cam, and reveals which of the Favorites she would have liked to work with had she lasted longer in the game. Also, Jessica Shaw and I share our early impressions of the season and why some of the Shamar scenes make us feel a little uncomfortable as viewers. [The Survivor chat and interview starts at 17:00.]

But first, Jessica and I discuss and debate some Sunday night scripted fare. Jessica is among the group of Girls fans that have serious issues with season 2 of the HBO comedy. She presents her list of problems with the show and explains what she thinks it needs to do to get back on track. Then, we take a good, hard look at The Good Wife. Has the show rebounded from another shaky season-opening storyline? Is Cary leaving the firm? Is he taking Kalinda with him? And what about that kiss between Alicia and Will? We break it all down as Jessica shares some scoop from the stars and creators as to what to expect next. [The Good Wife chat starts at 9:15.] READ FULL STORY

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