Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites premieres tonight with a special 90-minute episode on CBS. It’s a season that Probst is already predicting will go down as one of the show’s best ever. With season 26 now set for lift-off (and you can watch the first five minutes of the premiere right here), we invited Probst to stop by EW studio — basically, an empty office next to mine — and take stock of the Survivor franchise. And stop by he did. On the newest InsideTV Podcast, Probst explains why returning players are here to stay, why he does not let critics who say he is too involved in the game get to him, where all those Survivor spoilers are coming from, and one controversial twist he would like to see back on the show. He also answers questions from you, the fans, including one from a former Survivor winner! Speaking of winners, could an all winners season be coming up soon? Probst sheds light on that subject as well. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Survivor (118-130 of 310)
'Survivor: Caramoan': Returning Favorite Erik on why this season is 'like the Island of Misfit Toys'
For years, the undisputed titleholder when it came to Dumbest Survivor Move Ever was none other than Erik Reichenbach. It was a well-earned (dis)honor bestowed upon the ice cream scooper from Hell (Michigan) after he gave away his immunity necklace on Survivor: Micronesia…only to be voted out moments later. But Erik was a trendsetter as well! Since then, JT gave his hidden immunity idol to Russell in Heroes vs. Villains, and Brandon Hantz handed his immunity over to Albert in Survivor: South Pacific. In both instances it was not better to give than to receive, as those two were voted out as well. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the best trend Erik was setting, but it was a trend nonetheless.
Erik is one of the more intriguing returning players to come back for Survivor: Caramoan (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS). He was a Fan in the original Fans vs. Favorites, and is now making the jump to the Favorites tribe. Although it is easy to discount Erik’s chances due to his previous naïveté, the guy is physical enough to do well in challenges, and likable enough to want to keep around. The question then becomes: Has he learned enough of the strategic game to make it all the way to the end? I spoke with Erik just days before filming began on his latest adventure. But first, I had to convince him to talk to me.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, Erik, tell me why you’re going to win this time?
ERIK REICHENBACH: First off, I want to say that I didn’t want to talk to you again because last time you made fun of me, but they’re making me. READ FULL STORY
There has been a lot of talk about how many of the returning players brought back for Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS) were not actually very good players their first time around. One contestant who did have some serious game in her first outing, however, is Brenda Lowe. Brenda worked herself into a position of power in Survivor: Nicaragua, but then made two fatal errors: She got too comfortable in her perch, and then did not scramble hard enough to stay once it became evident that the votes may have shifted against her. Now, Brenda gets a chance to make up for those mistakes. I chatted with Nicaragua’s Black Widow last May just days before filming on Survivor: Caramoan began and she spoke about her past mistakes, the other returning player she was concerned about, and the only thing that gave her pause about coming back.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, Brenda, why are you going to win this time?
BRENDA LOWE: Because I am leaving behind a lot of really great things in my life in Miami and I feel like I’ve learned so much from the first time from being able to watch and feeling how much it hurts to get voted off, that I don’t think that I would ever make those same mistakes again. And those mistakes were pretty crucial. I was doing pretty good. Had I not messed up, I probably would have gotten really far so I wanted that second chance to make those corrections and then probably make it to the end. READ FULL STORY
Jeff Probst has defended the Favorites coming back to play Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS) as good players. He has explained when they first decided to bring Malcolm back, and opined that Brandon Hantz was indeed psychologically stable enough to return. He even told us which returning players would not come back to play again for this season. But we have not heard his take on some of the newbies who will be making up the tribe of Fans. Until now. I asked Probst to pick out some of the new faces we should be keeping an eye on, and here’s who he picked and what he said about each: READ FULL STORY
He’s one of the most colorful and controversial Survivor contestants ever. John Cochran burst upon the Survivor scene demanding Jeff Probst address him by his last name and then flipping on his tribe rather than pulling colored rocks in a tiebreaker. Fans either loved or loathed him. Now, as Cochran returns to play Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS), we hear not only from the man himself, but from the woman behind the man. That’s right — Cochran’s mom! John and Arlene Cochran (as seen above) join us for our first ever Survivor Momcast! READ FULL STORY
I remember being out on location for Survivor: South Pacific and standing on the Savaii beach on day two. One person in particular was in trouble, and that person was Dawn Meehan. A longtime super-fan of the show who had first applied back for season 2, her dream had finally come true and she had made it onto the show. But now, just 24 hours after her adventure had started, that dream was turning into a nightmare. Sitting in a tribe full of younger, less clothed flirts and frolickers, Dawn wasn’t fitting in. And it was killing her. Imagine waiting 10 years for your moment to come, and then when it does, it all goes wrong from the get go. I saw Dawn in tears, telling Ozzy how she felt like an outcast from the rest of the tribe. Things didn’t look good. But Dawn rebounded from that initial culture shock, found common ground with the group, and even came up big in some challenges. Her island rebirth was inspiring to watch. Unfortunately, she was ultimately doomed by Cochran’s flip, which saw her entire tribe wiped out one by one.
Now, the Mormon with a penchant for baking bread and adopting kids is back competing again on Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS). And she says to expect dry eyes this time around. READ FULL STORY
'Survivor: Caramoan': Returning Favorite Malcolm talks about the good and bad of playing back-to-back seasons
It’s hard to interview someone returning to play Survivor when you haven’t even seen how or what they did the first time around. That was the situation when I spoke with Malcolm Freberg in May 2012 as he was getting ready to depart for Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS). It was only two weeks after he had finished filming Survivor: Philippines (which would not air for another four months). Luckily, I did have a few things to go on. I had met and spoken with Malcolm on location for that season, and had watched him play out there for the first few days, so I at least had some familiarity with him and his game.
What I found most interesting about Malcolm coming back is that he became only the second returning player — after Russell Hantz — to go back-to-back seasons in which none of the other contestants had been afforded a chance to watch him play. Portions, if not all, of the first seasons of Rupert Boneham, Stephenie LaGrossa, Bobby Jon Drinkard, Amanda Kimmel and James Clement had aired before their second consecutive appearance, so other players were familiar with them. Malcolm, however, would be a complete question mark. I asked Jeff Probst if he thought that was an advantage or disadvantage. I also wanted to hear from the player himself how he felt about being a Survivor Mystery Man.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s it like to go from being a super-fan of the show, to a player, to now a returnee?
MALCOLM FREBERG: It’s flattering, but not completely unexpected. I always thought if you’re going to do something you have to assume you’re going to be successful at it. That’s just the inner arrogance I’ve been gifted with my entire life. It’s been a head rush for sure. It’s really thrilling. And there is a moment of starstruck-ness each time I keep running into other returning players, so I need to get over that real quick. READ FULL STORY
Jeff Probst reveals the players who would not return to play 'Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites'
As much as former Survivor contestants beat down producers’ doors in the hopes of being asked to come back and appear on the show again, there are always a few players who simply don’t want to return or cannot due to other commitments. (Corinne Kaplan, for instance, gave up her spot on Heroes vs. Villains because she could not get out of work, but will be back this season.) So after the 10 returning contestants were named to come back for Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS), I asked host Jeff Probst whom they could not get to come play again this time around.
“There’s two people we wanted back,” says Probst. “Matt from Redemption Island we would have been interested in, but he is just done with it. I think it was enough for him. And Shambo has basically said, ‘I never want to do it again.’ We would have loved her as well. But in both cases I think their story is similar in that they don’t want Survivor to define their life and they feel like once was enough. And that’s it.” Someone from a reality show not wanting being on TV to be the defining moment of his or her life? STOP THE PRESSES! (Oh, wait, this is online. There are no presses. Never mind.) READ FULL STORY
If you blinked, you might have missed her. Francesca Hogi was the first person voted out of Survivor: Redemption Island, and the first person ousted from the game after she lost a duel. But even though she only lasted three days on her tribe, what an impression she made — going right after Boston Rob and then sparring with Phillip Sheppard about (among other things) the pronunciation of her name. I loved Francesca in our Redemption Island pre-game interview and was thoroughly bummed when she was booted so early. So I was pleasantly surprised when I learned she was being brought back to play again for Survivor: Caramaon — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS). However, there is one person who will not be watching Francesca play — herself! The fan of the show could not bear to watch her last outing on TV and claims she has no plans to do so this time around either. Just days before filming began last May, I spoke with Francesca about her feud with Phillip (which The Specialist discussed right here), what she learned from her last brief outing, and the awkwardness of being mistaken for another black female contestant.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, this is absurd. Nobody in this entire world has given you more public props than I have, but a person voted out first being asked to come play again?
FRANCESCA HOGI: You are my biggest fan, and I am so grateful, but yeah, exactly! I mean, I knew some people liked me and some people were sad to see me go so I could see how they might put a feeler out to have me back, but they’re not really going to cast me! And so I just figured it’s not going to happen. And now I’m like, oh, s—, it’s actually happening! This is great! READ FULL STORY
'Survivor: Caramoan': Returning Favorite Phillip Sheppard promises 'something unique in my undergarments as well as my shoes'
Is Phillip Sheppard a character, or was he merely playing one when he appeared on Survivor: Redemption Island? Walking around in pink undies and an occasional feather on his head, Phillip acted crazy and often drove his tribemates equally nutty with his behavior — which included mispronouncing one of their names and complaining about a lack of burnt rice. But the player insists that it was all a well-designed ruse to get him to the end of the game, and get to the end he did thanks to Boston Rob. Now, Phillip is back as one of the familiar faces returning for Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS). What sort of hijinks does he have planned this time? How does he feel about being reunited with Fransesqua…uh, I mean, Francesca? And what is this about a new book he wrote based on his island alter-ego? (You can even hear an audio file of him reading from the book below! And trust me, you need to hear it.) The former federal agent (maybe) told all when we spoke last May just days before filming began.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Greetings, Specialist. First question right off the bat: What are you going to do if someone on your tribe tries to take the last scoop of the crispy? Not on your watch, right?
PHILLIP SHEPPARD: That’s right. That’s not gonna happen. If anyone were to take that last scoop of crispy, I don’t know what I would do. READ FULL STORY
In light of the almost daily emotional breakdowns Brandon Hantz suffered while playing Survivor: South Pacific — including his odd obsession with female contestant Mikayla, popping off for no reason at Tribal Council, teary confessionals, and then being manipulated into giving away his immunity before being voted off — many wondered if he could really handle such an experience all over again, especially when you consider the stress that comes with trying to outwit strangers while starving out in the elements. Those questions popped up again after my bizarre interview with Brandon that took place just days before filming on Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (which premieres Feb. 13 on CBS) began. So I asked host Jeff Probst recently if they had any concerns about putting Brandon back on the show, and if Russell’s nephew was truly equipped to handle being put through the emotional wringer again. READ FULL STORY
As a contestant on Survivor: Redemption Island, Andrea Boehlke is best known as the person that betrayed her island beau, joining with Boston Rob and the rest of his brainwashed minions to send poor Matt straight back to Redemption Island — even as he was trying to realign with them. (Ouch!) In truth, she was in a bit of a bad spot since Matt went and told Rob how the two of them had been approached about flipping — leading to Rob’s decision to once again cut the cord. Andrea did not do a lot else to distinguish herself that season, most likely being cast again for Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS) simply to fill the necessary blond-in-a-bikini slot. However, when I spoke to her last May just days before filming began, Andrea struck me as both thoughtful about the game and someone who was ready to learn from her passive gameplay the first time around. Read on as the Favorite discussed how she planned to play differently, the player she was most worried about, and how she felt about shacking up with Phillip Sheppard again.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why are you going to win this time, Andrea? What do you have up your sleeve?
ANDREA BOEHLKE: I have a lot of shenanigans up my sleeve. I’m coming in a lot more aggressive this time, and I’m definitely in a better place mentally. I’m in the same place physically. I’ve done this already. I’m really, really excited. I’m not scared. Last time I was 50 percent exited, 50 percent terrified. I didn’t know what to expect. But this time I’m completely ready and I feel really optimistic. READ FULL STORY
Brandon Hantz had a bit of a rough go last time we saw him on Survivor. During the South Pacific season he was portrayed as a leering pervert who could not handle his sexual attraction to another contestant, an unstable entity that would pop off at Tribal Council for no reason, and, finally, a rube who could get suckered into giving away his immunity only to be immediately voted off after doing so. As if dealing with all of that was not enough, Brandon had to also endure the public barbs coming from his own uncle — two-time Survivor finalist Russell Hantz — who tore into his gameplay both online and at the live Reunion show.
Needless to say, Brandon was hoping for a significantly smoother ride when he returned to play Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS). I spoke with Lil’ Hantz last May just days before filming began and he talked about being a very different player this time around. He was also not shy about discussing his recent family troubles, including, yes, more issues with uncle Russell. In all, it makes for one of the most curious — and at times, confusing — Survivor pre-game interviews I have ever done.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why are you going to win this time around, Brandon?
BRANDON: I am going to win this time around because I capitalize on every mistake I make in my life in general, so that’s just how it’s gonna happen. I did one thing wrong: I allowed myself to beat me. I beat myself, man. I beat myself in the game of Survivor and that’s what people saw. They saw a convicted man. They saw a person that could not even forgive himself for some of the things he did in the past. And I gave a million dollars to Sophie. I allowed myself — my convictions and my past — to hinder the outcome of my future. And that’s not happenin’ again, my friend! I want to overwhelm anyone with oh, he’s trying to preach. No, I’m comin’ on here to win a million dollars this time. I was doing all that stuff for me. I wasn’t trying to change the Hantz family name. I was doing it for Brandon. READ FULL STORY
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