Season 29 of Survivor kicked off this evening, and due to the last minute cancellation of the Redemption Island twist, we already have our first eliminated contestant. Who was it? And what else transpired in the 90-minute supersized premiere? My full recap will be up later [UPDATE: Dalton's recap is now live], but to find out and sound off on what happened, read on for more. [SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Wednesday’s season premiere of Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water.] READ FULL STORY
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Every season Survivor host Jess Probst tells us at the start of filming which players he thinks are the ones to keep an eye on. But then there’s the flip side, as we also force Probst to also come clean on which players he’s just not sure have what it takes to play this game. Now it’s time to see whom Probst is ready to throw under the bus for Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water, which kicks off tonight at 8pm on CBS. READ FULL STORY
He’s already defended the casting of controversial baseball player John Rocker. And he told us why the show imported Amazing Race duo Nadiya and Natalie. Now, host Jeff Probst names his favorites going into Survivor: San Juan Del Sur — Blood vs. Water. Of course, whether these people will be his favorites when all is said and done is anyone’s guess. Several people that Probst thought in the past would be stars on the show turned out to be total duds. Conversely, often people that didn’t really impress him all that much in casting ended up popping big time once cameras started rolling. So it’s an inexact science to be sure. READ FULL STORY
When Survivor announced it was returning to Nicaragua for filming of seasons 29 and 30 of the longtime reality hit, many fans were concerned that they would once again not be seeing many water challenges. That was a problem the last two seasons filmed there: Nicaragua and Redemption Island. Jeff Probst was concerned as well, and he told EW back in May that a plan was in place to remedy that situation: “That was the mandate from the moment we decided on Nicaragua,” said Probst of getting the contestants back in the water for challenges. “The one thing I kept asking our scouting crew for was updates on how the water situation was looking, and between our art department and our challenge department, they’ve got it under control. We’re going to have a lot more water challenges and be in the water more —and really that’s the only concern we had about Nicaragua, is that it was a little dry last time.” READ FULL STORY
It always happens. Whenever someone even semi-famous comes on Survivor and hopes to fly under the radar, they are recognized. Former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel almost made it all the way through Survivor: Philippines, until Jonathan Penner forced her to reveal her secret at the final Tribal Council. Even Gary Hogeboom, who was mostly a backup quarterback in his NFL career, was recognized when he played in Survivor: Guatemala. All it takes is one person to connect the dots and your game could be through.
So will it happen to former Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker when Survivor: San Juan del Sur commences on Sept. 24? I asked the outspoken and controversial athlete about that when I spoke with him and his girlfriend Julie McGee out in Nicaragua the day before filming began and you can see his response in the video player below. READ FULL STORY
Something weird happened last year on Survivor. A contestant from another CBS reality show appeared on the program. Previously, CBS had imported stars from Survivor and Big Brother onto The Amazing Race. And it also cast Willie Hantz — brother of Survivor’s Russell and uncle of Survivor’s Brandon — on Big Brother. But Survivor — which is still considered the granddaddy and gold star of reality television, even if it doesn’t have the Emmy awards (or nominations, for that matter) to prove it — had never accepted sloppy seconds from another CBS show.
That all changed when Big Brother 12 champion Hayden Moss showed up on Survivor: Blood vs. Water. But that casting at least made a little sense. Hayden had actually originally auditioned for Survivor instead of Big Brother, and the fact that he was dating Survivor contestant Kat Edorsson allowed him to tag along as her loved one for that Blood vs. Water season. But would that be an isolated incident?
The answer is no. For the second Blood vs. Water go round on Survivor: San Juan del Sur (premiering Sept. 24 on CBS), the show has now gone and imported an Amazing Race duo: twins Nadiya and Natalie Anderson. The “Twinnies” — who appeared on seasons 21 and 24 of Race — are a love it or loathe it duo for fans, and I was curious as to Probst’s thoughts on bringing aboard more contestants from another show. I spoke with the host out on location in Nicaragua on day one of filming to ask him about it, and now you can see his response in the video player below. READ FULL STORY
Survivor has had its fair share of villains over the years. But it has also had a few people that have gone past that line of villainous play into something far more distasteful. There have been productive conversations about race relations —like when Jeff Probst (in one of his finest moments) mediated a dispute between Phillip and Steve on the Redemption Island season — but there have also been insensitive remarks hurled that have made viewers as uncomfortable as the contestants.
Keeping that in mind, I asked Probst if he was concerned that bringing in baseball pitcher John Rocker — who made controversial remarks in the past — might lead to more of that type of behavior. I had already asked Rocker himself if he thought that infamous Sports Illustrated article would follow him into the game, and now I wanted to see the host’s logic for casting someone with such a background. Probst was resolute in his support for bringing in the former Atlanta Braves closer, and you can now see and hear his complete thoughts by clicking on the video interview below. READ FULL STORY
Apparently deciding that one stint out in the wild was not enough, a former Survivor contestant has returned to rough it out in the elements, but he forgot one thing: his clothes. That’s right, a former Survivor player will be appearing on this Sunday’s episode of Naked & Afraid on Discovery at 10pm. Who’s the adventurous chap of which we speak? READ FULL STORY
One of the most dramatic moments of last year’s Survivor: Blood vs. Water season was when Ciera Eastin voted her own mother, Laura Morett, out of the game. (Awkward Thanksgiving dinner, anyone?) Now that Survivor is bringing back the Blood vs. Water twist of loved ones competing with and against each other for Survivor: San Juan del Sur, it got me wondering: Would any of the new players vote out their special someone? READ FULL STORY
There were supposed to be 10 pairs of loved ones competing on this season’s Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water (which debuts Sept. 24 on CBS). But then, just days before filming began in Nicaragua, one of the couples was forced to bow out after a last minute-medical check turned up something that gave the Survivor medics pause. The same thing actually happened during the last Blood vs. Water season when RC Saint-Amour and her father had to drop out while on location due to medical reasons involving the dad. In that instance, Candice and John Cody were flown in at the last minute to replace them. (They arrived in the Philippines less than 24 hours before filming began.) READ FULL STORY
The new season of Survivor: San Juan del Sur will feature all new players, but among the cast are a few familiar faces. And the most familiar — and controversial — is former Major League Baseball pitcher John Rocker (who will be competing with his girlfriend Julie McGee). Rocker pitched for the Atlanta Braves in the 1999 World Series in a losing effort against the New York Yankees, but the closer made even bigger headlines in a Sports Illustrated article that came out later that year. READ FULL STORY
When I spoke to Survivor‘s Jeff Probst earlier this year after the success of the Blood vs. Water season, he mentioned that the Redemption Island twist would most likely only return in future Blood vs. Water seasons. Then when I spoke again in May upon the announcement of the upcoming Survivor: San Juan del Sur season (which premieres Sept. 24 on CBS), Probst confirmed that the twist would indeed be back. So imagine my shock when I showed up on location two weeks later — just 48 hours before filming began — and learned that Redemption Island had been axed. READ FULL STORY
Earlier today, Entertainment Weekly exclusively revealed six of the players who would be competing on Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water. Now the rest of the cast — which is comprised of pairs of loved ones — that will be challenging for the million dollars can be announced as well. In addition to previously disclosed controversial former baseball player John Rocker and his girlfriend Julie McGee, Amazing Race twins Nadiya and Natalie Anderson, and Broadway boyfriends Reed Kelly and Josh Canfield, there will be 12 other contestants.
Originally there were supposed to be 20 contestants total, but one pair was forced to drop out after a medical check-up just days before filming began in Nicaragua. “We lost a pair of women, so the way it works out is there are more men than women,” host Jeff Probst tells us. “That’s just the game. We don’t like it that way but that’s the way it’s going to start.” Among the pairs that will be playing in season 29 are a married cop and a firefighter, Miss Michigan 2013 and her boyfriend, as well as a cheerleading mother and daughter team. (See the full contestant list as well as video interviews with all the teams below.) READ FULL STORY
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