Archive for Survivor

Survivor: Gabon – Jeff Probst talks, and we list

Back when Survivor spent its third season in Africa, host Jeff Probst said it was more like spending time in a zoo than being out in the wilderness.

“It’s a preserve and the animals are used to having people around all the time, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to them,” Probst says after his recent return from filming the latest version of Survivor in Gabon. “In Gabon, they told us in advance that this would be completely different. These animals were not used to seeing any body around and if you see an elephant, it’s a big deal because you just don’t know how they are going to react.”

Probst says that during one Survivor:Gabon interview, a giant elephant came within 50 yards of the film crew.

“It was thrilling and scary at the same time,” Probst says. “This elephant will stomp on you. There were moments in the filming when survivors interacted with the animals and it felt like being in a Spielberg movie.”

At one point, a 12-foot python slithered into the camp, and someone had the bright idea of using it as a prop for a promo shot with Probst. The crew tried to reassure Probst they could stop the snake from squeezing him to death if it tried. Heck, the worst thing would be Probst might get a nasty, but not fatal, bite.

“They put the snake around my neck and I was holding the head while it was moving and I kept reminding myself that this was not a quote trained L.A. snake, unquote, but one that just crawled out of the jungle,” Probst says. “I held him for about five minutes while I had flashbacks to another promo about three years ago doing the snake thing with (so-called) trained snake. It bit the trainer, a full on clamp on the wrist. (On our shoot) we got some great still shots of me with the snake, but I wasn’t going to tempt things for too long.”

CBS website has this snake, but not the picture with snake and Jeff Probst for “SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN,” which begins its 17th installment at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 on CBS. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Last time Survivor” went to Africa, they called it the most boring cycle every.
OK, maybe that was just me. But with the dry plains instead of those subtropical and beach shots, the series had all the tension of watching paint dry. What more can you say about a series that includes rolling boulders as a challenge? And the contestants? Sleeping pills on steroids.

When the high points include some Virginia farmer named Big Tom Buchanan dong the chicken dance to “chicken in a bread basket picking out dough” or some blah, blah, blah, blah do-si-do stuff, you know you’re in trouble.

Did you miss those golden moments? We’re here to share a few more with you:
Read the rest of this entry »

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Survivor: Gabon – Here’s the cast

Jeff Probst calls this return to Africa one of the wildest adventures of his life.

“This isn’t like the last African Survivor,” Jeff said in an interview after he returned from shooting the series last month. “These aren’t wild animals who are used to seeing people around. This is really out where it’s dangerous.”

Jeff Probst, host of SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN, is pictured on the new tribal council set for the seventeenth installment of the Emmy Award-winning reality series, which premieres Thursday, Sept. 25 (8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Today, CBS released the cast of “Survivor: Gabon” as well as this Survivor clip.

The 18 castaways will compete on “Survivor: Gabon – Earth’s Last Eden” in a two-hour premiere at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 on CBS.

“In a strange coincidence to Earth’s Last Eden – good vs. evil emerges as a major theme this season. I think the audience will quickly identify with one group or the other,” host Jeff Probst teases in the press release. Will the group of deceitful castaways outlast those individuals who play from their heart or will the forces of evil prevail? Will temptations interfere with logical decision-making? More importantly, which side will come out on top?

This season, for the first time, the show will be shot in HD.

“Shooting in HD is like adding another character to the show,” Probst says in the press release. “The detail is so sharp you can’t help but feel as though you are experiencing the adventure yourself.”

(Back Row-Standing) Michelle Chase, Charlie Herschel, Paloma Soto-Castillo, Corinne Kaplan, Crystal Cox, Dan Kay, Jessica Kiper, Ace Gordon, Jacquie Berg, Kelly Czarnecki, Marcus Lehman, Matty Whitmore and Bob Crowley, (Front Row-Kneeling) Gillian Larson, Susie Smith, Ken Hoang, Randy Baily and Danny Brown are the 18 castaways set to compete in SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN when the seventeenth installment of the Emmy Award-winning reality series premieres Thursday, Sept. 25 (8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Castaways competing on SURVIVOR: GABON – EARTH’S LAST EDEN (in alphabetical order) are:



Eagle Rock, Mo.

Wedding Videographer



Santa Barbara, Calif.

Medical Sales



Portland, Ore.

Maintenance Man



Los Angeles

Music Production Assistant



Durham, N.C.

Former Olympic Gold Medalist



Portland, Maine

Physics Teacher



Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Retail Sales



Naples, Fla.

Jewelry Sales



New York




Westminster, Calif.

Professional Gamer



Los Angeles

Pharmaceutical Sales







Brooklyn, N.Y.

Pin-up Model



Temecula, Calif.

Retired Nurse







Charles City, Iowa


CBS Television…4



Downey, Calif.




Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Personal Trainer

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Sonja comments on quitter Jonny Fairplay

Walnut Creek’s Sonja Christopher may be known as the first person to be ejected from “Survivor,” but at least she’s no quitter.

Affable breast cancer survivor Sonja Christopher, a real “Survivor.”

The ukulele lady had this to say:

Here’s my theory about Johnny Foulplay:

He undoubtedly got a fee for appearing (on All-Stars it was $25,000).
What easier way could there be to earn a quick 25 grand for three days
work than to get on the show and then quit?! Of all the Survivors I
know, he is the most despicable in my book.

You are absolutely correct. He could have easily continued, but clearly his game plan from Day 1 was to go in, grab the easy money and bug out. What a loser.

Hopefully, “Survivor” producers have learned their lesson – and anyone else crazy enough to hire this clown. And if you’re out there, casting people, give Sonja another go.

Here’s a look at the first episode, which includes Sonja getting cut up on the island, and Dr. Sean fixing her up. She also does a funny twist on “Bye Bye Birdie” while playing her ukulele:

And Sonja sent this link to her appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” She says she’s “a little more cleaned up” than in the Survivor video:

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Lunch Lady Denise Donates $50,000

Guilt has overwhelmed our Denise, so she’s opted to donate the money she was given by “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

In her statement, issued on Tuesday through CBS, she thanks those who have supported her and asks forgiveness for her actions. Her claims that she was not able to go back to the job she loved because her presence was too disruptive now that she’s a reality star just didn’t ring true. As we noted in a previous post, Denise had switched jobs to her janitor position – a better paying job – before she went on Survivor. So she did return to the job she left.

We understand how she may have gotten caught up in the moment. And how difficult it must have been to turn down that 50 grand. The amount of money could have been used to change her family’s life. But I think her family’s life was changed for the better by Denise donating the money.

She showed through her actions that what she did was dishonorable, and she wanted to show the world and her family that what she did was wrong. How many of us would be able to chuck that 50 thousand, knowing what kind of impact it would make our financially strapped family?

Denise, you did the right thing.

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Lunch Lady Denise: Survivor Liar?

Contestants on “Survivor” have been known to stretch the truth a tad in their quest, and there is no question quite a few unsavories have emerged, from the currently incarcerated Richard Hatch (tax evasion) to Jonny “My grandmother died” Fairplay.

But Lunch Lady Denise?

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Lunch Lady Liar?

Fans of the show watched Sunday’s high rated finale had nothing but sympathy for Denise when she had to endure hearing Courtney wonder on the show why Denise deserved anything just because she “sucked at life” and was poor.

Then on the live show, a teary Denise told everyone how horrible the school district behaved when she returned to work and was demoted from lunch lady to janitor. It was all because her presence was “too disruptive” to the students, who saw her as a TV star. So she was shuffled off to clean toilets and barf in obscurity.

A little bell went off in my brain, because I know janitors make more money than lunch ladies, so didn’t she get a promotion? Turns out Denise may have been a little less than honest about the whole deal. CBS’ “Early Show” host Julie Chen grilled Denise and school superintendent Nancy Lane, who says Denise fibbed.

Here’s the release from the school:

Press Release: Mrs. Denise Martin
December 17, 2007
Douglas Public Schools

On the “Survivor China” television program that aired on December 16, 2007, Mrs. Denise Martin, an employee of the Douglas Public Schools, stated that she was demoted from her position as a cafeteria worker upon her return from taping the show. This statement is false. In fact, Mrs. Martin held a full-time position as a custodian prior to her participation in the series, and she returned to this same position upon her return from China. Mrs. Martin was granted – at her request – an unpaid leave of absence so that she could participate in the “Survivor” program. We were pleased and excited to support Denise, and have enthusiastically cheered her on throughout the duration of the show.

Although Mrs. Martin was a cafeteria employee prior to her selection as a contestant, she asked to be considered for a promotion to full-time custodian, and was promoted to this position on March 30, 2007. This promotion came with additional benefits and a higher salary. Following her leave, she then returned to this same position.

Regretfully, the Douglas Public School District was inaccurately portrayed as failing to be accommodating to an employee during what the District viewed as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. This is far from the case. On the contrary, we granted all requests made by Mrs. Martin so that she could participate in the “Survivor” series. Since Mrs. Martin was on an approved leave, her position was held open for her, and she returned to this same position upon her return from China. As a District, we make every effort to support our employees, and will continue to do so.

Nancy T. Lane
Superintendent of Schools

Denise, Denise. Now you’re $50,000 richer because “Survivor” creator/producer Mark Burnett decided to dip into his deep pockets to make you feel better. He can well afford it, but can you afford to go back and face those people in Douglas after this?

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And the Survivor winner is…

Whoa, not so quick. First, our snappy recap of “Survivor:China” finale.

Amanda won the reward challenge, but of course on Survivor it’s never that easy. She had to choose either one, or two, other people to share pizza, beer and brownies with her. If she chose no one, she would have appeared to be fair with all of her alliance. But she also would have come across as selfish.

She kept the Courtney warning in mind: “An angry Todd is a bad Todd.” Best to keep him satisfied, so she chose the schemer – who wouldn’t have a chance to smack talk her while she was eating without the other three.

And she wisely decided not to choose between Denise or Courtney, because to take one would have tipped her hand.

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Denise Martin, Todd Herzog, Courtney Yates and Amanda Kimmel during the Reward Challenge “Great Wall” & Reward of Pizza, Beer, Cola, Brownies during tonight’s finale episode of “Survivor: China” Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

As Courtney says, “Todd’s a slippery little sucker.” Todd’s been able to weasel his way into more food by getting chosen to go on rewards won by others because no one wants him hanging around camp plotting against him.

He’s played a good game. But now he’s scared about Court, Denise and Amanda going all “girl power” on him. Game on.

After the traditional walk down memory lane, where the torches were lit and firecrackers popped to celebrate the fallen Survivors, it was time to move on to tribal council. It didn’t look good for Todd. Would he once again slip-slide out of getting the boot?

Todd was the first out of the immunity challenge. Each had to stack china on a small platform while holding firm with one hand. Second out was waitress Courtney. Denise desperately tried to strike a deal with Amanda: She would drop out if Amanda promised not to vote her out.

Amanda said no deal. Perhaps Denise knew she was faltering, or maybe her deal-making made her lose concentration. In any case, Denise dropped her dishes and Amanda was guaranteed a top three spot and a chance to plead her case in front of the jury.

It looked like Denise might just pull out a top-three finish as she worked Amanda, and Amanda in turn tried to work Courtney, all against Todd. In the end, we knew Courtney would never turn on snark-buddy Todd. There seemed to be a small chance Amanda would force a tie between Todd and Denise, but it was not to be.

We think Denise shot herself in the foot by saying because she had two children that might influence a jury. And she put Amanda on the spot by saying that Amanda told her she had Denise’s back. But it was Todd’s little oh-she-burned-you look that made Amanda look like a jerk.

In the end, a three to one vote shoved Denise into the jury box and out of the running for a top-three slot.

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Denise only gets into the final four, out of the three. She returned home only to lose her job as the lunch lady and now works as a janitor. Mark Burnett decided on the live show to give her $50,000 to help get her life back on track.

Going into the final confrontation with the jury, I felt that Todd played it best, with Courtney coming in a surprising second. I almost thought I might want to vote for her since she was the snotty kid who at least played the most honest game of the three.

But in the end, it was the guy who studied the game, and watched it since he was a 14-year-old in Utah. Todd, you deserved it. You just need to get that snark in check.

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Todd wins “Survivor: China”Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Do you agree with Jeff Probst that the biggest blunder was James not playing the Immunity Idol? Or was it Denice not going with Erik and Peih-Gee?

And for qodrn, who thought I got laid off and that I spend too much time talking “Survivor”, I’m still working for the paper, just working online instead of in print. And just think, with the end of Survivor tonight you’ll get a reprieve just in time for American Idol.

You would need a search and rescue team to find the link on this site to get my blog delivered to you free through an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, so just click here.

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Survivor:China Backstabbing

Oh, yeah. Time to let the dogs out.

When Peih-Gee won the challenge to go to the Shaolin Temple, she picked Hunky Eric and Lunch Lady Denise to come along. Turns out Denise has some wicked karate moves, which she shared with the people at the Kung-Fu temple. Very cool.

But without the three, the remaining Survivors back in camp could plot like MacBeth witches around a cauldron.

The surprise came when Amanda told the camera that she didn’t see herself being in the final four with any of these hound dogs. And who could blame her? Machiavellian Todd, ripped James and skinny mini Courtney.

Please snuff out Courtney. Please snuff out Courtney.

Of course, it’s too soon for that to happen. Too soon strategy wise, never too soon for me.

Why do I dislike Courtney in this game? Because she’s an idiot, and an annoying idiot to boot. Case in point: Before the challenge, both she and Amanda plotted to get James out if he didn’t get immunity. Of course, James could still use one of the two immunity idols he already possesses. But everyone figures he won’t do that because he’s still feeling secure.

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Jeff Probst (left) watches as the survivors (l-r) Amanda Kimmel, James Clement ,Courtney Yates, Erik Huffman, Todd Herzog and Peih-Gee Law prepare for the Immunity Challenge

But at the challenge, Courtney insisted on giving the wink-wink, nod-nod to Amanda all through the challenge, which James ultimately lost. If he had even a smidgeon of observational skills, he would have noticed the scheming taking place and used one of the idols at Tribal Council.

But he didn’t.

Todd took the biggest risk tonight, because if James had been canny enough to use the idol, then Todd would have been snuffed for sure. And he knew it. Still, he’s enough of a gamesman to risk it, and the risk paid off handsomely.

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Todd, you are the ultimate player

Actually, it was amazing strategy on the part of Todd, Amanda, Courtney and Denise. They got rid of possibly the strongest player in the game AND both of the immunity idols. James just trusted too much. He should have known people were gunning for him.

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James, you shoulda played the idol.

You can check out James’ final words on the Survivor site.

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“Survivor: China” Gambler cashes out

James, you sly dog.

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At first, I thought Todd was the guy to beat. But James, you’ve got some serious game. You’ve already snagged both immunity idols and when it came to tonight’s showdown, you showed gambler Jean-Robert how to hold your cards.

I was sure you’d play the immunity idol, which would have been a win-win for the other tribe members. If you played the immunity idol, they would have gotten one idol out of play and the obnoxious J-R would have been out.

And I think I noticed a little fear factor in your face when at one point, you thought you might have overplayed your hand.

We ponder so many mysteries of the universe in this episode. Why do people still trust Todd? And why, oh, why is Courtney chosen for challenges. She’s got neither strength nor brains.

In tonight’s challenge, teams had to try and pour enough water into little boats to sink ’em. Of course, they put the lightest teammember in the boat so that it would take more water. Peih-Gee, Frosti, Erik, Courtney went up against Jean-Robert, James, Todd and Amanda.

Courtney not only failed to bail, she also kept her boat right next to the bucket brigade.

Todd bailed like a pro, and even Amanda stayed out of the way of buckets of water. But Frosti and Courtney ended up in the soup.

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Todd and Courtney

Courtney couldn’t figure out how to stay away from the competition’s bucket brigade as she quickly got sunk in her boat. And in round two, she could barely pick the bucket up to bail water into the competition’s boat.

Then Courtney won the tailor-made challenge: Sitting quietly on a suspended barrel with no movement.

“I am lazy,” she proudly proclaimed. Finally, a challenge you can win. All you have to do is sit there and do nothing.

With J-R gone, James has a big target on his back. How will he play this one out?

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Goofy Jean-Robert is out

So who’s next?

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Survivor: Anorexia

What’s more painful that watching Jean-Robert tear off his drawers in a challenge?

Seeing emaciated Courtney walking around the jungle like a skeleton. She didn’t have much meat on her to begin with, but she’s gotten even worse as the show has progressed. But she’s getting our vote for the next one booted out of Fei Long.

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Todd Herzog and Courtney Yates, of the Fei Long tribe, during the SURVIVOR: CHINA, Thursday, Oct. 11

Out pick for next out in Zhan Hu is Sherea “I’m saving myself for the challenges” Lloyd. The fourth grade teacher hasn’t exactly been a whiz at the challenges, and unless she picks up the pace, she’s going to get her torch snuffed.

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Miss Attitude herself, Sherea Lloyd

Next week, Jaime and Erik admit to a mutual attraction as a romance blossoms. A tribal switch leads to chaos, tears, fears and cracks in former alliances.

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Erik and Jaime sneak a moment

And if you missed the CBS video of “Survivor:China” base camp:

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Survivor, Sleaze Edition?

Mud wrestling with half naked men and women, but mostly women, in the reward challenge tonight.

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Ashley Massaro, Erik Huffman, Sherea Lloyd and Dave Cruser, during the reward challenge,”Chinese Checkers.” Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

In fact, make that bare-breasted women. Amanda, who lost her top, got it right when she said, “My mom is going to kill me!.”

Before going on, I’d like to make a shameless plug for my vodcast on the breast issue on SueTube.

Moving on, we had the first alliance formed on the Fei Long clan with Amanda, Aaron and Todd. Todd seems to be getting the vote of confidence in the tribe.

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Amanda Kimmel, Todd Herzog and Aaron Reisberger team up. Monty Brinton/CBS

After Leslie got the clue from “kidnapped” Jamie about where to find the immunity idol, she immediately told Todd so he would help her.

How can these people trust the Todd???

But perhaps the best quote of the night was when lazy snore-boy Jean-Robert explained that he may not do much physical work, but “I contribute with my mind.”

Oh, and I kissed my five bucks good-bye tonight when Ashleygot tossed.

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Ashley Massaro just couldn’t stop feuding with Dave, and it got her booted.

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