Archive for February, 2015

‘Survivor’ Castaway So – “Max Is a Bit Sociopathic”

February 26, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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After finally getting a chance to play “Survivor,” So came out swinging with a titanic lie that nobody believed.

You can either feel really bad for her, or you can think she deserved it. You can’t be neutral.

I spoke with the first castaway the morning after her elimination and asked about her and Joaquin’s first move, the tribe’s feelings toward Tyler, and her rough year…

Watch the Season Premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart”

Gordon Holmes:  I’ve got to lay out some ground rules first. Probst warned me that you’re some kind of vampire, she-devil ways. I will not condone any blood-sucking, back-stabbing activities during this interview.
So Kim: (Laughs) I will try my very best. I’d like to think I’m a nice person. Hopefully you’ll behave and I won’t have to bring those skills out.
Holmes: Oh, so it’s on me?!
Kim: Of course it’s on you. Never on me.
Holmes: What did you say to him to give him that impression of you?
Kim: Am I that horrible or was Jeff Probst kind of flirting with me? You were there, you tell me.
Holmes: He’s a happily married man.
Kim: (Laughs) I got to know Jeff over the course of both seasons, he met my sister, he got to know me on my own. And I’m a little bit impish. I’m self-deprecating. I can be sneaky.  I love laughing, I love having a good time. Underneath my smile, I can also flip on you. I’m willing to make huge moves in the game. I think he kind of saw it and called me out on it.

Holmes: So, last night when you made your terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad lie…
Kim: What lie? I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Holmes: What was the immediate reaction from the tribe when you dropped that whopper?
Kim: At that point we were two minutes into the game, we barely know these people, but I realized we’d made a mistake because we were playing with some of the savviest people who have ever played this game. What they don’t show is I pulled Shirin aside and told her I had the clue and I wanted to trust her. We do try and loop a couple of people in, it just didn’t work out in my favor.

Holmes: They didn’t show a lot of this last night, but Tyler seems to almost be the White Collar tribe’s innocent. You were almost afraid to play the game in front of him. Why were people treating him that way?
Kim: Tyler came out saying he wanted us to just be a team. We can’t work as individuals. Everyone was very cautious about talking too much strategy. The minute we’d start, Tyler would be like, “No, no,no, we need to keep our tribe strong. There’s no reason to talk strategy unless we lose the first challenge.” Even when I got back from finding the clue, Carolyn and Shirin approached me right away and said, “The three of us and Max are going to be the final four.” I looked at them and said, “Why me and not Tyler?” And they said, “Tyler doesn’t want to talk strategy and we don’t trust him. So, we want to work with you.”

Holmes:Did you know at Tribal that Carolyn had the idol?
Kim: No. Tyler was the only one who knew. Carolyn played it very smart. She only shared it when she needed the fourth vote to get me out.
Holmes: Did it bother you that Joaquin voted for Cherilynn?
Kim: (Laughs) You were there…that was the one moment of levity in that whole Tribal. He was so shell-shocked. He wanted to vote for Carolyn, but he hated Shirin, so in his own subconscious way he wrote down both names.
Holmes: Why did he hate Shirin?
Kim: He had it right, she was the person we shouldn’t have trusted. He wanted to work with Carolyn and he kept saying that, but I’d already promised my loyalty to Shirin. When we got back from that challenge, the guys were thinking Shirin. I said, “No, it’s got to be Carolyn.” I wouldn’t have suspected that Shirin would get so paranoid. Her and Carolyn got together. And then Max who said he always wanted to work with two weak girls so he could save one of them or save both of them so they’d be indebted to him. Then Carolyn got Tyler with the idol.

Holmes: You knew about Max’s background.
Kim: I sure did.
Holmes: It did come up at Tribal, but nobody seemed to really care.
Kim: I think that people will start to question the fact that he knows the game. But at the time it wasn’t a factor.

Holmes: There was some issue with the water when I visited your camp on day two. They were drinking the well water without boiling it, and I think you had an issue with that.
Kim: White Collar didn’t know how to make a fire. We were the smartest people to play the game, but we all assumed someone else would be able to make a fire. By day two we were so dehydrated. I think it was Max who said there had been other seasons where people had drank the well water and hadn’t gotten sick. That’s when he convinced Shirin and Carolyn to drink with them. Then Joaq joined in. I thought they were idiots because we’d be sick for the challenge and then we’d lose. But you’re so hungry and thirsty that you kind of lose your mind.

Holmes: OK, word association time. Let’s start with Shirin.
Kim: Delusional schizophrenic…oh, that’s so awful.
Holmes: Too late. Joaquin?
Kim: Loyal to a fault.
Holmes: Carolyn?
Kim: The funniest woman I’ve ever met.
Holmes: Tyler?
Kim: A politician to the core.
Holmes: Max?
Kim: Max is a bit sociopathic.
Holmes: And let’s finish with Malcolm.
Kim: (Laughs)
Holmes: He told me to do this.
Kim: (Laughs) Malcolm is my guy. He’s great. You know what? I may have been the first one voted out. But I ultimately won because I got to meet a great guy like Malcolm.
Holmes: I told him this interview was going to be tough because I’d be so jealous of you.
Kim: (Laughs) Aww…he’s the best.

Holmes: Between your divorce, leaving your job, and not getting to play season 29, you’d had a pretty rough year. And that was before you were voted out first. Have things picked up since you returned home?
Kim: You know, life throws you challenges. I alluded to this in our first interview, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster, I’ve had some stones in my path. And, it  didn’t end well after I spoke to you. I was voted out three days later. It only added to that terrible year. But, I moved out to LA and it’s been great. I work with Billabong, I’m dating Malcolm, and I met some incredible people. I may have been voted out first, but the people I got to play with are some of the most amazing people that I’ve ever met. It’s become a family. They’ve become my best friends.
Holmes: That’s awesome. And you’d better treat Malcolm right or you’ll hear from me.
Kim: I’ll try, but  I can be a bit devilish.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst Breaks Down the ‘Worlds Apart’ Premiere

February 25, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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I didn’t give “Survivor” host Jeff Probst a second to breathe after So was sent home. I stormed the Tribal Council set to get his thoughts on the season’s hot start, So and Joaquin’s questionable lie, and what he thinks will happen next…

Gordon Holmes: How are you feeling?
Jeff Probst: I’m feeling about as good as you can feel given that my life is already pretty (expletive deleted) good.
Holmes: I have written in my notes “Happy Probst.”
Probst: Yeah, I’m pretty happy. We’re on day three and I’ve been saying this since twenty minutes into day one, I think this is going to be an incredible season. How do I know that? I have no idea. But, if the first twenty minutes, first challenge, and first Tribal are any indication, we’re in good shape.

Watch the Season Premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart”

Holmes: Let’s talk about that first challenge; you’ve got the free spirits getting it done, the Blue Collars following their lead, and the White Collars failing.
Probst: I was initially surprised that the White Collars picked what most people would say is the easiest puzzle. But then, I realized, that probably makes sense because the White Collars do get the knock of making conservative, safe choices. From afar, I would think you have the biggest brain power out here, why not take a chance on the five piece and see. Spend two minutes on it, then switch. I think they made a tactical error and are afraid to admit it.
Holmes: I consider myself White Collar, any my plan was if I had a lead, I’d go with the 50 because I’d have time to barrel through it. I thought it’d just be a put-the-numbers-in-order puzzle.
Probst: That’s exactly what they thought. You were right in sync with them.

Holmes: Tyler seems like he’s the conscience of this tribe. They treat him almost like he’s an innocent. Everyone seemed like they were yielding to him and trying to make him happy.
Probst: Surprised me. Not only have I never seen anything like that this soon in the game, I had Tyler completely wrong. I thought Tyler would be trying to get in with everybody else. I was completely off on him. Whatever he’s doing is working.  They see him as some kind of moral compass. Maybe that’ll last another day, another 36 days. Who knows? He’s definitely one of the surprises. And it makes me happy because I’ve wanted him to be on the show for a while. He’s been through casting many times.

Holmes: As a producer, would you ever let someone make a neutral choice like So and Joaquin dreamed up?
Probst: I didn’t know about that until tonight. So, when I heard that they added their own element, I thought it was a pretty terrible lie.
Holmes: You guys don’t have twists so people can take the middle road.
Probst: That was their mistake. They didn’t go with a lie that made sense. But, I did feel for them because I think a lot of people would choose to deceive. Like Max said, I wouldn’t hold it against you.I don’t think So got voted out for choosing to deceive. I think she was voted out because she’s a pain in the ass.
Holmes: It seemed like she was rubbing people the wrong way when we visited the tribe camp.

Holmes: A lot of people had high hopes for So going into this season.
Probst: I think So herself is extremely disappointed right now. She’s looking for somebody to blame. I was surprised how things went with So, I thought she was going to be a very sharp firecracker out here. And I think she is in life, it just brings up one of the truths about “Survivor”; you make your play and it works or it doesn’t. She might come out again and play differently. The only thing I saw from So at Tribal that concerned me was that she never changed her approach. The entire night she kept defending. I don’t think there’s enough nuance in that for her to ever have a shot.
Holmes: I think the second Max admitted that he was lying to her that she should’ve gone into hyper scramble mode.
Probst: Yeah, she was trying to say there’s more to me than meets the eye. But, there are sometimes you just can’t change the vote.

Holmes: It’s such an impressive cast, that you can’t get too upset when one of your favorites goes home.
Probst: The way I would say it is; you can’t get disappointed when somebody good goes home, because somebody good is going to go home every week. We have the luxury of having seventeen other good people out there. So, I’m not going to be disappointed at all.
Holmes: No disappointment that the obvious “So Long” vote wasn’t made?
Probst: Somebody said, “So Much Drama,” that was good.
Holmes: That was Shirin.
Probst: OK, yeah, “So Long” would’ve been a great one. But, you’re a writer. You’d be good out here…for the writing part of it. Let’s be clear.
Holmes: Yes, the looks part and the challenge part would be a disaster.
Probst:  (Laughs) I didn’t say anything about looks!
Holmes: I told you, I’m not young enough to be a young good looking guy or old enough to be an old cranky guy…
Probst:  But didn’t you kick Parvati’s ass?
Holmes: That I did. But, she’s sick of hearing about it.  I’m not sick of talking about it.
Probst: I was just saying that I was there, you faced Parvati, and you defeated her.
Holmes: She had a significant lead, too.
Probst: You kicked her ass. But, you just said you weren’t good at challenges.
Holmes: People who brag about challenges don’t last long, Jeff. You know that.
Probst: Got it. Understood.

Holmes: Alright, who’s going home next?
Probst: No prediction. I don’t even know what we’re doing tomorrow.
Holmes: Is White Collar coming back to Tribal without So?
Probst: I’m thinking what the next challenge is…
Holmes: I believe it’s the water basketball challenge.
Probst: Oh yeah. I’m going to say that White Collar is going to lose again.
Holmes: Who gets voted out?
Probst:  I think Joaquin needs to scramble fast. He’s got to work. And he’s at a disadvantage because he doesn’t know the game as well as other people. And at Tribal, he doesn’t speak so well for himself. I could barely hear him.
Holmes: He’s learning on the job.
Probst: If he can pick up the speed he’ll be OK. He’s a sharp guy. If I was him I’d go after Shirin, I’d leave Carolyn alone. But, at the end of Tribal, Max, Carolyn, and Shirin were all holding hands. So, who knows?

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ Episode 1 Recap: Singing the Blues

February 25, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

Another Quick Note: I was on hand for the filming of this first episode, so be on the lookout for special Behind-the-Scenes Tidbits from my time in the Nicaragua.

And…we’re off!

The season kicks off with a trio of brightly colored trucks making their way through the Nicaraguan wilderness. The first truck, which is yellow, features a sextet of White Collar workers.

First we meet So, who claims to be the devil. Oh my goodness, Jeff Probst was calling her “vampire” and “she-devil” in all of our pregame interviews. He tried to warn us!

Then, Max’s beard tells us that he has no problem stepping on people to get what he wants. Well, good luck stepping on people without feet, Max’s beard.

Next up, we meet the hardworking Blue Collar tribe. Mike, an oil worker, says that you can’t win unless you get your hands dirty. He proves his point by showing us his dirty hands. So basically he’s already half way there.

Lindsey then claims that there is nobody on this Earth who is as mentally strong as she is. There’s a strong head/face tattoo joke in there. I’ll figure it out and get back to you.

To round out the tribe, Dan claims that we will not forget him. Well, I remember Wanda from Palau too…

Driving in last, cause they can’t be bothered to like…care…man…is the No Collar tribe.

Jenn starts off by telling us that she flies by the seat of her pants…while she’s wearing shorts! The lying already starts!

Hali is a law student, but she’s not an evil lawyer. I always thought “evil lawyer” was redundant.

And Vince says some stuff that text couldn’t do justice to. You’ve got to feel it.

Finally, a handsome guy in an orange baseball cap says something about…

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog…

Let’s take a look at these tribes…

The Masaya Tribe (wearing yellow)
Carolyn – Corporate Executive, 52
Joaquin – Marketing Director, 27
Max – Media Consultant, 37
Shirin – Yahoo Executive, 31
So – Retail Buyer, 31
Tyler – Ex-Talent Agent Assistant, 33

The Escameca Tribe (wearing blue)
Dan – Postal Worker, 47
Kelly – State Trooper, 44
Lindsey – Hair Dresser, 24
Mike – Oil Driller, 38
Rodney – General Contractor, 24
Sierra – Barrel Racer, 27

The Nagarote Tribe (wearing red)
Hali – Law Student, 25
Jenn – Sailing Instructor, 22
Joe – Jewelry Designer, 25
Nina – Hearing Advocate, 51
Vince – Coconut Vendor, 32
Will – YouTube Sensation, 41

The three trucks eventually pull into a clearing and everyone piles out.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: It was pouring down rain until it was time to shoot this. Mark Burnett must have some kind of evil weather machine somewhere.

Probst greets the three tribes and tells them they’ve been divided by career and approach to life. I like to think at this moment Vince thought he was surrounded by coconut vendors.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: The White Collars were very reluctant to say what they did for a living.

Dan agrees with Jeff’s assessment, saying that this country was built by Blue Collar blood, sweat, and tears. Rodney thinks he’s in the right tribe because he moves the office furniture that the White Collars sit on all day.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Will had a great line saying he works with White Collars and Blue Collars all the time because he’s a bartender and they all like alcohol.

Carolyn thinks the other tribes are giving the White Collars a bad rap. She thinks they work just as hard. Joaquin makes a good point, saying his 9-to-5 doesn’t define him.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Max didn’t like that Probst seemed to be using “White Collar” as a derogatory term.

Next up, the tribes have to pick one person to represent them. Max has seen too much “Survivor” to step forward. Joaquin, who has watched  next to no “Survivor,” is chosen.

The Blues choose Dan, while the No Collars are taking their time making the call. Max puts down his caviar to joke that a White Collar would make that decision faster.

The No Collars finally decide on Will. Jenn says they chose him because he promised them sandwiches. Probst calls him on this claim, but Will insists that he has a way to make sandwiches.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Will’s assertion that he could make sandwiches went on for a long time. At one point he claimed that he could make flour from the ocean.

For the second half of the twist, each of the chosen three will have to pick a partner. Dan picks Mike, Joaquin picks So, and Will picks Jenn.

When the tribes get to camp, the chosen pairs will have to make a decision for their tribe.

At No Collar beach, Nina tells everyone about her Cochlear implants. Nobody seems that concerned about it.

Jenn and Will head off to make their pairs decision. It turns out that they have a choice between a small bag of beans and an idol clue (Deceive) or just a big bag of beans (Honest). They decide to be honest and take the big bag.

At Blue Collar bar and grill, Dan and Mike think it’s too early to be villains and they decide to be honest too. When they return with the big bag of beans, Sierra does not buy it. She thinks they took the small bag. Well, Sierra is like 6’1”, so all bags of beans look small to her.

At White Collar Inc., they decide to hold a board meeting before getting down to work.

When So and Joaquin go to make their decision, they decide to take the clue. So comes up with the idea of telling the tribe that there were three choices, “Deceive,” “Honest,” and “Neutral.” She claims they picked “Neutral” because it seemed like the safe choice.

Carolyn doesn’t buy it. She thinks they have the clue, but she’d do the same thing.

Shirin thinks they’re lying because there’s no way the producers would give a “Neutral”  choice. Smart.

Later, Shirin and Carolyn align over a hug. Adorable. It looks like Max is in too.

Over at Blue Collar, the hard-working, salt-of-the-Earth tribe is making fire. Lindsey is also showing off her many, many tattoos. Rodney likes that because it’s something they can bond over. Rodney tells Lindsey the story about his sister passing away to get her on his side. And it seems to work.

Meanwhile, Mike decides to eat a scorpion. Yup. This makes Mike really sick. Shocking, right?

At Casa de No Collar, Jenn tells Vince that she used to wear feathers in her hair. Apparently that’s enough for the two of them to form an alliance. He’s way into it, but she seems to be leading him on a bit.

Later, Joe and Vince butt heads over how to build the shelter. Guys, butting heads is such a Collar thing to do.

Apparently shelter building is today’s hot-button issue as the Blue Collars are arguing over it too. Dan’s not super subtle with his emotions as he tells the others their building ideas are “stupid.” However, he refuses to make a decision.

Rodney’s already sick of Dan, he tells Kelly, Lindsey, and Sierra that they need to get rid of “Harry Potter’s Grandfather.” Um…did Harry Potter have a grandfather? I’d bet Malcolm knows.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: When I visited the Blue Collar camp, Dan was singing, “All by Myself” in the shelter.

Back at the No Collar tribe, Joe makes fire without flint. Jenn is very impressed by that. Me too. However, Vince is not thrilled that his feather buddy is getting so close to Joe.

Vince takes Jenn aside and asks if she’s attracted to Joe. She claims she isn’t. But does she like him, like him? When it’s all over, Vince gives her a looooong hug to show that they’re still bros. A long, smelly hug.

At White Collar Headquarters, So puts together an action plan for fixing their terrible shelter. Meanwhile, Tyler and Joaquin are failing at making a fire. Joaquin wonders who knew it was so hard to make a fire. Well, people who watch the show, for starters…

Later on, So goes on a little idol-hunting trip. Carolyn catches her doing this and manages to find it herself. Go Carolyn. Yeah baby!

Immunity Challenge Time: All three tribes will start the challenge on a high platform. They’ll run down the platform  and into a pile of hay. From there they’ll high step through an obstacle. They’ll then have to choose between unlocking or untying a ladder. They’ll use the ladder to go up, across, and down a platform. They’ll then use the ladder to retrieve a 5-piece, 10-piece, or 50-piece puzzle. First tribe to complete their puzzle wins immunity and a fire-making kit. The second place tribe wins immunity and flint. Last place tribe has a date with Probst at Tribal.

The Survivors are ready, and they go. With three tribes, it’s hard to call the action, but know that Lindsey really smacked her head on the high-step obstacle. Both tribes try the locks, but So, Joe, and Mike eventually tag in and go for the knots.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbits: The Dream Team assured me that the locks were waaaay faster than the knots.

So blows through the knots, with Joe and the No Collars right behind them. Mike is way behind. (I feel you, Mike.)

The No Collars pass the White Collars during the table maze portion. No Collar goes for the 10-piece puzzle while the White Collars go for the 50-piece.

The Blues eventually catch up and go with the 10-piece puzzle.

Jenn starts the tree-shaped puzzle, but she eventually tags out to Joe who killllls it and wins immunity for the No Collars.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: This wasn’t an editing trick, Joe destroyed that puzzle.

Shirin is having serious trouble with the 50-piece puzzle, she swaps with Max. Sierra starts for Blue Collar, but Mike tags in and flies through the puzzle and wins it.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit:  Mike was totally copying off of the No Collar puzzle. In fact, when it was over he turned to the No Collars and said, “Thanks for the help.” The White Collars were not happy about this.

When it’s all said and done, Shirin thinks she’s in big trouble…and So agrees with her.

Back at White Collar International, the politicking seems to be Carolyn vs. Shirin. So thinks Shirin blew the challenge, but at least she tried while Carolyn didn’t.

Joaquin is cool with sending Carolyn home.

Later, So and Joaquin both tell Carolyn that her name hasn’t been brought up.

Tyler tells Carolyn that she’s in trouble. He then asks her what she knows about idols. She says she knows So and Joaquin don’t have it, because she does. She wants to target So.

She takes this plan to Max and Shirin and they’re on board. They approach Tyler, but he seems to be on the fence.

That night at Tribal Council, fire totally equals life.

Shirin wastes no time calling out Soquin for their “Neutral” lie.

Max isn’t angry at them for lying. He’s annoyed that they lied so poorly.

So thinks the four of them are really strong. Probst jumps right on that.

Joaquin claims it’s him, Tyler, Max, and So.

Carolyn knows she’s a target, but she knows Max and Shirin are with her.

So tells Carolyn that she’s the weakest link and they’re voting for her.

Carolyn doesn’t think she’s the weakest because So only opened a few knots.

Tyler is worried that they’ll be weak for the next challenge.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Nobody wanted to play the game too hard in front of Tyler. At one point Max even said, “Tyler is above the game.” It was almost like he was too innocent for the politics.

Another Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: So told everyone about Max’s “Survivor” course, but nobody seemed to care.

Max is psyched to be at a rainy, dramatic, first Tribal Council.

Voting Time: Carolyn votes for So, So votes for Carolyn, and the rest of the votes are secret.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Max voted like he was giving some kind of corporate downsizing announcement. It was funny, but long.

Probst tallies and returns. Carolyn does not play her idol. We’ve got one vote for Carolyn, one vote for So, one vote for “Cherilyn,” two votes for So, and the first person voted out of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” is…So.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Probst had to stop reading the votes to get confirmation from Joaquin that his “Cherilyn” vote was for Carolyn and not Shirin.

Verdict: Man, a lot of good Tribal stuff ended on the cutting-room floor. Shirin was on fire. Booo…release a director’s cut!

Anywho, I’ve been sitting waiting for chapter two of this story for months. I can’t wait for next week.

Who’s Going to Win?: I’m sticking with Lindsey. Looks like she has a solid Blue Collar group.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Official ‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ Pre-Game Rankings

February 25, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

[xfinity-record-button id=”7116600190773202112″ program_type=”series”]

Remember when Michelle Chase overcame a rough beginning and went on to win “Survivor: Gabon”? Or when Tony Vlachos was the first one voted out of “Survivor: Cagayan”? Me either, but I certainly predicted those things would happen.

So, with my horrific track record in mind, I present to you the “Survivor: Worlds Apart” preseason rankings.

Note: These rankings were written after the pregame interviews, but before the game actually started.

Secondary Note: Betting on the “Survivor” Preseason Rankings is frowned upon.

 1. Lindsey: Sorry Lindsey, you’re going to be the recipient of my “Worlds Apart” preseason curse. Why?  Because I think she’s got what it takes to control the game and get to end without being viewed as a big threat. I also think she could be a sneaky-good challenge competitor.
 2. Shirin: This woman is willing to cut off her hair and set it ablaze in order to win this game. That is twenty different types of awesome. However, she’s on the most combustible tribe. I’d bet that Nina or Will is the first No Collar gone. I’d wager that Dan is the first Blue Collar sent packing. But, there are too many savvy players on the White Collar tribe to accurately guess how things are going to go down.
 3. Max: With all the strategists on the roster this season, I’m thinking there’s no way someone wins by playing under the radar. No, this jury is going to reward a big-time player who makes big-time moves. Max is a big-time player.
 4. Kelly: I like Kelly a lot. Sometimes you just click with someone. She worries me because she’s going to lie about her occupation for some reason. But, if she can make that work, she could make a serious run at it.
  5. Joe: I think in a regular season of “Survivor,” Joe would be a top contender. He’s smart, he’s athletic, he isn’t going to ruffle (or rustle) many feathers. But, there are too many strategists that are going to be afraid of this guy to let him get too far.
 6. Jenn: I love me some Jenn. She’s a ton of fun. She’s very smart. But possibly more importantly, she’s pretty good at hiding how smart she is. That might not be a bad strategy with so many big game hunters playing.
  7. Mike: The same things that are going to make Mike a big, entertaining character are probably the same things that are going to send him home shortly after the merge. He’s going to need a solid alliance if he’s going to make it to the end.
 8. So: Of the three major threats in the White Collar tribe (Shirin and Max being the other two) So is the one I see having the toughest time fitting in. But, since she’s a challenge asset, she should have time to maneuver if she isn’t able to secure an early alliance.

 9. Rodney: I think the biggest misconception people have gotten from the pregame interviews is that Rodney is a jerk. I didn’t get that impression at all. He strikes me as more of a lovable Eddie Fox-type. If there’s a tight Blue Collar alliance, he could surprise all of us.
 10. Joaquin: People look at Joaquin and think he’d be better suited to be the villain in a romantic comedy. I’d argue that people like Max or So think he’s the perfect person to be sitting with at the end.
 11. Hali: Hali seems like she’s on the perfect tribe with youngsters like Jenn and Joe. But, for some reason I get the vibe that she could play too hard too fast.
 12. Tyler: Tyler’s a tough guy to get a read on. That’s not a good thing in this game. People will be wary of teaming with him. I also question his killer instinct.

 12. Will: I tried to talk myself into a Will win. That somehow in a season of players, a likable guy who doesn’t know the game that well would be the perfect foil. But in the end, I just couldn’t do it.
 14. Vince: A lot of people are going to look at Vince and think, “This guy is a goofball just like Coach.” Well, Coach wasn’t a goofball and neither is Vince.  I don’t know if he has the social game to go the distance, but anyone who underestimates him is going to be sorry.

 
 15. Sierra: Sierra’s kind of like a tall, female, mega-hot Will. They’re both very nice, very likable people. But, they’re going to be playing checkers while everyone else is playing 3-D laser chess. 
 16. Carolyn: I know it didn’t play out this way in “Cagayan,” but you’ve got to think that with six-people tribes, challenge prowess has to be important. I think if Carolyn can get to the merge, she can make some serious noise. But she’s a likely first target for the White Collars.
 17. Nina: I’m not sure where Jeff Probst gets the impression that Nina won’t be able to handle the elements, but I do agree that she’s likely the first No Collar to be sent packing. And sadly, it’s through no fault of her own. But as the oldest member on a tribe of free spirits, it’s not looking good for her.
 18. Dan: Dan really knows his “Survivor” and he’s been waiting for years to get the chance to play. But, he’s probably the least athletic Blue Collar and I worry that he’ll have trouble connecting with his tribemates. However, with my track record, it’s likely he’ll win the whole darn thing.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.

‘Amazing Race’ Host Phil Keoghan – “(It’s) The Most Extreme Blind Date on Earth”

February 25, 2015

"The Amazing Race" (CBS)

“The Amazing Race” is coming back for its 26th season tonight with a pair of Olympic medalists, a New Kid on the Block, and an intriguing twist…

What if half of the teams were made up of couples on a blind date?

I had a chance to speak to “The Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan and ask him if the blind date teams were at a disadvantage, where the Race is headed, and if he has any early favorites…

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Gordon Holmes: I’ve been on some bad blind dates in my day…
Phil Keoghan: I think a lot of people have. (Laughs)
Holmes: But I’ve never been on one that’ll take me through a series of high-stress situations and dozens of countries. This sounds horrible. What are you doing to these poor people?
Keoghan: Well, let’s remember they signed up for this.
Holmes: Fair enough.
Keoghan: These are people who will do anything to find love. They’ll try anything. It just so happens that they’re about to try the most extreme blind date on Earth.
Holmes: Is that what you guys are calling it?
Keoghan: That’s what I say to them on the starting line. It’s the most extreme blind date, period.
Holmes: Match.com has nothing on this.
Keoghan: This makes Match.com look like a cup of coffee.
Holmes: I’m trying to imagine how bad a date would have to be to get me to walk away from a shot at a million dollars.
Keoghan: Yeah. But think of your worse date, then think that even though it’s terrible that you have to hang with that person for 21 days and 35,000 miles around the world.
Holmes: How did we end up with this twist?
Keoghan: Some people were worried that we were becoming a dating show. That we were changing formats. We had a format change when we tried the family edition. We did it because people wanted us to try something different. We did, and it didn’t work. Fans told us to stick with what we do well. We’ve listened to our fans. It’s not a format change. We’re not a dating show. It’s “The Amazing Race” as you know it, but we’ve said, “What would happen if we put single people into the race.” The idea for that really came from our fans. For years and years we’ve had singles come to us, this idea is not new. The fans have been talking to us about it for years. They’ve said, “Why don’t you try bringing people who don’t know each other to the starting line to switch it up.” Ultimately this was the fans’ idea.

Holmes: If I were to do “The Amazing Race,” I’d partner with my fiancée. She knows my strengths and weaknesses, she knows when I’m on edge. I’ve got to think these blind date couples have a serious disadvantage.
Keoghan: You’d think that, but sometimes when you first meet someone and you like them, you’re on your best behavior.
Holmes: They say you’re the best version of yourself.
Keoghan: Maybe you’re a better listener. Maybe you’re more trusting. Maybe you’re so naïve about what you don’t know about that person that you allow them to take more control. You fall into patterns with relationships where one person does one thing and the other one doesn’t.

Holmes: Who are our early favorites this season?
Keoghan: I never picked the Sweet Scientists to be the favorites to win considering who they were up against, including the Dentists who were the winningest couple last season. So, it’s impossible to have an early favorite. Do you pick Matt and Ashley because they’re super fit and strong and from New York? Do you pick Jenny and Jelani who are both very bright and also very fit and quite worldly?  It’s impossible. That’s why the race works. You’d think a professional athlete who is fit and an ultra competitor would just blitz the field. And that hasn’t always been the case.

Holmes: Where are we going this year?
Keoghan: One of the things we really pride ourselves on is always going to new locations and always having new and interesting challenges. Right out of the gate they go over the Pacific Ocean and fly to Japan. Japan is just a wealth of great opportunities to try new and interesting things. Then they go to Thailand, and it’s so rich with ideas. We go to Europe…we have three or four new locations that we’ve never been to. The cool thing is we’re 26 seasons in and we still have places we’ve never been to. We get down to Namibia and the southern part of Africa.
Holmes: Oh wow.
Keoghan: We were actually there in season two. Haven’t been back there for a long time.

Holmes: Are we going to see more of those shots where you’re standing there as the contestants run by?
Keoghan: Oh yeah. The fans loved that. They thought it was like a sideline report. It’s difficult to do when you’re shooting 12 shows in 21 days as I have to stay ahead of them. It’s hard to be there when they’re there. And if they do run in, we’re not sure which direction they’re coming from. And you get one shot at doing it. We can’t stop them. In the last episode this season, every piece I shot was shot live. And I was barely ahead of them. It was a tight finish.

Holmes: “Survivor” is your lead in tonight. It’s their 30th season. You’re on your 26th season. What is it about these formats that lends itself to still being fun after so many iterations?
Keoghan: It’s fresh because the locations, people, and challenges are all fresh. This is not the same people singing the same songs on the same stage. What I love about it is we have a diversity with our cast. These are not singers, or dancers, or designers, or cooks who all have something in common. They couldn’t be more different. Having someone like Jonathan Knight, who’s a huge fan of this race, it’s been a dream for him.

Holmes: People from my generation in particular are probably very excited to have a New Kid on the Block on board. Do you have a particular favorite NKOTB jam?
Keoghan: (Laughs) I used to host a music show when I was 21, and I interviewed a lot of these guys. I did not interview New Kids on the Block. I interviewed all the bands that came to New Zealand. That whole boy band era was…how old are you?
Holmes: I’m 38.
Keoghan: OK, I’m a little older than you. But, that whole era was huge. It was what I grew up with. You had Marky Mark doing his whole thing.
Holmes: So you’re more of a “Good Vibrations” fan than a “Hanging Tough” guy.
Keoghan: (Laughs) Yeah, I actually loved Red Hot Chili Peppers. I liked stuff that was a little harder than the boy bands.
CBS Representative: Gordon was probably really into the boy bands.
Holmes: Quiet, you.
Keoghan: (Laughs) Gordon was probably eleven and he had all of their CDs. And you would’ve known all the songs. I was more about UB40 and Seal and KLM.
Holmes: It’s not every day that CBS outs your music tastes.
Keoghan: That’s true. But they were huge. It was global.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “The Amazing Race” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 9:30 pm ET on CBS.

Five Reasons to Be Excited for Tonight’s ‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ Premiere

February 25, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

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It’s hard to believe, but tonight is the premiere of the 30th season of one of the most popular and influential reality shows of all time. I’ve been providing “Survivor” coverage for XFINITY since season seventeen (“Survivor: Gabon”) and have never felt the need to write an article like this before. That should tell you how impressed I was during the first three days of filming.

Best Original Cast Ever?
“We have, maybe the best collection of combined smarts and game savvy that we’ve ever had.” – Jeff Probst

Jeff and I don’t agree on everything, but I’d like to second that quote. As I sat to figure out the order to present my pregame interviews, I knew I wanted Shirin first and Max last. From there, I figured I’d alternate between the more interesting and least interesting interviews. But, as I started transcribing, I realized that the dull interviews were few and far between.

The First Challenge Will Have You Talking
As a way to show how the different Collars think, the first challenge was designed with several different choices. Will they unlock or untie the ladder? Which puzzle should they choose? This opens it up to a wide variety of strategies that you’re sure to be debating with your “Survivor” friends the next morning.
The Game Is Afoot
During my “Survivor” visits, we spend about an hour at each of the tribe camps. Of the eleven camp visits I’d done before “Worlds Apart,” only one of those resulted in seeing tribe members actually engaging in strategy conversations. (I watched “Coach” Wade and Sophie Clarke plotting their moves in “South Pacific.”) But this time? All three of the tribes were already heavily playing the game.
Water Challenges Are Back
Nicaragua is kind of awesome. The people are wonderful, it’s only a three-hour flight from the United States, and there’s delicious Tona beer. However, the surf tends to be too rough for Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer and his crew to host water challenges. They tried to work around this in “Survivor: Nicaragua” and “Survivor: Redemption Island” with a weird pool, but it just wasn’t the same. I’m happy to report that a pleasant little cove has been located that is perfect for their needs.

The First Tribal Is a Doozy
You only see five minutes of Tribal during an episode of “Survivor,” but the whole process usually takes about two hours. I’d seen five Tribals in person before “Worlds Apart,” and they were all pretty tame affairs where the person being sent home was never in doubt. That is not the case this time around. I’m not sure what they’ll show tonight, but if they ever decide to use a full Tribal as a DVD extra, this would be a good one to start with.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.

‘Survivor’s’ Josh and Reed Accept the ‘Worlds Apart’ Power Ranking Challenge

February 24, 2015

"Survivor" (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

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 Over the years, the XFINITY “Survivor” Power Rankings has featured one-on-one battles between former champions, Hall of Famers, a Dragon Slayer, a Mr. Survivor, a Miss Survivor, and a member of S.W.V. Now we’re proud to announce that for the first time ever, three competitors will square off in a Power Rankings triple-threat match!

And, who knows more about being a triple threat than San Juan del Sur’s Broadway Boyfriends (now Broadway Betrothed) Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly?

The first round of the Josh vs. Reed vs. Gordon showdown will take place next week. But to hold you over, we’ve asked Josh and Reed to give us their pregame thoughts on the eighteen new players…

Any questions for Josh? Drop him a line on Twitter: @joshuacanfield
Any questions for Reed? Drop him a line on Twitter: @thereedkelly
 1. Joe: Pros:  Pre-game favorite male.  How do you not like Joe?  Capable, athletic, smart, fun, sweet.  This guy could go all the way.
Cons: Becoming a threat after the merge because everyone likes him, and he’ll have the potential to go on an immunity streak.
 1. Joe: What’s not to like?  Looks sturdy, speaks well, sounds clever, is cute and comes across as the very personable boy-next-door.  Things look good on paper.  My only concern is that if he gets deep into the game people will cut him loose because he seems like too much of an all-around threat.
  2. Lindsey: Pros:  My favorite pre-game female.  She seems fun, flirty, smart, and willing to do what it takes to actually win this game.  
Cons:  
She may irritate some of the other females, and the elements plus lack of sustenance may wear her down.
 2. Shirin: Bright, articulate, and oddly eager to put random things in her mouth.  All are qualities that come in useful in this game.  Can see her getting into numbers and doing very well. I hope her quirkiness works for her and not against her out of the gate.
  3. Shirin: Pros:  She is fun, likable, and seemingly easy-going.  I think she has amazing potential to go all the way.  Her alliance won’t see her as a threat until it’s too late.
Cons:  
She could be a first or second boot on her tribe based on her physicality and the fact that the rest of the white collars seem extremely fit.
 3. Lindsey: I want to see her come onto the beach and break stereotypes.  May she show the world that not all tatted-up hairdressers named Lindsey quit “Survivor.”  I love a redemption story.  I hope she uses her open personality, physicality, and her “quieter, more grounded, sneaky side” to her advantage as she has planned in pre-game.

 4. Hali: Pros:  I don’t see any good reason to vote out Hali.  She has her southern charm and seems to be prepared for the rough challenges, and intense strategic game.
Cons: Will she be able to make moves that will win her votes at the FTC?  Not sure if she will be able to manipulate an alliance.
 4. Max: I would really like to see this fan, who has spent so much time studying/appreciating the game, do well.  He seems like a smart, clear thinker who I’d be willing to work with.  If he doesn’t make too big a deal about his extra “Survivor” knowledge back at camp, ruffling feathers of other aficionados in the process, it may serve him better.
 5. Max: Pros:  Well, he obviously knows “Survivor.”  He is ready, eager, intelligent, and someone I would definitely want as an ally. He will be great at challenges, whether physical or mental.
Cons:  He may know too much (if that’s possible) and over-think every decision. After the merge will he be the biggest target?
 5. Sierra: She appears agile and athletic, two nice qualities to have in a tribe-mate to keep you out of Tribal at the beginning.  She has potential to fit in well if some of the other girls aren’t threatened by her stature.

 6. Carolyn: Pros:  I think she will be able to slip into the dominant alliance as a female who is strong but doesn’t seem to pose a huge threat.  She seems strong and able to discern where she should place herself in the game.
Cons: Her age may become a factor.  The cold nights in Nicaragua will be difficult for her to handle.
 6. Kelly: I like her energy and her attitude.  She has already talked about maybe playing too hard pre-game, which has me a bit uneasy about her playing too aggressively too soon.  This season feels replete with gamers with their heads already in the game however, so it may all be fine.  Hoping her over-emphasis on trust doesn’t become a stumbling block for her.

 7. Sierra: Pros:  I think Sierra will stay in the game for awhile based on her athleticism and that she won’t be perceived as a threat.  She will make a great #2 for someone who is more dominant.
Cons:  
She may lack drive to make the moves that will need to be made to keep herself on top.
 7. Jenn: All this talk about wine reminds me of Jon!  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with Jenn though.  I think she’ll either click with others or she won’t, not sure how much in-between there is for her because of her big personality. My goal for her would be to not alienate the other girls by doing too bro-focused.
 8. Vince: Pros: I would want to work with Vince because he would take the focus off of my gameplay.  If Vince is self-aware enough to realize how tribemates perceive him, he could do wonders.
Cons:  He may rub people the wrong way in the long run, and be a little too unpredictable.
 8. Carolyn: Seems like a cool chick who has now grown up and had kids.  This may lend to being able to relate to people well, but will she be able to keep her opinions in check?  I’m not sure … and neither is she.  If she’s able to keep her tongue tame until her confessionals, I could see her being ensconced in numbers quite easily.
 9. Tyler: Pros:  If Tyler plays his cards correctly he could do very well in this game.  He doesn’t seem like he will make too many enemies, and potentially be an underestimated strategic mind.
Cons:  
He may become a threat in challenges, and I can see him trusting the wrong person, that will ultimately be his downfall.
 9. Tyler: Appears physically capable and smart.  We like those qualities in tribe mates early on because they keep us out of Tribal, plus later you can point to them as bigger threats.  Wonder though if his quest to be a “difference maker” will backfire by overcomplicating things for himself.  As with most agents, I’m hoping he’s not too slick for his own good.
 10. Jenn: Pros:  Easy-going, athletic, and probably really great to hang out with.  I think she can easily make allies, and can use the trust everyone will give her for her own advantage.
Cons:  
She may become a target from other girls who will find her connection with the guys an issue.
 10. Hali: I think people may underestimate her, which could work to her advantage.  If there really is more under the surface, to which she hints, I’d love to see that come into play.  Having a harder time seeing her running the game though.  My fear for her is that she may get too caught up in her attempt to bond with one person to the end and pay the ultimate price for it.
 11. Rodney: Pros:  Will most likely be great in challenges and be someone who is useful around camp.
Cons:
May be too alpha male for his own good.  Later in the game his alliance will want to take him out when he tries to make all the decisions.
 11. Dan: This is the second Gorham, Maine contestant to be on the show.  Will he flirt as hard with Jeff Probst as the first one did?  Fingers crossed that he spent some time thinking through some game strategies between making all those audition videos, because he may be staring off with a bit of a handicap because of the age difference.

 12. Mike: Pros:  Will be of great use in the challenges at the beginning.
Cons:  Uncertainty of how he will play the game may lead to unpredictability.  His stature will make people immediately think that he is a threat, and after his alliance has used his strength, they will say “bye, bye.”
 12. Mike: Whenever someone says they’re a hero in their real life but wants to come out and be a villain on “Survivor,” it always makes me always wonder why. I don’t trust it, but it’ll likely make for some interesting TV.  He could be useful brawn in strength challenges and heavy lifting around camp early on, but not sure just yet where his place is after that.
 13. Kelly: Pros: Strong and willing to play hard.  The elements won’t bother her.
Cons: Don’t feel like she will connect to the other players, and probably will find herself outside of the numbers fairly quickly.
 13. Rodney: He’s another who would be good muscle to have in challenges and around camp, but comes across a bit less worldly than many of the other players out there. Wondering if he’ll be out of his depth with these self-proclaimed strategic thinkers due to his prevalent posturing and alpha-male attitude. GTL for life, baby.

 14. Will: Pros: The rest of the tribe won’t expect him to get very far, so he could potentially fly under the radar.
Cons:  I don’t expect him to get very far.  He may be a little lost out there once the game begins, and if the strongest thing you have going for you is that you are nice and a people-person, then I fear for your torch.
 14. Nina: Seems sweet, nonthreatening and says she’s great at manipulating.  I like all of those things for her game.  Could be a solid vote to count on if she’s not taken out right away.  I worry that her need to have people talk one at a time may hinder her game play or alienate her, but it could actually endear her even closer to some tribe-mates – time will tell.

 15. Dan: Pros:  Eager, eager, eager.  He really wants to be here, which I love.  He’s going to try really hard.
Cons:  Unless something crazy happens, he would be first boot on his tribe.  He may not fit in with the rest of his tribe who will see him as a liability.
 15. Vince: Holy feathers, Batman.  This guy looks physically capable.  Wondering who is going to fall for his guru magic because apparently some do in real life.  Curious to see how this Icarus’ personality will integrate with other tribe mates because it could honestly go either way.

 16. Joaquin: Pros:  Has potential to charm the ladies who are blinded by his physique. Great goat to take with you to the end. Athletic.
Cons:
Cocky, Brash, and doesn’t seem to be self-aware.  “Basically a bad-ass.”
 16. Joaquin: He’s clearly amazing … just ask him.  Everything about Joaquin screams basically a badass. It’ll be interesting to see which girl gets swept off her feet by his megalomania, because there’s always one.  I’m shocked he’s still single.
 17. Nina: Pros:  Sweet, confident, and unassuming.  She could play under the radar the whole game if she wanted to, and suddenly end up in the final 3.
Cons: But can she make it past the first few votes?  She may be an easy target for her tribe to take out.
 17. Will: He said he was going to use his Spidey-senses, so he wins points there with me, lol. Doesn’t feel too threatening, which could make him most useful as a vote, but worries me when he says he’s “trusting to a fault.”  Could fall victim to being picked off in the as-long-as-it’s-not-me first few days.
  18. So: Pros:  She’s pretty, smart, and athletic.  She understands the game and could be very dangerous.
Cons:  
I think her tribe will see her as a threat because she won’t be able to hide that she is playing the game hard.
 18. So: She comes across as pretty and smart and others will pick up on it.  This can cut both ways depending on your tribe.  She touts that she is strategic and looking to “stir up some trouble” which could spell disaster if she gets things too complicated too quickly.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.

Special thanks to Tim Cabiah for the Power Rankings graphics.

‘Survivor’ Strategy Roundtable: Jeff Probst, Parvati Shallow Take on the All-Stars

February 23, 2015

"Survivor" (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

[xfinity-record-button id=”7116600190773202112″ program_type=”series”]

This past week, I thought it’d be fun to see how “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and “Survivor” champion Parvati Shallow would work with the White Collars, Blue Collars, and No Collars if they were in the game together.

For a special bonus round, I asked them the same question about a variety of characters from “Survivor” history…

 

“Boston” Rob Mariano
Jeff Probst: Oh dude, I’m playing with “Boston” Rob until the end! Are you kidding? This is a dream come true. The only thing that bugs me is I’m pretty sure that he’d vote me out before I’d realize I should vote him out. And that would hurt. I’d wonder for years in therapy whether he ever really liked me or if he was just using me.
Parvati Shallow: I would get rid of “Boston” Rob real quick, only because Jeff loves him so much and everyone knows a couple’s alliance is a real threat.
Gordon Holmes: (Laughs) I can’t follow that. Parv’s right though, I’d lose “Boston” Rob before he had a chance to break out his rulebook. He doesn’t seem to miss any angles.

Rupert Boneham
Shallow: Ohhhhh…hell no. I’ve played with Rupert once, and I will never do it again. Anyone who goes to war over bananas is straight up cray.
Probst: OK, here’s the truth about Rupert. The fans love Rupert. They love him. He is the most adored player in the history of “Survivor.” And that surprises me. But, Rupert is not the best player by a longshot. I don’t think he knows that. So, with all due respect, I think Rupert is easily played and I would keep him at arm’s length for a while. There’s no reason to get rid of him because he is a worker. I don’t mind his complaining. And, I’d see how I could utilize him. But he’s absolutely no threat.
Holmes: My understanding of Rupert has always been; the fans love him while the players don’t. I’m not out there to get the fans to love me, I just want five or six jurors to give me their vote in the end. So, I’d happily work with Rupert. I’d build him up, tell him I’ve been a fan of his since Cooks (EDIT: er…Pearl Islands),  and I’d happily take him to the end.
RC Saint-Amour
Holmes: RC just didn’t have anyone to trust her last time around. I’d go out of my way to prove she could trust me. We clicked when we chatted in the Philippines, I’m hoping we’d click again. We could pair up and run the whole show.
Shallow: RC and I would be the best of friends and the fiercest of allies. I think I could trust her to do my bidding and she’d be able to play some of the others easily with her cute little smile and a dagger in her bikini bottoms.
Probst: I liked RC…we wanted to bring her back and it didn’t work out. We were going to have her on “Blood vs. Water.” She just needs a little love. Somebody to say, “I think you’re good enough, just as you are.” If I said that to her, I’d have her in my pocket, then we could do some damage.
Gordon Holmes
Holmes: Yeah, I know I’m not a “Survivor” All-Star, but I open everyone else up to this scrutiny, so I might as well take some shots myself.
Probst: Gordon…you have a much darker side than I first knew when I first met you. I think you’re a bit of a contrarian. You like to mix it up. I like that in my normal life, I’d love to go to dinner because you would be challenging me all (expletive deleted) night. “Yeah, but that’s not…” But in terms of the game, that scares me. I want someone I can get into the sand with and go “A or B?” And they say “B” and I trust it. And with you, you would love nothing more than to say, “I voted Probst out.”
Holmes: Get out of my head. Stop describing my dreams.
Probst: (Laughs)  I think I’d approach you and say, “This is real life, you know me, I know you. I think I’m better at this game than you are. You may challenge me on that. But I’m better at reading people than you are. And I think I know you better that you think I do. So, if you want it, come get it. Cause if not, look out for that knife cause I will take you out and I won’t miss you at all.”
Holmes: That part at the end was hurtful.
Probst: That’s what I want! And if you come to me and say, “I’m not that bad.” I’ll say, “Good, now you have to prove that every (expletive deleted) day.” And I would keep you wanting to please me. Parent/lover/friend. That’s how I’d play the game. I’m either going to be a parent to you, a lover to you, or a friend. Depends who you are.
Shallow: I would get Gordon on my side by letting him win some challenges and making him feel really good about himself. He thinks he knows everything so it would be fun to mess with him by really feeding his ego and giving him an opportunity to be the teacher. At some point I’d gather the girls and we would have him wear tribal paint and chase a fake wild boar with a spear made out of a stick. Then, I would get Sierra and RC and we’d slit his throat and watch him hobble away with two idols in his pocket. Ouch.
Holmes: Ouch, indeed.
Russell Hantz
Holmes: Russell doesn’t have a history of working with guys like me, and I doubt there’s much I could do to change his mind. If he approached me, I’d be open to it because it’d be a fun ride and he has a history of coming out on the right side of crazy votes, but otherwise, I’d probably do my best to get rid of him early.
Shallow: I would burn all of his clothes. Every last one of them. And then I would laugh when Sandra burns his hat.
Probst: (Laughs) Well, the showdown that “Survivor” fans will want to see is either Russell destroying me, and they’ll take absolute joy in that. And others will want to see me destroy Russell. I don’t like to lose, but I’m enough of a storyteller to want Russell around for a while. So, I’m going to go to Russell and say, “You and I are the story this season. We can both blow it, cause I’m not going to win and you’re not going to win. So, you can vote me out and you’ll be out a couple of weeks later. Or, we can make a devil’s pact and say, let’s go to the merge. And from then on, if we can get each other out, we got for it.” And then every night I would lie awake wondering.

John Cochran
Probst: I would trust Cochran. I do think Cochran sees me as a mentor and there’s a part of him that says, “I can’t do that to Jeff. Even though I can do it to anyone else I can’t do it to Jeff.” I would play on that. And I would say, “Here is how you pay me back…and brother, you need to pay me back.” Even though he doesn’t have to pay me back for anything. I would just put that thought in his head. I’d try to play on his insecurities that he’s not quite as cool as he thinks he is. Then I would try to get rid of him in the end cause there is no chance I let Parvati, Cochran, or “Boston” Rob beat me in the finals.
Holmes: I’d work with Cochran, but I would always keep an eye on him. He’s too smart to think that the same strategy he tried last time would win it for him again. So, I don’t know what he’d be up to.
Shallow: Cochran is way too likable to let him get far. People underestimate him, and they want to see him succeed because he’s such a lovable nerd. I would really want to work with him, but I would have to get rid of him early on before everyone fell in love with him.
Dawn Meehan
Probst: Dawn’s tricky. I would say, “I think you’ve been underestimated. I think you’re smarter than people give you credit for that. And the reason is because you’re too emotional. So, I’m going to help you with your emotions. We’re going to develop some kind of hand system. When I go to my hand, you relax. I’m going to trust your instincts on how to play the game.” That’d be our quid pro quo.
Shallow: Dawn needs a pillar of strength. I would be the Cochran to her Meehan, calming her down in times of extreme anxiety by simply standing still within the storm. With a Meehan on your hands, you have to just relax, ground yourself and reel her in. She’s not winning in the end, so I’d be happy to make her my number 1.
Holmes: I feel like Dawn took all the heat in Caramoan. I’d team with her in a heartbeat, and I’d let her know that I was willing to take my fair share of bullets. Whether or not I actually did would be another story.

Parvati Shallow
Probst: Parvati is…
Holmes: She’s a nightmare.
Probst: Not a nightmare.
Holmes: Is she still behind me?
Shallow: I’m right behind you Gordon.
Probst: Parvati…is tricky.
Holmes: Not really, have you seen her in challenges recently?
Probst: (Laughs) Well, Parvati won and the reason she could win again is because the male/female dynamic is central in “Survivor.” It can be mother/son, it can be boyfriend/girlfriend, it can be “I just want to sleep with you.” With Parvati, she’s such a good flirt, I could never trust her, and I’d want to. Because she’d be fun to play with because she’s so good. Parvati and “Boston” Rob and Cochran are three people off the top who if they said, “I’ve got a plan.” I’d say, “Great.” And I’d trust it because I’d know they’d thought through it. But with Parvati I could catch myself thinking,  “She’d never do that to me.” And then I’d be super pissed. I’d never live it down. I’d have to move to one of these islands.
Shallow: This girl is really smart and seriously pigeon-holed by Jeff Probst. I would play with Parvati because I would think she’d already burned her flirt identity, played out her Black Widow persona, and outlasted as the underdog. What’s left? The lovable mother. I think Parvati would be a sweet little pussycat in round four.
Holmes: I’m going to second that. People always say Parvati is a flirt, and I just don’t see it. Parvati is more like Regina George from “Mean Girls.” And I’m referring specifically to the part where they say that you want her to like you. You just do. And it’s not exclusive to gender, everyone wants Parvati to like them.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.

‘Survivor’ Strategy Roundtable: Jeff Probst, Parvati Shallow Take on the White-Collars

February 20, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

[xfinity-record-button id=”7116600190773202112″ program_type=”series”]

The days before the launch of a new season of “Survivor” are full of fun little “what-ifs.” What if Corinne Kaplan and Ace Gordon team up to rule Gabon with a cruel, yet hilarious iron fist? What if Michael Skupin literally loses a limb? What if the young tribe tries to trade the Medallion of Power for some Fun Dip?

So, I thought it’d be a fun exercise and a chance to learn more about this season’s contestants if I asked; what if “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, “Survivor: Micronesia” champion Parvati Shallow, and some other random dude played with the “Worlds Apart” cast?

Jeff Probst: I’d align with Carolyn quickly. I think people won’t see her and she’ll blend quickly. She’s got that east-coast thing that I don’t have. I’d go straight up to her and say, “You’ve got something I don’t have. Let’s meet the coasts in the middle and run this game.”
Gordon Holmes: I’d really have to see how Carolyn interacts with others before teaming up with her. If she can stay cool, we’re in business. If she’s looking like a first boot, I don’t want to put my neck on the line to save her. I do think she’d be great to work with though because she has good enthusiasm and fun catchphrases.
Parvati Shallow: I like Carolyn, but for some reason I think she’s going to clash with some of the personalities in her tribe. She’s got strong opinions and is really loyal. I would keep her around because I think she’d stick with me and she’d take some of the heat off of me by rubbing some people the wrong way.


Probst: I’d want to align with him, but there isn’t room for him in my game. Only because I think he’ll beat me.
Shallow: This guy is so full of himself. I think he’ll just get on everyone’s nerves by trying to be the big shot know-it-all. I’d flirt with him but wouldn’t worry about pledging allegiance. He’s going to dig his own grave.
Holmes: How is this guy not a dream partner? He’s fit, he’s charismatic, he’s probably going to make a ton of enemies. Perfect person to team up with. He’s an alpha, I’d be a good lieutenant. And if it looked like he was becoming the jury’s fave, I’d lose him at final five.
Probst: I don’t trust Max. He probably knows the game as well as I do, and I don’t like that. So, simply by the fact that I see him as competition, I’m going to take that beard, I’m going to bury him in the sand, and let the scorpions have at him.
Shallow:  This guy knows too much. He’s been studying the game for years, and he’s incredibly manipulative. I would cut him day one, way before he saw it coming and could do any damage.
Holmes: I’m torn on Max. I could see us working together and having a grand old time, but I don’t want to go to the end with him and I don’t think he wants to go with me. It’d become a matter of who bounces who first. That’d probably make for some really tense Tribals. I think I’d rather partner with some lower-risk people.
Probst: Shirin is going to be too much for me. I’m going to ask for a recast. I’m going to ask to be put on a new tribe. They do that right?
Holmes: You could pull some strings. OK, here’s the thing with Shirin; she’s a great person to take to the end. She’s mega smart and she’ll probably be making some enemies along the way. However, most people have a “Just get me to the final three and I’ll figure it out from there” attitude. I’m sure Shirin is going to be thinking about who she wants to take to the end on day one. So, I’d have to pull a page from Sophie Clarke’s playbook and make an intentional enemy or two. In real life, I get along with most people. If it’s looking like I get along with everyone out there, I’d pick a fight with an unpopular future juror or two to make myself a more attractive finals partner.
Shallow: Shirin loves her some Parv. I would work with her because she’s freaking smart. We could put our heads together and pull off some badass moves that would make Jeff’s eyeballs bug out at Tribal.
Shallow: So is savvy. I think she would need to align with someone who needs her to play the protector. She reminds me a lot of Natalie from Micronesia. I would see who So was protective over and make sure she knew that I was also on board with keeping her “little sister” safe.  I would cut So right before the end of the road in a way that ensured I would get her vote at the final Tribal.
Probst: I would align with So. I would tell her, “I think you’re devilish. I think you’re super smart.  I think you can win this game and I’d like to go deep with you to the end. If you beat me, I’m OK with that. If you betray me, I’ll never let you forget it.” Then I would get rid of her three weeks before she’d ever see if coming.
Holmes: Devilish again? OK, with the year So has had, I think she has a lot banking on the next 39 days. Nobody wants to go home, but she realllly doesn’t want to go home. I’d make her feel as safe as possible. Also, it’s not enough for her to go far, she wants to do so in a way that stands out. I’d constantly be building her up and complimenting her moves. Then, I’d try to get rid of her at final seven or final five. No way I’d go to the end with her.

Holmes: I think I could go all the way with Tyler. I think he’s a logical guy and I’d just have to keep giving him logical reasons to stick with me. It would just be a matter of making sure my resume was better than his at the end.
Shallow: Tyler is endearing. He’s strong and pretty self-aware. I think he’d be a great early alliance, but I wouldn’t keep him around for too long after the merge, only because I could see him roping in a few bottom dwellers and making it all the way to the end. Then again, I may just go to the end with him because he could be the Stephen Fishbach to my JT.
Probst: Tyler would be easy for me to work with because I do think he wants to be in my club. I would let him be in my club and I’d keep him because he’s strong and malleable. I’d rein him in, and then when it was time to get rid of somebody, Tyler would go.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.

‘Survivor’ Strategy Roundtable: Jeff Probst, Parvati Shallow Take on the Blue-Collars

February 19, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

[xfinity-record-button id=”7116600190773202112″ program_type=”series”]

The days before the launch of a new season of “Survivor” are full of fun little “what-ifs.” What if Corinne Kaplan and Ace Gordon team up to rule Gabon with a cruel, yet hilarious iron fist? What if Michael Skupin literally loses a limb? What if the young tribe tries to trade the Medallion of Power for some Fun Dip?

So, I thought it’d be a fun exercise and a chance to learn more about this season’s contestants if I asked; what if “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, “Survivor: Micronesia” champion Parvati Shallow, and some other random dude played with the “Worlds Apart” cast?

Jeff Probst: Dan I would say, “You’re right, dude…you’re right. Funny story!” And until he got in the way, he’s fine. I like Dan. He’s not a bad guy. He’s got a lot of stories. I’m alright with that.
Gordon Holmes: You’ve got to either work with Dan until the end, or cut him immediately. Dan has been dying to play “Survivor” forever. He’s going to want to get in there and make moves and stir things up. And if he’s on the outs, there’s no telling what he’ll do. He reminds me of Jimmy Tarantino in that he has a BIG personality that could rub some people the wrong way. That makes him a solid choice to take to the end. So, work with him or boot him first, nothing in between.
Parvati Shallow: Oh, this guy. No. He’s on par with Rupert for me. Outskies.


Shallow: I would want to work with Kelly. I think she’d easily make friends and allies and could be a valuable source for gathering intel.
Holmes: Kelly worries me because she isn’t going to tell people that she’s a State Trooper. That lie is going to be a tough lie to keep up, just ask Tony. I’m just not a fan of that strategy. It makes me worry what other questionable strategies she has lined up. I’d work with her if I had no other options, but otherwise I’d get rid of her early.
Probst: I’d keep Kelly at arm’s length. I know a lot of people in law enforcement. They’re savvy for a reason. They don’t trust people and they can read people. Kelly, I don’t feel like I could ever trust that she would trust me. I’d have to vote her out.
Probst: I don’t think Lindsey will trust me, so I’ll have to work hard to get her to trust me. I’ll say, “Lindsey, I want to work with you. I’m a lot more like you than you know. And I’m going to prove it to me. Anytime you want, give me a trust challenge and I will pass it.” And then I would do it. If she said we’re going to vote this person out, I’d say, “Sure.” “But they’re you’re best friend.” “I don’t care. I want to work with you.” You’ve got to get Lindsey, she doesn’t trust.
Shallow: Lindsey wants to be included but works hard on looking different. She’s sweet, but she’s also covered in tattoos and is a young mother — so she’s also tough and capable. I think she’s a little too unpredictable to keep around for too long. I could see her messing up one of my plans by wanting to do something her way.
Holmes: Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey…out of this cast, she could be first out or she could take the whole thing. I would wait a bit to see how well she gets along with everyone else before approaching her. Don’t get me wrong, I’d try my best to get on her good side, but I’d be wary to talk strategy at first. I guess I’d really need to make sure we clicked before moving forward with her.

Holmes: I love me some Mike. But, playing with him would depend on which Mike we see. If he’s a big bulldozer and he’s driving people crazy, I’d partner with him and let him take all the bullets. If he’s lovable Mike that’s everybody’s bestie, I’d probably have to cut him loose after the merge.
Shallow:
He’s too easy. He thinks he’s hard and in control, and I could see him wanting to get rid of the cute girls right away just to prove a point.  
Probst:
I’d align with Mike and I would trust Mike. I’d go straight up and say, “I’m from the Midwest, you’re from the Midwest. Let’s just get it done. And I’ll never betray you.” And all of these, it goes without saying, if I’ve got to betray someone? No problem.
Shallow: Yes. I would work with this one. He’s strong and rough and I would play him soft and flirty. He just wants a little affection and feminine sweetness to balance his rugged masculinity.
Probst: I want Rodney around because he’s so fun. If I had to work with him? Rodney’s used to being in charge. I guess I’d go to Rodney and say, “I trust you, man.” Then I’d slowly try to convince him of my ideas.
Holmes: Which sounds better; Team Roddon or Team Gorney? I wouldn’t even need a turkey sandwich and a couple of beers, me and this Boston bad boy are going to the end. He’s a good guy, I’d make him laugh. We’d have a blast. And when it came time to talk strategy I’d be like Jiminy Cricket, not telling him what to do, but offering sound advice.

Probst: I like Sierra, she’s a dark horse.  I think she can malleable enough that she’ll work with you. But, I think she’s got her own ideas, she’s just not used to showing them because she’s kind of a loner in terms of her job. So, I would approach her and say, “I don’t quite get you, but I’m interested.” I would try to get her to woo me.
Shallow: I would play with Sierra. She’s shown she’s capable of pulling off big heists, and I like her determination. She’s also a little nasty and you need that to go far in this game.
Holmes: As a person, Sierra seems awesome. As an alliance buddy, I feel like it would take a lot of time and effort to keep her from being wooed by other alliances. I think her unfamiliarity with the show is what’s giving me pause. But, if she seems solid and isn’t running off to get water and firewood with every other person, we could make a run of it.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.


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