‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame 2015 Ballot – The ‘Survivor’ Press Corps

"Survivor" Hall of Fame

NOTE: Voting for the 2015 “Survivor” Hall of Fame has ended. Be sure to check back Monday, December 14, 2015 to meet the first new member.

ANOTHER NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: Second Chance” coverage. We’ll have Power Rankings with “Worlds Apart” faves Jenn Brown and Max Dawson, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

As members of the Executive Voting Committee, the “Survivor” press corps (along with Host and Executive Producer Jeff Probst, and other “Survivor” luminaries) has an awesome responsibility. The committee’s votes will make up 50% of the final tally for entry into the prestigious Class of 2015 The other 50% will come from “Survivor” fans like you.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Second Chance”

Steve Helling – People Magazine

Steve Helling is a senior writer at People Magazine and the host of “Murder Made Me Famous” on the Reelz Channel. He’s also a “Survivor” superfan who watched the premiere in 2000 and has never missed an episode. Since 2004, he has covered “Survivor” for People Magazine and people.com, interviewing more than 300 contestants – including a jailhouse interview with Richard Hatch in 2007. When he’s not covering “Survivor” for work, he’s introducing new seasons to his six children or developing “Survivor” knockoff challenges for his son’s cub scout pack.

Tina Wesson – (“Survivor: The Australian Outback,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” and “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”): It’s a travesty that Tina isn’t already in the “Survivor” Hall of Fame. As the game’s first female winner, she showed that you could pleasantly smile at people as you stabbed them in the back. Tina first played “Survivor” when it was a cultural phenomenon, beating “Friends” in the ratings and drawing more than 32 million weekly viewers. Yes, Tina’s legacy may have been slightly tarnished after her last-place finish in “All-Stars.” (I blame Jenna Lewis.) But her final four showing in “Blood vs. Water” shows that she’s still a force to be reckoned with after all these years.

Jerri Manthey – (“Survivor: The Australian Outback,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains”): She was “Survivor’s” first – and best – villainess. From the moment she accused Kel of smuggling beef jerky, Jerri became the most hated woman in America, a role that she parlayed into 15 years of television appearances. The irony was that Jerri didn’t play a villainous game: she remained loyal to her alliance until the end. Sure, she wasn’t a morning person, but her bitchiness was tame compared to later villains. After being booed off the stage during “All Stars,” it seemed that we might have seen the last of Jerri – but she returned to “Heroes vs. Villains” and proved that she actually could be a serious threat in this game.

Rudy Boesch – (“Survivor: Borneo” and “Survivor: All-Stars”): No, he wasn’t a strategist. No, wasn’t a physical threat, even though he did win an individual immunity. And he didn’t play a social game. But Rudy Boesch was 72 years old when he played the game that has destroyed people a third of his age. What’s more, he almost won it. Without his blunder during the last immunity challenge, he probably could have beaten either Rich or Kelly. Now nearing 90 years old, Rudy will never play the game again, but his contribution to “Survivor” will never be forgotten.

Drusilla Moorhouse – BuzzFeed

Drusilla Moorhouse is a Copy Editor for BuzzFeed and has covered “Survivor” for E! Online, Zap2it and TV.com. A fanatic of the “Eco Challenge” producer Mark Burnett’s O.G. reality competition, Dru carried a torch for “Survivor” even before the first pixelated images of Richard Hatch hit the airwaves.

Tyson Apostol – (“Survivor: Tocantins,” “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains,” and “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”): The last time I cast my HOF ballot for Tyson, I slammed his social game — but that was before “Blood vs. Water.” For Tyson, the third time was the charm — and he sure charmed that jury! Even though he was responsible for most of their ousters and virtually kicked Katie’s ass on her way out (with that white rock), they gave him a million bucks.

Denise Stapley – (“Survivor: Philippines): This tenacious triathlete had a seat at every single Tribal Council in her season and still walked away with the title of Sole Survivor. (And really, she deserved a bonus for babysitting Abi.)

Jonathan Penner – (“Survivor: Cook Islands,”  “Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites,” and “Survivor: Philippines”): Penner sounds exactly like Alan Alda, and in a battle of wits he might even best Hawkeye Pierce himself. In fact, Penner exudes so much confidence and charisma that it wasn’t until I sat down to defend my nomination that it dawned on me: He’s not really the best player, is he? ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Mara Reinstein – US Weekly

Mara Reinstein is the movie critic for Us Weekly magazine. But thanks to her unofficial title as Resident “Survivor” Fanatic, she has somehow finagled her way into 12 (!) “Survivor” location visits since 2004.

Note: Mara chose to only submit two votes this year.

Rudy Boesch – (“Survivor: Borneo” and “Survivor: All-Stars”): Let’s salute the man who was on the wrong side of 70 when he competed back in the very first season. He didn’t have the benefit of crafty deal-making rewards or cozy comforts. He just sucked it up and endured it. Plus, his strategy was pretty good and he had to look at a naked Richard Hatch for almost 39 days.

Rupert Boneham – (“Survivor: Pearl Islands,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains,” and “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”): Yes, his game-play got progressively worse. Yes, he made a huge mistake in swapping places with his wife in “Blood vs. Water.” Yes, that hippie-dippie, tye-dye schtick is more worn out than a pair of used Birkenstocks. Wait, where was I going with this? Oh, right: He deserves the honors just for the being the ultimate endearing pirate back in Pearl Islands. And he persevered through “Heroes vs. Villains” with a broken toe. Years from now, even casual fans will remember Rupert. Can’t say the same for, say, purple Kelly.

Dalton Ross – Entertainment Weekly

Dalton Ross is the Assistant Managing Editor of Entertainment Weekly. He may have written about this show once or twice over the past 15 years.

Tony Vlachos – (“Survivor: Cagayan”): He was far from the perfect player in Cagayan,” but we had never seen someone play “Survivor” that aggressive before until Tony Vlachos came around. Changing up votes, repeatedly voting against his own alliance, and then somehow getting them to fall back into line after; the fact that someone could play the game so differently in season 28 (and win) is pretty remarkable. I still don’t quite understand how Tony did it, but I totally respect it. And he managed to do it all while hiding out in his spy shack and busting out llama impressions for good measure. If you don’t think Tony deserves this honor, go back and watch Spencer’s final Tribal Council speech. If a self-proclaimed gamebot like Spencer can have that much esteem for Tony’s game, than so should we.

J.T. Thomas – (“Survivor: Tocantins” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains”): Some people vote for “characters” or people they simply like on their Hall of Fame ballot, and that’s totally fine seeing as how everyone has a different definition of what constitutes a worthy entrant. For me, however, it’s people that came on and flat-out dominated — the Kim Spradlins and Tom Westmans of the world. They’re both in, so why isn’t J.T.? He was just as dominant in Tocantins,” getting people in the opposite majority alliance after the merge to fall head over heels in love with him. He was devastatingly effective in all three aspects of the game — strategic, social, physical. Don’t believe me? Just ask Fishbach, whom he skunked in the finals. Sure, J.T. made a terrible move in Heroes vs. Villains in giving a hidden immunity idol to someone on the opposite tribe, but it was a big swing-for-the-fences play. You have to respect that fact that he had the cojones to try it. Bottom line: He may not be flashy, but J.T. gave one of the best first season performances in “Survivor” history. Shouldn’t that be recognized?

Brian Heidik – (“Survivor: Thailand”): If there is some sort of soft porn hall of fame, then hopefully Heidik is already in it. But here is another HOF in which he deserves entry. Look, Heidik is a shady dude and his season was terrible. So naturally you want to dismiss him and instead vote in someone that has appeared on this show three or four times and is a hell of a lot more likable. I get that. But again, I am voting on gameplay, and the guy ran Thailand” from coast-to-coast. He orchestrated all the votes. He won all the important challenges. He was always in control.  Athletes are judged solely for their performance on the field in terms of Hall of Fame admission, and I use that same criteria for players in the game of Survivor.” Heidik dominated, so should be in. We may not like it, but sometimes you have to go with your head instead of your heart. (Especially when, like me, you have no heart.)

Tom Santilli – Examiner.com

Tom Santilli is the “Survivor Examiner,” having covered “Survivor” for Examiner.com and TheTVKing.com since 2009 and having been a rabid fan since the very beginning.  He is also a film critic and appears weekly on the syndicated TV show “Movie Show Plus.”  (follow him on Twitter, @tomsantilli and at TomSantilli.com).  He claims to own his own “Medallion of Power” that gives him a slight advantage in writing “Survivor” recaps.

Rudy Boesch – (“Survivor: Borneo” and “Survivor: All-Stars”): Now that there are 14 members of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame, a simple eyeball test will reveal to you who is missing. My first two picks are faces that are iconic to the game, and glaring omissions from the Hall. First up, above anyone else, is Rudy. This isn’t just a sentimental vote, although that’s part of it. He was also one of the most entertaining and inspirational contestants ever. His unexpected friendship with Richard Hatch encapsulated the essence of “Survivor,” showing that people from all walks of life can live together and even become friends within the unique framework of the game. Let’s not forget that he was one hand-slip away from winning the first-ever “Survivor” too. When contestants wised up by the time of “All-Stars,” Rudy was voted off early because every other person knew they had no shot against him, were he to stay. Heck, the dude walked away from a roll-over car accident a few years back without a scratch. He’s invincible. He’s incredible. He’s Rudy. And he should be a Hall of Famer.

Rupert Boneham – (“Survivor: Pearl Islands,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains,” and “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”): This dude is one of only two players to have played the game four times. He is another iconic face of the game and one of the most popular ever to play. While he isn’t quite deserving to make the Hall based on his strategic skills, there are many other reasons why certain players should be inducted. Hundreds have now played the game, but how many could you identify by just their voice? Rupert is a guy no one will ever forget and he deserves a spot.

Brian Heidik – (“Survivor: Thailand”): It’s time for my annual push for Brian Heidik, who to me, is the sole remaining “first-ballot”-worthy contestant still deserving inclusion…an upper echelon player and the one guy who needs to be in the “Survivor” Hall of Fame. I voted for him the past few years and I will continue doing so until others take notice…Brian is unlike any other Sole Survivor for many important reasons. At the time that he won, nobody thought that a “bad guy” could ever win “Survivor” again after Richard Hatch. Brian to this day is the only true “villain,” playing a villainous game, to have won it all. Brian played masterfully, despite back-stabbing and lying his way to the prize. He was a thinker, but he also won several individual immunity challenges along the way. Others (like, say, Kim Spradlin) have made “Survivor” look easy, but he was the first. Like him or not, admit it or not, he was the blueprint for every strategic player since. The “Survivor” HOF will never be complete until it includes the likes of Brian Heidik.

Josh Wigler – Parade

Josh Wigler is a writer, editor and podcaster who has been published by MTV News, New York Magazine, Comic Book Resources, Digital Trends and more. He is the co-author of “The Evolution of Strategy: 30 Seasons of Survivor,” an audiobook chronicling the reality TV show’s transformation, and one of the hosts of “Post Show Recaps,” a podcast about film and television.

Rudy Boesch – (“Survivor: Borneo” and “Survivor: All-Stars”): Wait, Rudy’s not already in the Hall of Fame? Seriously? How is that even possible? To quote the man himself, “I dunno.” Someone’s hand must’ve slipped at the switch. Anyway, Rudy is as synonymous with “Survivor” as almost anyone, the franchise’s original fan-favorite, the elder statesman of the series. Respect where it’s due.

Tina Wesson – (“Survivor: The Australian Outback,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” and “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”): The second winner in “Survivor” history, Tina went from million-dollar Outback champion to the first boot on “All-Stars,” only to return almost twenty full seasons later, as competitive as ever, on “Blood vs Water.” She’s a terrific and historic player who absolutely warrants a HOF nod.

Jerri Manthey – (“Survivor: The Australian Outback,” “Survivor: All-Stars,” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains”): I could make the case for Colby Donaldson or Rupert Boneham, but nope. Instead, let’s go with Colby’s original nemesis and Rupert’s fellow Saboga. (The third Saboga on my list! Man, great tribe. Apologies to Jenna Lewis.) She’s the original Black Widow of “Survivor,” so loathed that she was booed off the stage at the “All-Stars” reunion, only to return 12 seasons later to wrap up one of the most satisfying character arcs of any “Survivor” ever. For legacy reasons alone, Jerri gets my last spot. Also, she promised me tortillas and chocolate if I voted for her.


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