Archive for February, 2018

‘Survivor: Ghost Island’ Premiere Recap with Special Behind-the-Scenes Tidbits

February 28, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Roark Luskin, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

ANOTHER QUICK NOTE: I was in Fiji for the filming of the first half of this episode. Keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of behind-the-scenes tidbits.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Alright, let’s take a closer look at the brand-spankin’ new tribes…

The Naviti Tribe (wearing purple)
Angela, 42 – Army Veteran
Bradley, 26 – Law Student
Chelsea, 24 – EMT/Professional Cheerleader
Chris, 27 – Male Model
Desiree, 21 – Student
Domenick, 38 – Construction Supervisor
Kellyn, 31 – Career Counselor
Morgan, 29 – Marine Animal Trainer
Sebastian, 22 – Fishing Guide
Wendell, 33 – Furniture Company Owner

The Malolo Tribe (wearing orange)
Brendan, 41 – Physical Education Teacher
Donathan, 26 – Caretaker
Gonzalez, 26 – Graphic Sales
Jacob, 22 – Music Teacher
James, 24 – Business Analyst
Jenna, 23 – Advertising Account Executive
Laurel, 29 – Financial Consultant
Libby, 24 – Social Media Strategist
Michael, 18 – Real Estate Agent
Stephanie, 34 – Yoga Instructor

The Marooning

J-Pro brings the 20 new victims to a beach on two boats. Jeff announces the Ghost Island twist, but doesn’t explain very much about it. This immediately leads into…

The Opening Challenge

• Both tribes must choose someone to “represent their tribe.” Malolo chooses Brendan and Chris basically volunteers for Naviti. (Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Both tribes assumed the person they picked was going to run the challenge.)
• The tribe representative had to choose someone to run the obstacle course part of the challenge. Brendan chose Michael while Chris picked Sebastian.
• Then, they had to choose someone to do the puzzle. Brendan went with Laurel while Chris drafted a somewhat reluctant Desiree.

The Challenge: One person from each tribe will run through an obstacle course three times. They’ll have to dig up a key each time. When all of the keys have been retrieved, the other member will unlock a slide puzzle. The first tribe to complete the puzzle wins a shelter-building kit. The losing tribe will forfeit their fishing kit.

The Twist: When the puzzle starts, Probst will pull the pin on a bottle of sand. Sand will slowly flow out of the upturned bottle. During that time, the tribe captains (Chris and Brendan) can choose to submit. If they submit, they get to keep their fishing gear. But, the opposing tribe will receive eggs and flint.

The Result: Chris pulled the lever on Desiree’s puzzle to submit for his tribe. Malolo wins reward.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: That was absolutely the right call by Chris. From my vantage point Laurel was way ahead.

During the post-challenge discussion, Domenick says he would have made a different decision than Chris.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Michael was in terrible shape after this challenge. Medical was almost called in.

At Malolo Beach

Donathan immediately makes good on his pre-game hope of making an African American friend. Laurel gets to fill that role.

Michael also keeps up with his pre-game decision to lie about his age. He tells everyone that he’s 23 when he’s really 18. Oof…I hope Probst doesn’t out him during some kind of alcohol reward.

In other news, Jacob put his shoes on the beach and the tide took them away. Wow. Now he’s like “Survivor” John McClane.

Jacob goes “exploring” and everybody absolutely notices what he’s up to.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: I was actually with Jacob at this moment watching him hunt. He said something along the lines of, “I can’t believe I have to do this on day two.”

Later, when the tribe goes yam hunting, Jacob decides to search the rice jar for clues. How does he do this you ask? He pours the rice into his disgusting sock. Sure enough, Jacob remains clueless.

Ahem…

Quick Aside: Can you imagine being Libby, surrounded by your friends and family, watching this at home? Everybody now knows that you ate Jacob’s sock rice.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: I heard through the grapevine that Jacob actually told someone in his tribe about this grossness. I’m sure they weren’t pleased.

At Naviti Beach

Domenick quickly dubs Sebastian “Sea Bass.” Somewhere Fabio is psyched that someone has finally taken his mantle of “Worst ‘Survivor’ Nickname.”

Later, Chris and Sebastian quickly bond over their Floridian roots and decide to target Domenick. Careful who you give odd nicknames to, buddy.

Sebastian refers to this new alliance as “Best Friends in a Candy Shop.” Meh…it’s still better than every “Big Brother” alliance name ever.

From there, Sebastian approaches Wendell with the idea of voting out Domenick. However, Wendell has already partnered up with Domenick.

CUT TO: Wendell and Bradley telling Domenick that Sebastian is targeting him. Domenick quickly connects the dots and figures out that Chris is behind it.

Immunity Challenge Time: The two tribes will run through a net bridge, then lift members of their tribe up to retrieve two bags of rope. They’ll use the ropes to pull a sled filled with puzzle pieces. The first tribe to complete the puzzle will win immunity. The winning tribe will also decide who from the losing tribe will be sent to Ghost Island.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: This challenge suuuuuuuucks. My hands were ripped up for weeks.

Result: Naviti was able to capitalize on a few Malolo mistakes to claim the win.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Kellyn got a lot of credit from her tribe for managing the puzzle.

When it was all said and done, Jacob wasn’t concerned because Malolo is still “One of the best tribes of all time.” Probst took a little exception to this comment considering they’re 0-1 in challenges. However, Jacob stuck to his guns.

Naturally Naviti chooses Jacob to go to Ghost Island because it’s clear that he’s annoying his tribe. Jacob immediately celebrates by telling everyone that Naviti fell into his trap. I think this is the fastest someone has ever annoyed an entire cast.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: No joke, it was clear that both tribes were ready to strangle Jacob.

Jacob on Ghost Island

So, Ghost Island is basically the coolest “Survivor” museum ever. There Jacob finds every snuffer ever, old immunity idols, and more. They certainly picked the perfect person to go there because he geeks right out.

Jacob is given the opportunity to play a game. He’ll have to bet his vote at the next Tribal for a chance to earn an advantage. He chooses to play and wins Sierra’s legacy advantage from “Game Changers. (The game was literally a 50/50 game of chance.)

He has to send the advantage to one person on the other tribe. He chooses Morgan because he’s confident she’ll be there after the merge.

Then, he decides to fashion himself a fake idol to buy himself some time using pieces from a tree mail. He actually makes a pretty decent facsimile.

Post-Challenge Politicking

Donathan is trying to paint a target on Gonzalez’s back because she was talking some trash during the challenge puzzle. Meanwhile, she’s targeting Donathan because he doesn’t have the physicality to help during challenges.

Stephanie is also interested in keeping Donathan around because she thinks she can control him. Michael wants to keep the tribe strong, but Stephanie defends him with the hilarious point, “if we need a little person to shove into something.”

Tribal Time

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: It took Donathan forever to light his torch.

Everyone seems to agree that Jacob would have been an easy vote. However, now they’re torn as to who to vote for. Gonzalez and Donathan are clearly the two names being bounced around.

Behind-the Scenes Tidbits:
• Brendan tried to make Donathan feel at ease, even saying, “You’re alright.”
• Jenna thought her name was in play too.
• There was a long discussion about who the “We” is as far as alliances.
• Gonzalez claims that she took a five-minute walk before Tribal and when she came back, nobody would look her in the eye.

Before they can vote, Gonzalez kicks off a round of Live Tribal™. The whispering happened in this order…

• Gonzalez whispers to Brendan and Michael
• Michael whispers to Jenna and Laurel
• Gonzalez whispers to Stephanie and Libby
• Brendan whispers to James
• Steph and Libby whisper
• Nobody whispers to Donathan

Voting Time: Donathan votes for Gonzalez, Gonzalez votes for Donathan, and the rest of the votes are super secret.

Probst tallies and returns. We’ve got one vote for Donathan, four votes for Gonzalez, and the first person voted out of “Survivor: Ghost Island” is…Gonzalez.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: Here are the votes…

• Gonzalez votes for Donathan, saying they have to keep the tribe strong.
• Donathan votes for Gonzalez, saying he’s tired of his voice not being heard.
• Libby votes for Gonzalez, saying “I guess you’re not part of the ‘we’.”
• James votes for Gonzalez, saying “It’s not you, it’s the game.”
• Steph votes for Gonzalez, saying there’s only room for one Steph. Also, Steph forgot to remove the pen cap when voting.
• Brendan votes for Gonzalez, saying he’s trying to keep order in the tribe.
• Jenna votes for Gonzalez, saying this is what she gets for trying to plot against her.
• Michael votes for Gonzalez, simply saying he’s sorry to see her go.
• Laurel votes for Gonzalez, saying she’s playing too hard, too fast.

Behind-the-Scenes Tidbit: As Gonzalez was leaving she said, “One lion, seven sheep. Sad.” I’m pretty sure she was referring to Brendan as the lion.

At Naviti Beach

Paranoia is getting the best of Domenick. He goes for a late-night stroll and manages to find himself the idol Andrea Boehlke took home from “Fans vs. Favorites.” Wow. That’s some Tony-level business.

Morgan finds the legacy advantage that Jacob sent her way. She freaks out and tells us she’s worried because she has a big mouth and might slip up and tell someone. Oh no! That’s some Cole-level business.

Later on, Domenick tries to make peace with Chris. Chris immediately asks if Domenick has found an idol, which Domenick denies. This sparks an idea, as Domenick decides to make his own fake idol and pair it with the letter from the real idol. He shows it to Chris and tells him he’ll be willing to play it for him. Chris doesn’t seem to buy it completely and he certainly doesn’t like that Domenick lied to him in the first place.

At Malolo Beach

Jacob returns and immediately asks everyone to gather around to hear his tale. He proceeds to tell everyone about Ghost Island and his idol. Everyone.

Brendan smartly asks about the letter that tends to accompany immunity idols. Jacob claims that he left it behind. Nope…nobody’s going to buy this.

Sure enough, Brendan tells his alliance that there’s no way a “Survivor” hardcore fan isn’t going to hoard all of the memorabilia he can.

Immunity Challenge: Two players from each tribe will swim across an obstacle course, then release a set of buoys. Then a second team of two players will do the same thing. From there, a fifth team member will retrieve all of the marked buoys. Finally, two members will shoot the buoys into a basket. The first tribe to hit eight shots will win immunity and comfort items.

Result: Naviti won immunity easily after James and Donathan had a meltdown. Donathan swam to the platform while James was absolutely incapable or releasing the buoys. After much hesitation, Donathan finally went back and helped. It was sold as an inspiring moment, but the fiasco absolutely cost Malolo the challenge.

Naviti chooses to send Donathan to Ghost Island. Jacob is not pleased.

Donathan at Ghost Island

Not much to report here as Ghost Island did not offer Donathan a game.

Post-Challenge Politicking

James immediately owns up to choking during the challenge. He swears that he’ll redeem himself if he’s given another chance.

The popular opinion still seems to be to target Jacob. They decide to split the votes in case his Ghost Island story is real. Stephanie offers to get on his side to learn more about the “idol.”

Stephanie turns on the charm and Jacob doesn’t just spill the beans, he chucks them across the island. He tells her that he gave the legacy advantage to Morgan. He even tells Steph that…his…idol…is…fake.

Oh Jacob…

Stephanie seems to be entertaining the idea of working with him, because he clearly trusts her. A potential alliance of Stephanie, Jacob, Laurel, James, and Jenna is batted around. And…they seem to be targeting Michael for no rational reason.

Tribal Time

James again owns up to blowing the challenge, but nobody seems to hold it against him. Jacob stands by his belief that he’s part of the greatest tribe ever. Jenna believes a lot more thought has been put into alliances this time around. As they go to vote, Brendan tells Michael that he thinks they’re being set up.

Voting Time: Jacob votes for Michael and the rest of the votes are lost to the magic of editing.

Probst tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol and…nobody does. We’ve got one vote for Michael, one vote for James, one vote for Jacob, one vote for James, three votes for Jacob, and the second person voted out of “Survivor: Ghost Island” is…Jacob.

Verdict: I’m digging the Ghost Island twist, it’s like a charismatic Exile Island. Plus it’s an opportunity to reach out to former Survivors and remind them of their most public failures.

Anywho, I’m ready to see Naviti visit Tribal.

  • Stephanie – She’s got several alliance options and a ton of information. I think she played everything perfectly.
  • Wendell – He’s got all the tools to build a strong alliance. (That’s some carpenter humor for you.)
  •  Morgan – It seems weird to give you a high grade for simply opening your bag. But, it looks like you’re in pretty good shape.
  • Desiree – You had a rough run with the puzzle, but your jumpshot was solid.
  • Brendan – He’s running the show at Malolo for better or worse. But he does not seem confident in his alliance at all.
  • Domenick – Good on you for finding an idol and starting an alliance with Wendell. But, messing with Chris might cause problems. If you want him gone, just vote him out.
  • Sea-Bass-Tian – Don’t be the first to throw names out early in the game. You’re lucky it deflected to Chris.
  • Chris – I think you made the right call during the opening challenge. But, I’d bet Naviti is more likely to be on Wendell and Domenick’s side than yours.
  • Michael – What is it about you that made you an attractive name to throw out? You’d better start making friends and influencing people.
  • Donathan – You came out of that challenge fiasco looking better than James. But you need to find someone that has your back.
  • James – A bad first showing from a strong dude. Walk it off, you’ll have more chances.
  • Chelsea, Angela, Bradley, Laurel, Libby, Jenna, Kellyn – I can’t give you full credit if you don’t show your work.


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

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‘Survivor: Ghost Island’ Host Jeff Probst Breaks Down the First Tribal Council

February 28, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Roark Luskin, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Gordon Holmes: Whispering at Tribal Council has become more and more common at Tribal. Do you like it because it adds an air of mystery, or are you worried that we’re going to miss something important?
Jeff Probst: I like it…it’s funny…I’ve never thought of either of the two things that you just said. I don’t worry about it all because I trust that they’re going to do what they want to do anyway. And in terms of the mystery, it’s cool because it adds doubt to what you think is locked in. But mainly, I like that it’s what I would do. You don’t get a second chance. I like that Gonzalez stood up. I was shocked. When I asked if we were ready to vote, she shot her hand up. My first thought was, “Wow, this is a real thing that’s going to happen from time to time.”
Holmes: She did not consent.
Probst: No, she didn’t.

Holmes: On the other hand, you’ve got Donathan who wasn’t privy to any of the whispering. He’s just sitting there. How can you possibly do that at this point?
Probst: Yeah. I think Donathan told you his story. He’s lacking self-confidence. His self-esteem is so low from the friends in his world that he doesn’t have the constitution to stand up and say, “I’ve got a voice too.” So, maybe he’ll last long enough that we can watch that voice grow. Wouldn’t that be cool to see him come in as quiet as a mouse, then leave roaring like a lion.

Holmes: Jacob was done for. We were at tribe camps yesterday and he was desperately searching for idols. You can’t script “Survivor,” but if you could, wouldn’t he be the first person you’d send to Ghost Island? Was there a silent little fist pump going on?
Probst: Yes, you’re always looking for good moments. But, I trust the game. What I thought was more interesting was him saying that he predicted it and it was all part of his plan. That made my jaw drop. Either he believes it or he believes that we believe that he laid it out so he’d be the guy.
Holmes: Has anyone ever pissed off all 19 other players in the first three days before?
Probst: (Laughs) That’s a good question. It’s rare air.

Note: Andrea Boehlke was sitting nearby.

Holmes: Settle a bet with me and Boehlke. In the beginning of the game, when you introduce people and say, “You in the red shirt, what’s your name?” Do you do that in case they want to use a different name?
Probst: Yeah.
Holmes: You hear that, Andrea?
Boehlke: No it’s not!
Holmes: He just said it!
Probst: Whatever you want to do, I don’t say, “Hey, Andrea.”
Boehlke: I thought it was so they could introduce themselves.
Probst: Why does nobody ever believe me when I give an answer?
Holmes: Just let me be right for once.
Boehlke: Fine, you’re right about something. But, we’re fighting.

Holmes: Michael is lying about his age. And you asked him how long he’s been watching and he quickly responded with the correct fake age.
Probst: That was awesome.
Holmes: You should’ve drilled him with some more. “When did you get your driver’s license?”
Probst: (Laughs) He’s a sharp man. I have to remind myself he’s eighteen. He doesn’t look eighteen. He’s saying he’s 23 and I don’t want to blow it. It’s pretty impressive.
Holmes: Who else impressed you tonight?
Probst: Brendan is a legit threat. He’s gifted. He can answer a question in a way that keeps him safe but lets other people know he’s still strong. He’s complimentary to other people. He seems like a natural leader. I thought James…really like James. He’s such a contrast to everyone on his tribe. He really does analyze every little thing. And he does it so fast that to him it must seem normal. I like Libby a lot. I think she’s a sleeper. You can miss what she’s doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if she returns two or three times.

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

‘Survivor’ Executive Producer Matt Van Wagenen – ‘For the ‘Survivor’ Geek, (Ghost Island) Is Going to Be a Playground’

February 28, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Gordon Holmes: How does one become the Executive Producer on “Survivor”?
Matt Van Wagenen: Well…
Holmes: Because I’m hoping that’s my next career move.
Van Wagenen: (Laughs) We’ll see. It was a long process. I started off on season 14, I had been a huge fan from the beginning. And even in season 2 I made a mixtape for this girl.
Holmes: Mix tape? In 2001?
Van Wagenen: A mix CD at the time. I’d put little clips from movies and TV shows in between songs and I actually put Jerri Manthey getting voted out right before a song. I was an intense fan. We used to love watching the show together and I had always wanted to work on it. I had some connections to get into “Survivor,” but they never hired me. So, I kept trying and trying. I was really persistent. And finally there was an opening around season 14. It was the dream job for me. I didn’t want to leave. I loved it. There’s a rush working on “Survivor.” And being a producer on the beach is the best job because you’re watching “Survivor.”
Holmes: “Survivor” the live show.
Van Wagenen: It is! It’s “Survivor” the live show the entire time. You’re watching all of the mistakes as they happen. It’s like watching at home on your couch, except you’re allowed to pause the show and ask the players, “So, why did you do that?” You can actually ask those questions. I was a producer on the show up until season 26 and then I got promoted to Co-Executive Producer in season 27 and a couple of years ago got promoted to Executive Producer.

Holmes: How much of a say do you have in creative?
Van Wagenen: Quite a bit. It all starts with Jeff. Jeff is our driving force. People say he’s the face of “Survivor,” but he’s much more than that.
Holmes: The heart, the soul, the dimples…
Van Wagenen: You joke, but I’ve never met someone who’s so tenacious. He has such a love for this show. He really drives the ship. Jesse Jensen deals more with the logistics and I deal more with the creative. It is not uncommon for us to be talking about creative years in advance. Ghost Island is something we’ve had in the works forever. We’ll be doing a boat ride to a challenge, two years ago and we’ll be like, “OK, what can Ghost Island be?” And we’ll spit out ideas. We’ve been around for so long, that a Segment Producer can come up with an idea. Jeff can be the driving force, I have a say in it, but we’ll take a good idea from anyone.
Holmes: Jeff and I have already hashed out season 37. I’m sure he’ll be bringing it to your attention soon.
Van Wagenen: What is it?
Holmes:Survivor: Host Island.
Van Wagenen: (Laughs)
Holmes: It’s going to be huge.

Holmes: Alright, tell me about this Ghost Island I’ve been hearing so much about.
Van Wagenen: Ghost Island…we had the title first, then worked on the theme. “Survivor” is a game where literally a million decisions are made over the course of the game. Sometimes there are good ones and sometimes there are bad ones and sometimes there are disastrous ones. We thought it’d be fun to do a season with relics from bad decisions of the past. We didn’t just want to say, “Someone made this bad decision.” We had this idea where we want people to reverse the curse. For the “Survivor” geek, it’s going to be a playground.
Holmes: I said it’s like a love letter to hardcore “Survivor” fans.
Van Wagenen: I used that term just the other day. But, we also want to make sure new fans enjoy it as well. I’m a person who…sitting on my desk back at home I have objects and relics…
Holmes: Right, don’t you have Eliza’s stick and things like that?
Van Wagenen: Right. I have David’s fake hidden immunity idol in a jar.
Holmes: Do you have to fish them out of the fire after Jeff chucks them in there?
Van Wagenen: Oh…they’re in the fire. As soon as we wrap I get on the radio and say, “Can someone from art please grab that for me?” These objects, they symbolize a mistake. Some of these items will be making an appearance. It’ll be a question of if people can correct the mistakes that others have made. Going to Ghost Island myself, I was struck by how cool it looks. And you can draw power from it, or it can be a little haunting.

Holmes: Probst and I were joking about the target that Stephen Fishbach hit that belonged to the other tribe being out there as a cursed item.
Van Wagenen: (Laughs) I love Stephen. You could also throw in his steal-a-vote advantage. He’s got a lot of cursed items. The ball that he dropped in the final challenge in Tocantins, I’d say that’s cursed.
Holmes: Is Stephen out there?
Van Wagenen: (Laughs) Wouldn’t that be great? He’s out there with his horrible intestinal distress. He has a few things out there.

Holmes: Jeff was telling me that you’re giving them less food as a way to make providers more valuable to the tribe. What’s the balance between, “This is your game, go play it,” and “Providers should get more of a shot”?
Van Wagenen: It’s also, we love to see people out there fishing. Anything you can do to encourage people to go out in the water is good. But, I think we always want to lean toward it being their game. The whole point of “Survivor” is for them to create their own society. But, I think we also want them to create their own game. People last season complained that there was too much whispering at Tribal. But, they did it. We didn’t want to bridle them with rules.

Holmes: The original concept was you’re marooned, every three days you get rid of somebody. And it can be for any reason; they’re annoying, they don’t help around camp, they’re a strategic threat. During “Game Changers”, Malcolm goes home after being voted out by another society, and Cirie goes home without receiving a single vote. How do you feel when moments like that go down?
Van Wagenen: I think the game is evolving. We’re never…well, I should never say never…but there are always going to be idols. Anything we can do to keep the players on their toes is good. Nobody wants a stale season. Malcolm was voted out and sometimes there are casualties. Good players go. In “Survivor: Second Chance” when Kimmi was voted out, everyone thinks it was awesome. If it’d been Jeremy, maybe people would have been more upset. I do wonder how much the victim matters in how people feel about it.
Holmes: Yeah, if anything happens to Malcolm I am (expletive deleted) furious.
Van Wagenen: (Laughs) Yeah, sorry about “Game Changers.”

Holmes: Here’s an actual compliment.
Van Wagenen: Finally!
Holmes: I love the new final Tribal format.
Van Wagenen: I’m surprised it took us this long to get there. It started with Jeff. He’s been there since day one and it became this thing. We look at a process that we’ve been doing for a long time and we question; why are we still doing this? And, I think looking at final Tribal, why are we doing this thing where someone can just be talked to. It’s not a speech, it’s a conversation. And a season where we celebrate “live Tribals,” if the final Tribal can be live, how much better is that? I think you actually see people being swayed more because of the new format.
Holmes: It’s interesting to see who advocates for who.
Van Wagenen: Yeah, you’ll see; this person plays like I played, so I want to champion their cause. I think there’s a little bit of the jury member wants to identify with the winner.

Holmes: If we were filming “Survivor: The Movie,” who would play you?
Van Wagenen: Jeff would play himself, right?
Holmes: He said Tom Cruise.
Van Wagenen: Wow, that’s good.
Holmes: I think (Challenge Producer) John Kirhoffer would be played by Robert Duvall from “Apocalypse Now.” For me…maybe John Cusack? I want to be the nice guy, a little bit. Or Corey Feldman from “Lost Boys.”

Holmes: Alright, I’ve been playing this with your host and your cast. I’ll give you two “Survivor” situations. You let me know which one you prefer.
Van Wagenen: Oh man.
Holmes: I don’t know why people agree to be interviewed by me. Align with a Trump supporter or a Hillary supporter?
Van Wagenen: Hillary supporter…because my brother worked with Donald Trump on “The Apprentice.”
Holmes: Steal a vote or eliminate a juror?
Van Wagenen: Steal a vote because I feel like it has more power. At the end I want to feel like I don’t need to kick out a juror.
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Van Wagenen: (Laughs) These are terrible questions!
Holmes: I’m not proud of them.
Van Wagenen: There’s literally no right answer! I think I’d say sexist. I’d rather align with them…because…ugh…this is terrible.
Holmes: I only asked this to literally every contestant.
Van Wagenen: What did they say?
Holmes: I think it’s mainly sexist.
Van Wagenen: Well, the violence associated with racism… So, there’s my answer, I’ll align with a sexist. Even though sexism is horrible.
Holmes: I was thinking of Rudy in season one who said negative things about homosexuals and then became best friends with Richard. Make this a positive.
Van Wagenen: Do we have to keep doing this?
Holmes: Yes. Voted out first or before the final Tribal?
Van Wagenen: Before final Tribal.
Holmes: Only person who ever said first was Tony Vlachos.
Van Wagenen: Really? I’d want the experience. I want to go on a reward, I want to push myself.
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Van Wagenen: A tax cheat. An adulterer is willing to betray their spouse, so they’ll definitely betray me.
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and have to decide who to take?
Van Wagenen: Rather lose, no brainer.
Holmes: I got a lot of loses from this cast.
Van Wagenen: I think people go out there with that mentality, but when they’re out there and they’re starving, and they’re in a world where they don’t trust anyone? Something animal takes over and they feel the desire to win.
Holmes: Caught stealing food or idol hunting?
Van Wagenen: Idol hunting, everyone hunts for idols.
Holmes: Align with a super fan or someone who doesn’t watch the show?
Van Wagenen: Super fan. I would never align with someone who doesn’t watch the show. Luckily, we don’t really have those people in the cast. We’ve found that people who watch the show just play it better. But, my mentality is; I want someone who knows the game, so when I want to make a move, they’ll be willing to make the move. People who don’t watch the game kind of become strategy clogs. There’s no back-and-forth.
Holmes: All I can trust out here is for you to work in your best interest. And if you don’t know the show, it becomes harder for me to guess what you think is in your best interest.
Van Wagenen: Right. And it’s interesting, there has been this slow thing over seasons where you can almost sense when they realize there’s someone who doesn’t know the game very well. And those people go pretty early these days.
Holmes: Dance challenge or karaoke challenge?
Van Wagenen: Karaoke, 100%.
Holmes: What’s your go-to jam?
Van Wagenen: It’s a toss up…I’m really good at “Centerfold” from J. Geils Band and I also do a pretty good “Danger Zone” from Kenny Loggins.
Holmes: Those would not have been my first guesses.
Van Wagenen: There’s this part where I can do this little riff between the guitar solo. And I love “Top Gun.”

Holmes: “Millennials vs. Gen-X” was so different…
Van Wagenen: I loved it.
Holmes: I felt like you had this vibe where if you stab me in the back, I wouldn’t be like, “Screw you.” Instead it was like, “Great job!”
Van Wagenen: Wasn’t that the best?
Holmes: Everybody seems to get along. No real bad blood in the cast when it’s over. It seems like the stereotype around reality producers is you’d be like, “How can we make these people hate each other?”
Van Wagenen: (Laughs) No, not at all.
Holmes: Would that even work on another show? People go on “Survivor” and say, “This show changed my life. I’m going to go home and live in the now.” You don’t get that same vibe from “The Bachelor.”
Van Wagenen: I think that’s one of the things I love about it. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but when I was a producer on the beach and someone was having a down time, I’d say, “It’s OK. They want this story, and they want it to go up in the end.” “Survivor” is all about overcoming things. And watching transformative stories and making people better, those are my favorite stories. Cirie is one of my all-time favorite players. She didn’t have an episode arc, or a season arc, she had a series arc. You see where she started and where she ended? It’s beautiful. Cochran, Spencer…I (expletive deleted) love Spencer. For someone who when we met him in casting and he was like a calculating shark…he’s an amazing open and vulnerable person. I think any time you can celebrate a victory, it’s a good thing. That’s why “Millennials vs. Gen-X” was one of my favorite season. They just respected a good move. I’d love that every season.
Holmes: You’re making reality TV producers look bad.
Van Wagenen: I love that you’re putting it that way. Because I hadn’t really thought about it compared to other shows. There was some negativity in season 30 and we took that to heart. We want to concentrate on the positive. Because I think that’s what the fans want.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

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

Gordon Holmes Presents His Patented Horrible “Survivor: Ghost Island” Pre-Season Picks

February 28, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (Picture Courtesy of Josh Wigler)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Alright, you all know the drill; I go out on location. I interview everyone, I hang out for a few days, I get a sunburn. Then I come back and rank the players from most-likely-to-win to least-likely-to-win. Inevitably these rankings are misguided and embarrassing. Let’s also ignore that mathematically, I probably should have picked a winner by now.

Note: Betting on Gordon Holmes’ Patented Terrible ‘Survivor: Ghost Island’ Pre-Season Rankings is frowned upon.

1. Wendell: He’s smart, but he doesn’t have a job that would tip people off to that fact. He’s athletic, but he doesn’t have the physique of Chris or Michael. He’s a super fan, but he doesn’t put off super fan vibes like Jacob. Add to that a heaping helping of charm and you have my pick to take it all. (Of course, I’ve never picked the winner, so enjoy 7th place, Wendell.) 2. Kellyn: Love me some Kellyn. If she can combine her genuine good nature with the ability to own any backstabbery she does (and you have to own your game these days), she could be next to impossible to beat in front of a jury.
3. Domenick: This guy is a force of nature. Best of all, he’s a force of nature in a season where he doesn’t have any real competition for that crown. He’s gonna win big or flame out spectacularly. 4. Bradley: If Bradley ends up taking the million-dollar check, he should probably send a cut of that money to the “Survivor” press. His first day of interviews was a rough ride with him rubbing everyone the wrong way. Fortunately, he was able to learn from his mistakes and course correct the following day. He may stumble, but eventually he will run.
5. Laurel: She’s smart, she’s athletic, she knows the game, and she’s personable. There’s no reason for her to be anyone’s first target. She’ll have a lot of time to plot her course. 6. Stephanie: Stephanie is the right kind of super fan. She’s not going to go full Max and throw Probst’s quotes back at him. She’s going to use her expertise to make sound decisions.
7. Jenna: Maybe more than anyone else this season, Jenna and I clicked immediately. I spared you this in the interview write-up, but I ended up boring her with some pretty intimate details about my life. I think she’s going to click with quite a few people out there. 8. Morgan: Despite the rookie mistake of bringing fancy bags to Ponderosa, Morgan has a lot going for her. She’s fun, sweet, and will kill any water challenges.
9. Angela: Angela isn’t going to let everybody in. But the people she does let in are really going to like her and possibly even trust her. She could be the big surprise this season. 10. Sebastian: I…just…don’t…see…it. Unless he has some kind of Fabio run against a tribe of horrible people, I can’t imagine him taking home the big check.
11. Michael: What must it be like to look like Michael and only have like the 4th or 5th best male physique in the cast? Ugh…”Survivor” makes me hate myself and my middle-aged body. Anywho, Michael strikes me as first to go after the merge. 12. Gonzalez: A lot of people have pegged Gonzalez as a drama queen in the pre-game interviews. But I think she’ll be able to win them over and overcome that first impression.
13. James: James’s narrative about being a track coach isn’t going to last long considering Jacob already knows that he was a Harvard track star. 14. Chelsea: Out of everyone on this list, Chelsea is the hardest one to predict. She seemed nice enough during our interview, but I don’t feel like I got to speak to the real her. If others feel the same way, she could be gone quickly.
15. Donathan: I love me some Don Don. But, he gets my award for “Most Likely to Be Overwhelmed Early in the Game.” That’s not to say he can’t get his wits about him and right his ship. But, I’m worried he might overplay (or even underplay) in the first couple of days. 16. Libby: Can Libby drive an alliance to the end and convince a jury that she made the moves to get them there? I’d love to see it, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
17. Brendan: Brendan is the real deal. It’s like if Tom Westman and Captain America had a baby. I think the popular sentiment around the guy is going to be, “I’d love to have him as a neighbor, I’d hate to sit next to him at final Tribal.” 18. Desiree: Lies are to “Survivor” what baseballs are to…uh…baseball. They’re a necessity at this point. But doing things like fabricating entire people and storylines back home are bound to blow up in Desiree’s face at some point.
19. Jacob: I think we’re heading into a new era of “Survivor” where people are going to be very wary of super fans. Jacob will be the first true victim of this. Don’t be mad at me over it, blame Cochran, Adam, etc… 20. Chris: After the first tribe swap (and you know there will be at least twelve) Chris is done. With his physique and his lack of self-awareness, there will never be a bad time to send the “Noble One” home.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Domenick – ‘I’m Going to Exploit Anything and Everything I Can’

February 27, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Name: Domenick Abbate
Age: 38
Hometown: Nesconset, New York
Current residence: Nesconset, New York
Occupation: Construction Supervisor

Gordon Holmes: Are you a “Survivor” fan?
Domenick Abbate: Yes. Since its origination. I can honestly say I’ve watched the show since it came out. Some people are late to it and they’ve binge watched twenty seasons over the last two years. I’m one of the few that watched it as it went. Not to say I haven’t binge watched in the last few months to catch up.

Holmes: You’ve recently transformed your body.
Abbate: Yes.
Holmes: Does that make you more in tune with your limitations, what your body needs to sustain itself?
Abbate: Yeah, definitely. One of the diets I did was the Ketogenic diet. It’s a high-fat, low carb diet. It teaches you to live off of the fat of the land. Coconut is pure fat. The only thing that concerns me is rice. But fish and coconut…I’d live great. As far as my transformation, the fact that I’ve changed my physiology. I used to sit on the couch and do nothing. Now I work out six days a week, I eat tremendously better. My energy level is there. Whether it’s going to have an effect on me out there? I have no idea. I like to think I’ve conditioned myself.

Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Abbate: I ask myself that every day. I see the people I’m out here with. I get why they’re here. I don’t get why I’m here. But, there’s something right?
Holmes: Gotta be.
Abbate: I think that I’m a father, I work in the city, I do construction. Some of that old-school, old-Italian kind of persona. I come from a pretty hardcore Italian family. I have eight brothers and sisters all from the same parents. Family is everything, work ethic is everything. Maybe that has something to do with it? My transformation story, most people are in the best shape of their lives in their twenties. I’m in the best shape of my life in my life now. In my twenties I was a trainwreck. I never touched drugs, but I enjoyed my cocktails. I didn’t mind betting on a horse from time to time. But then you have children and you have to make a decision. Am I going to keep going down this path or am I going to make a move. And that’s what I did.

Holmes: When you talk about work ethic; it’s day two and you’re building this shelter. Meanwhile, I’m sunning myself on the beach. How does the rest of this story play out?
Abbate: In real life, work ethic is critical to me. If the job doesn’t get done, the business doesn’t make money. If the business doesn’t make money, he can’t pay us. Out here, work ethic is important, but I’m not going to hammer people about it. I’m not going to be a supervisor out here. That’s the last thing I’m going to do. I feel like, if someone else with a huge ego wants to take the reins on it? I’m going to sit back and be that person’s number one cheerleader. If you’re laying on the beach? That’s perfect for me. Everyone’s going to look at you and say, “That bum is not doing anything.” And that way they’re not looking at me.

Holmes: Is there anything in your backstory that you’re going to keep a secret?
Abbate: I may just lie about the supervision component. I don’t want them to think I’m a natural-born leader. If anyone volunteers to make the fire, and they can’t get it done…I’m going to let everyone else try first. Once, they’ve exhausted it, I’ll take control and light the fire. I think there’s more reward in letting someone with an ego complete the task without me. Then I come off as someone who couldn’t live without them and their skills. That way, they feel like I’m glued to them. And really, I think I’ll have that person under my control.

Holmes: Have you set any ethical boundaries as far as lying, cheating, stealing, etc.?
Abbate: I won’t go to Varner’s level.
Holmes: Smart.
Abbate: But at this point, if someone is out here because of their faith? I’m exploit it. If someone is out here because they’re honorable? I’ll exploit it. I’m going to exploit anything and everything I can.
Holmes: You’re married?
Abbate: Yes.
Holmes: Have you two discussed your limits as far as flirting?
Abbate: She did mention, “It must be nice you get to go on this island with all of these hot, young girls.” I don’t know how many times I had to reassure her, not that I need to reassure her, she’s the love of my life. The girls out here are attractive, but I’m not thinking that. I’m thinking about the game. I’m thinking about bringing my wife home money. And even if I find them attractive, I’m pretty sure in a week when I’m dehydrated and exhausted, I’m not going to find them attractive anymore. The whole sexual component would be out of the game. We have a strong relationship. I’ve been dating her for 21 years.
Holmes: That’s awesome.
Abbate: We’re high school sweethearts.

Holmes: You’re in the dark as far as twists and themes. If you had to guess, what do you think they have in store for you?
Abbate: I had one thought on theme and it’s only based on shirts that people have worn. I’ve seen Brooklyn, LA…a couple of East Coast city shirts. The only thing I can come up with is some kind of East Coast/West Coast thing. But at the end of the day, none of that matters. If it’s territorial, it won’t matter because there are idiots in California and there are idiots in New York.

Holmes: Have you been having any “Survivor” stress dreams?
Abbate: I’ve been having a lot of wacky dreams. I’ll be in an episode that has already happened. Or, I’m in my truck and I’m driving down the beach. I had another one where if my wife can’t be here for the family visit, my brother will come instead. I really want my wife to be here, and I had one where we were on the beach together. It wasn’t great, we might have even been arguing in the dream. (Laughs)
Holmes: That’s very rare in the family visit. That’s some Colby Donaldson kinda stuff.
Abbate: Yeah.
Holmes: She’s going to vote you out.
Abbate: Sounds about right.

Holmes: Alright, I’m going to give you two “Survivor” situations. You tell me which one you would rather deal with.
Abbate: Got it.
Holmes: Align with a Trump supporter or a Hillary supporter?
Abbate: I could care less. A few months ago I would’ve said Trump, but let’s go with Hillary. I had a little faith in him, but if he ever read a book on emotional intelligence, he doesn’t fit any characteristic. He scares the (expletive deleted) out of me. Especially with this North Korea (expletive deleted).
Holmes: Good thing we’re in Fiji.
Abbate: (Laughs) That’s what I said.
Holmes: Steal a vote or eliminate a juror?
Abbate: Steal a vote.
Holmes: Endurance challenge or word puzzle?
Abbate: I’d do an endurance challenge, but overall I’d rather a slide puzzle.
Holmes: Yeah, once you know the trick, they’re not so hard.
Abbate: Yeah, I’ve got that pinned.
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Abbate: (Laughs) A racist…there’s no turning back. As a sexist you can kind or work your way back. But once you’re a racist, you’re a racist for life.
Holmes: There’s something to be said for standing in front of a jury and saying, “Yeah, I lied to you. But this dude is a racist.”
Abbate: (Laughs) That’s what I’m saying! I think a racist is the way to go.
Holmes: Voted out first or before final Tribal?
Abbate: Final Tribal.
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Abbate: Align…ugh…I’m looking at the long game. Maybe a tax cheat. These aren’t easy.
Holmes: They’re not designed to be. But imagine that final jury, “This guy is a racist adulterer!”
Abbate: (Laughs)
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and decide who to take along?
Abbate: Lose the family challenge.
Holmes: Caught stealing food or idol hunting?
Abbate: Stealing food.
Holmes: Align with a super fan or someone who doesn’t watch the show?
Abbate: Someone who doesn’t watch the show.
Holmes: Dance challenge or karaoke challenge?
Abbate: A gun.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Abbate: Karaoke.

Holmes: What kind of first impression do you think you put out there?
Abbate: We have a lot of stone faces out here. It makes it a tough read. I know the more you give, the more people can take away from it. So, I’m cautious with what I give people. And with certain people I’ve been giving a sense of invitation. A smile here, a smile there. Even though we can’t talk, if something funny happens, there will be a communal laugh. I let them know I’m good. I’m here and I’m relatable. Let’s play together, let’s work together. I think my self-awareness is high. But, you never really know.

NOTE: The cast members do not know each other’s names at this point. I showed Domenick a picture of each of the competitors and asked him to share his first impressions.

LIBBY

Abbate: Cute…bubbly…probably could work with her. She seemed a little fearful at one point. Now she seems a little more warm.

ANGELA

Abbate: Stone faced. Doesn’t give me much to play with. I don’t know if she’s going to be a demanding person. She seems like she might be. Maybe impatient?

CHELSEA

Abbate: Another one…another stone face. It was recently that I got her to crack a smile at me. Maybe fearful, but she’s starting to warm up.

JENNA

Abbate: Kinda fits that same category, the fearful category. I don’t see her smile often. She’s just business.

GONZALEZ

Abbate: This one I’m afraid of. She has an attitude. She’s like a diva. I see her taking an early exit. She’s not friendly.

STEPHANIE

Abbate: She scares the crap out of me. Way too excited to be out here. Not that she’d be untrustworthy, but too flamboyant. Too pumped. Maybe she’s a mega fan

MORGAN

Abbate: Sweet girl. Looks trustworthy…I think she’ll be someone to work with.

LAUREL

Abbate: Sweet girl also. A little fearful, afraid to give you a look. But realizing she needs to warm up to people. I could see myself working with her.

KELLYN

Abbate: Another sweetie. She’s a teacher or something. I could definitely work with her.

DESIREE

Abbate: Cold fish. Won’t look up. Won’t give you anything. Does her own business, she could be an early exit. It doesn’t look like she wants to participate with anybody.

BRADLEY

Abbate: “Clark Kent” I call him. He looks intellectual. He looks trustworthy. He may have us all fooled.

BRENDAN

Abbate: Family guy. Maybe something along the lines of me. I know he’s married. He looks like he’s probably a dad. Around my age, possibly a man of honor. Possibly ex-military. I’d like to play with him.

CHRIS

Abbate: (Laughs) This guy. He doesn’t even own a shirt.
Holmes: If I looked like this guy, I wouldn’t own a shirt either.
Abbate: Yeah, I hear you. Cold fish, man! I’m not sure if it’s arrogance or confidence or fear. It’s one of those three and I’m leaning toward arrogance.

SEBASTIAN

Abbate: Love this guy. Just chill, me and him…we don’t speak, but we’re constantly smiling at each other.

WENDELL

Abbate: Another guy I like. Keeps to himself, doesn’t throw much at you. He seems pretty straightforward. He doesn’t seem like he has an agenda.

 

JACOB

Abbate: The number one “Survivor” fan in the entire world. He can’t stop smiling. This smile goes everywhere. We pulled up to Ponderosa and it was like he just met Jesus. He scares the (expletive deleted) out of me.

JAMES

Abbate: This is the man that lives by the code. His parents are from some distant land and they taught him the most correct ways to live life. He’s a man of honor, a man of principle. I’m going to exploit him to death.

MICHAEL

Abbate: At first I thought he was a Marine or something, but he said something and I changed my mind. I think he’s missing a few screws…
Holmes: Screws are loose, Domenick. They’re not missing.
Abbate: (Laughs) Right, right. He’s maybe a little ditzy. But he seems like a powerhouse.
Holmes: What did he say that threw you off?
Abbate: We were under that tent and we had to take pee breaks, and a man in the military wouldn’t say, “Uh…hey, I’ve got to take a leak.”

DONATHAN

Abbate: I like this guy. I’ve got a good rapport with him. We were in finals together, we shared some smiles. He was wearing a Def Leppard shirt. I was like, “Yes!” He seems a little scared. But, people who are scared out of the gate can turn it around.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Angela – ‘Once People Get to Know Me They Say, ‘Oh My God, You’re Slightly Crazy”

February 27, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Name: Angela Perkins
Age: 42
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Current residence: Cincinnati, Ohio
Occupation: Army Veteran

Gordon Holmes: I’ve been asking people why they think they were cast, but I think I have a pretty good idea why you were cast.
Angela Perkins: And why is that?
Holmes: I think you’re a badass.
Perkins: (Laughs) That’s what my son would say.
Holmes: Is that not how you’d describe yourself?
Perkins: No, not really.
Holmes: Then why do you think you were cast?
Perkins: I have no idea. I’ve questioned that since the beginning.
Holmes: Well, it’s too late now.
Perkins: I know! (Laughs) It’s like jumping from a plane, if you’re in the door, you’ve got to go.

Holmes: Your bio says that even when your mouth is shut your friends know what you want to say because your facial expression talks. That sounds like something that could get you in trouble on “Survivor.” Is that something you can control?
Perkins: I don’t know if I can control it, but I may be able to make up for it. I can see the reaction from somebody else. I’m giving them some kind of aggressive gesture. I may not mask it, but I can act on it.

Holmes: Is there anything about your backstory that you’re going to keep from people?
Perkins: Not that I would lie about. I don’t think I will share my military experience. A lot of people would never think I was in the military for twenty years. I deployed several times. I’m going to keep it to myself unless it is brought out.
Holmes: It seems like you’ve already had some pretty extreme survival experiences.
Perkins: Yes.
Holmes: What do you make of all of this? Is this a walk in the park compared to what you’re used to?
Perkins: No, because I think it’s not physically…it’s mentally and social. That’s what you struggle with. I’m a leader. So, that definitely can get me into trouble as far as the game.
Holmes: Leaders end up with targets here. Can you pull back if you need to?
Perkins: This is going to be a challenge. I’ve never had to. I recently retired and my kids have grown up to where they can take control of themselves. I’ve always been in charge. So, it’ll be a different side of myself. I hope that I can. My family members said that’s my strongest attribute and my weakness.

Holmes: Are you a big “Survivor” fan?
Perkins: I am.
Holmes: For how long?
Perkins: Since it started, except for the parts where I was deployed.
Holmes: Are the kids fans?
Perkins: They watch it, but they aren’t big fans.

Holmes: Some people set boundaries as far as lying, cheating, stealing. Have you set any boundaries for yourself, or does anything go?
Perkins: No boundaries, game on. I’m going to allow it to develop. I don’t have any really big secrets. Ethical decisions? It’s a game. I don’t think I’m compromising my ethics or religion by playing the game.
Holmes: What about flirting?
Perkins: I’d use it. It’s a natural instinct for a lot of people.
Holmes: Is there anyone back home that’ll be upset if they see you flirting?
Perkins: No, I’m recently divorced.

Holmes: You’re in the dark as far as themes and twists. Any guesses?
Perkins: Looking at the dynamics of the group, I go back and forth as to what it could be. I see it as Males vs. Females. I don’t think it’s like “Worlds Apart” because it’s so many young people. The way we came in, the majority of them seems to be the middle class or upper middle class, so I don’t think that’s a division. There’s really only two older people. There could potentially be three of us.

Holmes: Alright, I’m going to give you two “Survivor” situations. You let me know which one you’d rather deal with.
Perkins: OK.
Holmes: Align with a Hillary supporter or a Trump supporter?
Perkins: Hmm…Trump supporter. They seem to be aggressive and not afraid to speak their minds. That way I know what’s coming. I’ll know if I have to make a big move or not. A Hillary supporter is more reserved, quiet, polite.
Holmes: Steal a vote or eliminate a juror?
Perkins: Eliminate a juror.
Holmes: Endurance challenge or word puzzle?
Perkins: Endurance.
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Perkins: Sexist…no…yeah…if I align with a sexist, it’s not as emotionally connected as a racist. I could give two (expletive deleted) if someone doesn’t like me as a female. Or doesn’t like a male. But when race is involved I get very sensitive. Because when I was a kid, my family was more or a minority. And I didn’t know this. I grew up around a lot of black people and Mexicans. And I didn’t know much about race until we moved into an all-white community. There was only one black girl in my school and she was my friend. That’s when racism was exposed to me. So weird. I didn’t know.
Holmes: Voted out first or before final Tribal?
Perkins: Before final Tribal.
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Perkins: Tax cheat, it hurts financially, but not emotionally.
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and have to decide who to take.
Perkins: Win.
Holmes: Caught stealing food or idol hunting?
Perkins: Idol hunting.
Holmes: Align with a super fan or someone who doesn’t watch the show?
Perkins: Someone who doesn’t know the show.
Holmes: Dance challenge or karaoke challenge?
Perkins: Dance challenge. I can’t sing or dance, but screw it.

Holmes: What kind of first impression do you think you put out there?
Perkins: It depends on who it is. If I go to a bar or a social gathering, people are a little set off because I have a strong demeanor about me. I’ve been told I’m aggressive and intimidating. But, once people get to know me they say, “Oh my God, you’re slightly crazy.” I think I have a resting observation face, if that makes sense. I’m always trying to be situationally aware.

NOTE: The cast members do not know each other’s names at this point. I showed Angela a picture of each of the competitors and asked her to share her first impressions.

 

LIBBY

Perkins: Oh my God, she appears to be so sweet.  Like my daughter, sweet, kind, soft, young.

CHELSEA

Perkins: A little bit reserved. Maybe somewhat rigid. May be difficult for me to work with.

JENNA

Perkins: She appears to like to have fun, but she’s strictly business when she needs to be. She might be a tough competitor.

GONZALEZ

Perkins: Nice…a little reserved. She appears to be skeptical. She doesn’t allow a lot of people into her inner circle.

STEPHANIE

Perkins: Lights up the room. Very bubbly, fun. Probably talks a lot.

MORGAN

Perkins: Sweet…but probably a little more privileged. She’s carrying expensive bags. Well put together. She probably has a different motivation than a lot of people.

LAUREL

Perkins: I can’t read her. She seems like a game player. She seems athletic.

KELLYN

Perkins: I don’t see a ring, but she appears to be a Suzie Homemaker in the making. Good wife, religious, sweet. I don’t know if I can align with her because I don’t want to hurt her feelings and I’m not sure if she could hurt someone else’s.

DESIREE

Perkins: She does not express a lot. She seems strong, independent.

BRADLEY

Perkins: Nice, kind…intelligent. But, seems like he’s willing to listen.

BRENDAN

Perkins: Close to my age. Probably a type-A…maybe a service background. He has the high-and-tight haircut. I’d align, but we’d probably cut each other’s throat.

CHRIS

Perkins: A little cocky, a little funny. Very confident, young. I could align with him.

SEBASTIAN

Perkins: Probably the coolest looking person here. His look is sick. Relaxed, surfer, chill. Physically fit. Don’t know that he’d make huge moves with me.

WENDELL

Perkins: Seems honest and sincere, but cautious. He doesn’t make a whole lot of eye contact. But, when he does, it seems genuine.

 

JACOB

Perkins: He seems goofy, relaxed, I’ll be your friend. I don’t think he’s aggressive at all. I could use him, but I don’t think we’d align very well.

JAMES

Perkins: Intelligent, could make some big moves that you wouldn’t see coming. I could see myself being very cautious around him.

MICHAEL

Perkins: I haven’t seen him a lot. He’s young.

DONATHAN

Perkins: Really sweet, yet seems to be a little uncertain or insecure. He’ll make eye contact, but not for a long time. I think he’s very impressionable.

DOMENICK

Perkins: He seems like he is definitely in the game. He could be a threat, he’ll be in people’s ears.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway James – ‘Hopefully at the End of the Game I’ll Have Made 19 New Lifelong Friends’

February 26, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Name: James Lim
Age: 24
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Current residence: New York, New York
Occupation: Business Analyst

Gordon Holmes: You were the captain of the Harvard Track and Field team.
James Lim: Yes.
Holmes: Immediately that little tidbit tells me that this dude is smart and athletic. Are you going to keep that under wraps?
Lim: Here?
Holmes: Yeah in the game. I mean, in real life I’d tell everybody. I’d have it tattooed on my forehead.
Lim: (Laughs) No way. It’s a big source of pride and it was a defining aspect of my college career. But, there’s no way I’m telling anyone out here. I went to Harvard, so they’ll think I’m a big strategic threat, because everyone who went to Harvard is a strategic threat. That’s not the case.
Holmes: Cochran ruined that for everybody.
Lim: Yes, he did. And as for the track, I will say that I ran track in college, but the whole captain thing? They don’t need to know about it. I’ll let someone else be the captain of my tribe and I’ll just follow that person around.
Holmes: And you won’t tell them about Harvard?
Lim: Right.
Holmes: As far as letting someone else be the captain, are you capable of hanging out and taking the back seat?
Lim: Absolutely, I don’t really think I’m a natural-born leader. For Harvard track, it was more of a function of me being dedicated to my sport and my teammates and showing that through actions and words. That earned the respect of my teammates. So, despite me being one of the slower guys on the team, they voted me as their captain my senior year. So, if someone else has to take the reins, let them. I don’t want to be the guy that’s out there as a vulnerable target.

Holmes: So, we meet on day one. We shake hands, I say, “Pleased to meet you, my name is Gordon and I’m a writer.”
Lim: I’m James and I’m a track coach.
Holmes: And you have the level of track knowledge to pull that off? What if there are other track stars out here?
Lim: Absolutely.
Holmes: So if someone says, “Oh do you guys run the WD-40 in the 401K” you’d be able to speak to it?
Lim: Yes.
Holmes: I don’t know track terms.
Lim: (Laughs) I can talk about track for hours. And it’s going to be part of my strategy, it’s one of my passions. And, my Head Coach at Harvard is a die-hard “Survivor” fan. It’s kind of a tribute to him.
Holmes: If you’re out first, he’s going to be livid. He’ll make you run laps.
Lim: Definitely.

Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Lim: CBS thought I was interesting enough.
Holmes: That is how it tends to work.
Lim: And I appreciate that. As a person, I do have a unique background. I try to give everything that comes my way 100%. And that attitude makes a good season of “Survivor.” It’ll be interesting to see me react with all of these people who have interesting backgrounds.

Holmes: Some people come out here with boundaries as far as ethical behavior?
Lim: My boundary does include lying, blindsiding…I’ll probably stay away from the level that Russell Hantz or Tony Vlachos went to. I will not swear on my parents. I know “Survivor” requires lying, not a single person has won this game by being so loyal and straight up with everyone. But, I want to do it in a manner that’s always respectful of their game. I’m blindsiding you so I can advance. Even if I get blindsided, I hope to move past it and think, “This person did what they had to do.” Hopefully at the end of the game I’ll have made 19 new lifelong friends.
Holmes: Any boundaries as far as flirting?
Lim: That’s not going to be a focal point of my game. I’m not the kind of guy that flirts with everyone. I know it’s part of the game. Parvati is a master of that. And there are some girls this season who are attractive. They might try to use it as one of their cards to play. I get it. I’ll be responsive, but I won’t fall for it to the point that I’m blinded. It’s easier said than done.
Holmes: Anyone back home who’ll be upset if they see you flirting on CBS?
Lim: No, I’m single.

Holmes: Any guesses for twists or themes?
Lim: As a baseline, I’m not the biggest fan of twists. All these vote steals and jury vote-off takes away from the pure game strategy that “Survivor” started with. But, it’s the reality that I have to deal with. If I had to guess…31 had a vote steal, 32 had a jury vote off, 33 had a reward steal, and 34 had another vote steal and a legacy advantage. So, probably another legacy advantage.

Holmes: Alright, I’m going to give you two “Survivor” situations. You tell me which one you would prefer.
Lim: OK.
Holmes: Align with a Trump supporter or a Hillary supporter?
Lim: Hillary supporter because I am one. I interned for President Obama in college. And, I’m a registered democrat. Nothing against Trump supporters. I want to keep politics out of this. This is “Survivor,” it’s a good sacred game. I’m here to get away from the Washington drama for 39 days.
Holmes: I envy you for that. Would you rather have a steal a vote or an eliminate a juror advantage?
Lim: If I have the feeling that I can make the final three, then the juror vote becomes so powerful. But, it only becomes useful if you make it to the final three, otherwise it’s useless. The game vote and the jury vote are so different and the jury vote is so powerful, that I’ll go with jury.
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Lim: That’s a good question. Being a Korean American means a lot to me. And me being a first-generation American, I don’t want anyone to mess with that part. So, I’ll align with a sexist.
Holmes: Voted out first or right before final Tribal?
Lim: Definitely before final Tribal.
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Lim: (Laughs) Very good question. That’s easy, a tax cheat won “Survivor.” So, a tax cheat.
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and decide who to take along?
Lim: I’ve seen over and over, being in that position doesn’t help you. Whoever is left out wants to murder you. But, I want to win the reward and go on it with my dad. I think…I’d rather lose…and be picked.
Holmes: Caught stealing food or idol hunting?
Lim: An idol hunter…poses a risk to everyone else. But a food stealer as far as camp life, people don’t want to live with that person. I’ll say idol hunting.
Holmes: Align with a super fan or someone who doesn’t watch the show?
Lim: A novice is better because then I get to set the direction.
Holmes: A dance challenge or a karaoke challenge?
Lim: I’m mediocre at best at both. I’ll say dancing.

Holmes: What kind of first impression do you think you put out there?
Lim: This guy is well put together, mature-ish, professional-ish. It’s something I picked up on the job. I have a professional job, and it’s important to put off a good impression so they trust the advice that you give them. But when the producers in LA first met me, they thought I was 30 because I put off that vibe. I think that’s a good first impression. That way, people are more inclined to work with you because I seem to have my (expletive deleted) together.
Holmes: Do you have any problems relating to people your age?
Lim: That’s an interesting point. In my real life, no. But that’s because I’m friends with people from a similar background. The people I mingle with are part of a small bubble, the northeast school and then my white-collar job. I do really want to take this opportunity to see if I can relate to 19 other people that have gathered here from all of these crazy backgrounds. Can I build a bond with them? I’ll have to venture beyond my bubble.

NOTE: The cast members do not know each other’s names at this point. I showed James a picture of each of the competitors and asked him to share his first impressions.

 

LIBBY

Lim: Jennifer Lawrence. She’s objective attractive and she knows it. She seems like a nice person. I’ll probably want her on my side.

ANGELA

Lim: The only older lady this season. She seems pretty reserved, but genuine. I want to know her life story.

CHELSEA

Lim: Kristen Stewart. Nice girl. In real life she might be a little shy, but when you get to know her she opens up and becomes friends.

JENNA

Lim: She looks like Baylor from “Blood vs. Water.” She has the physique of an athlete. I think she plays soccer or something like that.

GONZALEZ

Lim: If there is a drama queen for our season, it’s her. That’s a first impression, no hard feelings.

STEPHANIE

Lim: She’s like the token bubbly girl of our season. She smiles the most. She kind of hops around Ponderosa. She might be quirky. That might make her a target.

MORGAN

Lim: She’s pretty tall, very fit. She has the physique of a crew rower. I think she also has her (expletive deleted) together. If she decides that someone’s her target, it’d be tough to work against that. I’d rather have her on my side.

LAUREL

Lim: She looks like NaOnka. Hopefully she won’t quit. She looks pretty young. I’d put her at college-aged maybe. So, as the same age group, we’ll be able to relate.

KELLYN

Lim: Jessica Chastain. We were in the same final round. She had this thick history book. She’s probably some kind of professional. She seems nice.

DESIREE

Lim: When I first saw her I thought, “You’re wearing both straps of your swimsuit on the same shoulder. What are you doing?” She is composed, I think she won’t break down too much. She’s going to be a strategic mastermind or she’s going to make a lot of enemies.

BRADLEY

Lim: I sat next to him on the plane for 12 hours. We slept the whole time. He seems young. I’m seeing lots of college-aged people. If we have a super fan, it’s him.

BRENDAN

Lim: Brody from “Homeland.” I’d be willing to put some money on him being a veteran of some sort. He’s obviously very fit. He’s on the older side.

CHRIS

Lim: It’s good that he’s here because I want some meat shields. I think he might have a big ego. I’ll let him be the tribe leader, I’ll be helpful. I can’t even pin down his accent or where he’s from.

SEBASTIAN

Lim: He’s Malcolm Freberg meets Joe Anglim and they have a baby. He’s from California, he’s some kind of surfer. I think we both have a similar physique. If we get to the individual phase, he’d give me a run for my money for immunity wins.

WENDELL

Lim: We were in the final round, and he was wearing a Syracuse hoodie. I think he’s a chill kind of guy. I don’t think he’ll play too hard or cause too much drama.

 

JACOB

Lim: He’s the male quirky person. A nice guy, he claps the most when production speaks. If he doesn’t find the right footing early, he’s an early boot.

MICHAEL

Lim: Who is this? All these big white guys get mixed up. He’s built, he’s big. On the reserved side. I think I need to talk to him.
.

DONATHAN

Lim: This guy, even during finals, we vibed well. We might become allies early on, he seems like a nice guy. But, I don’t know what’s hiding behind that clean haircut. I have to keep an eye on him.

DOMENICK

Lim: He’s the hustler. I think whatever his job is, it involves not taking any (expletive deleted) and working your ass off to get where you need to be. He’s either going to be the villain of the season, or channel the hustling energy to the tribe and become a good asset.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Chelsea – ‘I’ll Be Sitting There at the End’

February 25, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Name: Chelsea Townsend
Age: 24
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Current residence: Los Angeles, California
Occupation: EMT/Pro Cheerleader

Gordon Holmes: If you were on a deserted island, you would want ice cream. I love ice cream, so I get it.
Chelsea Townsend: (Laughs)
Holmes: What’s the best ice cream? And there is a correct answer.
Townsend: Um…it’d have to be Half Baked. It’s like vanilla, chocolate, cookie dough, and fudge bites.
Holmes: That sounds good. It wasn’t the correct answer though.
Townsend: OK, then what is it?
Holmes: We were looking for cookies and cream. Cookies and cream.
Townsend: You’re wrong.

Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Townsend: I have a lot to offer. I have a girly, cheerleader side, which is good and peppy. But I also have a very competitive, go-getter side. That involves all my medical job. I’m a dynamic person.

Holmes: Is there anything that isn’t in your bio that you didn’t list? You can tell me now, because it’s too late to kick you out if you have some horrible secret.
Townsend: (Laughs) No.
Holmes: It doesn’t have to be big, but if there’s a homicide, you should let me know.
Townsend: (Laughs) I don’t think I could kill anyone.
Holmes: That speaks well of you.

Holmes: Is there anything about your backstory that you’re going to keep a secret?
Townsend: I’m actually going to try to be a physician’s assistant. I’m in the middle of applying to grad school now. I think I’m going to leave that part out. I feel like with doctors and people who are in the medical profession are thought to be extremely smart. So, I think if I play off the cheerleader thing, they might not know that I’m a strategic person. It’ll keep the target off of my back until I have to bust out.
Holmes: Just slitting throats left and right.
Townsend: Yeah!

Holmes: Are you a “Survivor” fan?
Townsend: Huge. I’ve been watching it for years.
Holmes: This is where you say something annoying like, “I’ve been watching it since I was six.” And then I hate myself for being old.
Townsend: (Laughs)
Holmes: Is that where this is going?
Townsend: A long, long time. Many years.
Holmes: Who knows you’re out here?
Townsend: My immediate family knows, so they are excited to say the least. They’ve been like, “You’d better do well or you’re going to get so much crap from us.”
Holmes: Will you be disowned if you’re the first one out?
Townsend: That’s not going to happen. I’ll be sitting there at the end.
Holmes: What’re we going to do with that million dollars?
Townsend: Hmm…
Holmes: Cause I’ve got some big plans. I want you to be on board.
Townsend: (Laughs) A chunk of it is going so I don’t have student loans.

Holmes: Some people come out here and set boundaries for themselves as far as lying, cheating, stealing…where are you with that?
Townsend: My mindset is I want to give this my all. This is a game, and even though in a normal format I’m a very loyal person, I’m very honest with my friends. But, this is a game. You have to lie, you have to deceive sometimes to get further in the game. It’s not personal, you’re playing the game. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m going to have to deceive people I’m going to befriend.
Holmes: What about flirting? Is that on the table?
Townsend: I’m a girl. If I have to flirt a little bit… (Laughs)
Holmes: Is there anyone back home who’s going to be upset if they see you flirting?
Townsend: I don’t know.
Holmes: You don’t know if you have a significant other?
Townsend: Oh…sorry…just family back home.

Holmes: You’re in lockdown now, but there’s always winking and nodding. Are you doing any of that?
Townsend: There are people who are more friendly than others. It’s kind of weird. You smile, you nod, you laugh a little bit. That’s only with some people. Others just walk right by you. I’ve tried to smile at everybody.

Holmes: You’re in the dark as far as themes or twists. Any guesses?
Townsend: I’m excited to find out, but I don’t know. They’ve given us nothing.

Holmes: Have you been having any “Survivor” stress dreams?
Townsend: I’ve had a couple. It involves me finding an idol and then not using it.

Holmes: Alright, I’m going to give you two “Survivor” situations. You tell me which one you’d rather deal with.
Townsend: Oh no.
Holmes: You’ll be fine. Would you rather align with a Hillary supporter or a Trump supporter?
Townsend: (Laughs) I’d have to say a Hillary supporter. Not a big fan of Trump, I’m a woman.
Holmes: Steal a vote or eliminate a juror?
Townsend: Steal a vote, I think I can woo over the jurors.
Holmes: Endurance challenge or word puzzle?
Townsend: Endurance challenge…but I’m good with both.
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Townsend: Neither? (Laughs)
Holmes: Not an option.
Townsend: (Laughs) I guess a sexist so I could change their mind.
Holmes: Voted out first or before final Tribal?
Townsend: Final Tribal, I want to experience as much of this game as I can.
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Townsend: Oh jeez! I guess a tax cheat. I don’t know.
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and have to decide who to take with you?
Townsend: I’d rather win. My sister told me before I went on the show, “If you don’t make it there, I’m going to be so mad at you. I have to be on ‘Survivor.’” But I told her she’d better be ready to win. She has to win so I can eat.
Holmes: Caught stealing food or idol hunting?
Townsend: Stealing food. Everyone will be pissed, but if they think you have an idol that puts a huge target on your back.
Holmes: Align with a super fan or someone who doesn’t watch the show?
Townsend: Super fan, I feel like they’ll be better with strategy.
Holmes: I know the answer to this last one; dance challenge or karaoke challenge?
Townsend: Dance challenge!

Holmes: What kind of a first impression do you think you put out there?
Townsend: I’d like to think it’s that I’m very friendly. Easy to talk to. I’m easy-going, you can come talk to me. Hopefully people feel like they can trust me.

NOTE: The cast members do not know each other’s names at this point. I showed Chelsea a picture of each of the competitors and asked her to share her first impressions.

 

LIBBY

Townsend: She’s seem very sweet.

ANGELA

Townsend: I’ve had a hard time reading her. She seems like she has this punk rock edge to her.

CHELSEA

Townsend: Future winner!

JENNA

Townsend: She’s hard to read. She doesn’t come off as super friendly at first. Maybe it’s because we haven’t been able to talk.

GONZALEZ

Townsend: She seems pretty nice. She’s independent. She does her own thing.

STEPHANIE

Townsend: She’s very nice. She seems optimistic and friendly.

MORGAN

Townsend: She seems like an athlete. She’s got ripped shoulders. She keeps to herself.

LAUREL

Townsend: She keeps to herself. She seems reserved…observant.

KELLYN

Townsend: She seems very smart. She’s always reading. She seems nice. She seems strategic.

DESIREE

Townsend: I don’t have a read on her. I’m going to have to see how the game unfolds.

BRADLEY

Townsend: He seems nice, very smart. He’s another one that’s constantly reading. He seems observant.

BRENDAN

Townsend: I think he might be a body builder. He seems really fit. He’s going to be a physical player.

CHRIS

Townsend: This guy…very strong. He doesn’t seem as friendly. He seems very confident. I’m not sure if it’s confidence or cockiness.

SEBASTIAN

Townsend: Super chill…surfer dude. He seems friendly, he goes with the flow.

WENDELL

Townsend: No read on him. He seems nice, polite, studious.

 

JACOB

Townsend: This guy is funny. He seems very goofy and fun. He’s always smiling.

JAMES

Townsend: I think he’ll be good physically and strategically. He seems to be keeping an eye on everybody.

MICHAEL

Townsend: He’s very independent. He keeps to himself.

DONATHAN

Townsend: (Laughs) He seems so nice. He’s smart.

DOMENICK

Townsend: He’s always watching people. From what I can tell, I don’t know if I can trust him.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Chris – ‘I’m Like James Bond; I Have a Lot of Good Skills, But a Good Woman Is a Weakness’

February 24, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Name: Chris Noble
Age: 27
Hometown: Florida Keys, Florida
Current residence: Brooklyn, New York
Occupation: Male Model

Gordon Holmes: Chris Noble! That’s like a superhero name.
Chris Noble: It’s a great name. My dad always told me to wear my name proudly.
Holmes: You’ll be out here and people will be like, “Hey, I don’t know if I trust this guy.” And you can say, “Relax, I’m Chris Noble.”
Noble: I am “The Noble One.” (Laughs)

Holmes: You consider yourself to be the most dramatic. What do you mean by that?
Noble: (Laughs) I didn’t even (expletive deleted) know about it. In high school I was the first ever all-state athlete in two sports for baseball and basketball in my county, I was a jock. That was my pride. I was thinking, “I have to get most athletic. If I don’t it’s a crime.” And I didn’t get most athletic, I got most dramatic which made it even more dramatic, cause then I was pissed off.
Holmes: You flipped a table and were like, “Who the (expletive deleted) thinks I’m dramatic?!”
Noble: (Laughs) Yeah, who says that?! And they said, “That’s why.”
Holmes: There was probably some theater kid that was furious.
Noble: (Laughs) It’s just my emotions, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don’t hold anything back, really. I’ve learned to keep my emotions in check. I love Micheala in the game, I see a lot of myself in her. She does wear her heart on her sleeve, sometimes it gets her in trouble, but she’s got this fire and competitiveness. Along my path in life, I’ve had to learn to change that. But, I don’t think I’m going to change much of my natural antics. It’s a show, we’re supposed to have fun. I want to be who I am.

Holmes: So, we’re on the same tribe. We’re tethered together and running through an obstacle course. I can’t keep up. How do you deal with me? Can you maintain your composure, or am I going to meet Mr. Most Dramatic?
Noble: That’s going to be one of my toughest challenges. I’m a sweetheart, I’m a good guy, I really stand for what my name is. But, when it comes to things that are competitive and you put me into an octagon or something like that, my whole mode changes. I’m so tunnel-visioned. I’ll have to tell myself, “This person might not be at the same level as me.” There’s a certain level of respect that has to go into it. Was it season 16 where that happened? Was it Big Joel or something like that? And he was pulling around someone who wasn’t on his level. I think he may have taken it too far.
Holmes: You remember season 16, are you a big fan?
Noble: I am, I wouldn’t consider myself one of the die-hards out there. I’d be doing them an injustice if I told everyone I was a super fan. I’m not on their level. I’ve seen somewhere between ten and fifteen seasons. It’s an honor to be out here.

Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Noble: I bring that all-American look that I’m sure most shows would like. I’ve got the blonde hair, the physique. I was part of the Versace campaign with Bruce Weber, Gigi Hadid, Donatella Versace. That was the big start of this new life of mine. I also bring a very sympathetic story. My mother was diagnosed with MS at 27 years old. She had me at 34. This lady, you talk about invincible, she was working on her doctorates, working for NASA, she had everything all set up and then it was all taken from her from a very serious disease that there is no cure for. The disease varies from person to person, but she has a very severe case. Growing up, it was difficult for the family. When I was 17 she was told she only has two months to live. Ever since then, I took it upon myself to become a better man and to grow up with added responsibility. I’d take care of her, feeding her medication, carrying her to the bathroom, carrying her in and out of cars. Not necessarily something new, I’d been doing that my whole life. This isn’t really about me, but to tell my mom’s story…she’s a true survivor. She’s still alive today. She was told she had two months to live ten years ago. The crazy, cool irony of this whole story, and I didn’t even realize when I got cast, I’m 27 right now, and that’s when she was diagnosed. I think the cast came out in March, which is MS Awareness Month. My mother said she wonders why God has kept her around for so long, and I said, “One day I will be famous and tell your story. And it’d be selfish if I was the only one who could be inspired by her.” That’s the essence of this. This is God doing great and beautiful things for her and everyone out there with MS. Over two million people worldwide have it. There’s no cure, but they’re working on it. I personally feel like we need to spread awareness more.
Holmes: She sounds amazing. How does she feel about her little boy’s big adventure?
Noble: (Laughs) Let’s put it this way, she knows what “Survivor” is, and when I did the Versace campaign, she didn’t know what Versace was. I don’t hold it against her, but it was sort of a little buzzkill. But she knew what it was and she said, “They should fly me out there, I can tell my story.” (Laughs) I was like, “Hold up, mom.”
Holmes: That’s a long flight. (Laughs)
Noble: She’s always known that this is one of my biggest dreams on the number one reality TV show in the world.
Holmes: You’re damn right.

Holmes: Some people come out here with ethical boundaries as far as lying, cheating, and stealing. How about you?
Noble: I’ve set some boundaries. In real life, I don’t steal, maybe there are white lies. But, sometimes I’m too brutally honest. But I feel like in society we aren’t honest enough. Look, there are going to be times when I’m brutally honest with people, even if it hurts their feelings. But, as far as moral judgments? I’m not going to say anything to demean someone. I wouldn’t do what Varner did. That really crossed the line. I get some of the lies Survivors have told, who knows what I’m going to feel like after 28 days without food. I don’t hold it against them. But, there are boundaries that you don’t cross. I’m not racist, I’m not homophobic, I’m not sexist. I’m not going to say any things like that.
Holmes: What about flirting?
Noble: Oh, I’m going to flirt a lot. Women flirt all the time. I want to be one of those Survivors where I flip it a little bit. If they dish it to me, I’m going to dish it right back. I’m going to use some of that to my advantage. The most powerful emotion in life is love. It’s almost like they say “Love is blind.” And love is blind. If I can make you feel good and there’s something about me that makes you not think about blindsiding me, then I’ve won. I’ve won that battle. And then if I need to, I can blindside you when I need to.
Holmes: Is there anyone back home who will get upset if they see you flirting?
Noble: No, and frankly, if there was I wouldn’t give a (expletive deleted). This is my time. I want to do things that’ve never been done before. Maybe a “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” thing where there’s romance and maybe some spy games type stuff. I want to run around like Tony. I watched “Predator,” I want to put myself all in mud and act like Arnold.
Holmes: Promise me that will happen.
Noble: I promise. Yeah, it can get me in trouble, but you can get in trouble by not doing anything too.

Holmes: Alright, I’m going to give you two “Survivor” situations. You let me know which one you would rather deal with.
Noble: OK.
Holmes: Align with a Hillary supporter or a Trump supporter?
Noble: Wow…a Trump supporter. I feel like America needed to go a different route. And I think change is good. The same way I think Obama was a good change back in 2008. We have a good change now and we’ll see if it works out.
Holmes: Steal a vote or eliminate a juror?
Noble: Steal a vote.
Holmes: Endurance challenge or word puzzle?
Noble: Endurance challenge?
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Noble: Sexist…we’re too advanced as a society to judge people based on race. I understand out here we have to judge people based on their front cover right now, and that’s crazy. I think racism is ridiculous. I think being sexist is ridiculous as well. Most of my friends are women and they go through it. All of it chaps my ass.
Holmes: Voted out first or before final Tribal?
Noble: Before final Tribal.
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Noble: A tax cheat.
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and decide who to take?
Noble: Win and decide who to take.
Holmes: Caught stealing food or idol hunting?
Noble: Idol hunting.
Holmes: Align with a super fan or someone who doesn’t know the show?
Noble: Doesn’t know the show.
Holmes: Dance challenge or karaoke challenge?
Noble: Karaoke.
Holmes: What’s your go-to jam?
Noble: “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
Holmes: That’s actually a really good call.

NOTE: The cast members do not know each other’s names at this point. I showed Chris a picture of each of the competitors and asked him to share his first impressions.

 

LIBBY

Noble: She beautiful, she’s flirtatious. I think she’s smart. I also think she has some good outdoor skills.

ANGELA

Noble: I think she’s older and I click with the older generation. She might not click with some of the other women.

CHELSEA

Noble: She could have a dark side. She could be silent. It could get her eliminated quickly.

JENNA

Noble: She’s going to add outdoor skills. She could flip back and forth.

GONZALEZ

Noble: She’s absolutely beautiful. I’m like James Bond; I have a lot of good skills, but a good woman is a weakness.

STEPHANIE

Noble: Very flirtatious. I think she’s going to be like a Parvati.

MORGAN

Noble: She’s been a tough read. I don’t know if she’s going to mesh well with everyone.

LAUREL

Noble: She’s silent, I think she could be like Michaela where she has some real fierceness to her.

KELLYN

Noble: I think she’s good outdoors. I think her tribe is going to benefit in the beginning. But, I don’t see her meshing well with everyone.

DESIREE

Noble: She’s intriguing. I like her. She could be from New York which I can relate to. I know how New Yorkers roll, and the minute you think they’re your friend, they can snap you.

BRADLEY

Noble: That guy…I like him more and more. I think he’s a corporate guy. I think he’s going to be good strategically.

BRENDAN

Noble: I think he’s a business man, middle-aged guy. I think I can trust him. And I don’t trust most men. I think he’ll be great in challenges.

SEBASTIAN

Noble: He’s like my brother. I think he’s a fisherman. I think he may be a surfer or a paddle boarder. He definitely hits the weed from time to time. I think he’d be awesome to be a shield.

WENDELL

Noble: Quiet. I’m not sure how long he’ll last.

 

JACOB

Noble: This guy cracks me up. He’s like a Zach Galifianakis…but I think he’s going to flip from side to side because people are going to push him over.

JAMES

Noble: I think he’s a business man, into yoga and fitness. I should be able to relate to him.

MICHAEL

Noble: He’s a good-looking dude from the Midwest. Maybe one of the other alphas out here. Could be good to team up with if the men are getting thin.

DONATHAN

Noble: I’ve thought about him a lot. With everything that happened with Zeke, I feel like we could have a very similar storyline with that. But, he seems like a very nice guy. He could be a very trustworthy person.

DOMENICK

Noble: This guy is from New Jersey or New York. I could have a connection. But, there’s something off-putting to me.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Gonzalez – ‘When I Meet with a Husband and Wife, I Know to Always Charm the Wife First’

February 23, 2018

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Name: Stephanie Gonzalez
Age: 26
Hometown: Aguada, Puerto Rico
Current residence: Ocala, Florida
Occupation: Graphic Sales

Gordon Holmes: You’re in sales, I’m assuming you’re constantly meeting people, getting them to like you…
Stephanie Gonzalez: Every single day. I’m in and out of networking events where I’m trying to meet people. Constantly shaking hands with everyone I can. Make a good impression, get some business cards, set up some meetings.
Holmes: That feels like it would lend itself to a game where you’re about to meet nineteen strangers.
Gonzalez: Definitely…of all ages, all kinds, all ethnicities.

Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Gonzalez: I think it’s my unique personality. I’ve got so many different dimensions to my personality. I’m this girly girl, but I can transform into this super tomboy. Hang out with the guys, go to a game, grab a beer.

Holmes: Is there anything about your background that you’re going to keep a secret?
Gonzalez: That’s a tough one…I was a rebel. (Laughs)
Holmes: How so?
Gonzalez: I would run away from home, I got this tattoo at sixteen years old, pierced my own belly button. I was kind of a rebel in that sense. They’d tell me not to do something and I’d be like, “OK, watch me.”
Holmes: They should’ve used some kind of reverse psychology. “Stephanie, get a tattoo.”
Gonzalez: (Laughs) Oh yeah? I won’t get a tattoo.
Holmes: Someone’s going to figure that out and play you like a fiddle in this game. “Stephanie, vote me out.”
Gonzalez: I’m not going to vote you out. (Laughs)

Holmes: Have you set any boundaries as far as lying, deception, etc.?
Gonzalez: I’m not going to physically hurt someone.
Holmes: Well, you’re totally not allowed to do that.
Gonzalez: (Laughs) That’s probably my only boundary. The lying and the backstabbing, I think there’s a way of doing it so it’s not so abrupt to that person. You don’t do certain things so it’s putting salt in the wounds.
Holmes: What about flirting?
Gonzalez: Yeah, I don’t call it flirting. I call it charm. You bring out the smile, you bring out the eyes, the shoulder rub.
Holmes: The shoulder rub?
Gonzalez: That’s the move. (Laughs)
Holmes: That’s the move. Is there anyone back home who will be upset if they see you busting out the charm?
Gonzalez: Not at all.
Holmes: So, you’re single?
Gonzalez: No.
Holmes: OK, so there is someone, but they won’t get upset.
Gonzalez: Yes. He trusts me 1000% and I analyze things to a tee. I’m good at sales, so I know how to speak to people. When I meet with a husband and wife, I know to always charm the wife first. It’s all about making feel comfortable. So, the boyfriend knows exactly how I work. He thinks I’m a masterpiece.
Holmes: He’s not wrong. That’s a smart strategy. I started dating this girl and her male friend was not happy about it because he was interested in her. So, the first time we hung out, I was all over him. Using the charm. And it worked. We’re buddies now.
Gonzalez: You’ve got to know how to play it.

Holmes: You’re in the dark as far as twists and themes. Any guesses?
Gonzalez: I think there’s a little bit of a “Heroes vs. Villains” kind of theme. But, I’m not sure.

Holmes: Are you a big “Survivor” fan?
Gonzalez: I am. I watched it in Puerto Rico growing up. And then I moved to the States and didn’t watch TV for a couple of years, but got back into it about six years ago.
Holmes: Do you ever have “Survivor” stress dreams?
Gonzalez: Oh God, yeah. Probably for the last two months. I’m sitting with four other people and Jeff is walking to me with a paper which is the check. It’s great. And I’m crying. It’s awesome.
Holmes: That’s not a stress dream. That’s a wonderful dream.
Gonzalez: That’s a great dream. It’s stressful because I haven’t even started yet.

Holmes: Alright, I’m going to give you two “Survivor” situations. You tell me which one you would rather deal with.
Gonzalez: Let’s do it. I love these games.
Holmes: That’s basically my whole gimmick. Would you rather align with a Hillary supporter or a Trump supporter?
Gonzalez: Hillary supporter. I hate Trump. All he cares about his power. He scares people into voting for him and he’s extremely racist. And coming from a Hispanic background…he’s pathetic.
Holmes: Steal a vote or eliminate a juror?
Gonzalez: Steal a vote, it’s pretty powerful.
Holmes: Endurance challenge or word puzzle?
Gonzalez: Word puzzle.
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Gonzalez: Sexist…it doesn’t phase me.
Holmes: Voted out first or before the final Tribal?
Gonzalez: Final Tribal?
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Gonzalez: An adulterer…I don’t know why.
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and have to decide to who to take along?
Gonzalez: Win and decide.
Holmes: Caught stealing food or idol hunting?
Gonzalez: Idol hunting. It’s “Survivor.” That’s kind of OK.
Holmes: Align with a super fan or someone who doesn’t watch the show.
Gonzalez: Super fan. That’s a given.
Holmes: Dance challenge or karaoke challenge?
Gonzalez: Dance challenge!
Holmes: What’s your go-to move? Is it the lawnmower?
Gonzalez: The sprinkler. (Laughs)

Holmes: What kind of first impression do you think you put out there?
Gonzalez: Girly girl. She’s a girly girl. She’s got her hair done, she’s got her makeup on. Look at what she’s wearing. She has bright, happy colors. She’s in sandals. She’s probably educated, because I speak kind of proper.

NOTE: The cast members do not know each other’s names at this point. I showed Gonzalez a picture of each of the competitors and asked her to share her first impressions.

 

LIBBY

Gonzalez: Barbie! Extremely concerned with her looks at all times She’s worried about her hair. When she walks she sways her hips so she’s pretty confident. She lingers around the guys a lot so she can flirt with them.
Holmes: If you catch her doing the shoulder rub…
Gonzalez: Oh, that is it.

ANGELA

Gonzalez: She nice, but she’s nervous. She’s twitching a lot, looking around. She’s somebody that you have to reassure. She’s probably going to play a paranoid game. She’s a coffee drinker, so I think she’s going to be a high-anxiety person.

CHELSEA

Gonzalez: She’s nice. But, I believe she is one of those that is very peer-pressure, go-with-the-flow, I’ll do what the crowd thinks. She’s got red hair, which is a trend. So, what’s cool is what she’ll do.

JENNA

Gonzalez: Very dominant. She runs the show. She doesn’t care what you think.

STEPHANIE

Gonzalez: Super friendly. Spending a little time with everyone. She’s likable, which could hurt her. She’ll probably build shallow alliances with everyone.

MORGAN

Gonzalez: She’s a swimmer. Her body is perfectly sculpted. I want her on my team. She’s friendly and kind of quirky.

LAUREL

Gonzalez: She’s built like an ox. (Expletive deleted) She’s definitely a physical threat. She probably runs. Her calves are beautiful. Socially she hasn’t really made a whole lot of connections.

KELLYN

Gonzalez: I like her. She’s smart. She reads big books. She’s focused. She’ll read for an hour straight with no distractions. She’s awkward…I like that. She doesn’t wear much makeup. She’s probably all brains.

DESIREE

Gonzalez: She’s nice, but easily intimidated. I tried to give her a friendly smile and she wouldn’t look at me. I think she’s going to have a wall to break down before you connect with her.

BRADLEY

Gonzalez: He’s analytical like me. I think people will assume he’s not a threat, but he’s going to be a big threat. He’s got a charming smile.

BRENDAN

Gonzalez: He’s super organized. The way he stacks books, the way he reads, he watches what he eats, puts sunscreen on. I think he’s going to be a play-by-the-rules kind of guy.

CHRIS

Gonzalez: He’s extremely cocky and arrogant. I kind of feel bad for him because he’s this over-the-top Ken doll. He waxes his chest, tans four minutes on one side and four minutes on the other. My hands probably have more calluses than his.

SEBASTIAN

Gonzalez: Looks like a surfer kind of guy. Laid-back, not too worried about how to play the game.

WENDELL

Gonzalez: He’s cool. He has this sway about him. He’s down-to-Earth. Not a complainer.

 

JACOB

Gonzalez: He’s cool, he’s super quirky. There’s this great nerdiness about him. He was listening to music and doing the air drums to it. He does want to be liked, though. He’ll be the goofball.

JAMES

Gonzalez: I call it “Little Man Syndrome.” He’s short, but he presents himself in a very dominant way. He’s very fit. He’s going to be a physical threat. But, I don’t know if he’s going to rub people the wrong way.

MICHAEL

Gonzalez: He’s nice, but he’s trying to work his charm with the girls, so I don’t think the guys will like him.

DONATHAN

Gonzalez: I like him, I think he’s gay and I have a lot of really good gay friends. He’s goofy, he’s really quirky, he’s kind of awkward. But, there’s a good aura around him.

DOMENICK

Gonzalez: I think he was in the military. Probably Hispanic or Italian. If he’s Hispanic we’ll click immediately. He eats like me. We’ll have that in common. I don’t know about him playing a good social game.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

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


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