Archive for the ‘Fall TV Preview 2010’ Category

Jeff Probst’s ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Picks

September 15, 2010

The time for “Survivor” speculation is quickly coming to an end. But, I didn’t want to head into 39 days of bug bites, starving and backstabbing without hearing from the man who’s seen it all, Mr. Jeff Probst.

So, for XFINITY TV’s final bit of “Survivor” pre-game analysis, let’s find out how Jeff initially felt about the Young Vs. Old concept. Also, who does he think America will love? Who will they hate? And who does he think will surprise us?

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I also wanted to get a better feel for the entire roster of new players. So, I challenged JPro to take part in one of my trademark “Survivor” word association quizzes…

Gordon Holmes: OK, let’s start this off with Tyrone.
Jeff Probst:
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Gordon: Kelly Shinn?
Jeff: Not quite ripe.
Gordon: Judson?
Jeff: “Fast times at Ridgemont High”…Jeff Spicoli!
Gordon: Let’s try Jane.
Jeff: Reminds me of Twila from “Survivor: Vanuatu.”
Gordon: Interesting. How about Wendy Jo?
Jeff: (Laughs) The whitest woman I have ever seen.
Gordon: Shannon?
Jeff: Overblown, dude
Gordon: Sash?
Jeff: Knock that boulder off your shoulder! Life is short! Smile!
Gordon: Alina?
Jeff: Strawberry.
Gordon: Kelly Bruno?
Jeff: Foxhole partner.
Gordon: Marty?
Jeff: Don’t trust ya.
Gordon: Yve?
Jeff: (Looks around) Um…yeah.
Gordon: Ouch. Jimmy T.?
Jeff: Old Milwaukee.
Gordon: Benry?
Jeff: The quintessential snake in the grass.
Gordon: Chase?
Jeff: Red, white and blue.
Gordon: Holly?
Jeff: Bit of a cougar.
Gordon: NaOnka?
Jeff: Reminds me of one of those bounce houses that kids go in and they jump around.
Gordon: Brenda?
Jeff: Charmed, a charmed life.
Gordon: Dan aka Mr. Connected?
Jeff: (Laughs) One too many times in the suntan bed.
Gordon: Jillian?
Jeff: Hardcore.
Gordon: Let’s finish this off with Jimmy Johnson.
Jeff: One of the few guys I would like to work for.

And finally, to whet your appetite for tonight’s premiere, here’s a look at the first two minutes of “Survivor: Nicaragua.”

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Don’t Forget: “Survivor: Nicaragua” premieres Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. And you haven’t been misled, “Survivor” is NOWonWED.

Post-Show Coverage: Be sure to check back tonight for my first episode recap (that is sure to be full of behind-the-scenes tidbits) and Thursday evening for an interview with the first booted castaway.

More “Survivor” Fun: Meet the La Flor and Espada Tribes, check out our Pre-Season “Survivor” Rankings, and see what new twists and challenges “Survivor” has in store for us.

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Mud, Sweat and Tears: Redemption Through a ‘Survivor’ Challenge

September 13, 2010

Visiting the set of “Survivor” is a truly unique experience. The crack crew goes above and beyond to give the press a no-holds-barred look at the show’s production. From pre-show access to the contestants, to visits to the tribe camps, to a seat at the season’s first Tribal Council, we’re allowed to see it all.

But such access comes with a price.

It’s an unwritten rule that every member of the press will eventually have to go toe-to-toe with the buff, tanned, and bruised force known as The Dream Team.

The Dream Team is a collection of twenty young men and women who help Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer fine-tune the reward and immunity challenges. They spend their summers running each challenge until Kirhoffer is satisfied with it.

I’ve squared off against The Dream Team before. In the summer of 2008 on a scorching plain located in the heart of Gabon, Africa we battled in the grueling “Temptation Valley” challenge. I was tethered to five of my fellow press brethren as we hurtled obstacles, trudged through swamps, and dug in the steaming sand.

I left that challenge with three things…

I left with an appreciation for how tough “Survivor” challenges can be. When the exhausting ordeal was over I was handed a cup of sports drink. The members of “Survivor: Gabon’s” Kota and Fang tribes got nothing. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to compete like that on an empty stomach and without a good night’s sleep.

I left with the unique experience of participating in a challenge that was called by Jeff Probst. Now don’t get me wrong, I like to poke fun at JPro as much as anyone, but there’s no disputing the fact that the man has three consecutive Emmys for a reason. I can only imagine that having Jeff call your challenge action is the reality show equivalent of having Harry Carey or Jack Buck call your home run shot in baseball. If Jeff ever does step away from “Survivor,” I pity whoever tries to fill his logo-adorned baseball cap and puka shell necklace.

And I left with an African leech attached to the back of my right knee. It wasn’t that big of a deal, a crew member quickly lopped it off with a machete. It didn’t really hurt and the ladies in attendance were impressed. Win/win!

The one thing I didn’t leave with? A victory.  We were decimated. The Dream Team lived up to their name, leaving us in the dust…and sand…and leech-infested swamp water.

So, while I was excited to visit Nicaragua to see what the “Survivor” crew had in store for their 21st season, the thought of the impending showdown with the Dream Team never left my mind.

As we went about our visit, some details started to leak about the challenge we’d be running. It would be an early version of a challenge that would be used later in the season. We also knew it would involve mud and hay. I used my knowledge of Nicaraguan history to guess that we’d be making some kind of adobe structure.

True to form, I was wrong.

To start off, the tribes will divide into three groups. Four players will be a relay team, two players will be a knot-untying team, and the rest will be the puzzle team.

mudpit hay

The challenge starts off with a player from each relay team diving into a mud pit, then doing a military crawl under a ropes obstacle. Once the players are out of the mud they’ll have to dig through a hay stack to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces. After they’ve found their bag, they’ll hand it off to the untying team. Then, the second member of the relay team will dive into the mud. Once all four of the relay team members have retrieved their bags, the untying team wil go to work untying the knots that are keeping the bags closed. When all four of the bags are untied, they’ll pass the pieces off to the puzzle team. The puzzle was basically a Nicaragua-themed crossword. Once the team has completed the crossword puzzle they’ll use select letters to create a two-word phrase. The first team to unscramble their phrase wins immunity.

You read that last sentence correctly; the winner of this exhibition would indeed win immunity. The Press Team would win immunity from the teasing and prodding they were sure to receive from Mr. Probst and the rest of the crew. While the Dream Team would win immunity from whatever kind of punishment they’d surely be in for if they lost to the out-of-shape, overweight, past-their-prime Press Team. The “Survivor” crew will tell you that the Press Challenge exists to help the cameramen know where to set up, or give Jeff some practice before the show starts, or to make sure the challenge is balanced. But the truth is, the “Survivor” crew doesn’t want anyone coming in and showing up the Dream Team.

Also, the winning team would receive a case of delicious Tona beer.

NOTE: XFINITY TV does not encourage drinking.

Win or lose, I wanted Probst to give his take on how I performed. Unfortunately the way the schedule worked out, I was going to do my video interview with JPro the day before we ran the challenge. So, we decided to pretend the competition had already taken place. What follows is how Jeff assumed I’d do in the challenge.
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Frankly, it was a safe bet that history would repeat itself and it definitely makes for a more amusing video. But, a funny thing happened on the way to the Nicaraguan mud pit…

“I’ve got to say I was very surprised that the Press did so well,” Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer admitted. “I thought the Dream Team was going to smoke them.”

The first member of the Press relay team had a terrible time finding her puzzle pieces. As she dug into the huge pile of hay, several members of the Dream Team were able to pass her. It got so bad that the crew was worried that they had forgotten to put the bags of puzzle pieces into place. She eventually found them, but not before the Dream Team had built a significant lead.

I watched the second member of our team plow through the mud as I stood in the third slot (not unlike Albert Pujols). She made it through the course quickly, but all four of the Dream Team members had retrieved their puzzle pieces at that point.

I charged toward the mud pit and dove in head first. I must’ve hit it just right, because when I raised my head up, I was already halfway through the ropes course. I crawled through and pulled myself out of the slop.

Note: Before the challenge, the Press Team discussed digging into the bottom of the hay pile. Our reasoning was that the bags of puzzle pieces would eventually sink to the bottom of the stack. For some unknown reason, I decided to ignore this strategy.

With a full of head of steam, (well as full as it can be when you’re trying to keep your shorts up – mud is heavy), I dove into the pile of hay head first. Probst obviously approved of this tactic as he exclaimed, “That is how you do it!”

I dug through the hay as quickly as I could. Eventually I saw a glimpse of blue and grabbed for it. It was the bag. Success! I joined my other relay members and handed off my bag. The anchor for our relay team tore through the course as well. We were still behind the Dream Team, but we were definitely back in business.

The remainder of the challenge was out of our hands, but we had left it in very capable hands. The untying team made up a ton of time and narrowed the Dream Team’s lead. And the puzzle team managed to complete the crossword portion slightly ahead of the Dream Team.

Both sides hovered around their puzzles. But from where I was standing I had no clue which side was closer to completing the scrambled words.

It was then that I heard JPro say the words I had traveled 2061.4 miles to hear, “The Press Team wins!”

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit how elated we were by a victory that ultimately meant nothing, but we were downright giddy. Hugs and high-fives were exchanged and some good-natured ribbing was directed toward the Dream Team. Even Mr. Probst took a minute to rescind his earlier assertion that I would perform poorly…

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“As a perfect “Survivor” challenge would have it, it all came down to the puzzle,” Kirhoffer reasoned. “The puzzle was the catch-up mechanism and the Dream Team got stuck on that.”

And as disappointed as the crew was to watch their pride and joy drop a challenge to clearly inferior competition, they had to have been a little pleased that they had achieved their goal of creating challenges that older people could compete in with younger people.

The only question that remained was, how much berating would the poor Dream Team face from Mr. Kirhoffer after losing to the out-of-shape, overweight, past-their-prime Press Team? “It’s fairly quick,” Kirhoffer explained. “I say, ‘Now it’s up to you to buy the beer and put it on ice and deliver it to them.’ And that’s what they did.”

Don’t Forget: “Survivor: Nicaragua” premieres Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. And yes, the rumors are true, “Survivor” is NOWonWED.

More “Survivor” Fun: Meet the La Flor and Espada Tribes, check out our Pre-Season “Survivor” Rankings, and see what new twists and challenges “Survivor” has in store for us.

‘Survivor’ Challenge Producer Spills Some Challenge Secrets

September 8, 2010

If I were a “Survivor” contestant, I’d probably hate John Kirhoffer.

As the man behind all of “Survivor’s” immunity and reward challenges, Kirhoffer is the reason why Ace Gordon was smacked in the face with a watermelon, why Tom Westman had to cling to a pole for twelve hours, and why Ashley Trainer had to try to drink a disgusting sea slug smoothie. He can make a contestant’s life a living hell.

But, seeing as I get to sit on my couch and watch and laugh, I’d say I love John Kirhoffer.

I had a chance to speak with “Survivor’s” Challenge Producer during my trip to San Juan del Sur this past summer to find out which reality show stole his “Eat Weird Things” idea, who his dream contestant is, and what he’s got in store for the Nicaragua contestants.

Gordon Holmes: “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” featured all classic challenges. Did that give you an opportunity to reload and come up with some new stuff for Nicaragua?
John Kirhoffer:
Yeah. I loved “Heroes vs. Villains.” That was one of my favorite seasons ever, for the record. And it was a good opportunity to do all classic challenges and to bring back our favorites. This year we’ve endeavored to try all different challenges. So, in old vs. young we have…mostly new challenges.
Gordon: Mostly?
John: (Laughs) There are a couple of classic challenges. My boss Mark (Burnett) loves classic challenges. So there are some classics, and some are reminiscent, but the vast majority are brand new.

Note: At this point a CBS representative had become enthralled with the interview process and decided to ask her own question.

CBS Representative: How do you incorporate all of the local flavor into the challenges?
John:
Whenever we come to a location we study the history and the culture and the environment. The art department, the production designers start putting those elements in.
Gordon: Like this season’s Conquistador theme?
John: The Conquistador theme, we want to go with this theme because it’s very Nicaraguan. So, you’ll see this theme in the production design and then in some of the challenges. We always find out about the local sports and historic and cultural things and incorporate that into the challenges. Whatever country we go to we always use their history and culture in the production design and as inspiration for the challenges.
Gordon: Does the Nicaraguan terrain provide any advantages or disadvantages for creating challenges?
John: We’re doing the majority of the challenges down by a beach. There are some beautiful areas in there with some swamps, jungles, big trees. So yeah, it does help.

Gordon: Are there any contestants that you’re excited for this season?
John: I’m a huge NFL fan, so seeing Jimmy Johnson out there is exciting. Other than having Gene Simmons from KISS out there, Jimmy Johnson is about as big as it gets for me.
Gordon: Which NFL team do you pull for?
John: The Green Bay Packers.
Gordon: Oh, so you might be a little hard on Jimmy then?
John: (Laughs) No, he’s a legend.

Gordon: Speaking of legends, what can you tell me about “The Dream Team”?
John:
The Dream Team are twenty young men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 who test and rehearse all of the challenges. They are my production assistants. And when they’re not testing challenges they’re working in the art department painting things, helping move things, assisting the carpenters. And they are a force of young men and women who are here to learn about making television. And one of my proudest achievements in “Survivor” for the last 11 years is that there are over 30 former Dream Teamers in full-time positions in this crew right now. And, a couple dozen more than that are out working in television. One of my Dream Teamers has an Emmy, he won an Emmy last year for cinematography, Marc Bennett (“Out Of The Wild: The Alaska Experiment: What Did I Sign Up For?”).
Gordon: Do you get part of their salary?
John: I get 25% of their salary for life. I’m like an agent. (Laughs) No, I don’t get anything. I get their eternal love…I hope.
Gordon: Is being a Dream Teamer the best summer job ever?
John: I would’ve killed to be a Dream Teamer when I was in college.

Gordon: My personal favorite challenges are the endurance challenges. It used to be, “Here, stand on this post and we’ll see you in twenty hours.” Are we going to be seeing anything like that in “Survivor: Nicaragua”?
John:
You will not see anything that lasts twenty hours, but you will see some endurance challenges.

Gordon: My second favorite challenges are the “Eat Weird Things” challenges.
John:
(Laughs)
Gordon: Will we be seeing anything like that this season?
John: We have no “Eat Weird Things” scheduled for this season. We try to give it a break every once in a while. If you follow the show, we try to give the auction a break. It’s a staple of the show, but we want to give it a break. The “Eat Weird Things” challenge was great in the early days before “Fear Factor.” We came up with that. But, it also was generated with, “Here are things that indigenous people actually eat to survive on.” It was not just what can you eat without vomiting. And what happened was after about six seasons or so, we went to all these different regions, and it started to get repetitive. “Oh, they eat the same kinds of spiders here, they eat the same kind of bugs here and the same kinds of roaches.” Then we tried smoothies. We put them in a blender. But, we’re giving that a break this season.
Gordon: I don’t know if my recorder picked that up, but that was the sound of my heart breaking.
John: (Laughs) My aunt, too. She’s like, “Tell me they’re going to eat something weird! I love it when they eat weird stuff!”

Don’t Forget: “Survivor: Nicaragua” premieres Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. And yes, the rumors are true, “Survivor” is NOWonWED.

More “Survivor” Fun: Meet the La Flor and Espada Tribes, check out our Pre-Season “Survivor” Rankings, and see what new twists “Survivor” has in store for us.

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Preliminary Rankings

August 11, 2010

It took months of begging and pleading, but the Fancast higher-ups eventually agreed to send me to Nicaragua to cover the 21st season of “Survivor.” Apparently they had two reasons for relenting. First, I’d be able to bring you exclusive interviews with the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, and other first-hand tidbits. And second, they enjoy it when Jeff Probst berates me (which he did…often).

To kick off our look inside “Survivor,” I’ve ranked this season’s players based on what I saw of them in the days before the start of the game.

NOTE: This preliminary ranking, while informative, will not count toward this season’s Power Ranking score. (Speaking of which, be on the lookout for one of my personal favorite villains as this season’s Power Rankings opponent.)

So without further ado, let’s see who’s in it for the long haul, who’ll be called for jury duty, and who’ll be forgotten by the time the reunion special airs.

Marty KellyB
#1 Marty – When I first sat down with Marty I thought, “This guy is right in my ‘Survivor’ wheel house. He’s physical enough to be useful early on, he’s not too strong where he’d be an obvious boot after the merge, and he seems cunning enough to come up with some sound strategies.” So, Marty is my pick to take home the million. The bad news for Marty? When I went out to “Survivor: Gabon” I picked Michelle Chase…and she went home first. #2 Kelly B. – Kelly’s prosthetic leg won’t be a factor physically during her time on “Survivor.” She’s already proven that she can successfully compete in athletic competitions while wearing it. That, and I barely even noticed it during our time together. It’s not a big deal to her, so it quickly won’t be a big deal to her tribe mates.  However, it could affect her game if people are afraid to go to the finals with someone who has such an inspirational story.
Yve Judson
#3 Yve – I think being successful in “Survivor” requires having several different weapons and knowing when to use them. Nobody has more weapons this season than Yve. She’s on the older tribe, but she’s only 41 and can still relate to the younger tribe. As a mother of two, she could easily slip into a mother role with some of the younger players (ala Tina Wesson). If that doesn’t work, she’s also quite beautiful and could use her feminine wiles to keep her around. I think she’s definitely one to watch. #4 Judson – It’d be really easy to write “Jud-weiser” off because he’s a good-looking, goofy guy. But while I was talking to him, I couldn’t help but think, “Here’s an easy-going fellow on a tribe full of alpha males.” While Benry, Shannon, and Sash are jockeying for position at the top of the tribe, Judson can just coast for a while.
Alina Tyrone
#5 Alina – I worry that Alina might be trying to play a character and isn’t being herself. I think she can survive in the game and may even make a run for it, but she’s going to have to curb the faux tough girl exterior. The pleasant, easy-to-talk-to young woman I met didn’t click with the “Don’t call me the girl next door” rhetoric that was in her biography. #6  Tyrone – I was told about the young vs. old twist the night before I met the players. My first instinct was, “The young tribe is going to decimate the older tribe in challenges.” That was before I met Tyrone. He’s built like a WWE action figure and is arguably the most physically fit competitor in the game.  Add to that the fact that he’s smart, he’s a motivator, and he has more life experience than his younger counterparts and you have an extremely dangerous player.
Jane Shannon
#7 Jane – Quick Jane Story: I did a bit with the players where I asked them how they’d get me to share the cast bios with them if we were in the game together. Jane simply said, “I’d tickle you, then take them.” I laughed, then continued on with my questions. At the end of the interview, she charged me, tickled me, and snatched the bios away. The whole thing took all of three seconds. Fortunately, I snatched the bios back before she could read them. But, that little incident proved to me that Jane is clearly evil and willing to do anything to get what she wants. It’d be foolish to underestimate her. #8 Shannon – The La Flor tribe has a powerhouse line-up of young studs. However, they also have a powder keg of alpha males. When the inevitable clash of egos takes place between Shannon, Benry, and Sash, I’m putting my money on Shannon to be the last man standing. Why? Because I think he can relate to Chase and Judson.
Jillian Benry
#9 Jillian – I’m not sure exactly what to make of Jillian. She’s obviously very fit physically and will be able to handle the Nicaraguan wilderness. But, she also told me she’s not afraid to speak her mind. She’ll need to keep that instinct in check if she wants to stick around. If not, she could be an early boot. I’m putting her in the middle of the pack for the time being. #10 Benry – My buddy Benry seems to pride himself on being a player. Which is fine…in real life. On “Survivor” when somebody is looking for a reason to get rid of you it could be just what they need to sway some female votes to go their way. If he can avoid getting stamped with that label, he could go far.
NaOnka Chase
#11 NaOnka – I think NaOnka is going to surprise a lot of people. Physically she’s got the goods to hold her own in any immunity challenge and she has the outdoor experience to handle 39 days on a beach. If she can get in with a solid alliance she could go a long way. #12 Chase – Chase is big, Chase is strong, Chase is very likable. What Chase isn’t is a big fan of “Survivor.” He might not be prepared for the non-stop mental toll all of the paranoia takes on your psyche.
JimmyJ Holly
#13 Jimmy J. – If Jimmy Johnson was just a celebrity who wanted to extend his 15 minutes, I’d say he was dead in the water.  But, Jimmy has wanted to be on “Survivor” since the day it premiered. And, Jimmy confided in me that he’s going to tell people to take him to the end because he can’t possibly win. Seems like a good strategy. His main problem? Sandra used that exact same strategy last season and won. Sorry, Jimmy. #14 Holly – Holly has a lot of public speaking experience, being a pageant consultant and the wife of a politician. Now, maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it seems like society has trained us to find both of those pursuits to be somewhat disingenuous. If she starts dancing around with her words, she could find herself out of the game quickly.
JimmyT BrendaL
#15 Jimmy T. – I’m not sure if there’s a way to put this nicely so I’m just going to say it – Jimmy T. doesn’t quite know when to be shut up. He can get on a person’s nerves quickly. He’s a nice guy and obviously knows a great deal about “Survivor,” but I could see him being sent home if he starts to annoy the rest of his tribe. #16 Brenda – I love Brenda. Adore her. Anyone who claims to be “As deceptive as a Decepticon” in her interview earns serious points with me.  However, the same thing that makes me adore her is what’s going to have the older tribe gunning for her. Her youthful enthusiasm is going to put a major target on her back.
KellyS Dan
#17 Kelly S. – Kelly is a very sweet girl, but she’s lived a charmed life. If I’m on her tribe and I’m listening about how she was the captain of the cheerleading squad and is currently going to school in Hawaii, I’d probably be thinking that this young lady doesn’t need a million dollars. Besides, with the way her life is going, she’ll probably win the lottery several times. #18 Dan – Oh, Mr Connected! I love me some Dan Lembo. Couldn’t ask for a nicer, more welcoming guy. I wish he was my next-door neighbor and we grilled together every Sunday. That’s why it’s a shame his time in Nicaragua is going to be so brief. If the older tribe falls behind and they have to make choices based on physical prowess rather than people they like, he’ll be one of the first to go.
Wendy Sash
#19 Wendy – Not many people know this, but the Survivors get to see each other before the game starts. On the flight over, while waiting for their press interviews, while they’re having their pictures taken. Now, they’re not allowed to talk to each other, but that doesn’t mean they’re not reading the other players’ body language. What was the most common thing I heard from the players about Wendy? “The cowgirl has to go home first.” #20 Sash – The worst thing about living in a post-Russell world is that there are sure to be some imitators. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my pick for Russell 2.0. Sash told me he was going to manipulate thoughts, smash dreams and about a dozen other things straight out of the Hantz Playbook. Fortunately, I don’t think tribes are going to fall for it any more. If they see someone acting too Russell-like they’re going to send him packing.

More “Survivor” Fun: Check out our exclusive cast interviews and learn about this season’s new twist, the Medallion of Power.

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ to Introduce the Medallion of Power

August 9, 2010

Hot on the heels of their wildly popular “Heroes Vs. Villains” season, the crew at “Survivor” isn’t planning to rest on their laurels. They’re coming out swinging with some new twists and innovations that are sure to spice up their 21st trip into the wilderness…

The Young Vs. Old Experiment – This season the twenty competitors will be split up based on their ages. Players thirty years and younger will become members of the yellow La Flor tribe, while those that are forty years and older will be a part of the blue Espada tribe. In order to keep the younger tribe from decimating the older tribe in immunity and reward challenges, the competitions have been engineered to require strategy as well as physical prowess.

The Medallion of Power – No, the Medallion of Power isn’t what Princess Adora used to transform into She-Ra, it’s a way for a tribe to gain an advantage. One Medallion of Power will be available during the game. If a tribe has possession of the MOP and chooses to play it, they’ll receive a distinct advantage (like a head start or a puzzle clue) in the following immunity challenge. However, once the challenge is over the MOP will transfer to the opposing tribe.

“The whole idea is to create some conflict and a dilemma,” said “Survivor” host Jeff Probst. “What do you go for? If immunity is on the line do you play for the advantage, or are you cocky enough, like the young people could be, and say, ‘We don’t need the advantage, we can take them without it.’”

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Russell-Proof Idols – Russell Hantz’s turn-the-camp-upside-down-looking-for-hidden-idols strategy in “Samoa” and “Heroes Vs. Villains” saved him from a few early exits. However, fans were nearly unanimous in their distaste for the ease in which these hidden immunity idols were discovered. The “Survivor” team has heard your concerns and has reacted by making the idols much more difficult to uncover.

“Survivor: Nicaragua” premieres Wednesday, September 15, 2010 on CBS at 8 p.m. ET.

More “Survivor” Fun: Meet the members of the La Flor and the Espada Tribes.

Even More “Survivor” Fun: Xfinity TV sent “Survivor” Know-it-All Gordon Holmes to Nicaragua to get a first-hand look at the filming of the latest edition of “Survivor.” Be sure to check back for exclusive interviews with the cast and host Jeff Probst, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, and Gordon’s personal (and somewhat muddy) account of what it’s like to compete in an actual immunity challenge.

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Contestants Revealed – Meet the Espada Tribe

August 9, 2010

The contestants for the 21st season of “Survivor” were unveiled by CBS this morning. The twenty players, who will compete for a million dollar prize, have been divided into separate tribes based on their ages. Contestants under the age of thirty will compete as part of the yellow La Flor tribe, while those who are forty years and older will join forces as the Espada tribe.

To view the members of the La Flor tribe, click here.

Jillian Jane
Name: Jillian Behm
Age: 43
Current Residence: Erie, PA
Occupation: Emergency Room Doctor

Jillian is a national-caliber cyclist and prides herself on being able to hold her own against the best male and female riders.

Watch Jillian’s Interview

Name: Jane Bright
Age: 56
Current Residence: Jackson Spring, NC
Occupation: Dog Trainer

Jane is an accomplished dog trainer and runs her family’s 134-acre farm. She enjoys water skiing, snow skiing, and showing her dogs.

Watch Jane’s Interview

Tyrone Wendy
Name: Tyrone Davis
Age: 42
Current Residence: Inglewood, CA
Occupation: Fire Captain

When Tyrone isn’t leading his fire fighters through dangerous situations, he teaches a spin class, snowboards, dances, and writes songs.

Watch Tyrone’s Interview

Name: Wendy DeSmidt-Kohlhoff
Age: 48
Current Residence: Fromberg, MT
Occupation: Retired Army Officer

Wendy ascended to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. In her 22 years of service she oversaw nearly 200 nurses in her clinics.

Watch Wendy’s Interview

Holly JimmyJ
Name: Holly Hoffman
Age: 44
Current Residence: Eureka, SD
Occupation: Swim Coach

Holly splits her time between being a volleyball official, swim team coach, a pageant consultant, and a campaign manager for her husband’s political career.

Watch Holly’s Interview

Name: Jimmy Johnson
Age: 66
Current Residence: Islamorada, FL
Occupation: TV Sports Broadcaster

The two-time Super Bowl champion has been trying to get on “Survivor” for years. He was originally slated to compete in “Survivor: Gabon” before a medical condition took him out of the running.

Watch Jimmy’s Interview

Dan Marty
Name: Dan Lembo
Age: 63
Current Residence: Watermill, NY
Occupation: Property Management

Known as “Mr. Connected,” Dan claims he’s going to lie, cheat, and steal to get to the end of “Survivor.” Dan’s also known to date much younger women…maybe he’s on the wrong tribe?

Watch Dan’s Interview

Name: Marty Piombo
Age: 48
Current Residence: Mill Valley, CA
Occupation: Wine Industry Executive

Marty rose to the top of the corporate world as an executive at Yahoo! He feels the dirty political moves that are necessary to rise in business will serve him well in “Survivor.”

Watch Marty’s Interview

Yve JimmyT
Name: Yve Rojas
Age: 41
Current Residence: Kansas City, KS
Occupation: Stay-at-Home Mom

Yve isn’t your ordinary married mother of two. She spent her 40th birthday sitting topless by a pool and enjoying a quarter-pound hamburger.

Watch Yve’s Interview

Name: Jimmy “Jimmy T.” Tarantino
Age: 48
Current Residence: Gloucester, MA
Occupation: Fisherman/Government Seafood Inspector

“Jimmy T.” was the winner of the first-ever CBS/Sears “Survivor” Online Casting Call. His hometown was instrumental in rocking the vote and earning him the coveted slot in the game.

Watch Jimmy T’s Interview

More “Survivor” Fun: Check out some of the new twists in store for the “Survivor: Nicaragua” contestants.

Even More “Survivor” Fun: Xfinity TV sent “Survivor” Know-it-All Gordon Holmes to Nicaragua to get a first-hand look at the filming of the latest edition of “Survivor.” Be sure to check back for exclusive interviews with the cast and host Jeff Probst, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, and Gordon’s personal (and somewhat muddy) account of what it’s like to compete in an actual immunity challenge.

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Contestants Revealed – Meet the La Flor Tribe

August 9, 2010

The contestants for the 21st season of “Survivor” were unveiled by CBS this morning. The twenty players, who will compete for a million dollar prize, have been divided into separate tribes based on their ages. Contestants under the age of thirty will compete as part of the yellow La Flor tribe, while those who are forty years and older will join forces as the Espada tribe.

To view the members of the Espada tribe, click here.

Judson KellyB
Name: Judson “Fabio” Birza
Age: 20
Current Residence: Venice, CA
Occupation: Student/Model/Musician

Judson is a self-professed goof ball who surfs and plays drums for his band, Space Funk Odyssey.

Watch Judson’s Interview

Name: Kelly Bruno
Age: 25
Current Residence: Durham, NC
Occupation: Medical Student

Kelly hasn’t let the fact that she lost her leg to a birth defect stop her from doing anything. Today she is a medical student and a world class disabled tri-athlete.

Watch Kelly B’s Interview

Shannon Benry
Name: Shannon Elkins
Age: 30
Current Residence: Lafayette, LA
Occupation: Business Owner

Confidence has never been a problem for Shannon. His “Survivor” audition video started with him saying, “I hear it’s your tenth anniversary. Well here’s your present. My name’s Shannon.”

Watch Shannon’s Interview

Name: Ben “Benry” Henry
Age: 23
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Bar Owner

“Benry” prides himself on being a player, and is confident that he can manipulate any woman into doing whatever he wants them to do. However, he has a younger sister, so he’s careful not to go too far.

Watch Benry’s Interview

Sash BrendaL
Name: Matthew “Sash” Lenahan
Age: 30
Current Residence: New York, NY
Occupation: Luxury Real Estate Broker

“Sash” believes his career has perfectly prepared him for “Survivor.” In his job he has to “manipulate people’s thoughts and dreams while crushing the competition.”

Watch Sash’s Interview

Name: Brenda Lowe
Age: 27
Current Residence: Miami, FL
Occupation: Business Owner

This former Miami Dolphin cheerleader isn’t just another pretty face.  Brenda owns her own paddle boarding company and is the assistant to a CEO of a music licensing company.

Watch Brenda’s Interview

NaOnka Chase
Name: NaOnka Mixon
Age: 27
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Physical Education Teacher
Don’t be fooled by NaOnka’s smiling exterior. She may get to play around and be a kid in her day job, but she’s prepared to be a cunning competitor once the game starts.

Watch NaOnka’s Interview

Name: Chase Rice
Age: 24
Current Residence: Charlotte, NC
Occupation: NASCAR Jackman/Country Singer
Chase isn’t concerned with the attention he may receive from female contestants. As a NASCAR pit crew member, he’s been dealing with female fans (known as “pit lizards”) for years.

Watch Chase’s Interview

KellyS Alina
Name: Kelly Shinn
Age: 20
Current Residence: Mesa, AZ
Occupation: Student
As a former captain of her high school cheering squad and homecoming queen, Kelly is used to being the center of attention. Now the pre-med college student spends plenty of time outdoors hiking, surfing, and paddle boarding.

Watch Kelly S’s Interview

Name: Alina Wilson
Age: 23
Current Residence: Downey, CA
Occupation: Student/Model

Alina hopes people make the mistake of writing her off as a pretty girl. She believes she was made for “Survivor” and is prepared to have “wars.”

Watch Alina’s Interview

More “Survivor” Fun: See what twists and turns the “Survivor” crew has in store for the new contestants.

Even More “Survivor” Fun: Xfinity TV sent “Survivor” Know-it-All Gordon Holmes to Nicaragua to get a first-hand look at the filming of the latest edition of “Survivor.” Be sure to check back for exclusive interviews with the cast and host Jeff Probst, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, and Gordon’s personal (and somewhat muddy) account of what it’s like to compete in an actual immunity challenge.

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Twist Revealed

July 28, 2010

The 21st season of the hit reality competition “Survivor” will be a battle for the ages (or more accurately a battle between the ages) as a tribe of younger players will be squaring off against a tribe of older players.

The tribe wearing yellow buffs will be known as La Flor and will consist of ten players who are under thirty years of age. While the blue tribe, which will be known as Espada, will be made up of ten players who are forty years and older.

“Survivor: Nicaragua” will premiere on CBS on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 8 p.m. ET.


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