There will be a lot of former Survivors at the ASS Finale, but Jeff Varner will not be one of those stars. He is apparently banned for reporting the Sue/Richard encounter.
There's a dark side to being a reality show quasi-celebrity - and it's actually pretty unpleasant, to hear Jeff Varner tell it. "Hollywood is the real survivor game," says Varner, who is now entertainment news anchor for the TV Guide channel. "The Australian Outback was the warm-up."
The reality is, reality show stars sometimes find themselves being treated as pariahs around these parts. It's no news to Varner that increasingly, stars refuse to attend parties and other Hollywood events if they learn that reality show instant celebs are on the guest list.
"The legitimate actors, we'll call them, believe that the reality shows put them out of work," he says.
"I did a show with a theater company in Hollywood a year ago, acting on stage, and every minute of it was a battle because I was the one who got the press and the attention," Varner says. He recalls such moments as walking into rooms and having his castmates walk out.
Now he's getting some of that kind of cold shoulder treatment from the other on-camera entertainment reporters when he's covering events. But there's a more troublesome new wrinkle: Varner says he was banned from this season's "Survivor" finale for reporting on the Sue Hawk-Richard Hatch sexual harassment story. (Hawk quit "Survivor: All Stars" after an unclad Hatch brushed against her during a challenge.)
"It's a sad thing for me because I do feel a part of that family, and I won't be able to reminisce with my friends. I didn't do anything but say what I knew - what other reporters would do," says Varner, who is "just short" of getting a master's degree in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "But CBS didn't like my story."