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Jeff Probst blogs Survivor Nicaragua

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Taken from:

Hello Survivor fans! Hello Jimmy Johnson!! Hello Wednesday night!!

Episode one of our 21st season is complete and it turns out Wendy’s husband was right. More on that later…

I’m very curious to see how the audience responds to having Jimmy Johnson on the show. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably old enough to know that Jimmy is one of the most successful football coaches in the history of the game — both college and the NFL. Even if you’re younger, but still a football fan, then you no doubt know him as one of the most colorful Pro football analysts on television. I’m happy to say that I now know him as a Survivor contestant.

Jimmy was not recruited as some sort of a “stunt casting” idea. Jimmy applied…on his own… three times to be on the show. As he said himself, he hasn’t missed a second of the show… ever. The first two times he applied he didn’t pass his physical so he was turned down. But this time he not only passed his physical, he made it on the show!

The very first thing I noticed was the jealousy that Marty and Jimmy T have for Coach Jimmy. The younger guys would have loved to hang out with one of the greatest football legends of all time because they weren’t threatened. Marty was threatened. Immediately. Curious how our egos work. If I was in the game, maybe I would have felt the same way, who knows. But right now Marty and Jimmy T seem more concerned with Jimmy Johnson than they do anything else. That is not a good sign for the older group.


We are always looking for ways to ignite the opening moments of a season and the idea this year centered around finding the Medallion of Power, or as I like to say, “The Medallion of POWWWWWWWWWWER!”

INSIGHT: From a production point of view here is the dilemma with an opening scramble that involves looking for something that is hidden:
You want to be able to film whomever finds the Medallion so that means you need to have plenty of camera operators near the location of the Medallion. But if you put the camera operators all in one spot then you are giving away where the Medallion is located.

So.. we set up fake camera jibs, and brought in extra operators and put them on scaffolding and stationed them in various spots so that even the savvy player would not be able to figure out where the Medallion was hidden simply by studying the camera positions. It worked. The contestants scattered all different ways and Brenda was the one who spotted it sitting up in a tree and snagged it for her tribe.


This idea to divide Old v Young came straight from casting. Once we had Jimmy J, Jimmy T (from a Sears sponsored contestant search), Jane (the woman who started fiiiiiire!) and Marty we knew we had the beginnings of a great older tribe. So we just went with it and from that point forward we knew we had to create two tribes – one old, one young – that were as equal as they could be given the age difference.


The game is young but here is who popped out to me right away:

JIMMY T: “I just gotta say this… I’m not gonna be not be heard here, I’m not gonna be not be heard.” I love this guy. He won a Sears casting contest to get on the show and has already delivered as much of a wallop as a box full of their Craftsman tools. He is going to have to cool it though if he wants to last long. Jimmy, sometimes you are going to have to “not be, not be heard.” In your case, it might be a good thing if they don’t always hear you.
HOLLY makes me smile and laugh and tilt my head like a dog all at the same time. She’s a bit of an enigma to me at this point, but I know I like having her on the show. From the moment we met her in casting I felt there was a lot more going on than meets the eye.
JANE! You gotta love a woman who can start fire! Jane is tailor made for this show. She is no-nonsense, has a great work ethic and she personifies the idea of “where there is a will, there is a way.”
MARTY is a villain. He won’t see it that way and he’s probably already mad at me for saying this, but right out of the gate, he is a villain. Thankfully… Survivor loves villains!

SHANNON is fortunately…or unfortunately… the type of guy who often ends up on a reality show these days. He’s a muscular, good looking, hot headed “dude” who it turns out is a pretty funny interview:
*”It’s important we don’t let these girls take over. I mean we already getting owned in marriage. Pretty soon we’ll have a woman President.”
* “He’s just a dumb blonde. I’ve never called a guy a dumb blonde before, but that’s what he is.”
* “A guy needs to sack up and we need to win this.”
SASH – it’s not so much what Sash says, it’s how he says it and how he looks when he says it. I hope he’s around a long time.
FABIO is perhaps my favorite. I am a huge fan of Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Fabio is Survivor’s version of Jeff Spicoli who was played beautifully by Sean Penn. If you have never seen that movie, it’s worth a watch. Hilarious. Whether it’s the massive splinter he got in his arch moments into the show or the pincher on the finger, he’s funny. Best of all, he seems to have a really good sense of humor about himself. You gotta like that.
KELLY B, not to be confused with PURPLE KELLY is obviously an inspiration but that will not be enough to get her through 39 days. Her tribe is already targeting her.. not because they think she can win challenges, or will be great at the social game, or because she is crafty at tribal council. They’re voting her out because she has an artificial leg and it makes them uncomfortable because they think she’ll garner too much sympathy.
We humans are a nutty group. Certainly this group, anyway! Not one person has even considered the idea of “I wonder how she’ll do…” or… “I’d love to see what she can achieve in the challenges.” Nope. This is a cut-throat game for a million dollars. It’s survival of the fittest. Little do they know she has accomplished more athletic achievements than most all of them combined.
NAONKA.. relax. I didn’t forget about you. You’re pretty hard to forget. Yeah, I know. You already know that. Naonka will become more polarizing the longer she lasts in the game. You will either respect her honesty or absolutely despise her. One thing is certain people will have an opinion. She already knows that too.

The older tribe had the Medallion of Power and they decided not to use it. They’ll tell you they were smart to not use it because it wouldn’t have made a difference. While that is probably true, most of their confidence comes from back seat driving, or better yet, Monday morning quarterbacking because the challenge didn’t play out quite as planned. Let me explain…

INSIGHT: Despite testing our first challenge over and over, the Survivors did something that we didn’t count on. We expected the gutters to go from left to right, back and forth, because that is how the challenge was built to play. Instead, they simply formed one long gutter system, and it worked much better than what we had planned. As a result the challenge went much faster and because of that it reduced the amount of an ‘advantage” they would have had. Would the Medallion advantage have made enough difference for them to win? We’ll never know. But had the challenge been played the way it was tested and rehearsed, it most definitely would have made a difference.

If they resist using the Medallion of Power next challenge then we’ll know they’re not smart, just foolish.


First of all did you catch what Jane said!? She said she read an article in which I talked about the importance of making fire… and she listened! Who listens to anything I say? I’m an idiot. Never listen to me. I’m rarely right. I mean it. Especially when it comes to driving directions. If I say -“go right” – you should always “go left.” And when you turn left, invariably, I’ll tell you, “No, really this time I am pretty sure it really is right.” Don’t do it. Close the ears and put the pedal to the metal because it’s left all the way.

Nonetheless, Jane listened and she learned how to make fire and whadaya know it paid off big time for the older tribe. I love when the Survivors have a victory. They are so few and far between.

Okay now back to the older tribe’s biggest hurdle.. their ego.

JIMMY T – Dude. Get off the “I am jealous of Jimmy Johnson” bandwagon.
I am blown away. Blown away that Jimmy T and Marty are more concerned about being the top dog than they are about winning.
Jimmy T actually said: If he (Jimmy Johnson) leads so well.. the jury will let him win the game.” You nut! If Jimmy Johnson can actually lead THAT well… let him lead you! There will be plenty of chances to cut his throat later in the game.
Consider the dichotomy of the human existence for just a moment. We’ve made some amazing achievements in our time here on earth: The incredible breakthroughs we’ve made in science, the world we’re discovering under the sea, the machines we’ve built that allow us to communicate instantly all over the world, the ability to correct vision problems, reduce cholesterol, make artificial limbs and invent pocket sized cell phones! We sent a man to the moon for crying out loud.. and he came back! Hello…we invented Viagra! We’re even open to the idea of J-LO on American Idol, but we can’t get out of our own way when it comes to EGO. It’s fascinating.


Turns out Wendy’s husband was right. As Wendy said on the show: “My husband thinks I’ll be first out.” Yep. Smart fella.
Well Wendy, I hope your husband said it and meant it with love because despite the fact that you didn’t fit in with this group you are absolutely charming in your own unique way and just before the vote, you uttered my favorite line of the night:
“…and I don’t have any blisters on my feet. That’s an asset. ”
Sorry you left so soon, I’ll miss the accent and the hat!


If you’re feeling smart…CBS put the clue to the Hidden Idol Immunity online ( so you can take a gander and see if you can figure it out before the Survivors do!

See ya next week!

Jeff Probst blogs 'Survivor: Nicaragua': Episode 2

I have to start by saying… “Thank You!”

You guys are the greatest and most loyal audience a show could ever hope to have on its side!

After dominating Thursday night at 8pm for nearly 10 years, Survivor moved to Wednesday night. This was a big move. What would happen? Would our audience stay with us or would this be the beginning of the end?

Well, not only was Survivor the #1 show of the night in all the key demos, holllla…!… but our ratings actually went up from a year ago. That just does-not-happen in television these days.

It’s all because of you. You stayed with us. You changed your viewing habits. Whatever you were watching on Wednesday nights, you’re not anymore.

So.. once again, we say thank you.

Okay now onto the episode.

Hellllllo crazy woman #2! You thought Wendy was a little wacky, hang on, cause here comes Holly!

It’s only day 4 or 5 and already she is losing her mind. Let me preface all of this by saying that I actually really enjoy Holly. I think she’s a good person and she just had a very rough first few days, but man she was going bonkers.

As is so often the case, we didn’t have enough time to show you all the different ways that Holly was losing her mind, but I don’t think you need to see much more than her taking somebody’s expensive dress shoes, filling them with sand and tossing them in the ocean… for what appeared to be no good reason.

On second thought – what’s crazier? Sinking a pair of $1600 alligator shoes in the ocean… or paying $1600 for a pair of shoes?! Dan… sixteen hundred dollars? Really? For a pair of shoes? Alligator, no less? All of it just feels very wrong. Maybe Holly did you a favor sinking those things. Then again you’ve probably already replaced them and plan on wearing them at the live show in December!

Note to Jimmy T: – the reason nobody is asking you what you think is because you’re always telling everybody what you think. God gave you ears for a reason – try listening for a change. Man. I have a lot of patience but I will be honest, I’d be hard pressed not to vote out Jimmy T – regardless if he was in my alliance, if he had six idols, even if his uncle was Les Moonves, my boss. Okay, maybe I’d put up with him if indeed his uncle was Les Moonves. But I’d want proof first. Otherwise – el gonzo.

Hey Marty, don’t start patting yourself on the back. You’re not out of the Probst doghouse either. Granted, you are much more controlled, much more subdued and a far better listener than Jimmy T. But your determination to get rid of Jimmy Johnson is irrational. It’s envy. Pure envy, brotha. You know I’m speaking the truth. You should rethink it… the man can lead. He’s calm.

Did you see the way he talked Holly back into the game. He was very comforting and he did it without judgment. That’s leadership. He understands that people have ups and downs. No big deal. He knows the key is to simply get your head back in the game and everything will be okay.

Marty and Jimmy T – I’m gonna say it again – ease up on Jimmy J. There’s a time and a place for everything but don’t vote him out based on spite. You two should give “The New Earth” a read.

While we’re at it – Naonka, there’s still plenty of room in this doghouse, so come on in and plop it. I’ll even give you a bone to chew on since you’ve been yapping like a dog these first two episodes.

Naonka: (On Kelly Bruno and her artificial leg)
“If we have to race and that leg falls off… she’s outta here.”

And with that line, Naonka moves to the front of the line for “America’s Favorite Survivor.” Touching.

Naonka, did you see Kelly B work her way through that mud and the hay? You may wanna think twice about challenging her to a race! Personally, that was all I needed to see. Kelly’s leg is absolutely no disadvantage. The girl can move.

Naonka: “I don’t want anybody to think that I’m a B-I-T-C-H.”

Hmm… uh.. trying to figure out how to say this without offending… well, that might be tough, so I guess I’ll just say it straight up… no beating around the bush… gonna just lay it out the way I see it.

Naonka, as far as wanting to make sure that nobody thinks you’re a bitch…. Girl, it’s too late. That ship has sailed.

You might be able to turn it around, but for the time being, you are the “bitch” of the show, and the little that I know about you, I’m pretty sure you’re okay with that title.

In fairness to Naonka, as lippy and sassy as she is, she did make me laugh often. She does have a good sense of humor, she just needs to think a little bit before she speaks. Maybe her and Jimmy T should sit down for a little meditation together. Go to China. Meet a Monk or something.

And I’m not even gonna get into Naonka stealing somebody’s socks. These people are out of their friggin minds! It’s only day five!

Thank God Fabio is still sane.

Marty: (to Jill) “I got the idol. I got the idol baby. I got the first idol—(realizing the error of his statement)- WE got the first idol!”
Jill: (knowingly) We got the idol.

Damn Marty. You are out of control. Jill was the one who figured out the clue. She then came and told you where to look. Then she came and inspired you to keep looking and when you finally find it, the first words out of your mouth are… “I got it!?” I? I?

Maybe I should just send you “The New Earth” and not wait for you to get it yourself.

Chase, I know you prayed to God to bring you someone you could trust. But who are you kidding? You don’t “trust” Brenda because God sent her to you, you trust Brenda for the same reason every guy would trust Brenda – she’s hot. Just say it. Own it. It’ll feel so much better. Everybody can appreciate falling for a beautiful woman. No slight to God intended, I’m just saying that this decision didn’t need anybody’s blessing. It’s a slam dunk.

But to everyone else — if you’re in an alliance with Chase, you need to get out now! He’s crazy over Brenda and he’s going to tell her everything. Someone put a rope around his neck and drag him back into the shelter. Bring him here to the Probst doghouse. You’ve got to do something or he’ll bring you down.

That was not editing – I asked one opening question and Shannon just started talking. Much like Wendy, he just wouldn’t shut up. The more he talked, the more he influenced the tribe to vote him out. When someone is that aggressive it’s hard not to have a reaction. Shannon was aggressive.

I think he sealed his fate when he asked Sash, out of nowhere, “Are you gay?” And then followed it up with, “New York is full of gay people.”

Too bad the finale for this season is in LA, woulda been kinda fun to get a group and take Shannon out to a couple of gay bars in Manhattan.

When I saw the message Sash had for Shannon as he voted, I laughed out loud:

Sash: “You should have known better than to mess with the biggest bachelor in NY. As they say in Nicaragua, Hasta La Vista!”

I’m not laughing with or at Sash, I’m just laughing because it’s so damn funny. It’s just funny watching Sash with that confident grin of his proclaiming to be the biggest bachelor in one of the biggest cities in the entire world. Sash, we must hang. I want to watch you work your magic, baby! Maybe you, me and Shannon should all go to the Big Apple and party! Hollllla!

Shannon – it’s with mixed emotions that we say goodbye. Your one-liners were fantastic and had you lasted longer you would have given us many more laughs. But the longer you lasted the more unlikable you would have become. It’s true. Doesn’t mean you’re a bad guy, it just means that in this environment you… were… well.. unlikable. I’m only speaking about this game. I’m sure your life is full of love and great friendships. Survivor just wasn’t your destiny.

In closing, I will say what I say to all guys who are much bigger than me. Shannon, please don’t kick my ass when you see me again. I voted for you to be on the show – you delivered a lot, you left too soon, but you weren’t long for the game. You just came on too strong.

See ya next week!

Jeffffff's commentary ROCKS!

"Hellllllo crazy woman #2! You thought Wendy was a little wacky, hang on, cause here comes Holly.

Note to Jimmy T: – the reason nobody is asking you what you think is because you’re always telling everybody what you think. God gave you ears for a reason – try listening for a change. Man. I have a lot of patience but I will be honest, I’d be hard pressed not to vote out Jimmy T – regardless if he was in my alliance, if he had six idols, even if his uncle was Les Moonves, my boss. Okay, maybe I’d put up with him if indeed his uncle was Les Moonves. But I’d want proof first. Otherwise – el gonzo.

Hey Marty, don’t start patting yourself on the back. You’re not out of the Probst doghouse either. Granted, you are much more controlled, much more subdued and a far better listener than Jimmy T. But your determination to get rid of Jimmy Johnson is irrational. It’s envy. Pure envy, brotha. You know I’m speaking the truth. You should rethink it… the man can lead. He’s calm.

Did you see the way he talked Holly back into the game. He was very comforting and he did it without judgment. That’s leadership. He understands that people have ups and downs. No big deal. He knows the key is to simply get your head back in the game and everything will be okay."

He says what I want to say but ever so much better.  :lol:

Taken from:

“Sorry bout smushing the bananas.”
Naonka, Survivor: Nicaragua 2010

Okay I need to preface this blog by saying that I’m very frustrated at the moment and therefore may very well write things that I later regret. Which really means that I’ve already considered if I’ll regret the comments and have decided I don’t care if I do regret them, which means I really don’t/won’t regret them at all. I know what I’m writing it and my intention is clear.

The two big reasons for my frustration:
1. Naonka
2. Marty

Naonka wins out because my frustration with Naonka touches on humanity. I was so disturbed by what I saw and heard in this episode that I could barely write this blog.

My frustration with Marty is much less emotional. It’s based on his out of control arrogance and ego and is probably just me talking to myself. That’s usually how it goes, right? It’s not ever about the “other person”… it’s always about you. That’s what my shrink says anyway. Yes, I’ve already emailed her for an appointment.


Before we get to my frustration, let me share my sadness that Jimmy Johnson is gone.

I’m probably just star struck but I really enjoyed having him around. I think he had a big target on his back from day one. He’s just too popular, too successful and too financially well off to really have a shot at winning this game. But he was a true Survivor fan. He applied three times to be on the show and I am so happy he hung in there and ended up on the show. It was a real treat for all of us and I’m guessing a real treat for a lot of fans as well.

I stand by my earlier statements that in voting him out the older tribe voted out a proven leader and the truth is they don’t have anybody to take his place. It damn sure ain’t you, Marty. I know you are very successful in your normal life, but on Survivor, the only thing you’re capable of leading are the lambs to the slaughter. Your tribemates are the lambs and the game is the slaughter.

Marty doesn’t understand Survivor 1/10th as well as he thinks he does. Never has. I’m not saying Marty can’t or won’t make it to the end, lots of people make it to the end, never fully understanding the game they are playing. But the only way Marty wins is if he takes a jury full of his older tribemates with him and at the rate they are losing challenges, that seems unlikely. (I warned you I was in a mood.)

Here’s the latest proof that Marty is being driven solely by ego and not the amazing game play as he keeps professing:

Marty: (To Dan) “Can you imagine what your friends in Manhattan are gonna say when you say you blindsided Jimmy Johnson.”

Yeah, I think they’re gonna say you missed the forest for the trees. You were conspiring about who to vote out with the one guy you should have voted out! Dan is still in this game. Now that’s amazing game play.


Jill is also disappointing me. Maybe it’s just a theme today: Disappointment. Could it be that I am just disappointed in myself? Maybe. I’m having a good hair day, so it can’t be that. I just had a big breakfast, so it’s not low blood sugar. Who knows.

Anyway, Jill is disappointing me because Jill should be doing much better. Jill understands the game as well or better than anybody on her tribe but she is too weak to take over.

First she gave the idol to Marty and now she’s giving her vote to Marty. She says “whatever” but I don’t buy it. I don’t know what is going on but she’s much tougher and stronger than she is showing.
I had such high hopes for her being a leader. She should have the idol in her pocket, nobody should know about it and she and Jimmy Johnson should be leading this tribe. Did you see how much fun they were having when they were all fishing together? Jill what are you doing?

Instead you have Marty, Jiimmy T and Tyrone doing the leading. If this is your fantasy Survivor line up, you’re screwed.

Marty, Jimmy T, Tyrone, if you’re mad at me, go back and read the opening paragraph – it’s all about me. This has nothing to do with you. Nadathing.

By the way, Marty, the other people are playing the game. Just because they’re not playing the way you want them to doesn’t mean they’re not playing.

I will give Marty credit for sharing the idol. Normally I’d consider this a monumental mistake, but given the vibe on this tribe, I think he was smart. It makes him look like a bit of a decent guy and nobody on this tribe (except maybe Jane) is smart enough to figure out how to make it work for them…or against Marty anyway. He’s safe for the moment.


The Howler monkeys are everywhere in Nicaragua. They make a very loud “howl,” they sit up in the trees and throw sticks at you.

Jimmy Johnson wasn’t the only one howling back at the monkeys.

After challenges the crew would drive back through the jungle, along a long, winding, bumpy road and you could often hear the monkeys screaming. We’d often pull over just to listen and watch. Sure enough you find yourself trying to speak to them by howling back. Sometimes they responded and you felt like Jane Goodall.


Yes I know I keep calling him Jud. Sorry. I’m not living with him 24/7. I didn’t realize how strongly the nickname had attached to him. If he lasts longer I’ll figure it out. But, how can you not dig Fabio…at least a little bit. I love that he wants to be kept around for more than “just being funny.” It’s like the hot girl who says “there is more to me than just my looks.” There probably is, but nobody cares!
Fabio, keep being funny and stop over thinking it. Funny can get you a long way in life, just like being hot. Look at Sarah Silverman… hot and funny = major success.


“I’m as strong as any of the women.” Uh, no you’re not. I don’t think Dan could beat anybody, including the unnamed “moose” he referenced. Dan, you’re a really charming guy who I like quite a bit but I am amazed you passed our physical. But you did and there you are still in the game and two other people from your tribe are gone. Okay, Wendy was justified. Ah heck, maybe Jimmy J was too.


Okay let’s get to it – the thing that is really bothering me today. It’s you, Naonka. I am so torn over what I saw in last night’s episode.


Whew. That felt good. I feel better already.

Here’s my dilemma. Naonka’s argument is simple: “It’s a game. I should use anything to my advantage and I did. Tough beans that Kelly B has an artificial leg. Not my problem.” I can’t argue against that. She’s right. Technically.

But man, my gut turned when I saw the scene. Keep in mind I do not watch tape on location so I had no idea this had gone down and how physical it got between Naonka and Kelly B.
Had I known, I’m not sure if I could have contained myself the next time I saw Naonka. Okay that’s a lie. Of course I could have contained myself, but I certainly would have looked at Naonka a bit differently.

And then to offer an apology to the tribe for “smushing the bananas…” That was the line that hung in the air for me. She made a conscious decision to apologize for the bananas but no mention of Kelly B. (And for the record, those bananas are the equivalent of gold bars on Survivor. She ruined a big chunk of the reward they just won.)

Naonka: “I got hood. Not ghetto.” I don’t even know what that line means, but the inference is that she knows what she did was rough and that makes it even worse.

For me it just comes down to fairness in life. Yes, you can argue that Survivor is a game and anything goes and if you say that I will nod and agree with you. This is just my own point of view. For me, there is a “fairness in life” philosophy that would prohibit me from taking that kind of advantage from someone like Kelly B. I know Kelly can take care of herself but an artificial leg is not a real leg. It does not and cannot do every single thing a real leg can and when it comes to balance Kelly B is at a disadvantage.

I really found it distasteful.

I will offer this, Naonka you should be writing for a television show. You would have to write alone, because nobody would last with you in the same room, but you spit out some of the most honest and compelling comments I’ve ever heard a person say. They’re not always pleasant but they are revealing of your character and that makes them on some level worth exploring.

Make no mistake, you are a villain. I don’t think anybody watching this season would disagree. Doesn’t mean you can’t get to the end, but I would bet my house and everything in my bank account you can’t win. Then again, I thought Sash would be first off. So what do I really know.
This is Survivor folks. Bringing together a cross-section of America. Forcing them to live together, while battling against each other. It can be a nasty game.

See ya Jimmy J. Hope to catch a game with you one day.


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