Survivor not first reality TV experience for Ralph Kiser
By Debra Mccown
Published: January 13, 2011
Survivor isn’t the first reality TV experience for Ralph Kiser, the Lebanon, Va., man who was chosen as a contestant for the show’s newest season, which begins Feb. 16.
Kiser and teammate Ronnie Smith placed second in an adventure race show called Back to the Woods, which was filmed in the recreational area straddling Washington, Smyth and Grayson counties in the summer of 2009.
Back to the Woods first aired in a series of online episodes. Then, in November, it aired as an hour-long show on CW4-TV.
Greg Gross, director of Back to the Woods, said Kiser was exactly the kind of character he was seeking for the show, which sent eight teams of two running and biking through the woods in a contest that combined puzzle challenges with physical endurance. The three fastest teams in the initial competition then went head-to-head in a final challenge at Backbone Rock, where Smith made an error that cost he and Kiser the win.
“Just the way they attacked the game and played the game was fun,” Gross said. “If he [Kiser] couldn’t figure something out, he’d make a joke about it or he’d play around with it.”
A telling moment came when a clue confused the team but Kiser came through, creating a great scene in the show.
“One of them [the clues] said, ‘Act like Bambi and flank the glade.’ … He didn’t know what it meant, so he got down on all fours and acted like Bambi, and literally he was running across the field acting like Bambi,” Gross said. “He’s just a fun guy to be around, and he brought a lot of life and a lot of energy to what we were doing.”
Kiser, in his introductory video on CBS.com, points to multiple applications – and multiple interviews – for Survivor in his efforts to get on the show.
“I applied three times out of four years and they interviewed me all three times,” Kiser said in the video. “There’s something they like.”
Gross predicts that Kiser will do well on Survivor: Redemption Island.
“I think if he can build a couple of really solid relationships … I think he understands the game, and I think he’ll do pretty well,” Gross said. “I think some people will underestimate him.”
He said the way Kiser attacked the adventure race will serve him well on Survivor, with his zest for life and ability to have fun while taking the game seriously as a serious competitor.
“He’s certainly going to be the kind of person that the area can get behind and feel good about,” Gross said. “I think he’ll represent us well, I really do.”http://www2.tricities.com/news/2011/jan/13/5/survivor-not-first-reality-tv-experience-ralph-kis-ar-771171/