Survivor: Cook Islands Ė the TV Guide Channel Previewby David Bloomberg -- 09/06/2006
In preparation for Survivor: Cook Islands, the TV Guide Channel has an hourlong preview airing now. Their reporters visited the islands and watched some of the action, so letís see what they found and what we can perhaps learn from it.
By now, of course, everybody knows that the show will begin with four tribes split up by racial groupings. Weíve already taken a look at the contestants and I gave my two cents on whether CBS should pull the series because of some New York politicians blabbing about how horrible it is. So letís move on to what the TV Guide Channel has to say.
A slimmer Cirie from Survivor: Exile Island introduces the show, saying they will be revealing everything we want to know about the show, from the players to the challenges. And only TV Guide Channel had camera crews on location.
First up is a look at the Cook Islands themselves. Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst talk about how great the islands are, beautiful water, etc. And with the Mutiny on the Bounty, there are great stories there as well.
Cirie talks about the fact that, as I already mentioned, the tribes will be split by ethnicity. We get our first contestant soundbite as Cao Boi says he thinks the diversity will be interesting. Probst says the notion came from criticism that the show was not ethnically diverse enough. The reason, he continues, is that the people who apply are basically Caucasian Ė 80% of them, in fact! So Burnett decided to start it out in separate tribes, knowing that the tribes would be mixed ďover and over and over.Ē Hmmm. So I wonder just how many tribal mix-ups there will be!
Probst says what may be the most interesting line of the preview when he explains they sought out people who werenít Survivor addicts and didnít know the show that well, but were interested in the adventure. Hopefully, at least some of them were smart enough to research the show and can outplay the others.
Cirie says they knew starting out in racial tribes would be a touch subject, and Probst chimes in that this is what he likes Ė people talk about race privately, but not in public. Several spokespeople from different ethnic associations provide their opinions, with a couple saying they need to see it in order to judge (smart people) and another saying itís bad right off the bad (not so smart person). Mark Burnett asserts that after watching the show, we will think itís a very positive thing, while Probst says at a certain point in the game, people arenít going to care what race another player is, but whether or not they can trust that person.
Cirie says the show is keeping some traditions alive, such as Exile Island from her season and a marooning of the contestants dating back to the first season. So as in the first episode ever, the tribes will have to grab stuff of a larger boat, throw it onto rafts, and paddle to their beaches.
Now itís time to meet some of the competitors. Cristina is a police officer who was shot in the arm and injured so badly that they didnít know if sheíd regain full use of it. But within 13 months, she was back at work. Probst says he thinks she has a real shot of winning the game.
J.P. knows the producers will screw with him. Heís prepared for the emotional turmoil because he lost his mother at age six and his father last year. And Ozzy has a lifelong love affair with the water, surfing, diving, etc. Probst thinks he has a chance to win too.
Cecilia is a risk consultant, and no, I still donít know what that means. But we see some footage of her working around camp, cooking, hacking at branches, etc. Probst says flat-out that he believes she has ďno chance of winning this game,Ē but she will be an asset due to her attitude.
Billy has black belts in karate and judo, is a former Marine, a wrestler, and a heavy metal guitarist Ė Cirie says Survivor has never seen a player like him. Probst says he will probably be around for a while because he seems extremely likeable. I think itís more because heíll be one of the strongest and people will want to keep him on their tribe.
Nathan says he wonít be the bossy type, just a hard worker. Probst says he has a way about him that is extremely likeable. But Nathan says heíll make moves when he needs to. Meanwhile, Stephannie is one of the definite Survivor fans in the group, having auditioned twice before making it this time. Probst says she has military training and is getting her second college degree, showing how she applies herself.
Rebecca is a makeup artist for The View, including Elisabeth Hasselback from season 2. She says in that world, you need be able to deal with divas without offending them, and Probst says she can hold her own.
Sundra has appeared on a few TV shows and will be motivated to stick around by her five-year-old son. Jazz musician Sekou will probably be one of the initial leaders of his tribe, Probst says. He says he will use all of his survival skills from growing up in the city in the game.
Before we continue meeting the contestants, we are introduced to the new Tribal Council area, described as the biggest and coolest ever. Itís a 100-foot-long shipwreck called the Black Rock! Well, okay, not that last part (if youíre not a Lost fan, never mind). But it is a big shipwreck set completely built by the Survivor team. It took six weeks to build it with timber from New Zealand. The voting area also uses a nautical theme, including use of a quill to write out the votes and a leather pouch where the votes are placed. Also, itís set up so we can see the other contestants over the shoulder of the person voting, which is kind of cool.
Next we are told about the journalists going to the islands in the first few days. Letís face it, we donít really care about them, we care about the show and contestants! So weíll summarize by saying itís a long trip.
Back to contestant intros. Jessica, aka Flicka Flame, is another fire dancer, like Courtney from last season Ė and Probst echoes what I said previously, that she looks like her too. Probst thinks she can be around for a while, but ďcanít win the game.Ē
Adam says heís head and shoulders about the other contestants physically. Probst says Adam wonít win, though Adam may want to punch him for saying so. Probst basically says the game is played on a different level that Adam canít reach.
Parvati is a female boxer who has also done other martial arts. Thatís about all we get from her. Candice is a straight-A student and the youngest player this time around. Probst puts her on the list of those who have a shot at winning.
Jonathan says some of the others are ďsuper-workout psychosĒ and I know I like him already. He says if youíve only got muscle, no fat, thatís what youíll lose when youíre not eating Ė which will be more debilitating for them than for him. Probst says Jonathan is one of his favorites, though heís not necessarily likeable, and he hopes Jonathan lasts a while because heíll create some good stories. Mark Burnett points out that Jonathan is a scriptwriter and Academy Award nominee for short film.
Before being introduced to the final tribe, we see some footage of other art department creations for the show, and we hear a bit from the casting department. Moving on.
Then we hear from random people on the street as to what they think of the racial groupings. Do you care what random people think? I donít. Letís move on again.
OK, back to contestant intros. Jenny plays competitive volleyball and feels she can do the game both physically and mentally. Probst expects her to be around for a long time and to fight to stay in the game if she gets in trouble.
Brad is gay but has years of experience keeping it under wraps, so Cirie says heís used to hiding information about himself. He loves to swim and fish, and is excited about the game.
Cao Boi says other Vietnamese see him with the tattoos and all and think heís a wildman. Probst says the thing about Cao Boi ďis that heís a lot.Ē He invades your space a little when heís talking to you, for example. Cao Boi says he lives by his honor Ė thatís a sure way to doom on Survivor. And indeed, Probst believes heíll be gone early.
Becky is an attorney and former kick boxing instructor who is 28 but says she has a baby face and looks younger. But she feels like she has the mother instinct to run the household. That might not bode well.
Yul says he likes both physical challenges and mental puzzles, and nothing but Survivor combines both of those. He has a Yale doctorate and, as Cirie says, a lot of imposing muscles. Probst believes he can ďabsolutely win this gameĒ and is a really likeable guy.
Now itís time to look ahead to some of the challenges. As a test run for one of the first (maybe the first) challenge, journalists and production crew members ran a competition. They had to run up and over sand berms and into the water to put together what appears to be a puzzle boat, which they then have to row to light barrels on fire. Then they have to bring pieces back to put a ladder together and bring fire to the top.
So there we have it! In under two weeks, weíll get to see the real beginning of Survivor. And as we approach that date, look for more previews from RealityNewsOnline!
If you havenít already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recaps and other info on this show at the Survivor: Exile Island page, and take a look at our The Amazing Race 8 page and our Apprentice: Martha Stewart page. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!