Jeff Probst blogs the 'Survivor: Heroes vs Villains' premiere

We’re baaaaaack… and it feels so good!

Might as well start at the beginning.

Last night’s two-hour premiere was one of our best ever. In fact, it was so good I think CBS should air it again. In the words of our fearless leader Mark Burnett, ”It was epic!”

It started with the kickass marooning where the Survivors landed on the beach courtesy of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and their Huey helicopters.

INSIGHT: We had to get special permission from the New Zealand government to get the use of the Huey’s and the Air Force personnel to fly them. We came to an agreement that allowed the RNZAF to use our rehearsals (without the real Survivors on board) as an opportunity to also practice various mission maneuvers for which they needed a location and situation to conduct them. It was a win-win.

If you watch it again you can see that when we did it for real with the Survivors on board and the Huey’s approaching the beach, it even resembles a mission. Two come in and land, sand flying around. They depart and the other two come in. It’s also worth mentioning that it went off without a hitch. Everybody hit their marks, it was magical.

As a thank you we had the RNZAF personnel rehearse one of our big challenges against our dream team. It was a great day in which I swapped one of my Survivor baseball caps for one of their RNZAF caps.


Moments in, we knew that we had made the right choice to go with the theme of Heroes vs. Villains. You could feel the rivalry even as the two tribes were departing the helicopters. The heroes were puffing their chests with pride, the villains were puffing their chests looking for a fight. The opening Q/A was fascinating. The fact that every villain believes they are a hero speaks to how important perspective is in this game. ”Outwit, outplay, outlast.” It’s an important factor to keep in mind as you watch this game.

There are very few rules in Survivor, the contestants are responsible for determining which qualities to reward and that is where the perspective of having played once before will have a big impact. For instance, if Russell plays the same game he did in Samoa during this season, he has a much better chance of winning because this group of players has a different set of criteria for what it takes to win the game. That is only one of the reasons I believe this season is going to deliver.

We knew we wanted a big, badass challenge right off the bat to let them know this season was going to be physical and demanding. We expected a battle but we didn’t expect it to rise to the physical level it did. Injury count: Dislocated shoulder (Stephenie), broken toe (Rupert – man you should have heard him screaming as the doctors tried to set it), and a topless finish and double ”flip-off.” (Thanks, Sugar.) On top of those injuries, there were lots of bruised up bodies that had been worked over during those digs in the sand.

The Coach/Colby matchup was one of the more anticipated. Colby waltzed through his first Survivor experience in Australia virtually unchallenged. Coach, his opponent, believes he can do anything and beat anybody… and whadaya know, he did. Coach worked Colby. He even had me fooled — I thought Colby was dragging Coach along, turns out Coach was riding Colby to the finish line.

In typical hero fashion, Colby merely nodded at the loss and moved on. It’s early in the game and he didn’t seem too concerned. And if you had any question about why Tyson was invited back, he answered that question with this quip: ”I can only imagine what Colby is thinking… I may as well become a woman because there is no point on trying to maintain my masculinity now.” Ah, it’s one of the nice things about having returning Survivors – they’re great interviews.

I have to tell you, writing this blog is a pleasure because this episode was absolutely fantastic. I challenge you to show the first 20 minutes of this episode to anybody – Survivor fan or not – and have them not want to watch the rest of the premiere and the season.


It was interesting to watch the two very different ways the first moments on their respective beaches played out. The Heroes got to work quickly. Everybody pitching in, their experience really showing. The Hero music was appropriately uplifting and heroic. The Villains ignored shelter and turned immediately to strategy. Russell was back to his bag of tricks, making alliances with everybody. The Villain music was also appropriate: heavy, suspicious and dramatic.

Russell made an interesting comment: ”I’m the best to ever play this game and now I get to prove it.” How do you feel about the idea behind his cocky declaration? Do you believe that the winner of this season will go down as the ”best to ever play?” Or will the winner of this season simply be ”the winner of Heroes vs Villains.” There are so many factors that go into someone winning this game that I often wonder if you can ever truly declare someone the best. I will say that to win this season you will have to play one helluva game. Nobody is going to win by coattailing it. No chance that kind of behavior will be rewarded. Playing an ”under the radar game” is different than riding somebody’s coattails. Please don’t ask me to explain the difference because I’m not sure I can; it’s just a gut feeling that I believe I can spot.

Another fascinating aspect of the first few days is watching the various egos inflate and deflate. We have a lot of true leaders this season and when you’re a leader it’s tough to accept the role of being a follower.

Coach is a perfect example. It is painful for Coach when he tries to be a follower. He’s a good soldier but he feels he’s a better General. Boston Rob was playing him for a fool during their ”coconut tree challenge” when he tried to entice him to climb the tree. But I actually think that Boston Rob and Coach could be a good team if they could both get past their egos. Coach still wants it badly and Rob needs some of that in his alliances because after becoming a husband and a father, I’m not sure Rob wants it badly enough. Rob can last a long time based on sheer street smarts but he will need to get his ”Survivor instincts” back quickly if he is to last.


The first immunity challenge was probably more revealing about the tribes than the first reward challenge. The differences in the strength of both tribes was clearly illuminated in this challenge. The Heroes are stronger but their egos get in the way. The Villains work together better. That was the difference in this challenge. Boston Rob and Sandra led the villains to victory by leading them through the puzzle. Period. They’re both scrappy players and scrappy will be the key to winning this season. That doesn’t mean a Hero can’t win, it merely means that in my opinion, by the time this season is over, the idea of what makes up a Hero or Villain will fluctuate quite a bit. ”Outwit, outplay… outlast.”

Okay, without thinking it through – just off the top of my head — here are some overall thoughts about some of the returning Survivors:

Sandra Diaz – I am so glad she is back. I love her lippy way of telling it like it is. Courtney is also surprising me early on. I like how hard she fought in the initial challenge. Cirie is a legit, 100% full-on threat to win this game. Parvati, if given any kind of an opening will worm her way back into a solid alliance. Russell is a no-brainer. Take him out early or risk seeing him in the final again. Tom Westman, so glad he came back for another go. He needs a strong alliance and if he gets it, he will go deep. He’s a very good ”people person.” Rupert, Rupert, Rupert. It’s hard for me to distinguish the Survivor Rupert from the real Rupert. Maybe there isn’t a difference anymore, but I know this… kids still love them some Rupert!


One of the greatest tribal council sets we’ve ever had. Forty feet in the air, a massive build, it is stunning. Our two production designers, Jesse Jensen and Dan Munday, are incredible talents. The fact that we have not lost them to the movie world is a testament to how strong our team is and how much we all enjoy working on this show.

The idea of ”past relationships” came up during Tribal Council and it is going to be a theme this season. If you’re in a Survivor pool, make sure you factor this into your decision of who you think will win. It could go either way – being tied to others from your season could work for you or against you, just as being the only one out there from your season could work for you or against you – but it will be discussed a lot and will factor into how people vote.

James illuminated the biggest challenge on the hero tribe: The Heroes must start listening to each other and let the ego go. Otherwise tribal council will become their second home.


Sugar didn’t really seem like she was ready to do this again. I think she fell victim to the ”what did I get myself into” realization that often happens to a returning Survivor. They forget how miserable it was and so they say ”Yes!” to returning for another go. Then they get out there and by the end of day one they are quickly reminded… ”Oh yeah, I forgot. This sucks.”

I don’t think her tribe will miss her, and in fairness, I don’t think she’ll miss the tribe. I think Sugar would be the first to admit that the Survivor experience was more about being on television than it was anything else. I’m glad she came back, she was worth taking a shot on, but Colby said it best, given the amazing amount of personality this season, she won’t be missed.

Talk next week.

[ewbrightcove “65110517001”, “65387868001”, “525”, “365”]

More Survivor:
‘Survivor: Heroes vs Villains’ recap: The scariest showmance ever?

Comments (840 total) Add your comment
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  • Chris

    Dragonslayer is too amusing a character to not have been on TV again…thank god you guys brought him back!

    Here’s Coach Dragonslayer in all his illustrated glory:

    I’d like to illustrate for your column this season if you and EW are interested!

    • Eliane

      lool totally agree coach forever hope he wins !!!

  • Kelley

    Loved the first show, and I’m looking forward to a very interesting – and possibly the very best season ever. As for the cast, there’s some I love, and some I love to hate – as usual :)

    • James

      This was a great episode, the world just isn’t the same without people like Coach, Russell, and Rob on TV. Good job King Jeffie. Oh yeah, and I loved the villains music. Nice touch.

      • Survivor Blog

        I thought the villain music was funny. Was that the music from Apocalypse Now? Check out a different view point on the premiere at

      • Michelle

        Had no interest in seeing Sandra – I forgot how funny she is. Great addition. Hope you’re wrong @ Randy, I’d like to see him go far.

      • Liz

        For real, I love Coach and his crazy stories. I haven’t seen this ep yet but I look forward to a reunion with Coach’s tall tales and I can only hope he will make it far because without him it’s just not as interesting.

      • Stanley Tang

        Why wasn’t Russell looking for the immunity idol right off the bat like last season? I was surprised by that he was just laying around

      • KRibbons

        This season is kind of like a superhero movie when your watching the preview in the theatre and your like “He’s in this movie?! Him too? I loved him when i was a kid. All of them together?! This is going to be the best!” And you are right about one thing. I had my boyfriend watch the premier with me and he kept complaining and complaining, and then all of a sudden he was enraptured as told me “I’m going to watch this whole season with you” Good job, Jeff. Great kickoff to a hopefully wonderful season.

      • Jammy

        I think Randy got old fast…Sandra had the line of the night ..I’ll lie ..but I ‘ll make it a good one..” awesome

      • tony dante


    • Chad

      It worries me that Russel is getting so much airtime, I can’t help but feel he is one of the first to go. Plus his ‘align with all’ strategy is not a good one with villians. The Hero tribe is stronger now. GO COLBY!

      • SLB

        Let’s hope so. I will laugh my *ss off if that d*uchebag gets voted off early.

      • Laura

        Had the exact same thought last night. “Russell sure is getting a lot of air time… uh oh.”

      • Lee

        Russell played with a bunch of idiots in his season. He’s an idiot to think the same tactic will work with all-stars. He’s an easy read. I predict he’ll be out real soon.

      • jem

        I agree, I don’t want Russell getting all the airtime. I think he’s out of his league. Promising everything to everyone is an amateur mistake. If you like Survivor, check out my blog at!

      • d.

        I think it will be interesting to see how Russell plays it… he’s the only person that the others haven’t seen play & they had no idea who he was when this was filmed. He should be able to use that to his advantage… something tells me his big mouth won’t. LOL. I love him as a player though. Hope he stays around just for drama’s sake.

      • stonehouse

        russell got a lot – way too much, i thought – of airtime last season from the beginning, too. i don’t think he’ll be out so soon.
        glad to see sandra, jerri, JT, and candace back. so looking forward to seeing rupert, boston rob, tyson, randy, coach and colby gone.

      • Frank

        Russell actually makes the final 3, along with Sandra and Parvati, but gets zero jury votes. He plays hard and dirty all season and by the end of the game, nobody likes him. *Spoiler*

      • Joe

        Believe it or not, the Samoa jury handled him with kid gloves. This time, he’s playing with juvie delinquents, not with a glee club. He pulls his dirty tricks on this bunch, they’ll turn him into a Jury Happy Meal.

      • D

        @ FRANK. Put spoiler on the TOP of your crappy entry, not the bottom!

      • Lily

        I hope Frank is wrong and Russell does not make the final three. Sick of Russell. Just like Russell’s season, so far Season 20 is edited as if this is The Russell Show instead of Survivor. He is crude, ignorant and an insult to many fans (and any other Survivor contestant). After watching 20 seasons, Russell will be my last straw if he continues to monopolize air time.

      • lisaw

        My question is: do the other players know who Russel is? Didn’t they film seasons 19/20 back to back? Did any of the others get to see Russell play before playing with him?

      • Lil Tuts

        Cuz it’s not like he didn’t get much airtime in Samoa where he came 2nd

      • tom b

        Russell is probably my favorite survivor ever. if you do not like himt hat just means you want people to not play the game and just be nice. Russell deserved the million last season and i hope he gets it this season.

      • Jennifer

        Exactly. Villains can never trust each other to keep their end of the bargain because someone always gets greedy.

      • Jason

        Can you really be the best ever if you didnt even win your own season?

      • KA

        I noticed Russell got WAY too much airtime. I said “Oh no. Not the Russell show yet again!” I hope he goes away quickly. He’s not even one I love to hate. I really cannot stand the guy. If he stays in the game much longer, that will be 2 seasons in a row ruined for me. Please, quit it with the Russell show!

      • Madam_P

        WHY must jerks like “Frank” (above) insist on posting spoilers where you can’t avoid them? Donkey.

      • Maximilian

        Russell had a lot of screen time on his own season also. I’m confident Russell will last. Time will tell.

      • Trav

        You guys need to quit complaining about all the air time Russel gets. The reason he gets it is because he is one of the most interesting players. Besides, Rob is getting way more than Russel this season. I hope Russel makes it to the end and wins, to make up for being robbed in Samoa.

    • robin

      Where was Richard? Did I misunderstand? I thought he was supposed to be on this season.

      • Laura K.

        Hatch was still on house arrest when they filmed, and the court wouldn’t release him, so he was not a part of this season.

      • kate W

        Also missing is Johnny “Fairplay” one of the ultimate villians.

      • sdm

        Fairplay is now considered a quitter and won’t be asked back according to an earlier interview with Jeff.

      • AJ

        I wouldn’t consider Fairplay an “ultimate villain.” Ultimate jerk, maybe. A master schemer? I think not.

      • D

        I thought Hatch would be there too. Would rather have him there than Randy, for sure. At least Corrine isn’t there.

    • Sandy

      What happened to Boston Rob in the preview for the Feb 18 episode??? Is he ok?

      • Elizabeth

        That definitely look freaky – I hope he’s okay!

      • leo

        I would have loved to see an alliance between Boston Rob and Russell but I have a feeling his injury might take him out of the game or at least dampen his interest in sticking around. Love him though, and hope he’s okay. Major props to him for lighting a fire with wet wood and no flint!

      • Lisa

        Love Boston Rob. I hope he’s ok and takes Russell out fast. This season won’t be the same if he is out.

      • Laurie

        Looks like he may have went down from dehydration. I think he was the one that said at the beginning of the show, that they needed to find water first so that they didn’t get dehydrated.

      • CC

        Loved the premiere : the Heroes vs Villains concept is just a splendid idea, and the contestants are so into it it’s great to watch.

        ONE QUESTION : did the other contestants see (or not) the videos of Russel’s season ?
        Considering various comments of the survivors, we’d think they did, but could we have somme sort of official confirmation ?

        If not, I gotta say, Parvati is a genius (but even if she did know Russel’s game, she’s great too).

    • Wendy

      I love this show! Its the only TV show that doesn’t bore me to death. I think this will be the best season ever!

    • Jen

      I loved the premier and wish that every episode was 2 hours long!!

      • Steve

        I agree totally, I think it should be a two hour show every week

      • Glenn

        I totally agree that the episodes should be longer. That other network shows fat people crying for 2 hours. I’m sure Survivor can come up with plenty of film to do it, even if it’s just hungry and cold people crying for 2 hours.

    • Dr Zechariah Zenith

      The show was so exciting. I say this over and over again. Survivor IS THE SUPERBOWL OF REALITY SHOWS. No one can do better than them. Singing is not a reality show, but this one is surviving in reality.

      Glad that this theme of Heroes and Villains took off. I know this was in the making for a long time, but to see it for real is simply Amazing.

      Sugar is a wild card and tends to ruin the Heroes plan. Glad that they took her out early and concentrate on winning challenges without the distractions.

      Is it me or am I getting old? Colby and Boston Rob looks really old. Grey hair and stuff. Heck Tom Westman still look younger.

    • Peter

      i hate cirie , her plan is ALWAYS
      the same, get rid, likeable and stroger players, Guess who gonna be her victim??
      JEFF : i HATE CIRIE.

      • sally

        Yeah – The Heroes lost because Cirie cannot do solve puzzle or mind games…she didn’t have the brains to do it in her last outing – and yet nobody remembers that! By the time Sugar tried to help out, too much had been lost because of Cirie…

    • redriding

      Soo so glad Rob is back!!!!!!!! Survivor is never as good without his charming smart attitude. Get him back for every season and watch ur ratings peak!

      • sonny

        I hated Rob, and I am still not a big fan of his. But, compared to Russhole, Boston Rob is likable, not to mention, a superior player.It is beyond compare!

      • Anna

        WOW imagine that!!! Sonny B*tching about Russell again!!!

    • SurvivorFreak

      Loved the first twenty minutes. I was at the gym watching & overheard myself yelling, RUN SUGAR RUN!!! I wasn’t initially excited about the THREE-peats but Stephanie has definitely earned her way back. I’ll be pulling for her. Tom was smart to target Cirie–you don’t want her to make the merge because then she is not targeted because of her physical weakness but her social & strategic skills will take her to the final three. I don’t care to hear Rupert & Colby’s voice. Rupert still thinks he has to work hard to stay in the game instead of building alliances. Colby isn’t playing to win. I like J.T., Boston Rob, Sandra. How did Parvati know Russell is ‘the devil’ if they know nothing about his gameplay?

      • KA

        I was wondering that about Parvati too. If they’ve never seen the game Russell plays, how would she know he’s the devil. Personally, I’d use another D word to describe him.

  • Jennifer in San Diego

    Hey Jeff! So glad to have Survivor back, what a fantastic first episode, love it went to 2 hours. Love Boston Rob starting the fire!!

    It was so great knowing all the players right away.

    • Sir Effingvivor

      That was awesome, my friends who don’t regularily watch were saying “they can’t leave them without fire for too long can they… after that guy last season nearly died?”… I said I guaruntee the villains will have fire just as quick without the flint. This is a bunch who doesn’t wait around for what they want, they just take it. Randy doubting Rob just made him want it more, he’s always gotta be the big man of the schoolyard.

    • Annie

      So happy it’s back! I too thought it was freaking fantasic, while at the same time, mind boggling that Rob started the fire! WHO in their right mind goes on Survivor WITHOUT knowing how to start a fire? It’s a requirement!

      Good luck to all of them. Cirie to win!

      • D

        Thank you. Some are going on the show for the third time and they STILL haven’t figured out how to make fire yet. Rupert with the flint was pathetic. You can’t buy a flint and practice?

    • Daniel

      Same here. Btw, does anybody know if it is possible to save these Survivor videos to disk?

  • Musica1

    Thanks for blogging again this season! I loved this premiere! Exciting challenges and funny bits with Coach falling in love with Jerri and Boston Rob! I think the Heroes team should’ve either gotten rid of Cirie for strategy or Rupert for sheer uselessness. He couldn’t make fire with flint and just stood there staring into space during the puzzle. Anyway, I’m hoping Boston Rob doesn’t have to leave next week!! It wouldn’t be the same without him.

    • Cari

      I hope Boston Rob isn’t taken out of the game next week! I hate when good players go out due to medical reasons…

    • sandy

      boston rob are not out next week
      go to cbs. website you will see rob hanging up during get individual immunity..

      • Sharon

        Sandy- where exactly on the website did you see that? I looked and cant find it. LOVES ME MY BOS ROB!

      • terry

        Damn, I was hoping Rob would be gone. Can’t stand that guy and can’t figure out all this man love for the idiot.

    • Hollywoodaholic

      The camera POV imitating Rob’s faint in the trailer for next week was pretty amusing. We forget that these cameramen have to constantly play a game of “Simon Sez” with their subjects.

    • Angel240

      Just the IDEA of Coach and Jerri together made me throw up in my mouth while watching the show and I just did it again when you reminded me of it.

      • Offelia

        I dunno, I think maybe they deserve each other.

      • Mircat

        Coach isn’t my favorite guy either but are you saying he doesn’t deserve to find some happiness? That’s just plain mean. Look at it this way, if the two of them hook up then they are off the market and the streets are safe even for snarky people. Count me in as thinking this was an awesome beginning. One of the best in many seasons. Totally looking forward to this. I love Russell’s attitude but I’m hoping the Heroes win.

      • terry

        I felt the same way about Rob and Amber.

      • Angel240

        Mircat, you are taking my comment a little too seriously. Yeah, Coach and Jerri both deserve happiness but I just don’t want to witness THAT hook-up. *gag*

      • CoachJerri

        I think the idea of Coach and Jerri as a couple is an interesting mix. I hope those two hook up, they’re a good fit for each other.

      • Musica1

        The Coach/Jerri flirting was hilarious! How could you not literally laugh out loud at them?

      • Angel20

        I am a spoiled brat.

      • Redhead

        Does anyone know what happened to Coach’s wife? My son reminded me that his wife at the last reunion

      • D

        @Redhead I don’t think that was his wife-it was a girlfriend. It seemed like someone he had just met at a bar in NYC.

      • lisaw

        I think it’s one of those relationships that could both begin and end with a bang! Them hooking up and then breaking up–that could be some good TV.

      • cat

        I thought they showed coaches wife at the reunion show? what happened

      • Madam_P

        It wasn’t Coach’s wife at the reunion show – he doesn’t have a wife. He called that woman “my lady.” (Personally I always thought he hired her just for the reunion show.) Remember the only “family member” he had for the family-visit-episode was his assistant coach? Pathetic really.

    • Lee

      I disagree. Heroes did the right thing by voting out Sugar. She is lousy in challenges and a dangerous player because you never know what she’ll do. She ruined Kenny and Crystal’s game. I’m sure a lot of castaways in Gabon will agree with and wished they had voted Sugar out early in the game when they had the chance.

      • teresa

        I thought it was great that Sugar shook up the game during her season. Unpredictability is what makes Survivor interesting and exciting. Plus she was purdy to look at!

      • teresa

        P.S. Sugar spent most of her season at Exile island with fruit to eat and isolated from her tribe. She never went through a true “Survivor” season.

      • D

        @teresa. She was much “purdier” in Gabon, I think. What happened to her hair???

    • jchrist

      I’m wondering what’s up with Rupert too. Seems like he’s trying to rest on his laurels. Boy’s got to step up. Really dug Rob rubbing sticks…too cool. I’m pullin for James.

  • DwightBigSurvivorFan

    Hi Jeff,
    Wow, just wow! After watching just this first episode, I think this is going to be the best Survivor season ever. The cast is superb consisting of (almost all) either great strategists or great physical players. There are very few weak players and both teams are playing full on. This is Survivor on steroids and the game has never been played at this level. Production values are great as well. Love the “Apocalypse Now” helicopters and the Villian music. Your fans will really enjoy this season and I for one am really looking forward to watching all these expert players fight it out. Great job. This is gonna be very entertaining.

  • Corran

    The heroes choose to vote out Sugar instead of obvious threat, Cirie, who is already planning on cutting the throats of Tom and Stephenie?! Do people not forget that she is 1. not great at challenges and 2. is an amazing social player who WILL get you out if you are not careful and 3. SHE HAS ALLIES in James and Parvati. Thats a solid trifecta voting bloc right there.

    • Corran

      Meant James and Amanda*

    • DwightBigSurvivorFan

      Sugar was the weak link. The heroes made a good choice based on giving themselves the best shot at winning tribal immunities.

      • DJ

        Sugar is weak, but she is a lot stronger in challenges than Cirie. I think she proved that in the reward challenge. Cirie will even admit that she doesn’t work hard. Every season she’s been on she has said she wants to be at home on the couch. Also, Remember in Micronesia when she claimed “they should be doing my laundry”?

      • DwightBigSurvivorFan

        True, Cirie is pretty weak in challenges as well. She did put in some linebacker style tackles during the reward challenge, but overall I agree Cirie won’t be much help towards winning immunity.

      • Lee

        Cirie may be weak in challenges but at least she’s not constantly changing her mind like Sugar. You can sorta count on what Cirie will do. There is no way you can count on what Sugar will do because I don’t even think Sugar knows what Sugar will do next. Heroes did the right thing getting rid of Sugar first. Who would want to play a game with someone who doesn’t even know how to play the game?

    • teresa

      I love Cirie. She is so funny. I hope she lasts so we can hear her humorous commentary. But damn, didn’t she learn from the first time on the show to wear a proper bra??

  • Sir Effingvivor

    This show effing rocks. Go villains!! Tom was right though, Cirie was the one to cut loose and as soon as the shot went to Cirie and her reasoning behind not getting rid of Sugar, was as good proof of any that Tom was right on
    >>>>Jeff you were right about the first 20 minutes, I watched with a casual fan, his wife and their buddy who doesn’t watch at all, all he knows is he hates “that Coach guy” and he was glued to the screen the entire episode.
    >>>> LOL @ Coach, he’s his own worst enemy. His self involvement makes him completely self-unaware, he had a man crush on JT last go around and now he’s got an even worse one on Rob, and the hots with Jerri… double whammy! I’m not a fan of Parvati as a person but I won’t downplay her knack for the game, I love the interaction between her and Russell, all they need to do is pull in Danielle who is like the female version of Coach as far as game play is concerned, delusional and completely unaware of her surroundings… making her a great pawn for Russ.
    >>>> Anyway, so far so good. I’m sure there will be tons of people bitching about Russell, but just like last year when everyone said they would stop watching, by seasons end half of them hopped on the bandwagon while the other half stayed foaming at the mouth, but still had a mouth full of his name.

  • Corran

    Sugar had ZERO allies while Cirie is just as weak as Sugar in the challenges yet has a lot of allies. Colby proved a tool by campaigning against Sugar. He is as dumb as they get, and I am sad after watching this episode they brought him back. Candice I knew was a good player in Cook Islands, and had she not been outnumbered, I think she woulda made it all the way. She’s one to watch. Rob and Sandra are my faves on villains so far.

    • Anna

      I just can’t get over Colby letting Sugar chase him around the shelter all night long. First it was Jerri in Austrailia that had him freaked out and now it’s Sugar in Samoa, my Lord! time to grow up and grow a pair.

      • DwightBigSurvivorFan

        lol true. Why doesn’t he just tell em to buzz off?

      • Lucy

        Exactly! What kind of tool is he that he’s afraid of a little girl? He just confirmed for me how little personality and character he’s always had–hope he goes soon.

      • A

        He seemed to not want to hurt her feelings. I would be scared to hurt her feeling too, the girl cries ALL the time!

      • Lee

        You know how touchy women are–especially women in Survivor. No matter how nicely Colby would’ve told Sugar to back off, she still would’ve taken it the wrong way an used it as an excuse to vote him out. In real life, Colby might’ve told Sugar (and Jerri) to back off, but use some intelligence–you can’t do that in the game of Survivor.

      • mary mac

        I like Sugar, but she had to go. She was just annoying. I’m sure Colby is relieved.

      • newsongweekly

        KD here with my new blog as moniker… OMG, that was so funny! I was like, “Sugar, what the h*ll are you DOING?!” There was no chance it was going to work in her favor. LOL

    • Cari

      At this point in the game, voting someone out just because they may be a threat in the game is kinda… Silly. This is the first vote. It is important to vote someone out who is obviously bringing the tribe down so that you aren’t forced to go to more tribal councils.

      Sugar was definitely the right choice.

      • Puppy dog

        Survivior is not about tribes and winning as a team. You need to go to tribal every once in a while in order to thin out your rivals before the merge. The heroes fell down on that vote and thus begins their self destruction.

      • dusen

        Puppy dog, I disagree. Prior to the merge, the strategy needs to be keep your tribe strong, both physically and mentally, so that you minimize your chances of going to tribal, and thus lessen the risk of being outnumbered come the merge. Sugar was a decent choice to kick off…though I do think Cirie would have been the smarter move, since she is a huge schemer but isn’t much of an asset in challenges.

      • Carys

        Puppy Dog, you’re here! So who do you think they should have voted out? I have to admit that I liked Sugar when she lost to the older guy (forget his name), and didn’t think she should have lost, but she’s still crying now (and her father’s death isn’t recent) so she would annoy the heck out of me. So I didn’t mind her going. Cirie is so smart—she was right that Tom or Stephenie should have gone. What do you think?

      • Dana

        I agree with you Dusen. I think they should work to keep their tribe strong in the begining to avoid tribal council and have the numbers when the merge comes. I would have voted out Cirie first however, then Sugar. How funny and sad was it to watch Sugar follow Colby around like a lost puppy dog? It made me feel a little sorry for her. She did manage to anooy me pretty early on this time, at least the last time she was on I liked her for the first handful or episodes before she started to get on my nerves. Hoping James manages to make it till the end but with his strength he has a huge target on his back.

      • puppy dog

        May I refer you to Russell who came back after 8-4 after the merge.
        You all seem to disagree yet you say you would all vote Cirie out because she is a schemer

      • puppy dog

        No Carys that’s not me. I won’t be commenting this season. Some idiot has decided to usurp other poeple’s monikers, and make the whole blog a sham. When you read comments by puppy dog this season, it isn’t the same person from other seasons, and everyone should know without a second thought that I’d NEVER say anything even slightly positive about Russhole, nor would I ever call him anything but Russhole.

      • Carys

        To the original puppy dog, sorry you won’t be here. Thanks for dropping in to say it wasn’t you here after all. :(

      • P

        Who says there will be a merge?? Maybe it will just be villians bs heroes to the end.

      • Lee

        I agree. And I’m sure the castaways in Gabon wished they had voted out Sugar early in the game when they also had the chance. And then maybe we would’ve had a more deserving player to win Gabon instead of Bob.

      • puppy dog

        P- There will be a merge. There will never not be a merge.

      • Puppy dog

        puppy dog- do you mean people’s monikers or poeple’s monikers”?

      • D

        I agree with puppy dog here. There are folks on the hero team that already know and can make alliances with folks on the villain team, so the “keep the tribe strong” mentality goes out the window. It is a good strategy for a regular season where nobody knows anybody coming in though.

      • terry

        Yeah, but the smart thing is to keep your numbers high for the merge and make a pact tokeep the team strong and vote the other team off one by one, that way if you’re 6-5 you can at leqast be assured of making the final 6. It kills me when they do dumb shit like last season and self destruct. You may not trust your teammates, but why would you think that the other guys will not keep you around after you’ve helped get rid of all your teammates.

      • Spar hawk

        terry- False, that is the dumb thing to do.

      • sonny

        Puppy Dog, Puppy dog, or whoever the hell you think you are. I have one question for you, are you so ashamed of who you really are? If not, why not use your own name, instead of taking some one else’s? Those of us who know puppy dog, know the difference in what is written. It’s obvious you have nothing to say, so why bother? If you decide to abstain this season, I totally understand Pup. However, why not use another moniker, we will know you. All the best, Pup.

      • hypocrisy

        Use real names? You think “puppy dog” is a real name? We feel we made valid under “puppy dog” so please sonny stop ruining this board with your little sonny, Anna, tennisfan, puppy dog and david ellen show.

      • spar hawk aka puppy dog

        Hi sonny. It doesn’t matter what user name you pick, this troll will usurp it, and do whatever it can to trash this board. Until we convince EW to link user names with email addresses, so they can only be used by one person, this troll will make a mockery of true Survivor fans. As in using spar hawk above, to post the ignorant, and totally incorrect comment. Someone needs to take the computer away from their worthless teenage brat, and make him get out, and do something with his life. What little life he has.

      • spar hawk aka puppy dog

        I have a pathetic little life. I constantly spend my days checking this blog to fight “e-crime”.

    • Anna

      mmmmm Cobly’s pair *drool*

    • mark

      get off your gender bashing. he obviously didnt want to tell her off because you never know how the others will react and PLUS THEY WERE ALL SLEEPING! OR TRYING TO! use your brain.

      • Wolfgang

        Good call. Good call.

      • Malaika

        Oh good grief. How hard is it to whisper to her, “Sugar, I’d really prefer sleep by myself.” Or, “Could you keep it down? We’re trying to sleep”.

      • A

        Ever hear of editing? Sugar is obviously insane and who know what happened that wasent aired?

      • pat

        Colby needs to take some lessons from Parvati.. what he should of done was pretend to like her and use it to manipulate her.

    • teresa

      I do not even remember Candace. Idon’t recognize her at all. She was on the show before?? Oh yeah, Colby is NOT DUMB.

      • D

        They said she was on Cook Islands. I loved that season (one of my favorites) but she did not make a strong impression on me.

      • spar hawk aka puppy dog

        D. I’m surprised that she didn’t make a strong impression if you loved that season. She was the first mutineer in Survivor. Of course the Judas incarnate, Jonathan Penner, followed right behind her, but she turned on her tribe first. It cost her in the end, though, as it should have.

  • DwightBigSurvivorFan

    Most of the players are strong but I was particularly impressed with Boston Rob starting the fire and solving the puzzle. That guy is just smart. I hope the fainting episode shown in the previews is not serious.

    • Jessica F

      Boston Bob is the best and always has been. I adore him. I really hope he and Sandra form a strong partnership.

      • Mamapajama

        Boston Rob has always been one of my favorite players. People always underestimate him as dumb, but he’s not. He’s wicked smaaaart (said with a Boston accent!) I hope he and Stephanie both go far in the game!

      • PJ

        He is absolutely the best ever to play the game. Good physical competitor, good at mental challenges as well, not afraid to make bold moves, and great socially. He even called it, if people were smart they would vote him off first, but they never do…

      • D

        I love Rob and Sandra together-so funny.

  • Cari

    I am wondering if Jeff would consider Amber’s strategy in All Stars being one of a “coattail rider” or being more of an “under the radar” strategy… Because saying that a coat tail rider couldn’t win this season… I’m still not %100 sure of that. I think a coattail rider won the last All Stars.

    • RBlues

      Rob/Amber was the equivalent of Colby/Tina. Rob and Colby did the exact same thing–staying LOYAL to your allaince and taking them to Final Tribal Council knowing full well they would probably lose. The only difference is Rob and Amber fell in love and it was a win/win situation for him either way.

      • Jessica F

        True dat.

    • david ellen

      As I’ve posted, Amber won because Shi-Ann, her crucial fourth vote (the other three — Tom, Alicia, and Lex — were pure spite), mistakenly believed that Amber was co-mastermind w/ Rob. Jeff P’s theory seems correct…though jury members sometimes — often, if you count last season! — screw up.

      • Anna

        david ellen- Invalid point.

  • Winston

    Welcome back Jeff! It’s so good to read your insightful blogs again. I wholeheartedly agree with you on the epicness of Episode 1. The contestants delivered in many ways, most of which you’ve mentioned already. I also agree with the music. It was very fitting during the opening sequence-which was fantastic-and the lead in to Tribal Council.

    The Tribal Council Treehouse itself is amazing. I cannot wait to see more of it.

    I’m glad Tom and Cirie were already considering strong, bold moves. In the end, they played safe and prudent and ousted Sugar. Poor girl, she went topless for nothing. I hope we will see more great things this season, and I hope the previews for the next episode don’t allude to something as serious as Russell Swan’s case in Samoa.

  • RBlues

    Love YOU Jeff! Love Survivor and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE me some Boston Rob! He so easily proved this episode why he is one of the greats (and I suspect, one of your sentimental favorites). I sincerely hope he is o.k. and can continue. The Villians are sunk without him–too much ego!

  • DwightBigSurvivorFan

    The most important characteristic of a good Survivor contestant is strategic thinking. The second most important characteristic is social/people skill and the third requirement is physical prowess. I think in order to win this season you will need to be all three strategic, social and physical threats. The competition is just too good to allow a one dimensional player to make it to the end. Based on this 3 characteristic measurement, some of the weaker players in the game would be Sugar, James, Ruppert and Randy.

    • Lee

      I would also add Coach, Tyson and Courtney to that list.

    • D

      I am hoping James has learned something and will be around a long time!!!

  • Clever name that will get your attention

    -Glad you’re back for at least another year. Keep coming back.

    -Loved that the premiere was two hours, and it’s about time. It definitely eases the pain of not having the post-Super Bowl spot.

    -Hate it when things are jumbled, as pointed out by Dalton Ross.

    -The inclusion of Danielle is puzzling, and giving her the spot over Twila is unforgivable. You said age is a factor. There were six women in their twenties.

    -Randy over Shane? Nonsensical.

    -Where are others, such as Terry or “Dreamz”? Casting Tom and Terry together wouldn’t make sense on a normal season given their similarities. However, that’s *exactly* what makes them great to put together on an all-star season. You see Tom in Palau and then Terry in Exile Island, and you say, “Hey, what if Tom and Terry were on the same season?”

    -Survivor 25 will be here in two and a half years at this rate (and you’d better still be there). What better round number is there? This would work out pretty well for an all-winners season, but I don’t need to tell you about the difficulties associated with this when it comes to repeating locations. Ideally: Survivor 22 is at the same place as Survivor 12 and features early boots: Skupin, Gina, Cao Boi, etc. Survivor 23 and 24 should both feature new castways. Find a location near 23 for 24 or come up with a unique theme. (Using only returning castaways will hurt the chances of interest in all-winners… but then again, only using one location for every two seasons won’t do the show too many favors, either.) So imagine the above, with Survivor 25: Champions, and the icing on the cake? Get CBS to agree to that $2million payday for that season. Talk it over.

    • A

      My guess is that some of these people wouldn’t come back.

    • David

      I would have loved to see Twilia again, but I suspect the problem is she doesn’t easily fit in either the heroes or villians category. I think they ran out of spots for villians.

      • sdm

        I love Twilia! She is a crack up, but to have her back they need a season of average people vs. cooky people. I think a tribe of the cookiest people would be hysterical. Twilia, Shambo…who else?

      • D

        I would add Shane and Coach.

      • D

        My comment was @sdm.

    • bp5simp

      While it’s nice to have sandy beaches and blue turquoise water I think the producers need to look to a different locale … somewhere colder … maybe northern Ontario in the Fall. It’s not so cold they’d freeze to death, but absolutely beautiful and remote with enough water and danger to keep everyone interested. Unfotuntely, the girls wouldn’t be able to wear bikinis, so this will never happen.

      • Tacia

        Yes! Northern Ontario would be a hoot – great scenery, lots of water, weather can still be shorts and tank tops well into October in a good year. But there would be lots of ‘cuddling’ opportunities in the shelters.
        Jeff and other producers – check out Thunder Bay Ontario – known as the “Land of the Sleeping Giant”.

      • Tanis

        Thunder Bay Ontario – Lake Superior in the fall – all kinds of opportunities there. Would be a great change. Think about it Survivor Producer Geniuses.

      • D

        Northern Ontario in the fall sounds uncomfortably cold. Most of these contestants are from California or the South, are you kidding me?

    • pat

      They need to get eat-anything Matt from Survivor 5 back – look up his bio, that dude is the _real_ survivor.

  • Anth

    “if Russell plays the same game he did in Samoa during this season, he has a much better chance of winning because this group of players has a different set of criteria for what it takes to win the game”

    If Russell plays the same game he played in Samoa ANY season, he loses.

    Loved, loved this premiere–absolutely fantastic!

    • Tennisfan

      we all bow before the great Future teller.
      please tell us who wins next season and their play style!!

      • Anth

        Who wins next season? Your mom. I figure that’s about as clever a response as your brain can handle.

      • Tennisfan

        Well thats a cheap excuse for not being able to come up with anything good from your dementia riddled brain.

    • Mary

      Anth? There’s a troll with a grudge out on the prowl. The real tennisfan is never rude, isn’t up and posting at these ungodly hours, and always uses proper punctuation.

      • Laura K.

        I disagree. I think this group will absolutely reward gameplay above anything else. Russell ran that game from the very beginning. Maybe he wasn’t subtle, but he was certainly effective.

      • Tennisfan

        Laura k- I concur.
        Mary – God forbid I should express my displeasure with the incessant and irrational Russell hating going one by a hard core of people lest you call me a troll.

      • Anth

        You’re free to like Russell; that’s all well and good and I’m not going to debate that. What I am going to debate is the popular misconception that Russell was an even remotely good player. He didn’t play the best game; he played the loudest. And it’s a shame that viewers bought into his “puppet master” edit. I guess if you tell everyone you’re the best player ever enough times, they’ll start to believe you.

      • Sam

        lol get on the island and say that
        Ah the edit last argument of the defeated debater

      • Anth

        Um, no, genius. The edit is the ONLY thing anyone who wasn’t there can base an argument on.

        I’ll be more than happy to admit when I’ve lost a debate. Alas, it doesn’t happen very often and it certainly hasn’t happened here. Thanks for your input though!

      • Zuk mei Dong

        Well here’s a first. Guess you should stop commenting lest you embarrass yourself further. Nice try though anth ;)

      • Stan

        LOL thats some amusing talk from a middle aged housewife.
        Are these debates held by the stove or the washing machine?

      • tennisfan

        Anth — I agree with your comment about Russell’s game play. In my opinion, he lost solely due to his poor social game, which is a shame because he had some great game-changing moves and was obviously very serious about playing hard, but he just couldn’t pull out the win because of how he conducted himself with his fellow Survivors. As Mary pointed out above, there’s a troll on the blog that uses the same moniker as other frequent posters on Jeff Probst’s Survivor blog. I loved the two-hour premiere as well, and knowing that this is just a whole different animal of a game than Survivor played with 20 (or 18) strangers, I think it’s going to be an interesting season with some killer challenges!

    • Rockox

      Loved the premiere, though I think Russell has an unfair advantage, seeing as how this season finished filming before the last one even aired. None of the other contestants know who Russell is or what his gameplay is like. Not cool, Survivor. Not cool.

      • Paul


      • Rockox

        Why do the others not know him, or why is it not cool? Last season was filmed between June and July of last year and this current season was filmed between August and September. Last season didn’t even AIR until this season was done filming, so all the HvV contestants wouldn’t have had an opportunity to see last season, or to have seen Russell in action. It’s not cool because it just ain’t.

      • Paul

        Why is it not cool??

      • Meredith

        I think Russels situation is a disadvantge as uch as an advantage… he has a huge target on his back from people knowing how good he is(because he is on this season) yet also don’t know what he did. Also haven’t figured out out my thrid pick for the final… but I would bet a lot of money on Parvati and Russel getting there.

      • Sam

        you should really take that bet ;)

      • alex

        oh, but his “unfair advantage” leaves out the fact that he came RIGHT FROM previous taping, 5 days to get better? seriously? hes skinny as can be now

    • Sean

      Not necessarily true. All the players on All Stars were veterans of the show, but they didn’t reward Boston Rob’s superior gameplay that season. They were a sour grapes jury second only to Russell’s.

      • Rockox

        All-Stars seasons like this tend to use the angle of “no one’s going into this blind – you’ve all seen what everyone is capable of” and I doubt this season is any different. I just hope Russel’s advantage is at least addressed in an upcoming episode. That being said, it’s a great strategy on Russel’s part to do back-to-back seasons to give him that edge. Now to sit back and wait for him to find another idol without any clues…

      • T

        Stop whining about Russell’s “advantage” all over the blog.

      • Rockox

        No worries, I’m done. I hope Russel does well this season. He’s entertaining as hell.

        Love the show, love the blog!

    • Joe

      In addition, whereas Russell was given kid-glove treatment by the Samoa jury, this bunch will be A LOT LESS forgiving to his antics. All-Star juries tend to be bitter due to their egos being broken. B-Rob, Ozzy and James should know that.

      • suomi

        more bitter? is that posable?

    • tennisfan

      Anth — I agree with your comment about Russell’s game play. In my opinion, he lost solely due to his poor social game, which is a shame because he had some great game-changing moves and was obviously very serious about playing hard, but he just couldn’t pull out the win because of how he conducted himself with his fellow Survivors. As Mary pointed out above, there’s a troll on the blog that uses the same moniker as other frequent posters on Jeff Probst’s Survivor blog. I loved the two-hour premiere as well, and knowing that this is just a whole different animal of a game than Survivor played with 20 (or 18) strangers, I think it’s going to be an interesting season with some killer challenges!

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