Phillip plays the race card! OOOOhhhhh Boy!!

Phillip must be having a blonde moment tonight. I never knew calling a black man crazy meant you were racist. What is it when I call a white man crazy? Huh, explain that to me please! If Phillip is acting he deserves an Oscar Award, otherwise he IS TRULY NUTS!!!

Tonight should be good for action with possibly 2 duels or a duel with 3 players. Matt will need to be on his toes to stay in now! Gepetto has in marionettes in line so another Zapatera should be on the hook for eviction. Immunity can only save one of them which means barring a miracle one of them will be gone.

Lets hope for some game play maneuvering for a change please!


News about Phillip!

About ESSG

Time. Knowledge. Success.

We pride ourselves on being an organization where shared values, actions, and principles are the cornerstone

of our commitment to excellence. We help companies by investing our time, experience, broad knowledge,

industry wide connections, and relationships within Fortune 2000 companies. Phillip Sheppard, Owner & Operator, is a highly motivated

and result-focused business executive. He has an exceptional record of creating, producing, and managing enterprise

software sales by exceeding customer expectations and deliviering over 25 Million in sales.

Prior to founding ESSG, Mr. Sheppard worked for software companies with a variety of technologies including

Legent Corp., Goal Systems, Informatica, Arbor Software, Pentaho, Broadbase Software, Sybase, and several other

multi-faceted vertical markets around the United States. Mr. Sheppard is also a former Federal Agent and US Army Veteran.

Enterprise Software Sales Group
930 Euclid Street Suite 101
Santa Monica, CA 90403

BloggerGal hangs with past Survivor alumni!

My husband and I attended Reality Rally in Temecula California this weekend. This for charity event was created by Survivor contestant Gillian Larson. Reality Rally is an event modeled after The Amazing Race where teams race throughout the city in a competition involving crazy activities, all for the coveted trophy, cash prizes, and most importantly raising funds for the charity of choice. This year’s charity is Michelle’s Place, a breast cancer resource center located in Temecula. The idea is for regular folk to form teams with Reality TV stars to compete. The weekend long event gave fans ample opportunity to hang out and meet their favorite stars.

Since Gillian was a Survivor contestant, there was a huge contingent of Survivor reality TV stars. My absolute favorite was Bob Crowley, both on Survivor and at the cocktail party. He is such a down to earth guy. I was having difficulty figuring out the flash on my camera and he and I spent some time trying to figure it out. I kidded him saying, “If you can’t figure it out Bob, no one can!” My husband really enjoyed having a lengthy conversation with him. I didn’t get a chance to speak to Dr. Marcus Lehman, but he takes an awesome picture, doesn’t he?

Sandra Diaz-Twine hasn’t changed a bit after winning, not one, but two Survivor seasons. She was great to talk to and she even invited us to meet her back at the Pechanga Casino to play some roulette.

I had a lengthy conversation with Marty Piombo. I explained to him that I have to DVR Survivor, so that I can blog American Idol live. He teased me and told me that was just wrong! He absolutely loves Survivor and never misses an episode. He did confess that he tapes the show and then watches with his Fast Forward button. I wasn’t too crazy about Marty, the Survivor player, but I loved Marty when I met him. We took our picture with Matthew “Sash” Lenahan, but I didn’t get the opportunity to spend any time with him.

I couldn’t recognize Survivor contestant Joel Anderson. He is huge, well muscled and frankly…hot! When I came home, I checked out his Survivor photos and frankly was shocked that he was the same guy I met.

My husband was really excited to meet YauMan Chan. He loves those middle-aged Survivor contestants. I guess they give him hope for all us middle aged folks!

I have to admit, there were a lot of Survivor contestants that I recognized, but I just didn’t know their names. All the reality stars I met were wonderful people. It was great for them all to donate their time to such a worthy cause. I hope you are all enjoying this season’s Survivor. Bloggergal

Gepeto and his marionettes vs the Sinking Ship.

A jointed puppet manipulated from above by strings or wires attached to its limbs. Rob has five of them but is pulling brains. He is manipulating them better than any puppet master around.

I can’t believe the Ometempe tribe is doing everything Rob
tells them. Grant is hungry and Rob tells him not to eat. Bullshit baby, if I’m
hungry, I’m eating. Just tell Rob to stick it and eat. I’d punch the fool out
so I could survive.

I can’t wait to see what they do when Rob uses the girls to
get rid Grant. Then pick off the girls one at a time while keeping nutso pink
pants till the end.  Just who will vote
for Phillip? Also, no one knows Rob has the idol either.

The Marionettes just keep following when Rob pulls their
strings! The only way one of the Zapatera’s stays in this game is to win individual

Matt can get back in the game if he wins all the duels and
comes back at the final four. HOWEVER, he could conceivably get evicted for the
third time by Rob! Rob is the key to this game and someone needs to throw away
his padlock and boot him out of the game.

Not one of these fruit loops has even thought about looking
for an idol or wondering if someone on Ometempe even has one now!

If the Marionettes stay in line, the next three weeks shows don’t
even need to be watched because it will only be the Zaps getting zapped. OK,
Russell haters, how much would he have helped out keeping the odds more even
and it would have been much more interesting.

The game is boring; no strategy is being played because of
the numbers advantage. Ometempe is doing their best to snub the Zapatera’s. Not
even social conversation is allowed because of Rob. Separate sleeping and
eating is being forced on them by Rob. These next three weeks will suck if no
Zapatera wins an immunity challenge.

Give me some blinders and ear
plugs and wake me in four weeks.

Jeff’s Weekly Blogathon

Today’s blog will be stream of consciousness, with no proof
reading, so bear with me…




Was he a moron?  What
would you have done?  I felt like he was
in a really tough spot.  Going against
your old alliance and joining the other side is a risky move.  Obviously, staying with someone as dangerous
as Rob is also a major risk.  I think the
only mistake he made was sharing his inner monologue with Rob.  That’s the lesson I learned – when playing a
game like Survivor, you don’t have to be so honest, God will understand.


But I must say his faith in his God is pretty impressive and
inspiring.  Love the absolute commitment.




Julie complained about how unfair it was for Ometempe to
vote out Matt again so soon after coming back into the game.  I do not believe Julie would have taken mercy
on Matt if she were in the same situation.
Not one bit.  She didn’t hesitate
to get rid of Russell.  She would have
done the same with Matt and it would have been okay, its part of the game.




When Ralph was trying to forge his way in with Ashley and
Natalie, he was trying so hard to get something going.  The only thing Natalie could safely offer,
without risking saying anything wrong, was:


Natalie: It’s a hard game.


Damn!  The insincerity
of that lame ass line would have prompted a major response from me.  There is no chance I could have contained
myself at that point in the game.


“It’s a hard game.”
Screw off.



They’re doing
everything they can to try and find a way into the tight Ometempe group.  That’s what you have to do in this spot.  You have no other option.  You have to stir things up, try to get
someone riled, and try to start an argument, anything at all.


Sitting back and saying, “I understand” is bullshit.  It gets you nowhere.


The only problem facing Zapatera is Boston Rob.  Without Rob, Ometempe would have no clued
what to do.  That’s clear by the way Rob
is able to keep them in line.




For all the concern we had that both Rob and Russell would
be voted out early – Rob has done an amazing job of not only staying in the
game but staying in control.  There are a
few key factors to his success:


a. He has an incredible knowledge of the game and the key
elements required to control your fate.


b. He’s a naturally gifted strategist.  His “us” vs. “them” while keeping himself
clean is so brilliantly executed.


c. The luck of drawing the Ometempe buff.  Rob would not have been as successful on
Zapatera. He is relying on the naïve nature of his tribe.  Everybody on Ometempe will take offense with
me saying this, but without Natalie and Phillip, Rob is dead because Ralph,
Julie, David and Steve would not have responded the same way.




The scene between Rob and Natalie where she reports on the
actions of Ashley was straight out of the Godfather.  Natalie just became “made.”  That is what they call it when you earn your
mafia stripes, right?  Natalie just made
a HUGE move.  She locked in her alliance
with Rob when she could have made a move and gotten him out of the game.  From this point forward Natalie’s fate is
linked to Rob.




Phillips story about his meditation with his great, great,
great, great, Grandfather was 100% legit.
Even the 99th mispronunciation of his own tripe, “Ometempe” was legit.
There is nothing about Phillip that is a put on, at least as far as I can tell.


As for whether or not he was actually a former federal
agent, I will get to the bottom of that during the live reunion show Sunday,
May 15th.  Mark it down.


I loved this challenge.
I love individual challenges later in the game because there are always
people fighting to stay in the game.  I
also love it when people let go of their humility and get in the mud.


Day to day motivation is a big factor in this game:


Grant & Rob wanted it from the word go but for different


Rob wanted to protect himself and remain in control because
he understands you are NEVER safe unless you have immunity.  Even with a hidden idol, if you don’t play it
you can get blindsided.


Grant wanted it for his tribe because he is playing the
“team game.”


The three Zapatera all wanted it because they needed it.


Ashley, Andrea, Natalie & Phillip – they didn’t fight
because they aren’t worried and for now they don’t have to be.




When the low man on the other tribe’s totem pole tells you
that he enjoys being the low man, you know you are in trouble.


Phillip embodies the loyal soldier.  At this point I truly believe Phillip would
fall on a sword for his tribe because in his mind he is part of an important
group.  What he doesn’t understand is he
is being played by one of the best and the only way this ends well is if Rob
gets blindsided and Phillip ends up in a final with himself.




Mike will be tough.
Mike could be on Redemption for a while.
He is an amazing competitor and from what I can tell an audience




I love these challenges as well!  Love when we give them the chance to sit out
and eat rather than compete for immunity.


I’m always amazed at who chooses to eat and why.  You are so close to $1million dollar prize.  I would never give up a shot at immunity for
a burger.  But I think it makes perfect
sense that Steve and Phillip did.


Steve knew he wouldn’t win and Phillip believes he doesn’t
have to win.  Turns out both are right.






Phillip is pure gold.
Straight out of the river bed.


If there has ever been a more fascinating Survivor
contestant, please share.


David brought up a great notion – that at this point, the
best move for a Zapatera may be Redemption Island where you can control your


I don’t think we’ve even touched what RI will bring to this
game.  For those of you on the fence,
give it a chance.  Let’s see where it

Fools and Their Idol’s Are Soon Parted!

Zapatera has got to be setting the record for the dumbest tribe ever.

1) They throw a challenge to get rid of Russell who is a good player, they could have evicted him at anytime later in the game.                              2) Ralph tells everyone that he has an Idol. That move has been proven to be pure stupidity.                                                                                             3) It took them three TC’s to finally evict Sarita. She proved to be worthless.                                                                                                                        4)They continue to blow the challenges after blowing leads which should have helped them win.                                                                              “and lord help us all”                                                                                                                                                                                                                           5) After merging they fail to bring Matt into the fold for help and then forget to protect him at TC and don’t tell him the plan to vote for Grant.

Matt being so innocent and trusting God, couldn’t see his old tribe leaving im out of all their conversations and not realizing that they were after him again. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. Zapatera and their “tribe-thinking” still have no leader to guide them and will soon fall by the wayside.

This now becomes Rob’s game to lose unless members of Zapatera can start winning challenges and/or getting some Ometempe members to switch sides. After the stupid move to use the Idol on Steve, they now have no protection and are short on numbers. No one still knows that Rob has the Idol. Phillip and Grant know his has some clues but don’t realize he has the Idol.

The girls on both teams seem totally lost and are following along with whatever they are told to do. None of them seem to want to make an all girl allaiance. Grant is Rob’s tag-a-long buddy with no game of his own. Phillip is a wandering Gypsy and has no idea how close he has come to being evicted. Rob now needs to keep Phillip close to home so he doesn’t go commando and join the Zapatera members to get Rob out.

Phillip is a production gold mine. He has the love/hate combo that makes for good reality TV. As long as he stays weird he has TV time to himself and production will push him as far as they can.

Ralph is a good hearted old country boy with the brains if of an Ox. He links muscle over brain matter will work in this game. Well, Ralph proved himself wrong by playing the Idol on the wrong person. Steve and the girls were clueless going into the TC and I have no idea what David was thinking. I thought for sure David would catch on to what Rob was doing.

Matt, however, basically evicted himself when he voted for Steve. I saw it coming a mile away by the editing of the vote reading. When Jeff got to the fifth vote for Grant and the next one was for Steve, the writing was on the wall. The next six votes were going to be for Matt. Well, Matt now must endore another to weeks on Redemption Island and win a possible seven more duels to make it to the final four. Is it possible he can get there only to be voted out again by Rob?

The duel that sent Sarita home lasted longer than I thought. They made you think Matt might lose because of the cut on his foot but he managed just fine.

We all knew the merge was coming and that would get the big meal. I liked the fact that they had to build a new hut and that the Ometempe tribe put the tarp on their side of the hut and not on the Zapatera side at all making for a wet night of sleep.

At camp there was quite a bit of talk but we never really heard anything about how Matt after he talked to Rob. This in itself was a dumb move because it gave Rob more ammunition to tell his tribe mates that Matt was still a threat.

In this game you have to learn the old addage, “Silence is Golden”. The less you tell people the better off you are in the game. Just follow along with the gang and keep yourself out of the limelite. This way the only way you get in trouble is in the challenges. If you can win them all great, otherwise try to finish in the middle of the pack.


The next big move will have be when you win a challenge and reward goes with it. WHO do you share or take with on the rewards? This will start the rift between players and the bad mouth talking will start. It’s a wait and see game for us now and I for one hope the merge makes for some intgeresting game play. Will they bring another HII into the game? If so, who will find the clue? Will the clue help them find it? Will they share the clue? Hmmmmmmmmmmm, and good old Ponderosa is just around the corner.


Jeff’s Blog


I am guessing that almost everybody, short of Sarita’s family, was pulling for Matt to win the last duel before the merge.  It has nothing to do with Sarita and everything to do with pulling for the underdog.  Matt earned his shot back in the game.

I’m surprised that some of you are not enjoying Redemption Island.  I certainly get a lot of comments from people who are enjoying it but I do get some from people who think it’s a bore.

I’m shocked that anybody could be bored with the Matt/Redemption Island storyline.  But hey, I get it, everybody has their likes/dislikes.

As I’ve said many times the duels are put on the grid and built long before we know who will be competing.  So imagine Matt’s surprise when the one challenge he didn’t want – a challenge that involved using the side of his now injured food – was the exact duel that was on the grid.  Crazy Survivor luck.

Had he lost, it would have sucked to lose due to an injury but it would have been completely fair.

Truth is, I thought he was in real danger of losing.  These challenges so often favor women and with his cut foot I thought he might be in trouble.


Ah there is so much fun about the merge.

From a show point of view it’s a breath of fresh air as it almost always shakes things up.  Solid alliances are now in danger.  People on the bottom now have a new shot at moving up.

The Survivors get a merge feast, which always lifts their spirits and anytime you can lift their spirits it’s a good thing.  That might sound counter to what you would think we want to have happen, but the truth is there is so much drama on a day-to-day basis, that a bit of happiness is always good.  Balances things out.

They get new buffs, which invigorates them and often seems to refuel them.

And if I don’t have to be there, it’s an afternoon off for me!


Rob: (to tribe) Murlonio means from the sea, united.

Rob: (interview)“Murlonio doesn’t mean anything.  It’s a joke between me and Amber.”

I’m laughing because I’m imagining the reaction of the rest of the tribe when they heard this for the first time last night while watching the show.  It’s so 5th grade and it has absolutely no impact on the show, but it’s still funny.  I’m sure Rob and Amber were cracking up last night every time “Murlonio” popped up on the screen.  I’ll ask Rob to bring the stuffed animal to the live show.


As simple as this challenge is to recreate it’s still the same creative process as you have with an elaborate maze.  You have an idea – let’s do something where they balance a ball on a plate.  Then you play around with the idea and decide it’s too easy, we need to add a “wobble” element to it.  But it’s still not hard enough, so we add another ball, and then another.  Now we’re getting somewhere.

Most of our challenges first take shape months before we go to location.  Our challenge team pitches us their slate of new challenges.  In fact we’re doing this in two weeks here in LA in preparation for next year.  The pitch is nothing more than ideas and sketches.  After the pitch, some are approved, some are modified and some are sent back for re-tooling.

Once they’re approved they have to be built.  This process can take between one to six weeks depending on the scope and size.

Once built they are then tested.  During a test there are no cameras.  Just our director, our dream team, our challenge producers and me.

Once we’re satisfied with the test block we move to a rehearsal.  This requires our entire camera/audio operators, our director, challenge producers, dream team and all the support people.

We rehearse the challenge and give our final notes.  Then the challenge is ready for the Survivors.

We do this whether it is a three person final episode endurance challenge or a two-tribe, 20 person boat race.  We always follow the same process.


The second blindside of Matt was a great move by Rob and not a surprising one.  Rob blindsided Matt the first time around so Rob had to believe he was a target.  I’m not sure Matt had any real shot at surviving but he sealed his fate when he told Rob the truth that he considered switching to the other side.  He just gave up way too many details.  It’s like telling your girlfriend, “I was thinking about breaking up with you, but I decided not to.”  What?  You don’t tell them that.  You either do it or you don’t — but sharing e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is not always the right choice.

It makes sense that Matt was honest.  It’s in his nature.  But like the tale of the frog and the scorpion, nature can work for you and against you.  This time the “nature” of Rob worked against Matt.

Mike gave it a great shot.  He said all the right things.  Offering to sabotage his own alliance and join forces with Matt in order to further his own game.  He made the only real move he had at that point and it’s exactly what I would have done.  It was a big move.  Just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean it wasn’t a smart move.

The big question I have with Matt centers around how this impacts Matt’s faith in people.

Blindsided two times by people you trust… I wonder if it has changed Matt’s view of his fellow man or is Matt wise enough to realize that Survivor is just a game.  It’s an ugly game at times but it’s just a game.


Yes this was in the plan from the beginning.  Redemption Island was going to resume immediately after the merge.  In fact, when we pitched CBS one of the scenarios we gave them was the person on Redemption Island could earn their way back into the game and then be voted right out again.  But nobody imagined that one guy would win six straight duels get back into the game at the merge and be the first person voted out again.

If there is a silver lining for Matt, it is the fact that if he can survive Redemption Island again and make it back to the final, his odds for winning are huge.  At this point he is one of the biggest underdogs in Survivor history.

See ya next week!


Matt, Merge and More Phillip oh My!

Redemption looks like it is coming to an end. More on that later!
Stephanie is driving Matt crazy with constant chatter. Her mouth is running a mile a minute. Matt is ready to get to the duel. Phillip and Rob for Ometempe along with  David and Ralph for Zapatera are the visitors. This became another run-away in a memory game when Matt matches the first two blocks and sets the tone for the game.  Matt stays on as the only player to win a duel at Redemption Island.
Rob didn’t trust Phillip so he went to the duel with him. He believes Phillip is so stupid because he thinks Phillip is totally unaware of whats going on.
Stephanie tells Rob and Phillip about the goings on and that he is the target when the teams merge. Rob is also worried that Phillip will head up the move to get him out when the teams merge.
Phillip asks Rob if they want to withhold any information and tell him we’ll tell them everything and then tells the tribe that Phillip wanted to withhold the info.
Everyone on Zapatera is down on David. No one seems to have a good word about him and he looks like the next one to go. They act like he is stupid and is getting on their nerves.
Phillip gets in a fight with the girls about the crispy rice that sticks to the pot and the girls say it belongs to Rob. Back and forth for what seems like 15 minutes and then after Phillip leaves they go tell Rob about it! Phillip rants on when they interview him. Rant baby rant!
The Immunity Challenge turns out to be an obstacle course of up, down, over, under around and through the brick wall. Along the way they need to grab bags with balls in them. At the end they must put the balls in a small hooped basket that is about fifteen feet high. The lead changes a few times when teams struggle to get the balls down from the screwed hooks.  Zapatera gets everyone through first and begins taking balls from the bags. Zapatera has five balls in and struggles to get the last one while with only three in their basket Grant goes on a roll and puts the final three in to win it for Ometempe.
For their reward Ometempe are flown to the top of an active volcano and get a great meal.  Again, Rob finds the clue without getting caught. This time however while he stands near the volcano he tosses it in and down the side of the volcano wall it tumbles. He has the idol so why worry about another clue.
Back at camp Zapatera start talking that they might need to vote out Sarita because of their bad performance at the challenge. This makes the eviction a choice between David and Sarita. Sarita I believe made a mistake by starting the conversation about evicting David instead of just staying quiet. I think that the doom is in the wind.  There were vultures on the beach eating a big turtle. Zapatera tribe mates will be next on the menu.
At Tribal council the talk is between David and Sarita and they argue with each other about the weak link. After they get done grumbling the vote is on. By four to two vote, Sarita is surprised that she was voted out. She will be Matt’s next victim.
From the previews it looks like the merge will come next episode and that the duel winner will be back in the game.  HOWEVER,  don’t be surprised when Jeff announces that Redemption Island will again come into play during the rest of the game. This means one person will need to win there to get back in the game at the final four!
The game will be on and the hidden idols may finally come into play. Alliances will definitely be changing as well as the game. Hopefully the excitement factor will get better as we head to the end of the game.
Jeff’s Blog
Okay onto the last episode…
I like David.  He’s the kind of player I’d like to have on the show every season.  He’s playing a long-term game and he’s willing to make big moves.  He came to win, not make the jury.
I don’t have much time for people who are satisfied with making the jury.  I’m not convinced Sarita wants to make it to the end.  So far I haven’t seen the killer instinct.  Maybe it will come out next week on Redemption Island.  I had huge expectations for Sarita. I loved her in casting, but I really believe the game was much more than she anticipated and ultimately just too difficult.  Now she faces an interesting dilemma.  Does she give it her all and try to beat Matt or just throw in the towel and call it a day?
What’s to say?  Matt is unstoppable.  Five straight duels without a loss.  Our duels are scheduled long before we know who will be competing so whether it’s physical, mental or both, it has nothing to do with who is at Redemption Island.  It’s just luck of the draw.
Watching this episode reminded me how damn hot it gets while shooting Survivor.  Redemption Island was especially hot because there was absolutely no breeze.  I always seem to sweat more than the Survivors and that’s annoying.  I guess they acclimate since they are living in it, and maybe because they’re dehydrated most days, but I always notice when I’m the one dripping from the forehead and they’re not.
I continue to be impressed by Rob’s game play.  Granted it’s his fourth time so he should have something figured out, but seven episodes in I think he has played as close to a perfect game as anyone ever has in our 22 season history.
He hasn’t missed a single opportunity to gain favor or advantage.  He is squeezing every bit of juice out of every opportunity.
I’m going to take a moment for all the “Probst loves Rob” haters to scream at me… go ahead.  Let it out.    Let it breathe…
I like Rob.  Always have.  Going all the way back to Survivor: Marquesas when he told me after he was voted out, “Give me another shot.  I’m not finished.”  I liked him in All-Stars when he took advantage of Lex to keep Amber in the game and then asked Amber to marry him just before the reading of the votes, thus ensuring the million dollars would be his no matter what.  I liked him in Heroes v Villains when he miraculously changed his stripes and went from the dark side to the light.  Still not sure how that happened.
And yes… I still like him today. ZAPATERA
While we’re shooting the show, I’m unaware of most of what goes on out on the beaches.  I don’t know the nitty-gritty and truth be told I really don’t know all that much about how the individual players are playing the game.  But when I get home and start watching the episodes, I’m no different than you guys – I find myself rooting for and against different players and different tribes.  Right now, Zapatera is driving me nuts with their infighting and complaining.  I know it must be frustrating to read this if you’re a Zapatera member but it’s really how I feel.  I can’t take much more of their whiny-ass complaining.
Enough philosophical chats, for crying out loud.  Do something.  Change your fate.
I want someone to stand up and take control of the tribe and start leading them.  Specifically…David.  That’s who would get my vote for leader and the reason is I think he’s the only guy capable right now of making bold moves to get his tribe back on track.  Ralph makes fun of him for being an attorney.  The truth is, the guy is the only one right now who is looking at the “big picture” and is trying to right a quickly sinking ship.
Zapatera is a great example of  the psychological phenomenon “group-think.”  In Zapatera, you have a group of people who are making decisions that match the group consensus but without ever truly evaluating the worth or long term effect of their decisions.   They so desperately don’t want conflict that they get rid of anybody who doesn’t peacefully agree with the group.  It’s not working.  You have to have the balls to stand up and tell the Emperor that he’s naked!  Zapatera is naked!
I think they made a great move in voting out Sarita and that may just be the first move in the right direction.
The scene in which they debated about saving Rob some crispy rice was funny and caused great drama surrounding Phillip who was clearly picking a fight because once again he WANTED TO BE HEARD!
Beyond that though, it was a great visual reminder of how little they are living on every day.  They are given a tin of rice on day one and told to ration it so it will last the entire time.  They know from past seasons that if you run out, it will cost you something valuable to get more rice.  So that is why they eat only a few spoonfuls each day.
I love this ongoing love/hate, mentor/student relationship between Rob and Phillip because it highlights the truth about how we treat each other in our society.  Age doesn’t mean a damn thing.  Nobody respects you simply because you’re an elder.  Should we respect our elders?  Hell yes!  Do we?  Hell no.
We respect you if you’re powerful or rich or famous or hot or really good at sports, but age?  Ha!  You’re just an old dude whose ass I can kick, so get the F out of my way before I run you over with my Prius.
There is a guy at my gym, Abraham.  He’s a very nice guy who fancies himself a comedian and as a result he is constantly spouting one-liners.  All day, long.  He’s a bit of a wordsmith, I’ll give him that.  He has a turn of the phrase or a corny joke for every moment.
The truth is if he was a twenty-something I’d probably give him some attitude and tell him “not everything is an anecdote.”  But Abraham, is in his 80’s and because of that, I have a different attitude about the whole thing. I listen and I laugh and I always appreciate that this man has lived a lot longer than me and if he wants to tell a few jokes we should all be happy that he’s still sharp enough to pull it off and support him.
But Survivor doesn’t care.  Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.  Being older on Survivor is rarely a plus but instead just a great reason to get rid of you.  Is it fair?  Doesn’t matter?  Would I feel the same way if I was in the game and had some “old dude” slowing my tribe down?  Probably. Then again, I’D be the old dude.  Maybe that’s the real truth. I’m just channeling my own frustration that on Survivor, I’D BE THE OLD DUDE!
Survivor blogs.  Humbling and cheaper than therapy.
This was without question one of the greatest challenges in recent Survivor history.  We had all the elements.  Great stakes – a helicopter ride and afternoon picnic.  Great weather – pouring rain and deep mud. Great competition – it was back and forth until the last shot!
A massive effort by both groups.  This challenge was no joke. Busting through the hay, crawling through the mud, climbing through the sticks, over the net craw and finally through an amazing “brick” wall.  It was awesome.
The brick wall was made out of wood and each brick was hand placed by our art department.  It took hours to get the walls just right.  We had to think long and hard before deciding to rehearse this challenge because of the amount of work required to set it up.  I could see our art department team watching the rehearsal with equal amounts of excitement at watching their challenge play out and dread knowing they’d have to replace every.. single.. brick…brick-by-brick on the wall.
I loved this challenge.  Look for it again next year.
When I see them at the end of a challenge like that, there is no question in my mind as to why so many of you want to play this game. It really is the ultimate adventure.  A chance to test yourself on every single level.
Another great moment in this episode.  A helicopter ride is still a special treat for most people as it’s not something many of us ever get the chance to do.  When you add in that you’re flying over and then landing on an active volcano it makes it all the more special.
This reminded me of the old days when we had enough time in our show to have some amazing rewards.  Strategy has taken over the game and so now our time is limited and that’s why you see fewer epic rewards.

Rob tossing the clue for the idol into the active volcano
was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
All credit goes to Rob for that one.
He could have just tossed it before getting back on the helicopter, but
instead he saw the opportunity — ah forget it.
Just refer back to my earlier comments about Rob.




Sarita, I know I have to see you at the live show so I hope
you won’t be frustrated but this was the right move.  Your heart wasn’t in it.


Unfortunately for Sarita, she doesn’t get to go home.  Instead, it gets worse.  She has to go to Redemption Island where the
worst thing that could happen is that she beats Matt and has to stay in the
game even longer.


Matt may have his easiest duel yet.


See ya next week!

It’s the Boston Rob show!

I’m starting to get bored with this Survivor season. The
biggest antagonist has been booted from the game because people knew who he was
and how he played. It took throwing a challenge to get rid of him. Instead of
maintaining a strong team they let Ometempe win a challenge and lost the
advantage they had and left the other tribe keep someone in the game. Russell’s
team is now a bunch of wusses and no one is in charge. They rule by
committee. And now that Russell and his girls are gone and they now are at even
numbers of tribe members with Omtempe, they will need to fight amongst
themselves for domination. Who will end up aligning with whom? They also are
down to six per team. Merge usually happens around ten. Matt should be close to
staying if he comes back at the merge and will add one more to Ometempe.

Rob has sole leadership of his team. He also has a blind allegiance
from the girls and Grant with Phillip the lone man out. And most importantly,
“He has the Idol”. They have been on a roll in the challenges and look tough
going into the merge. Phillip is expendable and could be sent packing at any
time, but, could be an asset and pawn to take to the end of the game.

The only excitement is Phillip and he gets on my nerves.
Special Agent Tighty Pinky’s is just too weird. The girls are boring while they
lay around pulling pit hair. Grant is almost invisible! Then there is Rob who
just sits back and laffs at it all.

At Zapatera, there is no game play going on. David tried to
get something going by keeping Steph.
The rest of the bozo’s wimped out and evicted her. I now see another
Zapatera loss in the next challenge and then who will the wimps send home?
Ometempe seems to have a slight advantage and some information which is being
supplied by the girls that have gone to  the
duels from Zapatera.

The duel between Matt and Krista was another close one until
Matt got his ball out of the bag and maneuvered the puzzle quickly and won. He
remains at redemption island and should be considered a threat by both teams.

Phillip is getting upset with the girls and has started
yelling at them for being lazy and not helping around camp. I don’t know what
kind of power the man thinks he has but he is close to being evicted.

The challenge was quite simple. Both teams shoot a ball into
the air and the first team to catch five in their basket poles wins. In a
route, Ometepe  shut out the “Zaps”.
Again Stephanie takes the blame for their poor performance. Back at camp, David
makes a move to try keep Stephanie in the game but no success when they go to

Next up …… Stephanie and Matt duel for Redemption.

No one at Zapatera seems to care that Ralph has the Idol and
don’t want to get rid of it. Use it on Ralph and see if he plays it! They
better before he uses it to get rid of one of them. Steve and Mike seem to
careless. David looks ready to make a move. Julie is unsure what’s going on and
Sarita’s toothache seems to bother her a lot. A tribe of total misfits!

I now watch only to see who wins the duel, who wins the
challenge and who gets evicted and sent to RI.

Like I said, to me it is getting boring.



(Episode 6)

By Jeff Probst



RI is starting to feel like Matt’s house.  He now has a big home court advantage because
he is so comfortable on the island and at the Arena.  It’s like a sports team that has been to the
finals taking on a team that has not been to the finals.  The experience is often the difference.


The religious aspect of Redemption Island is not something
we ever anticipated when we called it Redemption Island.  Having a religious and very likable person
like Matt last this long in the first season of RI was a fascinating
development.  It brings an entirely new
texture to the island and one that has a lot of people in the church community


The Bible was Krista’s choice for her luxury item.  We gave them their luxury items when they
arrived at Redemption Island because we knew they would be lonely and might
need a pick me up.  We did not plan it or
decide on it because we thought it would give us extra story from Krista and Matt.  It was already laid out.

I respect people who have faith in whatever brings them
comfort and security.

When Krista gave her bible to Matt I was moved.  It had nothing to do with my thoughts about
the Bible.  It was the human kindness
shown in a game that rarely sees the good side of people.  Despite losing and being out of the game for
good, Krista still had the presence of heart to think about helping out Matt.


Man this game is tough.
Matt is alone on Redemption, battling as hard as he can to stay
alive.  A competitor gives him a Bible on
her way out and as a result, his one ally in the game, gets jealous and turns
on him.  WTF?  Were they going steady?  Did I miss the engagement?  It was a Bible, not a love note.  Man.
Survivor is a tough game.


Spa days and other seemingly mindless, wastes of time that
seem to consume the girls days of late…aren’t as outrageous as they
seem.  The contestants do have a lot of
free time on their hands.  On days when
there is not a challenge or tribal and their shelter is built they really have
very little to do.  However reasonable it
may be, it doesn’t change the perception of others when they see you lying


Ah yeah, baby.  The
ego of the lion and the gorilla is coming out and I like it.  Phillip’s explosion was not about the girls
not helping with the fire.  His
frustration came from not being appreciated.
That’s all he wants, is a little credit.

One of the lessons I’ve learned from Survivor goes like

If you have a goal, and your success in achieving this goal
requires the support of other people, then you have to remove your ego from the

In other words, when you’re playing a zero sum game, ie a
game in which there is only one winner – and the losers of the game are the one
who will decide who wins – leave your ego at home.

Otherwise your chances for success plummet.

I’m not saying it’s easy.
Not saying I can do it myself.
But from a back seat point of view it’s quite clear.

Phillip wants credit.
Nobody is giving it to him.  The
more he complains the more annoying he will become… because Phillip – nobody

Stoke the fire and stay out of the way.  You’ll last longer.


Once again the wisest person on the tribe is Rob.  I know you hate me talking about Rob, but the
proof is in his actions regarding Phillips and the fire tending duties.

Four of them to be exact:

1. During the argument he was the only one still focused on
the big picture.  His biggest overall
goal was to keep the tribe strong.

2. Simultaneously, he understands how beneficial the fight
between Phillip and the girls can be to his game.  The more they fight, the more likely he is to
stay in control and the more they hate each other the better for him if he
makes it to the end against any of them.

3. Rob then talked to Phillip to ensure that Phillip doesn’t
do too much damage to the tribe dynamics while also letting Phillip know that
he understands him.

4. After Phillip walked away, Rob then mocked him which in
turn endeared Rob even more to the angry girls.

Mission complete. It was deft handling of a very delicate
social situation.


Krista was no joke.
Growing up on a farm she knew her way around the rope.  Three tosses, three connects.  It was amazing.  I really thought Matt was going to lose.  Krista gave Matt his biggest challenge so


One of my favorite exchanges of the season thus far was
between Phillip and Steve when discussing the Gorilla and Lion tattoos.  I really appreciate Phillips simultaneous
earnestness and sense of humor.  Is that
even a proper sentence?  What I mean is
that he really believes everything he says and yet he has enough awareness to
know that I’m poking fun at him for those same things he takes so
seriously.  Hmm, was that sentence any
better than the first one?

Philip gets it.  How about
that?  He gets me anyway.  Moving on.


We’ve done this challenge many times over the years and it
never fails to deliver.

This challenge is both physical and frustrating.  Ralph for one was clearly irritated that he
wasn’t getting enough action.  But the
star of the challenge was Grant.  Stud.  Dude is the real deal.  Mike did his best to defend but there was no
stopping him, not even by ripping off his shirt.    If Grant is allowed to stay till the end he
could be a millionaire come mid-May.


I’m a broken record but Rob played this moment very well. So
far this season he has done a good job of assessing, adapting and then
executing very well. Letting Grant find the clue to the hidden idol was a great
call as it further solidified Grant’s trust in Rob.

Getting caught with the note however, was a rookie mistake:

Phillip: Whatcha got there boys?  I saw it.

Phillip: What’s it say?

Rob: Back at camp?

Phillip: What?

Rob:  Back at Camp.

Phillip: (interview) I have been in an alliance with Rob,
Grant and myself.  In fact, I call
ourselves Stealth Are Us.  I’m… the
specialist… Rob is the mentalist…and Grant… is the assassin.

Phillip:  Remember
boys.  Stealth.

Phillip: (interview) and yet today when Rob and Grant found
the clue for an idol they tried to hide it.
Well, Hell hath no fury like a… lion and a gorilla when he thinks he
has been provoked.


Music transition.
Patriotic.  Strong.  Preparing for battle.

Phillip: (interview) If you’re gonna  make an alliance with me you better adhere to
it because I am all about integrity.  I
served my country for four years, eleven months and thirteen days for duty,
honor, and country.  That means something
to me.


When you try to trash on that… me and the United States
got something for you when you try that little baby…


I could dwell in the place of negativity right now based on
what I just saw, but I’m not gonna do that.


I’m gonna smile and when the time comes…. I’m gonna kick a
little ass around here.

Let it breathe.  Gonna
just let that little piece of poetry sit there.
No comment needed.

But I can’t resist.
F*&king genius.  Phillip
please grab Coach and come back and play again as soon as possible.


I think a lot of you are glad to see Stephanie out of the
game.  I’m not sure what it is about me
that likes the spunky, lippy folks but I am bummed she is gone.  She’s definitely a competitor and she’s a
great interview.

I’ve said it before but I think Zapatera’s biggest problem
is they are playing a “too cool for school” game and it’s biting them in the

It’s the Russell factor. They are so happy to “defeat”
Russell and his two “girls” – Krista and Stephanie – that they’re in danger of losing
the big picture.

David realized that tonight.
I agree with David.  I would have
voted out Sarita.  Nothing personal,
Sarita, but I think Stephanie wanted it more and the tribe could have used her

Okay I know I’ve been ignoring everybody else in the game…
so here we go.

DAVID – If memory serves I think David scored the highest on
our IQ test during casting.  He is a
smart dude.  We fought to get him on and
I’m glad we did.  He’s giving us great
story and he’s a legit threat to win the game if he can get his alliance
figured out.

STEVE – I like him. He’s laid back and probably a pretty
nice guy in his normal life. He would drive me a bit crazy as a member of my
alliance because he is so laid back!  I
want the guy who played in the NFL for 13 years. Maybe he’s saving that for the
individual portion of the show.

SARITA – I think she’s too soft right now.  I liked her in casting but I think the game
is overwhelming her right now.  She needs
to get over the toothache and find that inner strength otherwise she is going
to be seen as a pain-in-the-ass.

MIKE – How can you not like Mike?  He’s strong, seems pretty bright.  A major threat to win this game.  If both are still in the game when they merge
– he could prove a worthy adversary for Boston Rob.

MATT – The undisputed underdog.  If he can win long enough to get back in the
game, people better watch out.  I have a
feeling that even his faith will not be able to contain his desire to get even.

NATALIE – I’ve said it before I am so impressed.  She is 18 years old.  Think about the 18 year olds you know.  How many of them could handle themselves this
well in this cut-throat environment.  Natalie
is a long shot to win but IF she can get to the end the jury may feel like I do
that based on age alone she has earned the money.

JULIE – Julie confuses me.
I like her and I think she’s a fairly good player but I haven’t seen any
moves yet that make me think she could make it deep.  She’s a mom which helps in dealing with
people and she’s very reasonable and that could take her a long way into the
game.  But a big move will be necessary.

RALPH – I love Ralph because he’s so fun to listen to and so
fun to watch.  He so very smart in his
own way but his liability is that Ralph hasn’t found himself in this kind of
social situation and it shows.  If Ralph
can figure out how to deal with the others in his alliance he could last.

ANDREA – She’s a bit wishy-washy regarding Matt but she is
definitely a fighter and a player.  She
will not lie down for anybody.  I like her
but her problem right now is her status within the alliance.

ASHLEY – Dark horse to win the game.  She’s very good in the challenges and in the
individual portion of the game she will be a threat.  She also has friends in the girls and will
probably make more friends if she makes the merge.  If I was Rob I’d be most worried about her in
the end game.

GRANT – Grant is a bit ill equipped socially because he is
so trusting. At this point he believes in Rob 100%.  So long as that lasts, these two could go deep.  But if that trust is ever broken, my hunch is
that Grant will turn on Rob and vote him out.

NEXT TIME ON.. Survivor.

One of the greatest challenges of the season… and one of
the funniest moments in our history.

Life without a King, will his tribe survive without a leader!

Matt for the third straight time makes a major comeback to win
the duel and stay on at Redemption Island. After a so-so start in a block
building game, Matt suddenly finds the way the blocks go together and wins the
game and Katrina heads home.
At Omtempe Phillip still keeps bugging everyone on his tribe
and where I sit he has to be the next evictee without coming up with a miracle.
Zapatera continues as a 5 to 2 alliance with Russell’s girls
on the outside. The girls, Stephanie and Krista went to the duel from Zapatera,
while Rob and Grant came from Omtempe. The girls tell Rob they are willing to
align with his team if they make it to the merge because they are on the outs
with there tribes large alliance.
Phillip continues to try make inroads with someone by talking
to Ashley but she’s afraid to go against Rob.
Back at Omtempe the girls are trying to figure a way to stay
in the game. No strategy talk goes on and the girls days seem numbered. No one
even seems worried about them.
Todays challenge is a maze where the teams will be blindfolded
and guided by one other person. The guider has to lead them to bags of puzzle
pieces and back out where the guider must put the puzzle together. Ometempe gets
their bags back first. Rob and Steph are working on the puzzle. Stephanie took
an early lead and Rob dropped a piece. After a little while Rob figures out the
puzzle and wins. Steph struggled and her tribe says they should have used David
to be the guider/solver and that puts Steph on the block for eviction.
I always have believed when they win food they make pigs of
themselves and these guys were no different. Rob found the clue but Grant also
saw it. Rob told Grant he would hide it until later. Rob runs out and switches
it for the first one. When he takes Grant to see it,  all Grant see’s is the first clue.
Sarita and David got into an argument over the fact that
Stephanie lost it on the puzzle. Everyone knows it has to be one of the girls
to go at TC.
At TC the talk centers on the
girls alliance and the girls try to blame other players. After all the talk
Krista goes to RI and will have to unseat Matt to stay.
Jeff’s weekly blog
Well, I’ll admit that there is a hole now that Russell is
gone.  It’s kinda like having a really
funny friend leave your big summer party a few hours too early.  You miss him. The party misses him.  It takes a moment to adjust.
But… if it’s a good party, you won’t miss him for long.
Thus far Redemption Island has given us everything we could
have hoped for when we started the season.
Dramatic duels, lots of surprising and game turning information
revealed, and a hero emerging in faith-based Matt.
How do we keep getting so lucky?  Of all the people that could have been our
first Redemption Island representative we couldn’t have hand picked a better
one than Matt.  He’s humble, he’s
competitive, he’s kind, he has a strong moral compass, he’s handsome and asof
yet, he can’t be beat.
Thank you Matt for doing us right!  The question is how long can he continue to
dominate?  How long before the person on
Redemption gets to come back into the game and continue their pursuit of the million
From a macro view, Ometepe is in very good shape.  Since winning the challenge that Zapatera
threw, their confidence is up and it shows.
But no matter how good you have it, as Americans know far too
well, there is always something to complain about.  For Ometepe, it’s Phillip.
Ometepe’s complaints about Phillip are a great example of why
Phillip is both a pain in the ass (if you’re an Ometepe member) and a “star”
(if you’re CBS).
They walk around camp muttering things you are probably saying
yourself as you watch from home:
This Phillip guy is nuts!
Former Federal Agent, my ass!
Dude, what is up with that salmon colored underwear?
For crying out loud, would ya quit chasing the crabs with a
A lion and a Gorilla?
Come on.
Phillip…. please shut up!!!!!
Just like with Russell or Coach, the louder you scream the
more we know we have a star.  Phillip is
a star.
And while the others are complaining that Phillip should be
voted out, Rob is working hard to make sure Phillip doesn’t go home.  He realizes what the others don’t – Phillip
is worth more to him in the game than he is being sent to Redemption
Island.  For now anyway…
I love seeing the tribes catch fish and do other domestic
chores around camp.  I wish we could more
of these types of scenes in the show, but we just don’t have enough time.  Whenever we show the Survivors truly earning
their keep, it reminds the audience that this is a major adventure.  It is no joke.  There are no commercial breaks where you can
grab another slice of pizza from the fridge.
These guys earn every single thing they get on this show.  I always respect the people who choose to
partake of the Survivor adventure because there is nothing else like it on
Julie really showed how little she understands the game when
she said that “Krista and Stephanie” are just pawns in this game and are not a
threat any longer.  Anybody that is in
the game is a threat and anybody who is low on the totem pole within a tribe is
a MAJOR threat   What if we have a tribe
switch coming up?  Or an early merge?
I’m not foreshadowing anything (or am I?) but I am making the
point that you can NEVER let your guard down in this game.  The moment you lay your sword against the
tree while you go take a leak, is the moment your sword ends up in your back
An experienced player would view Krista and Stephanie as
potential problems and that person… would be right.
What you didn’t see was that Kristina nearly passed out during
the challenge. Literally.   It was so
hot, she was so tired, the puzzles pieces were so heavy and the pressure was so
much… that she nearly fell flat out.
It was also a much longer challenge.  The puzzle was created by resident Survivor
genius, Dan Munday and it proved much more difficult than it appears when
finished.  Both Matt and Kristina had
trouble with the puzzle – the difference was Matt never lost his mind or got
frustrated.  He just kept studying it
until it finally became clear.
Finally, there was also a much longer discussion between
Boston Rob and Matt where Matt quizzed Rob about why he voted him out.   Redemption Island continues to deliver.
This is what I’m talking about.  When Stephanie told Boston Rob that she and
Krista were no longer loyal to Zapatera, she gave away so much information that
Rob and Ometepe can now use.
He now knows there are two people on the outs, which tells him
that the tribe has drawn lines in the sand.
He now knows there are two people that might come to the other side if a
switch or a merge happens.  Those two
pieces of information alone can swing the game completely in his favor.  Krista and Stephanie are not just pawns, they
are still players in this game.
I loved this challenge.
It was very exciting on the day.
I like challenges that put someone in the “hero” or “goat” role, it
almost always produces good drama.
Chaotic challenges always reveal so much and reminds how
important it is to remain calm. Panic never helps.  Ah but it’s so easy to say “don’t panic” yet
much tougher to actually remain… calm.
Grant is the unsung hero for Ometepe.  He’s a talented athlete and if they let him
last deep into this game he is going to move from the “quiet dude with
dreadlocks” to a major threat to win the game.
I gotta give Stephanie credit.
The girl does not shy away from asking for responsibility.  Say what you want but Stephanie has never
backed off of a challenge.  She wants the
ball and when there is no time left on the clock, she’s the one who wants to
take the shot.  When your ass is on the
line, it’s the only play you have.
Zapatera has a bit of a bitchy attitude toward most
everything.  First it was Russell being a
bad seed and in last night’s episode it was Stephanie not being smart enough at
the challenge.  Does it all go back to
throwing the challenge to get rid of Russell?
Have they simply given Ometepe too much confidence?
And most amazing of all is that after losing another
challenge, they still managed to find a bright side, however misguided it may
Julie:  Even though we
lost the challenge today, we really won.
It’s going to be between Krista and Stephanie.
Don’t you guys watch this show?  What are you thinking?  This is not good news.  You didn’t really win by losing.  Losing another member of your tribe at this
point in the game does not make your tribe stronger.  There are so many cons that come with losing
a tribe member, not the least of which is the more Ometepe wins, the more
unified they become.  This is a
potentially disastrous situation come the merge.
Someone has to step up and gather the troops or Zapatera is
going to continue to fall apart day by day.
I loved Sarita and David getting into it, can’t resist a juicy
throwdown.  Sarita hit David’s sweet spot
and he lit her up:
David:  I do very well under
pressure!  My entire life is based on
being under pressure!! There’s no butts, I’m the only one who is doing puzzles
from here on out!!!  Period!!! Point
blank.  No questions.
And then Mike says without a hint of irony –
Mike:  We just need to
win a challenge.
When I saw the first early cut of this moment I was laughing
so hard I couldn’t stay in my chair.  Rob
often approaches Survivor like an organized game theory expert and other times
he plays it like a 5-year old.  This was
old school playground shenanigans.
Grant covering for Rob while Rob is double-crossing Grant.  Wouldn’t surprise me if Rob had his fingers
crossed the entire time.
Rob is so in control I think he even yelled to our camera
operator, “We gotta move” as if to say — if you want to get the shot of me
trading out the idol notes, then you better start running, because I have no
time to waste!
There wasn’t much else to the story –you knew it was going to be
Krista or Steph and truthfully all we could hope for is that Stephanie stayed
longer than Krista, only because she is significantly lippier and therefore a
more interesting character.
Krista is gone but not out.
Krista is a farm girl and is a legitimate threat to beat Matt in a
challenge.  This may be Matt’s biggest
competition to date.
A great duel, a great challenge, and a great tribal council!

Descension, will it begin to creep into camp?

Russell makes his way to RI and discovers his tribe also lied
to him about who won the duel. Matt was surprised to see Russell. Of course,
Russell swears he will win all the duels and go back to wreak havoc.

Back at camp:

Phillip continues to make an ass of himself in the Omtempe
camp. He also is starting to tell himself he can win the game.

Nooooooooooooooooooooo, the damn farmer told everyone he has
the idol. Zapetera now has the idea they can control the game because Ralph has
the idol. Foolish people, the idol will only save 1 person.

Sarita and Ralph choose to go to the Duel for Zapatera.
Phillip and Kristina go for Omtempe.

A simple domino challenge with a few up and down ramps is the
duel, but trip wires along the course can knock down the dominos before your
ready. Jeff starts them off and they stay even until Matt takes a lead. Matt
finishes and starts his dominos but comes up short. Russell then hurries and
completes his dominos. He starts his row and also comes up short. Matt works to
finish his and starts the toppling again. This time he has it go all the way
and drops the ball thru the tile at the end. Matt wins, Russell has to go home!
Russell breaks down and cries, but not for long. After Jeff questions him why
he cried he spills the beans on how his tribe had to throw a challenge to get
rid of him. He also tells everyone who the kingpins are in his tribe. Then the
current HII dumbass says, “Hey, I already found the idol”. Only after Sarita
whispers “don’t” he quits looking and says he is only kidding. Phillip thinks
he knows Ralph really has the idol.

Rob gets the rest of his tribe to hang out on the beach while
he looks for the idol. He runs back to camp and searches high and low. Finally
he sees it in the Y of a tree and gets it.

Rob and Ralph now control their own destiny.

Sarita and Ralph tell the tribe about Russell’s conduct after
the Duel.

Phillip gets a plan to not give out the info that Ralph has an
idol. Phillip starts to give Rob info but Rob knows he’s a dickhead which
leaves Katrina and Phillip at the bottom of the pecking order.

The challenge has them using the tools they were given at the
beginning of the game to complete the challenge.

First they have to run out and open a box with a crowbar to
get an shovel and run back, the next person uses the shovel to dig for an axe,
the next person uses the axe to cut through a log and rope which drops 2 saws.
After that person gets back, 2 people run out and use the saws to cut down
planks which will be stairs. The next two people race out And put the planks in
the proper order and then return. Finally
the whole tribe runs up on the platform where someone hammers in three
large nails which break tiles under the board. When the nails are in they can
put their tool bax up onto the table and win the challenge.

The reward is a bar-b-que set and food to go with it!

Rob and Ralph  go out to
open the box with Ralph getting an early lead. Julie go’s next and Grant races
out to catch up. Julie finds the axe just ahead of Grant to keep Zapatera in
the lead. Ralph and Rob go out again to cut the log. Ralph makes quick work of
his and drops the shovels. Mike and Steve rundown and get the saws and have
them untied before Rob finishes the log. Phillip and Grant race out and start
cutting but the Zapatera’s have a  2
plank advantage. Mike and Steve outrace them and Steffanie and Sarita run out
and start putting the ramp together. They complete the ramp and run back. The
tribe then runs out and up the ramp. Rob and Kristina finish as the other team
runs up the ramp. Omtempe hurries down anfer makes a slight comeback. Ashley
gets the hammer untied before Steffani. Ralph gets the hammer and makes quick
work of the nails and put their toolbox up for the win! Ralph jumps up on the
table and does his Rooster routine.

The bar-b-que begins and the feast is on! Zapatera is fat and

Phillip makes one of his dumb speeches. More dickering about
how bad Phillip is being. The discussion goes on about whether Phillip or
Kristina should go home.

At the Tribal Council Phillip keeps voting out any real
alliance he might have and definitely doesn’t see the righting on the wall.
Kristina goes to Redemption Island and Rob’s power grows.

In Zapatera the Troll’s Dolls must create discension in order
get into the power of their tribe. Who and how remain to be seen, but there is
no clear leader to the tribe.


Jeffs Blog


It’s still settling in.  Russell is gone.  The evil, tattooed, sock stealing, water dumping, idol finding Survivor gnome is gone.  His reign is over.

For any of you who are already frustrated that I’m going to dedicate most of this blog to Russell, you might as well stop reading.

This time, let’s skip the beginning and save that for the end…

Am I still the only one who enjoys Phillip?  I read your tweets and your comments on the site and I am surprised that Phillip annoys so many of you.  Don’t you see any fun in watching him?  It’s not like you’re stuck on an island with him.  He’s on your tv.  For my money he is gold every time he opens his mouth.

Even something as simple as grabbing the tree mail becomes an adventure as he peers through the rolled up scroll like a telescope.

My favorite Phillip moment of this episode was after the Duel when Phillip was walking with Rob and Grant – holding court, stretching out the story of what he learned at Redemption Island, much to the frustration of Rob.
Rob: Hey dumbass, aren’t you in MY alliance?  Don’t you work for me?

Even simply writing that sentence makes me laugh.

Despite losing one of the biggest players of the season, the game continues and Boston Rob is on fire.  On fire.  This is why Rob gets invited back so often.  He’s really good and he’s really fun to watch.  After four times playing, Rob has his PhD in Survivor.

For those of you who complain about it being unfair because Rob has played before – let me remind you of the basic rule of Survivor – the tribe votes out whoever they want.   Just like Zapatera did with Russell, Ometepe could have chosen to get rid of Rob early on, but they didn’t.  They gave Rob a chance and now Rob is starting to prove his worth as a leader, while simultaneously playing a very good game and positioning himself as a threat to go deep.  As many days as he lasts in this game, he earns them all.  I feel that way about every contestant.  Whether they sand bag it like Sandra or come out swinging like Russell.  You earn it.

Rob searching for the idol while the rest of the tribe was playing “Sunday at the beach” was one of the most riveting scenes we’ve ever had.   We had to cut it significantly for time.  He was really hustling to make sure he got back before Grant and the girls realized he had been gone.

As I watched the first cut of this at home on my MacBook Pro, I was literally squirming in my seat.  Remember, I’ve never seen this footage.  I was screaming “Hurry up!  Find it!  They’re gonna be out of the water soon and wonder where you are!”

I’m really not as biased as I sound, it’s just that I love good drama. If it had been Ralph or Natalie or Russell or even Sarita I would have felt the same way – “Hurry!  Hurry!”

Let me educate you about the future of television.  Product integration.  It’s a phrase you hear in every conference room of every advertising agency in New York and every television network in Hollywood.

On Survivor, product integration is when you take something like the Sears Craftsman tool kit or the Sprint Evo phone and you build it into a challenge or a reward.  Lots of you guys complain about these product integrations.  But here’s the thing – you are the same people who are DVRing your show to watch it later at a more convenient time.  The problem is when you watch it later, you skip through the commercials.  The advertisers know this, so their only option is to get their products inside the show so you can’t avoid them.

This is not going away.  This is the present and the future of television.  Product integration.  Don’t waste energy fighting it.  Embrace it.

While we’re talking about it, let me brag on Survivor for a moment.  Nobody integrates product as well as we do.  Last night you watched an incredibly dramatic challenge that was built all around tools from Sears.  The tools were used to complete the challenge.  The tools were necessary.  It worked really well.

Many shows just shove product integration into their show.  We work hard to make it work as well as we can even though the products don’t always lend themselves to the middle of a jungle.

But the bottom line is this…without Sprint, Sears and our other sponsors, we aren’t on the air.  It’s that simple.

Fortunately, Zapatera won the challenge, because if they hadn’t I would have been on their ass for throwing the challenge in the last episode.  But I will say this, if I was on the Ometepe tribe I would have a hard time not knocking Ralph right off that perch as he crowed like a Rooster.  That is one annoying move.

Ralph’s ego is going to be his biggest obstacle.  He’s not alone.  It happens to a lot of people.  They do something amazing, like finding the idol, but then they so badly want to share their brilliance with everybody else that they weaken their position by telling everybody.

I do it in my life all the time.  I’m constantly giving away information that would be better off kept to myself.  It’s so hard to just shut up.  Ralph – shut up.  You’ll go further.

On the other hand, the fact that his crowing annoys me, means it probably annoyed Ometepe, which means it’s working!

I offer proof once again that Survivor is the toughest reality show of all time.  Note this conversation from Mike and Ralph regarding the food reward:

MIKE: I’ve never been this hungry in my life. I haven’t thought about sex in two weeks.  All I’m thinking about is food.

RALPH:  It tasted great.  I sucked stuff out of my fingernails that haven’t been cleaned since I got here.  And I asked any of the others ones if they wanted their fingers cleaned and licked, I’d work on them too.”

RALPH: Steve, can I lick that mustard off your nose?  Your tongue ain’t long enough.

Once again Ometepe is back at tribal council and by a 4-3 vote, Kristina is sent to Redemption Island where she will have to face Matt in a duel.

Okay now to the guts of what made this episode historic.  The Fall of Russell.  It started with a late night arrival at Redemption Island.

Russell was not expecting to find Matt sleeping in the shelter.   He was expecting Francesca. I think that tiny little “lie” that Zapatera told him had a big impact on Russell’s psyche.  I think expecting to find Francesca and instead finding a young, very fit Matt threw him for a loop and began his downfall.

This duel was the closest thing we’ve ever had to Good v. Evil.  Matt, the young man who puts all his faith in God, battling against Russell, the older man who many believe is a force of evil.  It was historic before it began.

As many of you already know – challenges and duels are created and built weeks in advance.  We had no idea who would be playing this duel but I couldn’t have been happier that it involved so many different skills: balance, patience and thinking ahead.

Everybody on the crew was invested in this duel.  We all loved Matt, he was a favorite, he had been on Redemption for days and he was very likable.  On the other side, you have Russell – a guy that has been such a polarizing force on our show that you couldn’t help but want him to win simply because it is such a huge story if he does.  It’s also a huge story if he loses.  So in that sense, it was a win-win.

The drama was fantastic.  First Matt thought he had it… but he was short. Then Russell thought he had it, but he too was short.  I was pacing back and forth, as excited as I’ve been at a challenge in a long time.  Finally Matt, who never panics, got it together and won the duel.  In doing so Matt single-handedly put an end to the Russell era.  It’s over.

The tears that Russell shed were real.  It was a very emotional moment for a guy who has spent most of the last two years of his life playing this silly little adventure game called Survivor.

It was emotional for all of us to watch him break down.  It was a gift from Russell to let us see the emotion. We all knew the day would finally come –when Russell was finally sent home- and we all wondered how he would respond.  I loved that he shared it with us.  That’s how Russell did everything – full tilt boogie.

I’m guessing that a lot of the Russell haters were moved as well.

Like him, love him, hate him, despise him – there is simply no denying that Russell has given Survivor as much if not more than Survivor has given him.
If you are a fan of Survivor, then you too owe Russell a nod of the head.  The dude brought it.  Every single day he played – he brought it.

In some ways he reignited our franchise as he brought in a new kind of villain.  An unscrupulous terror.

To give context… Johnny Fairplay is a clown… Russell is a villain.  I’m not sure Russell is a nice person. I wouldn’t want Russell to know where I live.  There isn’t much I would want to do with Russell outside of Survivor.

But within the world of Survivor, Russell is family.

When you make a deal with the devil, you must be prepared to get burnt.  So complaining about Russell would be hypocritical.  We put him on the show in Samoa, we invited him back in Heroes v Villains and he completed the trifecta with Redemption Island.

Russell will go down in history as one of the most notorious contestants of all time.  Maybe THE most notorious.

For all he has given us, I have to take my hat off to him and say “thank you.”

Before the tears could even dry, the Russell of old was back, once again stirring up trouble.  As with Rob, this is another example of why some players get invited back and most don’t.  Russell played Ralph like a finely tuned fiddle.  He baited the hook, dropped it in the water, let Ralph nibble on it and then hooked him.  As charming as Ralph is, he was so outmatched it was hard to watch.

Russell suckered Ralph into bragging about the idol in front of the Ometepe tribe. They now know he has it and if a merge comes, and Ralph still has the idol, it may cause him more problems than it will help solve.

In that moment, Russell flipped the game once again and he did it after he’d already been knocked out of the game.   That’s why he’s played three times and… despite his claims that he’s finished… that’s why he’ll probably end up playing yet again.

Thanks for the memories, RH.

I hope you will all leave your thoughts about Russell departure on the comment section.  Love him or hate him, if you’re a fan you have to have an opinion.

You can watch the emotional and dramatic conclusion of the duel again



The Ides of March swirl into the Survivors camp

Well, now that Zapatera got rid of the troll, who will take the role of leader in their camp? If Russell wins the duel against Matt will they begin to worry about Russell coming back and let it interfere with the game?

Rob clearly leads the Ometempe’s. He controls five other people but soon individual decisions will need to be made and the idol is in play again.

Redemption Island is a cool twist. However, if you keep winning your alone for a few more days. Will the loneliness effect somone enough to hurt their game?

Lots of interesting things appear to be played out in the coming episodes and the duels look to be getting worth more as the weeks go along.

Can King Troll rule over the Gladiator stadium and return to the game? Will someone overthrow him and make for interesting duels to come. Will we have someone who can rule over Redemption Island?