John Cochran went from, as he tells it, an "annoying freak" on his first season of Survivor (South Pacific) to the Sole Survivor in his second outing, Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites, with not a single vote cast against him throughout the entire run of the latter. How'd he do it?
Survivor kicks off its 26th season Wednesday night, pitting fans against former competitors for the second time with Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites. And, according to host Jeff Probst, though the show's formula may be routine by now, this season — which gets underway with a 90-minute premiere at 8/7c on CBS —promises no shortage of drama.
"Survivor is about the players first and the twists second," Probst tells TVGuide.com. "This season delivers in a huge way. Our returning players have never let us down, and that record stands intact after this season."
"There are definitely surprises and at least one thing we have never had happen before and it's a doozy," he adds.
Matthew Lenahan's nickname on Survivor: Nicaragua was "Sash," but he might as well have been called The Comeback Kid. He started out with a strong social game and an equally manipulative ally in Brenda Lowe. But after Brenda was blindsided, and after allies NaOnka Mixon and Kelly Shinn quit the game, Sash seemed destined to fail. Thanks to several key strategic moves, however, Sash made it to the final three. The only problem? The jurors favored emotional connections over smart plays and he received a stunning zero votes for the million dollars. The 30-year-old real estate broker from New York, N.Y. spoke with TVGuide.com about why he thought he could win, how Fabio Birza changed the game and his thoughts on Jane Bright's tribal council remarks...
With his Southern charm and strapping body, Chase Rice was one of Survivor: Nicaragua's players to watch. The only thing standing in his way? Himself. Although he surrounded himself with manipulative allies like Brenda Lowe and Sash Lenahan, Chase was far from skilled when it came to strategizing and became known for his constant wavering and indecisiveness. One minute he was with Brenda, the next he was voting her out. One minute he picked ...
Naonka Mixon, Kelly Shinn
Two weeks ago, the surprise ouster of Survivor: Nicaragua mastermind Brenda Lowe shifted the balance of power immensely. Oh, what a difference a storm makes. The damaged shelter combined with the nonstop rain proved to be the breaking point for both abrasive NaOnka Mixon and silent ally "Purple" Kelly Shinn, who both quit with only 11 days left in the competition. Although the two used opposite strategies to get far in the game, the two will now be known as those girls that quit the game (what would Jimmy Johnson have to say about this?). NaOnka, 27, and Kelly, 20, talked with TVGuide.com about how they told their families, the reaction from their fellow castaways and how they feel about their respective Survivor legacies...
It was the most shocking move on Survivor: Nicaragua yet. Following a devastating camp fire and days of torrential rain, two of the show's final nine castaways quit the game.
Both quitters, NaOnka Mixon and "Purple" Kelly Shinn, most likely had little shot of winning the million dollars. The former, after having battled a disabled contestant and thrown her closest friend under the bus to stay in the game, was the season's biggest villain. Purple Kelly, meanwhile, was too easy to manipulate to earn anyone's vote.
There's just one problem: These two women will still be allowed to...
Alex O'Loughlin and Bristol Palin
Here are our top TV moments of the week:
12. "Oh No She Di'nt" Award: Laguerta knew she was in some deep doo-doo after her last sting operation on Dexter resulted in the death of civilians. But rather than nut up and take responsibility for her actions, she suggests to Deb that they pin the blame on Manzone because her career would be least affected. Deb isn't having it, so Laguerta decides to throw Deb under the bus and get Manzone to back her story to the chief.
11. Most Engaging Day: After sleeping through their start time...
From the start of Survivor: Nicaragua, Brenda Lowe seemed to have it all: tight alliances, great physical prowess and a talent for manipulative mind games. But after she showed her true power over the tribe in last week's vote, the target moved to Brenda's back and ally NaOnka Mixon jumped ship to save herself. "She was my main alliance," Lowe told TVGuide.com of her former partner-in-crime. "I trusted her 1,000 percent." The 27-year-old business owner talked with TVGuide.com about NaOnka's sweet side (apparently she has one!), the truth about her relationship with Chase Rice, and why Jeff Probst got to her at...
Chris Colfer and Conan O'Brien
Our top TV moments of the week:
13. Worst Parents: Jen Clark isn't going to win any Parent of the Year awards, and neither is Ryan after this week's baby-drop fiasco on 90210. When Jen turns her back on baby Jack while changing him, the poor little guy rolls off the table and lands flat on his back. Jen is hysterical naturally, and while Ryan is sweet for trying to console her, we wondered: Um, did we forget that a newborn baby just fell three feet to the floor and could very well be injured?
12. Blunt Truth Award: Outgoing California Gov...
NaOnka Mixon has quickly become the Survivor castaway everyone loves to hate. Her decision to steal food from the big post-merge feast on Wednesday was just the latest in a long line of offenses. But thanks to her strong alliance with Brenda Lowe, it was NaOnka's accomplice, Alina Wilson, who got the boot instead. "It just expanded...