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.
Winning 2006's Survivor: Cook Islands was pretty tough for Yul Kwon — he beat out Ozzy Lusth! — but it wasn't nearly as stomach-churning as his new hosting gig on the four-part PBS series America Revealed (premiering Wednesday at 10/9c). Based on Britain From Above, the spectacularly filmed show takes a mostly birds-eye view of the U.S. as it tracks the systems that provide the U.S. population with food, energy, transportation and other stuff that makes the country run. "I'm scared of heights and I'm claustrophobic, and I also get severe motion sickness on planes so half the time we were filming I'm scared out of my mind," Kwon says with a laugh. "But it was worth it. This is a big epic series about America." We spoke with the Yale Law School grad, one of the most popular Survivor champs, about his new series, what he's been up to, and whether he'd give the reality show another chance.
Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio
They say "Everything's Bigger in Texas," which happens to be the episode title for the premiere of Bravo's Texas-set ninth season of Top Chef (10/9c). And it also may explain why a ginormous platoon of 29 chef-testants descends on the historic Alamo for the first round of competition, and why the process of narrowing the field to a Top 16 can't even be contained within the first pulse-pounding episode.