Even though Colby Donaldson holds the record for most individual immunity challenge wins, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' last Hero drew criticism from fans when he failed to live up to his reputation. The Australian Outback runner-up doesn't care about his uneven performance now that he's changed jobs from being a reality show contestant to a reality show host. "The food and lodging is much better on the other side of it," Donaldson says of his new History channel show Top Shot. "I'll take this any day over the other." Donaldson also spoke with TVGuide.com about why he tried to align with Russell Hantz and how he made it further than his fellow Heroes.
TVGuide.com: After you failed to win the immunity challenge, why did you decide to tell the Villains you were ready to leave right before you went to Russell?
It wasn't just Russell. I probably spent about twice as much time talking with Jerri that day trying to swing her over. It was a strategy that worked earlier in the game, when I did that with the Heroes and I was even surprised it worked earlier so I thought I would try it again. Also, by saying that, I was kind of playing into what they had already suspected and I knew it would free me up an opportunity to sneak around and do some campaigning without really being detected. It didn't really work but it was worth a try.
TVGuide.com: Were you surprised Russell and Jerri didn't give you more of a chance?
Unfortunately, Jerri had already told me that it just wasn't going to be smart to take me into the finals. Nobody wanted to be sitting next to me with a jury because the jury was predominantly Heroes. Also, the Villains that were in the jury were pretty ticked off about the way things had transpired thus far, so I was going to look pretty good sitting over there in the final three, so Jerri was pretty adamant. As much as Jerri and I got along, and we did become friends this season, she just said, "Colby, I can't beat you." ... The reason I went to Russell was Russell is the only one arrogant enough to think he could actually beat me in the end. It wasn't that I trusted Russell and it certainly wasn't that I liked the guy, but he was my only shot at trying to make it to the end.
TVGuide.com: Out of the entire Heroes tribe, why were you the last one standing?
: Well, you get lucky. I certainly got lucky at certain points in the game. I had some bad luck at times as well. But I also just think I wasn't a standout in any way, which was part of the strategy I adopted early on. So I was never perceived as a threat. No one felt like I was going to challenge them so it just kind of put it on cruise control for me.
TVGuide.com: Talking about the bad luck, why do you think you had a hard time with the physical challenges?
I still don't know. It's still a mystery. I couldn't find my rhythm. I had some really bad performances. There were certainly some challenges that I sandbagged on — that I intentionally didn't try to look good or dominate because I didn't think I needed it. For me, when you've got a bunch of alphas both male and female, why not try to blend in? I mean it worked for Sandra. Why not try that strategy?
TVGuide.com: Is it hard thinking your Survivor legacy (as the player with the most single immunity challenge wins) may be hurt by this past season?
I've already moved on. I just finished filming a new show for the History channel. ... So once the game was over, it was really over for me. So it doesn't affect me one way or another
TVGuide.com: What do you think was the Hero tribe's downfall?
A big downfall was voting Tom and Stephenie out so early on, its just dumb play. Because then the game was all about alliances. It wasn't about keeping the team strong, it's about who has the numbers and we came up on the short end of the numbers. That was pretty self-explanatory.