Survivor contestant Dan Spilo was finally removed from Island of the Idols in the penultimate installment after another incident of inappropriate behavior. Host Jeff Probst informed the remaining contestants at the end of Wednesday's episode that Spilo would not be continuing in the game, he would not return to camp, and he would not be participating in the jury. A title card following the episode read, "Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player." Spilo is the first player to be removed from the game due to inappropriate behavior in 39 seasons.
Spilo made headlines earlier this season after fellow contestant Kellee Kim and other female players made complaints about the LA talent manager's inappropriate touching. Kim's complaints prompted the producers to step in during the Nov. 14 episode, supporting Kim during her confessional, in which she was visibly upset about Spilo's behavior. That episode also came with a disclaimer that the contestants were counseled together and individually about personal boundaries, and Spilo was issued a warning about his behavior. However, at the end of the episode Kim was eliminated from the competition and Spilo remained in the game.
The fan reaction to the controversy forced CBS and Survivor production company MGM to make a joint statement regarding how Kim's complaints were handled on the show.
"In the episode broadcast last night, several female castaways discussed the behavior of a male castaway that made them uncomfortable," the statement read. "During the filming of this episode, producers spoke off-camera to all the contestants still in the game, both as a group and individually, to hear any concerns and advise about appropriate boundaries. A formal warning was also given to the male castaway in question. On Survivor, producers provide the castaways a wide berth to play the game. At the same time, all castaways are monitored and supervised at all times. They have full access to producers and doctors, and the production will intervene in situations where warranted."
Spilo's ejection from the show comes on the heels of an Entertainment Weekly report that Survivor will not feature a live finale for the first time in the show's long history. Instead, the show will do a live-to-tape finale. The studio segment of the finale will tape from 1 p.m. PT to 4 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Dec. 18 and air four hours later during the East Coast time slot for the episode. EW reports that the decision to record earlier was due to the "sensitive nature of the material" that aired this season and to allow the cast members to feel as safe as possible while discussing what happened this season. The publication's sources say that the live-to-tape situation, which will work exactly like late-night talk show tapings, will also help CBS ensure the safety of the contestants as they discuss the events of the season. The discussion will still be taped in front of a studio audience.
Dan Spilo served as executive producer on NBC's freshman comedy Sunnyside, starring Kal Penn, which was effectively canceled when it was yanked from the primetime schedule last month and relegated to digital platforms. Spilo is also credited as a producer on the upcoming Netflix film Love, Guaranteed, starring Rachael Leigh Cook and Damon Wayans Jr., and on the upcoming Netflix family comedy series The Upshaws, starring Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps.
CBS declined to comment for this story.
The Survivor: Island of the Idols finale will air Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 8/7c on CBS.
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