Survivor: Philippines debuts September 19 at 8 p.m. EDT with a 90 minute premiere episode, featuring their new twist: Bringing back returning players who were medically evacuated the last time they played.
Each of the returning players will be part of a tribe of brand new contestants, a dynamic that has worked quite well for veterans participating in past seasons.
The three tribes will battle it out to determine who will go home each week, and ultimately, who will be declared the Sole Survivor.
Who are these contestants, and what do I think their chances are of winning? Read below.
The Kalabaw Tribe wears red buffs and consists of:
Sarah Dawson: She is bound to be an early boot. When you don’t have a filter for what you say, and you aren’t able to deal with people who are disrespectful, in a game like Survivor, then you are going to be the squeaky wheel on steroids.
Unless she can get in tight with a group within the first day or so, and that group doesn’t start regretting their decision instantly, I don’t see a way she is going to be able to stick around. Granted, while she is there she might be an Alicia-quality narrator. That said, even if she is, with the other big personalities in the group, I don’t see that going very well for her at all.
Katie Hanson: She lists Miss Delaware 2010 on her resume, which at first might evoke several eyerolls and muttered “Not another one!” responses. But, at least from the pregame interviews, she ends up coming off as a lot more than the typical “pageant girl.”
But is that a good thing or a bad thing? With this tribe, I’m honestly not sure. I guess that depends on where she lands in the tribal dynamics and who she bonds with early on. I can see her going with Penner and whoever he is able to marshal together. I think that would be the best fit for her, if they both can be convinced to work together instead of at cross purposes. Unless she does something extremely stupid, or she ends up on the bad end of a tribal swap (three tribes – there’s going to be a merging of tribes at some point into two, and that’s where situations can get tricky), I don’t know why she shouldn’t become a useful vote to have around, and at least make the Jury.
Jeff Kent: The latest round of reality show stunt casting brings us our first from the world of baseball with the ever controversial Jeff Kent, who is most likely going to keep his secret identity under wraps a little longer than Brandon Hantz and a little less than “Gary Hawkins.” Fortunately, he seems to be placed in a tribe less likely to recognize him off the bat. Not that it will stop someone from another tribe picking up on it, or (far more likely) Penner wondering why Probst is fawning over the newbie like a kid with a school yard crush.
if he can keep from butting heads early on, and remain competitive in challenges, his ability should be a boon to his tribe. I see him defecting as soon as there is a switch though, unless Penner and Company can manage to convince him that they have the best shot at taking him to the end. I don’t see him being able to keep still for long enough for that to happen though, and eventually his brain will start to wander, and his feet will follow.
Dana Lambert: She’s from small town in Arkansas who has been through rehab. I’m not sure how much rehab prepared her for the realities of “Survivor,” but I’m guessing that not having any experience with swimming in an ocean, on the first season in forever where they are actually going to have swimming challenges, didn’t prepare her for going on a vacation to wherever they are going to be sending the Pre-Jury boots. Hopefully it’s somewhere nice. After all, she just wanted the adventure. I’m glad she isn’t going to be cooped up in camp, or in Ponderosa, but rather out exploring the countryside as part of a guided tour. She’s probably going to have a lot more fun outside of the game than she will being in it.
Carter Williams: Maybe not the brightest flicker of light in the chandler, but if he’s anywhere as good as he portrays himself, he could be quite useful to have around for challenges. His idol is Ozzy, which means he will be playing with someone who knows him personally. I can’t help but think that will help Penner out. Especially given his role in helping Ozzy get to the finals in Cook Islands. I doubt Carter remembers who he voted for to win, so it’s all good.
There’s no reason for him to not make it at least into the first tribal merge of the season. Unless the numbers are against him, and he can’t pull his weight in the new tribe though, I don’t know why he shouldn’t be around until sometime just before the actual merge. Maybe it will be someone’s downfall, but I don’t see anyone being overly worried that he was about to come up with a plan to backstab them!
Jonathan Penner: Previously appearing on both Cook Islands and Micronesia: Fans vs Favorites, Penner is coming into this season with the most experience under his belt. The man is a legend in the fan community, and not just because of working with Tea Leoni for a couple years in the mid-90s on the Naked Truth. Seriously, back when his occupation was listed as “Writer,” he was more recognizable as “The Guy You Hire When You Can’t Get Alan Alda.”
Penner is coming in with the biggest target on his back. He doesn’t have the mainstream icon status of Skupin and he doesn’t have the “Oh, that OTHER Russell” of Swan. He’s beloved, but that just makes the idea of taking him down that much more tempting. When they set up his tribe, they certainly didn’t do him any favors. He definitely has the skill set to get himself out of a jam, and the experience to maneuver himself deep into the game. If nothing else, Probst would want him on the Jury. Because just having his reaction shots are worth bringing back. If there is a way for production to make that happen, it will.
Tribe Assessment: It is going to be an uphill battle for Kalabaw to come together as a tribe. I think they are strong, and there are certainly some capable players on the team. As long as they can pull together, I see them as one of the two teams making the first merge. If, on the other hand, Jeff Kent and Jonathan Penner end up squaring off for the Alpha Male position in the tribe, all bets are off.