Survivor 40 – Winners at War is about to start. I had planned a few extra posts before it does (including potential alliances within each tribe, pre-game relationships between players and a little more), but my computer broke down at the worst time. Now, it’s fixed, but I’ll only have time to publish this post that I had already written just before my technical trouble. Oh well. I hope you find it of interest:
Don’t get me wrong, the cast of Season 40 is stellar, we couldn’t have asked for a better cast. I think that we all agree that this is the test cast this show has ever had.
However – and of course – not all winners could be cast. So, let’s see who is missing and why they’re missing and whether they should have been cast or not.
Richard Hatch (Season 1 – Borneo)
It’s a shame Richard is not present for this season.
The worst part is that from what I understand he has been called and was on the shortlist only to be cut at the last minute. And everything in the timeline of these events seems to indicate that the reason is because of the trouble created by Dan Spilo. While I don’t think that the incident with Sue in All-Stars is comparable at all, we can understand why the production just couldn’t run the risk of having Richard.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that Richard would harass someone sexually, but he can push some boundaries to mess with people and try to gain an advantage over them. Also, there is obviously a lack of trust between production and him and probably also some bad blood that we’re not totally aware of (on top of the one that we’re aware of).
I think it’s very very sad that he’s not playing season 40. He is the most important absence in my eyes. What’s even sadder is that it probably was one of his last opportunities to play again.
Tina Wesson (Season 2 – Australia)
At first, I thought Tina was not cast because of her age – maybe she wasn’t healthy enough, something along these lines. But apparently, she also was on the shortlist and was cut around the same time as Rich. It seems to have happened in order to make room for Amber – who probably came in a package with Rob. And we all know that Probst is in love with Boston Rob. I even suspect that the stupid Edge of Extinction is back only to make sure Rob makes at least the jury.
Tina would be such a better addition than Amber (possibly one of the weakest winners in the history of the show).
It also probably was Tina’s last opportunity to play. In a few more years, she’ll be too old, just like Hatch.
Vecepia Towery (Season 4 – Marquesas)
I’m not sure why she hasn’t been cast, or even why she has never returned before. I haven’t really heard about her in many years. Many fans want to see her again, but I’m pretty indifferent. The truth is that I kinda have forgotten about how she played.
Brian Heidik (Season 5 – Thailand)
Brian was, for many years, one of the best strategists this game had seen – and a part of me would like to see how he’d fare in modern-day Survivor. But we all know what an unpleasant person he is and we don’t really want to see him on our TV screens ever again, do we?
It seems that the production has a pretty similar opinion of him. It’s been already mentioned that he’s one of the few players (and the only winner?) who is blacklisted and that we will for sure never see playing again.
Jenna Morasca ( Season 6 – The Amazon)
I kinda miss Jenna, I kinda want to see her play again. It seems unlikely that it will happen, though.
I’m not sure how much she’d be willing to return, and I’m not sure how much CBS would like her to return. Her recent legal troubles have probably made her undesirable for CBS.
I just hope she’s ok. She’s been very inactive on social media in the past year or so compared to before.
Chris Daugherty (Season 9 – Vanuatu)
I’d like to see Chris play again, but from what I understand, he’s not so healthy nowadays (obesity?) and probably wouldn’t have passed the physical screening. I wish we had seen him play at least one more time. That ship seems to have sailed.
Tom Westman (Season 10 – Palau)
Some people miss him, but I’ve never been a fan (too self-righteous and patronizing for me). Should he be there? Maybe. Could he bring anything interesting? Not sure.
I think I heard that he was not super healthy these days, but I don’t really know more.
Aras Baskauskas (Season 12 – Panama)
I don’t dislike Aras. I even enjoyed seeing him play again in Blood Vs Water. He seems to be a cool guy. I can even imagine being friends with him. But… He’s just not that interesting on TV. Sure, his way of playing got him a million dollars, but he also was one of the most boring characters during his own winning season.
Earl Cole (Season 14 – Fiji)
I really miss Earl and among all the missing winners he’s the one I want to see playing again the most on par with Rich. He too was basically cast for this season but he had to turn the invitation down because his newborn daughter had just spent three months in the hospital and had just returned home and he wanted to spend time with her. And as much as I love Survivor, him turning this opportunity down, for this reason, makes me love him even more. Also, it gives me hope that we will see him play again one day. It’s just sad it’s not this season.
Todd Herzog (Season 15 – China)
Todd is also among my favorite winners.
See, back in the days, when fantasizing about playing Survivor, my strategy would have been very similar to Todd’s. So seeing him win with “my” strategy was quite exciting. I also got to exchange a few messages with him back then, and he was a very sweet and lovely guy. For years, he was my favorite winner and he’s still near the top.
It always breaks my heart thinking about what he went through. I’m glad he’s sober and healthy now, or at least I think he is. I’m not sure if he’s willing to play again (probably not) and how much production wants him again (probably not that much either).
In any case, I wish him the best.
Bob Crowley (Season 17 – Gabon)
Do we need Bob again on a TV screen? Not really.
Even less so now that in the wake of the Dan Spilo situation, it seems that he wasn’t so different out there and that he got away with it (probably because he was the winner).
J.T. Thomas (Season 18 – Tocantins)
Yes, I know, J.T. has had two more chances to play after winning, and maybe seeing him a fourth time would be a bit overkill, especially after seeing how he managed to royally screw up, not once but twice, to the point that more and more people believe (myself included) that he’s just not that good without Stephen Fishbach keeping him in check. And it’s probably true. However, I really like him and I wish he’d be there even only to screw up a third time, at least he’s entertaining (still, I don’t know if I can fully forgive him for causing Malcolm to be voted out in Game Changers).
Natalie White (Season 19 – Samoa)
I may be among the few people who like Natalie and who would like to see her play again. However, she has disappeared from the public eye and I think that not even Jeff Probst has her number anymore, so it’s not going to happen. I’m also afraid that Probst is the one who “lost” her number, but that’s another story.
Jud “Fabio” Birza (Season 21 – Nicaragua)
I kinda want to see him play again; his win was so unusual. But I don’t want to see him this season. He’d take the spot of someone else who’s much more interesting (as in “better at playing the game”).
Also, I’m not sure production wants him again.
John Cochran (Season 26 – Caramoan)
Cochran has said that he’s done with Survivor, and I can see how he’s not about to change his mind.
While he is an entertaining character, I don’t think he can change the way he plays much, and it wouldn’t lead him anywhere in such a season.
Mike Holloway (Season 30 – Worlds Apart)
That’s a clear no for me. An unpleasant winner from an unpleasant cast. We don’t need to see him again, and I heard that it’s very unlikely as apparently he had a fall out with production over something that I’m not aware of. (update: I was told that he has made some pretty racist comments on social media… how come I’m not surprised at all?)
Chris Underwood (Season 38 – Edge of Extinction)
OK, I don’t hate him, but I don’t like him either. Really, I just don’t care for him, and that’s the thing, I don’t really know him and he definitely didn’t deserve to win.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re in a “hate the game not the player” kind of situation, but we don’t need to see him again before a few more years at least. Also: #EndEdgeofExtinction (update: the campaign has worked – apparently Probst is putting the Edge of Extinction twist on a shelf for a while, I’m so happy about that, it’s just a shame we’ll have it for Winners at War).
Tommy Sheehan (Season 39 – Island of the Idols)
I like him, but he’s just too recent a winner to already play again.
I think no player should play back-to-back seasons. It only brings bad things, be it Rupert going from most popular contestant to most annoying contestant, Russell Hantz polluting our screens for far too long or Malcolm never standing a chance during his second time around.
The same would happen to Tommy if he returned this season. Nobody would know him (ironically, not even Boston and Sandra), which means, everybody would target him first, probably.
OK, that’s it for this post.
I doubt I’ll have time to write more before the season starts, too bad, I’ll tell you how much I hate Edge of Extinction (probably as much as you) and what to think about the fire tokens later, probably as the season unfolds.
Hopefully, see you tomorrow with my Survivor 40 – Winners at War Episode One analysis! Stay tuned!