Ok, let’s all admit it…I’ll go first…I’m a Survivor fan. I have been since the first season. Some seasons have been great, some not so memorable. And what makes the best memories, for me, are the castaways. Admittedly, I can’t remember everything that happened from Palau to China, but there are people who will always stick in my mind as some of the best players of the game.
Ozzy Lusth & Betsy Hijazi
[Photo: Betsy Hijazi]
I am particularly drawn to the smart thinkers and those with great athletic ability. I’ll always remember Terry Deitz from Panama, who at 46 effectively won 5 of 7 immunity challenges and made it to the final 3. I’ll also never forget Rupert Boneham looting the other team’s boat and supplies as they ran off to barter for more supplies to take to camp. Two others whose games I highly respected were Ozzy Lusth and Todd Herzog – but for different reasons.
During Ozzy’s first go around on Survivor: Cook Islands, he dominated in all challenges, earning individual immunity in 5 of 6 challenges. He was young and athletic and sailed through challenges like a monkey through the jungle! But second place wasn’t good enough for him, and he was lucky enough to be brought back for Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to see him come back as I knew I’d be witnessing great action during the challenges once again!
Last season on Survivor: China, I was immediately taken by Todd Herzog’s candid (on camera anyway!) approach to the game. Todd went in as a gamer. He was smart and he worked people well. He wasn’t always safe, and I’m not sure how he escaped an early elimination, but he did and came out the ultimate winner! His was a mental and social game and I loved watching him succeed!
On Sunday night, Survivor: Micronesia held its finale and I was lucky enough to be present for the Red Carpet Arrivals in New York, courtesy of an invite from Lynn here at B5Media. I really thought it was an April Fool’s joke, but it was not! As a fan, I couldn’t fathom my great fortune to be a part of such an event. As a guest correspondent for crushable.com, I was thrilled for the opportunity to report on this huge Reality TV event!
The ‘press’ was invited to screen the Survivor finale at the CBS offices in New York. In attendance were correspondents from Web sites and TV shows from California to Canada. Two former Survivors, Billy Garcia from Survivor: Cook Islands, and Denise Martin from Survivor: China, sat in and watched the finale with us, offering some unique perspectives. Like everyone watching at home, we laughed and were shocked by certain events, and in truth, it was tons of fun to watch the show with 25 other people!
Parvati Shallow was announced the winner of Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites, and most people in the room were quite surprised! We thought it might go down to a 4-4 tie, or in favor of Amanda. I’m not sure how many predicted the final outcome. But…we don’t see everything that happens in tribal council, so it’s always supposed to be a surprise, no?
Dennis Luciano & Betsy Hijazi
After the winner was announced, we made our way over to the Ed Sullivan Theater to set up for the Red Carpet Arrivals. As I walked in, I saw placeholders for some of the major TV entertainment programs and was tickled to find a place set out for crushable.com. I was tucked in between two other Reality TV Web sites. To my right was host Dennis Luciano of Average Joe fame (who was ribbing me all night!), and to my left was a guy with a camera. He and I started chatting and I asked if he was alone and he said no, that he was the cameraman for – take a moment for the heart to start beating again – Todd Herzog!
I knew that Todd was going to be covering the event for another online Reality TV Web site and had hoped I might actually be able to say hello and perhaps interview him off the red carpet at some point. BUT…I NEVER expected to be standing right next to him for the Red Carpet interviews! As soon as I found this out, I immediately sent Lynn a ‘good news, bad news’ email! Good news – I’m standing right next to Todd. Bad news – I’m standing right next to Todd…and he’ll probably get great interviews and will overshadow mine. In the end, it was all good news and a great opportunity!
Todd came over to the press area and I introduced myself. He was very personable and he was clearly having a good time. As the audience filtered out and left the theater, a few former Survivors, including Courtney Yates (Survivor: China) and Ryan Oprey (Survivor: Pearl Islands), shouted out to Todd as they thought it was fun to see him on the other side of the Red Carpet!
Ozzy was the first Survivor onto the Red Carpet, and lucky for us he started at the wrong end, talking with us first instead of the big TV entertainment shows. I took a few photos as Ozzy spoke with a podcasting site, and when he came to be interviewed by Todd, I turned my camera on and tried to capture their interview, which can be seen here! (pay attention to the background and you’ll even see Rupert.)
It turns out that Todd and Ozzy had never met, as you’ll see in the video. In their interview, Todd talked about how great a season it was and that the blindsides were tough. He asked what Ozzy would be doing in the future and Ozzy mentioned he’s looking for work in LA as an actor, writer and photographer. He said he’s also building some skate parks in Mexico.
When it was my turn to interview Ozzy, it was too much of a challenge to hold my little camera and film our interview, so instead I recorded the audio so I wouldn’t forget all that I said. I was, after all, meeting one of my all-time favorite Survivors and would undoubtedly forget most of what I said!
I congratulated Ozzy on his accomplishments. I told him I loved watching him both seasons, and while the blindside was a great move for the others, it was bad news for him. I asked if he’d do it again, and he said that he would consider it with the right incentive. He said that taking time off to film the show interferes with making a living in the ‘real world’ and it would really have to be worth his while to consider a third try. But given the right opportunity, he would certainly consider it. Would CBS even tempt us with yet another installment of our favorites????
I also talked to Ozzy about the Ponderosa scenes that CBS posts on the Survivor Web site. We talked about his love for the coconut – which he says is “so good for you”! And finally we talked about that sea snake heading into camp (Ponderosa) and the ease with which he picked it up and let it go. I still can’t believe he would pick up a deadly snake as if it were as easy as picking up a lizard! — and don’t try that at home! Ozzy clearly has knowledge of his environment and he said as long as you understand what you’re doing, it’s ok. Ozzy still lives in LA and continues to surf.
It was great to meet Ozzy and I appreciated his candidness and kindness.
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