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CBS announces 'Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorties' cast


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/03/2008 

CBS has revealed the identities of the 10 new castaways competing on Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites and confirmed the identities of the 10 returning castaways they'll be pitted against during the show's upcoming sixteenth season.

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As online rumors have indicated, the 10 returning castaways serving as Survivor: Micronesia's "Favorites" will be Survivor: Pearl Islands' Jon "Jonny Fairplay" Dalton; Survivor: Vanuatu's Eliza Orlins and Amy Cusack; Survivor: Panama's Cirie Fields; Survivor: Cook Islands' Jonathan Penner, Ozzy Lusth and Parvati Shallow; Survivor: Fiji's Yau-Man Chan; and Survivor: China's Amanda Kimmel and James Clement, Entertainment Weekly reported Wednesday.

No former Survivor: Palau or Survivor: Guatemala castaways will be participating in Survivor: Micronesia, making them the only two post-Survivor: All-Stars editions not to place any former contestants in the Fans vs. Favorites installment.  Palau winner Tom Westman declined to participate, according to Entertainment Weekly, which added he was the only previous Survivor winner who was considered for Micronesia.

Fall 2005's Survivor: Guatemala featured an 18 castaway cast that included Bobby Jon Drinkard and Stephenie LaGrossa -- the hardworking final two members of Spring 2005's Survivor: Palau's incompetent Ulong tribe. LaGrossa eventually finished second to Guatemala winner Danni Boatwright while Drinkard managed to accomplish his goal of "making it to the merge" but finished eighth.

As Survivor host Jeff Probst's public comments of the past year had indicated, the show's producers originally considered making the show's sixteenth edition a second All-Stars installment, however after already beginning the process of approaching former castaways about participating in a second "full all-stars" edition, they decided to go with a "half all-stars" format instead.

"None of us felt like a full-on All-Stars was the right choice, because we did it once and since then so many other shows have done it," Probst told Entertainment Weekly. "It felt like we needed a twist."

Rumors that CBS might be planning another Survivor installment featuring former castaways had circulated for years, however more formal reports that the show's Spring 2008 edition would be another all-stars season first surfaced last spring.  In May, In Touch Weekly reported that Survivor's sixteenth edition would be a second all-stars edition which would only feature castaways from the seven Survivor installments that had filmed since 2004's Survivor: All-Stars edition. 

Dalton is the only Survivor: Micronesia castaway from a Survivor edition that pre-dates the show's first all-stars edition (Rupert Boneham was the only Pearl Islands castaway who participated in Survivor: All-Stars).

''You can't do the season and not invite your most notorious person," Probst told Entertainment Weekly.  "And Fairplay delivered, I will say that. He delivered, and I think we got what we expected we would get, which is that character he created called 'Jonny Fairplay.' What gets me is just how effective it can still be. He can call you stupid and somebody will get mad. And I'm looking at this going, 'Why are you getting mad at this guy? He's created a character, he's trying to get under your skin — and it's working!' This guy is no threat to win this game - zero.''

In Touch's May report had come two months after Probst told reporters that although he "personally didn't want to do" and "didn't enjoy" the show's initial All-Stars edition, he felt Survivor was "due" for another all-stars installment.

"We're going into our sixteenth season, [a second all-stars] wouldn't be a bad idea... The only thing I can say is that I've come around to understanding that even though the All-Stars we did was a pain-in-the-ass from a production point of view, it was one of our best seasons," Probst reiterated to reporters during a September conference call to discuss Survivor: China.  "And it was our best season because we had our best people back.  I get that."

Survivor: Micronesia will also feature the return of Exile Island, which was first introduced in Survivor: Panama but dumped in favor of the new "kidnapping" concept for Survivor: China.

Survivor: Micronesia filmed in late 2007 in the same location as the show's Palau installment.  Probst had gushed about the region's crystal clear waters prior to Survivor: Palau's premiere.  "We're in the most beautiful water that we've ever had in terms of visibility," said Probst. "The visibility was so good that we decided to pull out a lot of challenges we'd been sitting on and you know anytime you create stuff underwater, it just adds such a physical component."

Ironically, Palau was reportedly Survivor producer Mark Burnett's first choice for Survivor: All-Stars, however due to scheduling problems, the edition ended up filming on the same Panamanian islands that Survivor: Pearl Islands, the show's previous edition, had filmed on.

CBS had previously formally announced Survivor: Micronesia will feature popular former Survivor castaways returning to compete against a group of "superfans" during last month's live Survivor: China reunion show broadcast.

Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites is scheduled to premiere Thursday, February 7, at 8PM ET/PT.

The 10 "fans" competing on Survivor: Micronesia are:

- Joel Anderson, a 32-year-old firefighter from Avondale, AZ

- Natalie Bolton, a 32-year-old personal trainer from West Hollywood, CA who is originally from Houston, TX

- Michael Bortone, a 34-year-old writer and actor from Los Angeles, CA who is originally from Boston, MA

- Tracy Hughes-Wolf, a 43-year-old commercial builder from Fredericksburg, VA

- Erik Reichenbach, a 22-year-old ice cream scooper from Ypsilanti, MI who is originally from Hell, MI

- Alexis Jones, a 24-year-old motivational speaker from Beverly Hills, CA who is originally from Austin, TX

- Mary Sartain, a 29-year-old small business owner from Emeryville, CA

- Jason Siska, a 22-year-old student teacher from Fox River Grove, IL

- Kathleen Sleckman, a 45-year-old golf course vendor from Glen Ellyn, IL

- Chet Welch, a 48-year-old beauty pageant coach from Ford City, PA

(Photo credit CBS)


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