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CBS refutes 'Survivor: Palau' contestant Wanda Shirk's "recasting" allegation


By Reality TV World staff, 02/23/2005 

You have to give ousted Survivor: Palau contestant Wanda Shirk credit for one thing -- she certainly seems to know how to outwit, outplay, outlast her eliminated colleagues when it comes to maximizing her 15 minutes of post-show fame... even if it takes making some unsubstantiated outrageous allegations to do so.

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The 55-year-old English teacher easily emerged as the dominant personality during last Friday's post-show press appearances, grabbing the spotlight from first episode Tribal Council victim Jolanda Jones despite the fact that both she and Jonathan Libby failed to survive the competition's initial tribal selection process and only lasted a single day on the island.

But despite already coming across remarkably like the bitter ex-contestant she has repeatedly claimed not to be, the outspoken contestant appears to have saved her best attention-seeking attempt for last, alleging in a TVGuide.com interview published today that Survivor's producers deliberately recast a third of Survivor: Palau' cast with professional models selected from agencies.

"They (the producers) didn't want it to come out that they stocked the show with young models. They did. Out of the 20 people that were originally cast, they cut seven and put pretty people from modeling agencies in instead, so that they would have the eye candy," Wanda told TVGuide.com.

According to Wanda, she discovered the recasting -- which she blamed as the root cause for an inaccurate editing process that portrayed her incessant singing as the reason for her ouster (huh?) -- when the castaways were discussing their application tapes.

"When we asked, 'What did you do for your audition tape?' some of the people would say, 'Oh, well, I didn't really do an audition tape,'" Wanda told TVGuide.com.

While Wanda's later comment clearly demonstrates that she is apparently ignorant of the fact that not every reality television contestant is cast via the mail-in application process, her allegation that seven of the show's twenty original contestants were "cut" and replaced is particularly implausible.

Unaddressed in her allegation was why Wanda believes that the show would go through the process of sifting through tens of thousands of mail-in applications, conducting hundreds of nationwide regional interviews, and undertaking a several day long sequestered Los Angeles interview process that determined Palau's twenty original finalists -- only to subsequently turn around and replace a third of the cast with models.

CBS strongly refuted Wanda's claims this afternoon, with CBS spokesperson Colleen Sullivan telling Reality TV World that "Wanda's allegation is simply untrue. I spoke with casting and not ONE modeling agency was contacted."


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