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CBS reveals 'Survivor: Samoa' castaway identities, tribal leader twist


By Christopher Rocchio, 08/27/2009 

CBS has announced the identities of the castaways who will be competing on Survivor: Samoa and also revealed the game-opening twist the cast encountered when the competition was filmed earlier this summer.

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"This group reminds me a little bit of Fans vs. Favorites in terms of there's a sense of fun and actually looks like they'd be fun to hang out with," Survivor host Jeff Probst said.

The long-running CBS reality series' nineteenth season will begin with the 20 castaways -- two more than CBS had originally announced in May's Survivor: Samoa announcement -- being divided into two tribes and immediately forced into choosing a leader before having the opportunity to converse with one another.

"From the start of the game, Survivor embraces this Samoan culture by incorporating an ancient tradition of electing an individual leader of the village," said CBS in its announcement of the format twist. 

"Without speaking, both tribes must immediately choose one member of their group to become their sole decision maker, their chief.  How important will the role of tribal chief be in determining the fate of each tribe?"

In addition, the cast also includes one (as of yet unidentified) castaway whom the network is proclaiming will emerge as the biggest villain in Survivor history.

"One of these castaways will become the biggest Survivor villain ever," CBS announced in on-air promos it began airing Tuesday night. 

Although the network is also billing Survivor: Samoa as "the biggest Survivor" and the cast as "super big," three previous Survivor editions have also featured 20 castaways: Spring 2005's Survivor: Palau, Fall 2006's Survivor: Cook Islands, and Spring 2008's Survivor: Micronesia - Fans vs. Favorites.

CBS revealed Samoa as the location for Survivor's nineteenth season during a preview for it at the conclusion of May's Survivor: Tocantins reunion show.

Slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island, Samoa is located only a few hundred miles northeast of New Zealand and is comprised of the western islands of the Samoan Islands group (American Samoa, a United States territory, comprises the eastern islands). 

Survivor: Samoa will premiere Thursday, September 17 at 8PM ET/PT.

Survivor: Samoa's 20 castaways -- nearly half of whom currently reside in California -- are:

- David Ball, a 38-year-old fitness instructor from Los Angeles, CA

- Betsy Bolan, a 48-year-old police officer from Campton, NH

- Mike Borassi, a 62-year-old private chef from Marina del Rey, CA

- Ben Browning, a 28-year-old mixologist from Los Angeles, CA

- Marisa Calihan, a 26-year-old student from Cincinnati, OH

- Erik Cardona, a 28-year-old bartender from Ontario, CA

- Brett Clouser, a 23-year-old T-shirt designer from Salem, OR who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

- John Fincher, a 25-year-old rocket scientist from Los Angeles, CA

- Yasmin Giles, a 33-year-old hairstylist from Detroit, MI who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

- Russell Hantz, a 36-year-old oil company owner from Dayton, TX

- Elizabeth Kim, a 33-year-old urban planner from New York, NY

- Laura Morett, a 39-year-old office manager from Salem, OR

- Monica Padilla, a 25-year-old law student from San Diego, CA

- Jaison Robinson, a 28-year-old law student from Chicago, IL

- Kelly Sharbaugh, a 25-year-old hairstylist from Wilmington, DE who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

- Russell Swan, a 42-year-old attorney from Glenside, PA

- Ashley Trainer, a 22-year-old spa sales representative from Maple Grove, MN

- Mick Trimming, a 33-year-old doctor from Boise, ID who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

- Shannon Waters, a 45-year-old sales representative from Renton, WA

- Natalie White, a 26-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Van Buren, AR

(Photo credit CBS)


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