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Exclusive: Zane Knight talks about 'Survivor: Philippines' (Part 2)


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/21/2012 

Zane Knight, a 28-year-old tire repairman from Danville, VA, was voted out of his Survivor: Philippines' Matsing tribe during Wednesday night's premiere of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.

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Zane was voted out of his tribe at the season's first Tribal Council, the first elimination vote for Matsing, after he came up with a risky plan to blame himself for losing the challenge and then act as if he'd be fine with votes coming his way. Hoping to gain sympathy from his tribemates and come across very likeable, Zane thought his idea would convince people to vote off Russell Swan, a big threat who had taken on a leadership role, instead. But Zane's plan backfired and he became the first castaway eliminated from the season.

In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Zane talked to Reality TV World about his short-lived Survivor: Philippines experience -- including what role he believed the hidden Immunity Idol played in Russell Swan's safety and his own vote-off, which returning member he would've preferred to have on his tribe out of all three and what his thoughts were on the three women in his tribe. 

Below is the concluding portion of Zane's interview. Click here to read the first half.

Reality TV World: Do you think the fact you told Malcolm Freberg that Russell Swan had found the hidden Immunity Idol played a big role in why they decided not to vote for him?

Zane Knight: No, actually, I don't. I feel like -- I thought that was my best basis. I felt like by me exposing -- because I was swimming. I saw him find it. And so, when I went back and told everybody, I was like, "Look, I'm pretty sure he got it. I saw him shuffling around with something."

Reality TV World: So you sincerely thought he had found it, right? You weren't just making that up? Even though he had only actually found the clue, you thought he had found the actual idol itself?

Zane Knight: Well, I didn't actually know what he had found. I just knew he found something. And it was a good enough basis for me to go after him, you know what I mean?

Reality TV World: But you thought that would make them more likely to vote for him and flush it out then, is that what you're saying?

Zane Knight: Oh, of course! At the end of the day, as long as Russ' name was on that paper, I didn't care how it got there. I knew if I was the one who could put his name there, that I could run the rest of my -- do you know what I mean? Basically, I'm going to be in charge from the sidelines from now on if I get rid of Russ.

Reality TV World: So you don't think it might've had the opposite effect and cause your tribemates not to vote for Russell because they were afraid he'd end up playing the hidden Immunity Idol?

Zane Knight: Oh, of course not! Because I think if he had been scared enough or if he had it, I don't think he would've played it if he had had it. Because if he had of showed it, then that would've proved what I was saying. I think that Russ is smarter than that.

So I think Russ was sitting there gritting his teeth, doing the same thing that I was doing, wondering how it's going to go. But I don't think Russ ever would've played it if he had it because that would confirm what I said, you know what I mean?

Reality TV World: Your plan was kind of to pretend to be the physically weakest person in your tribe, I guess, recognizing that most of the time, those are the people that tend to be the first person voted off. Who do you think actually was the physically weakest person in your tribe?

Zane Knight: Actually, I don't think there was one. I think we were all stacked pretty hard. I mean, if you go strictly on the basis of brut strength, then [Angie Layton] probably would've been the weakest one on our team.

But you can't go by that because the girl can run. You don't know what the girl can do. Her skills in one department might override you being able to pick something up in another department, you know what I mean?

Reality TV World: When you guys were on the boat in the beginning of the game, you told [Jeff Probst] that you didn't want any celebrities on the show. Did you make that comment because you had recognized Jeff Kent or Lisa Whelchel or was that just a coincidence?

Zane Knight: It was just a coincidence. I was honestly -- when I said celebrities, I was honestly talking about returning [players]. When I [said] celebrities, I meant celebrities of the game, you know, your ["Boston Rob" Rob Mariano] and your Russell Hantz. Those were the people that I was talking about. I was like, "Okay." And honestly, Jeff Kent, all I saw were the cowboy boots, brother.

I'm a die-hard Yankees fan. I love baseball, and I mean, all I can say is he's no Jesus, you know what I mean? I watched the cast interviews about how he hoped nobody recognizes him... and he did a good job, because I didn't know who the hell he was! (Laughs)

But like I said, I don't feel like anybody had the game on anybody except for Russ. And that's what I was scared of, because nine times out of 10, you put a returning player in, they're going to go far.

Reality TV World: I can't remember if you were one of the cast members shown saying you were familiar with the three returning castaways -- Jonathan Penner, Michael Skupin and Russell. Overlooking the fact you didn't want any of them on your tribe to begin with, since you had to get one, which one were you hoping at that moment was going to end up on your tribe?

Zane Knight: Between me and you, I was hoping it was going to be Penner, because Skupin is a bad man. I think we all know that. And Russ is, I mean, he's your best friend and you're scared of him at the same time. He's like the dog at the end of the street. You don't know whether to walk up and touch it or run right by the fence real quick, you know what I mean?

So, I didn't want either one of them. Penner, he seemed a little easier to me. I'm not taking nothing away from his credibility as a player. I'm just saying he seemed like I could -- I would be able to get him in a little bit easier with me.

Skupin seemed like he would be able to smell my bullsh-t, and Russ seems like he would've been like, "Ehh, I don't know if I like you buddy." Penner, I think I could've gotten along with if I got a little [farther into the game].

Reality TV World: If you considered Malcolm and Russell to be your main alliance, and you were looking to bring one of the other girls in -- Angie, "Roxy" Roxanne Morris or Denise Stapley -- as your other alliance member, had you decided which one of them you wanted to be your real fourth member?

Zane Knight: I hadn't made that decision yet.

Reality TV World: What were your thoughts on the three women? What were your general thoughts and first impressions of them?

Zane Knight: Well, I kind of figured out Roxy and Angie pretty quick. They're young and you can tell they're impressionable. Denise, and now, watching and learning and understanding that she's a therapist, now I get why she was like she was. But you could never figure her out. You never knew if she was being sincere or if she was trying to -- you always felt like she was feeling you out, you know what I mean?

Everything she asked you was always like a, "Where do you come from? How do you feel about this?" (Laughs) It was always like you were on-guard with her. So I never -- I'm not going to say I never trusted her, I just never knew how to assess her. But she was always dangerous to me.

Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor: Philippines? How did you end up on the show?

Zane Knight: It was actually a joke between me and my wife, so I sent in a 28-second video to CBS. And they saw it, and the next day, they called me and I was on a plane.

Above is the concluding portion of Zane's interview. Click here to read the first half.

(Photo credit CBS)


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