Matt Bischoff, a 38-year-old in BMX bike sales from Cincinnati, OH, was voted out of Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites' newly-shuffled Bikal tribe during Wednesday night's fifth episode of the CBS reality series' 26th edition.
Matt was voted out of his tribe at the season's fifth Tribal Council session after Survivor host Jeff Probst shuffled the tribes, ultimately mixing up the season's "Favorites" and "Fans" at random.

In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Matt talked about his Survivor experience and ouster from the game. Below is the first half of Matt's interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.

Reality TV World: So I guess I want to start with whether you were surprised to be voted off instead of Julia Landauer -- because it kind of seemed like you were.

Matt Bischoff: Yeah, I was surprised to be voted off. However, going into Tribal, I was pretty nervous, man. I knew there was a possibility that I was going home. So I was surprised, but then again, I knew it could be coming too. So it was very, very, very disappointing though. I was hoping and thinking that it was going to be Julia going home.

Reality TV World: Did anything happen that might've made you think you were going home instead of her? Did you get the vibe your tribemates were skeptical that you didn't have a hidden Immunity Idol?

Matt Bischoff: Yeah, I mean, they knew that I did not have an idol. My strategy going into the Bikal beach was being completely and brutally honest with them to try to gain their trust, and I knew that the four of them were sticking together no matter what. And I knew Corinne Kaplan was freaking out about a hidden Immunity Idol, and I said, "I do not have an idol."

Now, was that a mistake on my part -- because I tried to pretend I did? Maybe, maybe not. But I don't really regret the way that I handled that. I was really trying to convince them that Julia did not have an idol. Because they were like, "Why is Julia not coming up to us to try to save herself?" She did not once strategize with any of the "Favorites."

With Corinne specifically, I said, "Corinne, she does not have an idol. She's just not talking to you guys because she's more of a quiet person and not really strategizing too much. I promise you she does not have an idol." But at the end of the day, my honesty might have bit me in the butt and, you know, it sent me packing.

Reality TV World: I was going to ask you about Julia. I think Corinne was shown making a sarcastic comment about Julia being boring. Is that just Julia's personality -- that she is just a naturally quiet person and it wasn't a deliberate strategy in the game?

Matt Bischoff: Yeah, I mean, I love Julia. Julia's cool. As far as being a very strong personality, it's just not happening, and I think that's why you didn't really get to see a lot of Julia on Survivor. Her personality just is what it is, man. She's more chill and just not super outgoing.

So, it's just frustrating because her being the personality that she [was] made Corinne be like, "Wow, she must be super confident if she's not even trying to scramble and save her own ass," you know what I mean?

But I was trying to convince Corinne, "I'm telling you, Julia is just Julia, and I can tell you right now she doesn't have an idol." You heard last night, Corinne loves [Michael Snow] because he's gay. Maybe I should've pretended to be gay and (laughs) she would've kept me around too! 

Reality TV World: Had you believed Phillip Sheppard when he told you Julia was the one going home, and do you think he was being sincere at that time or do you think he was just stringing you and Michael along at that point?
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Matt Bischoff: I don't know, you know, Julia seemed like the most logical person to go home at the time. She did not very well in the challenge. She was supposed to be helping decipher this puzzle but it was a complete mess. Her and [John Cochran] sucked at it. It almost seemed like everyone was throwing the challenge, it was so horrible. I don't believe they did, but yeah, Julia got blamed for that.

And I straight up asked Phillip, "What are you thinking tonight?" And he said, "Julia." And I'm like, "Cool, Michael and I are completely onboard with getting rid of Julia" -- although Julia was in my alliance, man, I was doing everything I could to try and save myself. All I wanted to do was get myself to the freaking merge, man, and it was going to be a whole new game.

But at the same time, you know, everyone knew that Michael and I were this power couple playing together. And I didn't hide that at the time because I was wanting them to be able to be like, "Wow, maybe we can join forces with Michael and Matt," you know what I mean? "That's two people we can get onboard with us."

Maybe I should not have been so blatantly obvious, but going into it, when you're out there, it's very, very hard. People can watch the show and be like, "Oh, why did he do that or this?!" It was my strategy and I felt like I played the best I could with the cards that I was dealt, and I'm very proud of how I played the game. It's a bummer that I went home because I just had way more game-playing to do.

Reality TV World: So just to clarify, it doesn't sound like you thought there was any potential downside to being perceived as that "power couple" with Michael, right?

Matt Bischoff: Technically, Cochran obviously was like, "Wow, we should probably break that up." And knowing that I was blatantly honest saying that I didn't have the idol, I was the easiest target, and it was smart of him probably to do that. But at the time, man, I was not trying to hide the [Dawn Meehan] thing.

I was hoping that -- Michael and I had a great relationship, and when Michael and I went over there and everyone had gravitated towards us, I was hoping that we'd be able to work together. And I truly believe that Dawn and Corinne and Cochran and Michael and myself would've for sure been working together at some point had we gotten the chance to do that together.

Reality TV World: I noticed you left Phillip out of that list. And there's been a little debate amongst viewers this season about whether Phillip is really leading the "Favorites," like Brandon Hantz clearly seemed to think, or whether all the other "Favorites" are just letting Phillip think he's the leader because it kind of keeps him happy and they haven't had an opportunity to vote him off yet. What was your take on that while you were out there? Did you still have the same opinion after the tribal swap as you had before spending time with them?

Matt Bischoff: Well, Phillip's a hilarious guy, pure comedy and entertainment to me. Phillip seemed to be in a power position over there -- just the way he was treating everybody at camp, you know?

He was kind of like this dominant force, like he was in charge of the food and the fire and this, that, and the other, and the challenges. So in his mind, he definitely was thinking he was the leader, and I think everyone else was intimidated by him.

It's like, looking back now, I still think the four of them would've stuck together. But to me, the smart thing would've been use Michael and I to get out Phillip when you guys have the chance to do it, you know what I mean?

But Phillip, he started running his little "Stealth R Us" thing, almost giving Michael and I a name, and I was just listening to what he had to say. And in my brain, I'm just dying laughing. It was hilarious to me. Phillip's a good guy though. At the end of the day, he's just a funny guy and I don't know, it was interesting to play with the guy.

Above is the first half of Matt's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on Friday for the concluding portion.
About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.