‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ exclusive: Tyler Fredrickson on ‘subtle’ approach, targeting Carolyn, and much more
We made it no secret throughout “Survivor: Worlds Apart” that we were a fan of Tyler Fredrickson’s game. He had a lot going for him, at least in that he was a strong social player, very strategic, and he had an alliance that for the longest time rallied behind him. So how does a guy like this go out of the game? Based on the narrative on the show last night, it appeared to be a simple matter of players wanting to go to the end with someone who they knew they could beat.
So in talking with Tyler in a one-on-one interview today, we talked about that coupled with a lot of other questions about his strategy, and the time he spent with some of the other polarizing players this season. For the record, we know he got hit with the whole “boring” label at times during the season, but he was really fun and candid through most of these responses.
CarterMatt – I suppose we should really start with the news of the day. Are you bummed that you weren’t included on the voting list for [next season]?
Tyler Fredrickson – Of course, everyone wants to be the belle of the ball, especially these crazy Survivors. We all want to feel like we are a part of something.
But dude, I played ‘Survivor’! (Laughs.) I’m talking to you about ‘Survivor’ and the fact that I was on it. I made it twelve episodes out of fourteen. For me this is insane, so for me to be here saying (disgruntled voice) ‘I gotta go back’ would be like … who cares? I watched the way I was edited, I knew my strategy going in which was much more subdued, I saw the way I handled confessionals which probably could have been handled a little bit better. But you’re down-and-out, you’re beat-up, you’re hungry, and you’re exhausted. And I look at the five who are coming in, and I can’t blame them for that! They’re all extremely great choices, and from a producer standpoint and storyteller standpoint, they are probably better choices than me as far as good TV is concerned. I didn’t get naked, I didn’t make crazy psycho moves, I didn’t find an idol and play it successfully. What can I say? I tried to play a subtle, quiet game and then explode it at the end, which I didn’t get a chance to. I tried to win a million dollars! I didn’t want to be memorable; I wanted to win! Maybe those two [can] go hand in hand.
I spent a lot of time thinking about if there was anything different you could have done last night to save yourself, but I couldn’t think of anything. Obviously, you’ve had way more time to think about this.
I’ve had a chance to talk to the whole cast about it, like ‘what if I said this,’ ‘what if I said that there’s an idol, I can’t tell you who’s got it … I’ve got a secret, but I can’t tell you until tomorrow if you get me through this.’ I thought it all the way through. I can’t think of a single thing, because it was a big blindside.
Had I heard even a whisper, I would have BLOWN IT UP. Advantage here, idol here, here’s the core four, Mike, let’s team up … It would have been insane. It would be the moment that everyone who has called me boring or calculating or like a robot would have been waiting for. It was a moment I had been waiting for; I had invested so much in relationships and honesty and integrity and being quiet, and I could subtly approach somebody and spin them out, and hopefully spin them in a different direction. It just didn’t work out that way. I was so close, but I couldn’t quite get there. My edit, my character arc kind of fell, and that’s why I’m talking to you today.
Was it flattering that Mike continued to try to target you every week?
Yeah, it got to the point where ‘Mike at some point during the tribal is going to talk about getting me out.’ It’s going to come up, and then it’s going to come up again two days from now. But with Mike, I wanted him gone, too. For different reasons. Mike was annoying, everyone was over him. I saw him as a major threat, but everyone was so burned out on Mike, burned out on the lies and the scrambles, the (he does glorious Mike impression here) ‘she’s coming after you,’ ‘he’s coming after you.’ Like one after another.
I was watching back the barrel race, the hot lava challenge. It’s so indicative of my strategy versus Mike’s strategy, as we were both leading. My strategy was slow and steady, it was team-driven, it was complimentary and working together … Theirs was ‘you three stand on a barrel and Mike’s going to roll to the end.’ It was out of control, dropping things. That was just the way we [each] played. But that’s the thing. He got further! Sometimes, that whole seat-of-your-pants, out-of-control, super-strategy [gameplay] works better than someone who is more calculating and quiet. It can be more threatening than the out-of-control insanity. Mike’s still in the game.
Did you have a particular time in which you were wanting to target Carolyn, such as going to the final four with her and then taking her out to go with people like Dan and Will to the end?
I wanted her gone last night. When Mike and Shirin outed me, I thought that was a perfect time to draw out her idol. We had worked so hard and we were so close and tight-knit, and then she didn’t play her idol. When we got back to camp I was like ‘what’s up, I barely escaped that.’ She was like ‘I didn’t bring my idol to tribal.’ Who doesn’t bring your idol to tribal?! Not only for my sake, but you don’t know when things are going to change and you’re going to be on the chopping block. You can run your mouth and then people start coming for you. She was like ‘I never thought of it that way.’
I realized I’m not in the forefront of her mind when it comes to the idol, and when Rodney was so furious when we came back from reward and she didn’t switch with him, not that she needed to, he was like ‘I want her gone.’ Dan and Will were like ‘we want her gone too, she is so annoying, that is messed up.’ Suddenly three people acted like they wanted her gone, I didn’t even say a word about it. I was just like ‘I finally got four here. This is my big move. This is a chance where I’m going to Rock ’em, Sock ’em Robots and show that this is the reason why I deserve to win.’
And we get to immunity and she holds on to the damn rope. (Laughs.) I hate endurance immunity challenges, I hate them, even though I won one. They’re stupid. They even the playing field too much. It’s not like how I grew up as a student athlete, having to run on solid ground … I can’t bring my football skills into play. I hate them. So she wins, and I’m like ‘okay.’ Back to the alliance. Let’s get our core four back together, nobody’s bent or broken … ‘Let’s just knock out Dan or Sierra, Dan has an advantage so let’s just target him. We’ll knock out Sierra and get rid of Mike, and then final four right there.’
But when all six people turn against you, and you don’t have an idol or an advantage or immunity, you end up going to Ponderosa.
You brought up football, so did you make a decision to hide that part of your life out there? (For those who don’t know, Tyler was an accomplished athlete and college kicker.)
No, before I went out there I made a decision to never say the f-word in football, to never say that I went to Berkeley or USC, or to say that I have Master’s Degrees from both. I said I went to a small little liberal arts college in Santa Barbara, which is where I grew up so I knew I could talk about it. I didn’t want people to think I was some sort of wealthy multi-millionaire, super-smart, superstar athlete, which I’m not (laughs), but I don’t want them thinking that because perception is everything.
When you were out there, did you get a sense that all the comments from Will and Dan were going to become the story that they have?
A little bit, especially when I saw how hard Shirin was taking it, how much she continued to bring it up. She’s continuing to bring it up, and it has become her M.O., something that she is pioneering and raising money for. When you look at my Ponderosa video last night, it is all about Shirin.
I get it. Those issues are important issues, and they are really important to Shirin. Are they important in the spectrum of ‘Survivor’? I think it is important that ‘Survivor’ is addressing them, but there was so much fun, so much strategy that we missed out on because we were showing people fight. I have a friend who was like ‘I’ve been watching ‘Survivor’ all my life and I’ve been fast-forwarding through [the fighting].’ I was like ‘who should be fast-forwarding through a family game show on network TV?’ They said ‘it makes me too uncomfortable.’
I’m glad we’re not shying away from these things, but I would hate for this season to be remembered as the season that Shirin got bullied. Not because I think that bullying doesn’t deserve its moment to be addressed, but just because I think it minimizes and boils down 14 episodes into something that took place over 15 minutes. I don’t want to be defined by that. It takes away from a lot of the effort that people like Nina and Vince and Jenn put in. There was a lot of controversy regarding that.
It’s a delicate issue, and it requires a lot of thought-out discussion, but this is sort of my gut reaction.
What did you think about Tyler’s game, and did you expect him to win like we did for most of the season? Share with a comment now, and be sure to check out our coverage of all things “Survivor: Second Chance” right now! Also, you can click here to get some other TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)