Thanks to CBS opting to give out the cast announcement for “Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites” just a few hours into our team site maintenance today, we’re a little late in the game in announcing the cast. Therefore, we’re going to do something a little bit different in talking about the people coming back to play this game again: giving some quick impressions (and grades for CBS casting) before we get into some deeper spotlight pieces closer to the show’s two-hour premiere on February 13.
The first reaction we had when hearing about this cast several months ago when the rumors started circulating was pretty simple: what in the world? Now that we know that these are indeed the “favorites,” we are starting to question in some ways how CBS chooses to define the word. Are there good castings in here? Sure, but there are a few that range from completely random to just downright exploitative.
Andrea Boehlke (“Redemption Island”) – We don’t necessarily know if we are jumping up and down about this casting (mostly because she was our pick to win her first season and she let us down), but Andrea is a solid choice. We weren’t necessarily that impressed with her game at the end of the day last season (mostly because she was really just convinced by Boston Rob to stick around until she was voted out), but you know that she will play the game hard, and we do love that. Grace: B
Brandon Hantz (“South Pacific”) – Not only was it not fun to watch Brandon play the first time, it was uncomfortable. After watching Willie the “Big Brother” house over the summer act a fool, we’re officially over this entire family, and it’s almost made us wish that Russell just played once and never went back some some element of the family legacy would be intact. Grade: F
Brenda Lowe (“Nicaragua”) – Conversely, this is a pretty great casting. Brenda was the closest thing the show has had to Parvati since Parvati, and she’s just almost as smart when it comes to the game. We’re personally convinced that she could win any season of the show that she is a part of, and for that reason we have to give CBS props. Grade: A+
Corinne Kaplan (“Gabon”) – Our goal for this season is to learn how to spell her name right without having to look it up. We don’t necessarily think that Corinne’s chances in this game are particularly great thanks to her attitude, but she’s one of the great nasty female “Survivor” players that was deserving of another go. Grade: A-
Dawn Meehan (“South Pacific”) – We’re more on the fence with Dawn. She wasn’t as interesting as Lisa Whelchel, and we would have preferred to see Jane Bright or even Twila Tanner fill the role of the older woman on the tribe here. She’s not a bad player, but we’re also not sure she is someone that anyone thinks about when remembering “South Pacific.” Grade: C+
Erik Reichenbach (“Micronesia”) – Erik’s gone from being a fan to a favorite, and we could not be more excited to see him out on this game. He was a great competitor, and he combined the physical prowess of an Ozzy Lite with a passion for the game of a Cochran Lite. All in all, a good cast and someone deserving of redemption after giving up immunity his first time. Grade: A+
Francesca Hogi (“Redemption Island”) – Really? If this was a Second Chance season, we could see it for entertainment value. We just don’t think that Francesca is a very good player, and was just cast to fight with Phillip and get voted out early. There are so many other female favorites that we would have rather seen in this spot, whether it be someone from “One World” or even Abi-Maria to mix things up and be someone people love to hate. Grade: D
John Cochran (“South Pacific”) – We absolutely love how Cochran says “I bring nothing to the table” in introducing himself in the CBS video. When it comes to camp life, he may have a point; but we loved the guy’s entertainment value the first time around, and while we have a hard time imagining him on paper lasting until the merge, he does fit the “favorite” label well. Grade: B+
Malcolm Freberg (“Philippines”) – Since this is already a tribe filled with crazy people, there is almost a part of us that would have rather seen Troyzan or Tarzan on the show than a guy who just played, and never really made the big moves we were hoping for from him. Heck, we may have also preferred Marty. (While we didn’t want Colton on, could you imagine him and Phillip on the same tribe?) He’s a good cast for the likable All-American guy, but he’s hardly an underdog. Grade: B-
Phillip Sheppard (“Redemption Island”) – We’re going to make a bold prediction here right away: Phillip once again will probably make the final three this season. Why? He’s the ultimate goat: he annoys people, is obnoxious, and seems lost in his own Phillip world where he still fights crime like James Bond. However, he’s also fiercely loyal, and a decent enough challenge played to not be a liability early. Good casting here. Grade: A-
Do you want to hear some more from Jeff Probst on this season? If so, be sure to head on over to the link here.