‘Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites’ interview: John Cochran on winning, future plans

John CochranIf you think back to before this season, it’s possible that you imaged John Cochran winning “Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites.” However, we have a very difficult (i.e. impossible) time believing that you seriously expected the law student to actually go into the game, win four important individual challenges, and put himself in a position where he was never threatened.

Despite being an enthusiastic fan of the game for over a decade, Cochran kept his humility in check in an interview on Monday more than he even did on the show at times. We were mostly enthused to get his take on what it means to him to be a winner, and why he would actually love to produced “Survivor”, even if he doesn’t want to play again.

CarterMatt – I don’t know how much this matters to you, but everyone loves to have these debates about who is the best ‘Survivor’ player ever. Does it mean anything to you to have this quantitative data in your favor? You’re the third winner ever to win unanimously, the second to win unanimously without getting a vote cast against you, and the first do so in a final three since JT [Thomas] did it in a final two.

John Cochran – You’re right that the quantitative would suggest that I’m at the top of the [group]. But if you look at individual games, I benefited from luck a lot, my tribe winning a billion challenges before the merge. JT, on the other hand, entered the merge with the numbers against him, and had a substantially different [path to the end].

But by all means, if people want to use the quantitative to suggest that I am the greatest ‘Survivor’ winner ever, I would love that. Are you kidding me? I have no delusions of being the greatest ‘Survivor’ player of all time. I played a pretty strong game and I didn’t have a lot of mistakes in it, but as much as I was called the underdog, I was in a position of relative power most of the time.

You’ve said that this is in many ways the culmination of over a decade of dreams. How do you process that idea of it coming true, and how do you take that to move forward in your life?

It’s going to take me a few more days to process it. It’s historical for me. Hearing my name mentioned, especially with the likes of JT or some of these other winners that I’ve admired for so long is difficult to process. I’m hoping that there’s going to be some sort of winners’ email chain that I can get involved in, that way I can fully integrate. But for now I feel like this weird outsider who’s like ‘am I really part of this elite group of winners that I’ve admired for so long?’. It’s a lot to digest.

You said last night that you were interested in getting into writing. Do you know what sort of writing that is? Also, I know you’ve said that you are probably not going to do ‘Survivor’ again, but what does that mean for the rest of reality TV genre?

With the writing, I don’t even know what sort of writing I want to do. That’s the sort of benefit of winning ‘Survivor’: I have a little bit of space to explore things that I want to do. I don’t know what style of writing I’d be good at, so I’ll have to hash it out and talk to people.

About reality TV, I have no desire to play ‘Survivor’ again. I don’t really know if I can legally, but I would love to be a producer on ‘Survivor.’ I’m so blown away and love the idea of crafting 20 simultaneously-independent and overlapping storylines that lead to a conclusion, foreshadowing, that sort of thing. I would love to take the 400 hours of raw footage and turn it into an hour-long episode every week, a self-sufficient unit of storytelling, but also a part of a broader storyline arc.

If I could get something like that, it would be so cool. But I don’t know if I even can get something like that, since I participated on the show.

Were you rooting for Cochran, happy to see him win, and do you think he should follow the Phillip / Boston Rob mold of creating a book? If you want to read all sorts of other great coverage related to the finale, including interviews and a look ahead to next season, we have it all put together for you in a neat little package here.

Photo: CBS

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