Chicago Sun-Times reveals 8 secrets – some incriminating – of Survivor

The Chicago Sun-Times has revealed “8 Secrets of Survivor”; an interesting – and, some might say, incriminating – detail of what goes on behind the scenes in both casting and production.

Besides the obvious notes that the castaways are sometimes chosen to fill a role or are contacted by producers rather than sending in audition tapes, a couple of tidbits emerged that seem to have an impact on the integrity of the show.

Tocantins cast member Erinn Lobdell revealed that a sound man gave her a pice of candy before she set out for Exile Island:

Lobdell remembered being insanely hungry during a brutal stretch on Exile Island, where a single contestant is temporarily separated from his or her tribe. Come nighttime, a producer stays behind with the exiled contestant while the camera crew returns to the main location. Before shipping out for the night, a sympathetic sound man slipped Lobdell a piece of butterscotch candy, which she described as the best candy of her life.

Former cast members Lobdell, Mookie Lee (Fiji), and Kelly Goldsmith (Africa) revealed that some of the fire-making scenes were manipulated as well:

“Survivor” contestants often look like Prometheus when it comes to making a fire. Truth is they sometimes get a little help, cast members said. Goldsmith’s group was given matches once. Lee said a scene during his season showed them using glasses to make a fire when it was really a lighter that did the trick.

On Exile Island, a chilly, dejected Lobdell wasn’t having any luck getting a flame going. “The producer was gone … and the camera man set down his camera, took out his lighter and lit the fire,” she said, adding that he then picked up the camera and filmed it as if she’d done it herself.

Other revelations were less titillating, like John Cochran (South Pacific) revealing that he didn’t own a sleeveless sweater when the show started but, “They tell us what to wear…The lady on the phone said, ‘Justin Timberlake wears sweater vests.’ ” (Chicago Sun-Times)

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