Since its debut in 2000 and over the course of 42 seasons, Survivor has shown hundreds of participants how to endure physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion for up to 39 days.
Competition forces contestants to get to know a bunch of strangers—as well as themselves—on an intimate level.
This includes enduring the horrors of tropical storms and creepy island residents (don’t even get us started on the ear-bug situation of Survivor: Kah Rng). And everyone is doing it in the hopes of winning $1 million.
Fans that watch for complete authenticity may realize that Survivor isn’t everything that it promises the viewer, even if most viewers watch the show only for the drama that occurs between the participants or to see who is best at preserving themselves in the wild.
There is more going on behind the scenes than what is shown to viewers at home, even though the show does feature real people competing for a real prize.
The series, which is hosted by Emmy winner Jeff Probst, is known for its meltdowns, drama, and even primitive sexual tension (don’t worry, condoms are given), but is it all real?
A reality competition series similar to Castaway should, in theory, be fascinating enough on its own, but viewers can’t help but question if it’s staged.
Is Survivor a Real Show?
In order to manipulate which participants are voted off the island against the contestants’ wishes, producers of the program have been known to use body doubles for contestants.
Therefore, Survivor is not entirely real. Additionally, there is never a threat of starvation for the competitors.
While competitors are required to hunt for the remainder of their meals and only receive rice from the production team, this still puts a significant physical strain on their bodies.
The production crew also stores in a box in the woods the contestants’ pre-submitted medical items, including prescription drugs, feminine hygiene items, birth control, contacts, contact solution, and other personal items.
Each participant has access to this box and is free to take whatever materials are theirs or are required on a daily basis.
The contestants are instructed to use the sunscreen bug spray, and vitamins in the box every day by the production crew to reduce the risk of physical harm.
The contenders also have constant access to water during the game to prevent dehydration brought on by the stifling heat and intensive physical exertion, but after a few weeks of filming, and hours of footage, the warm water turns the contestants off.
The dirt that viewers see accumulate on the competitors’ clothing is very real. For the 39 days they spend outside, they are only permitted to bring one piece of clothing.
Although the candidates frequently adapt to the stench, the camera crew frequently informs them when it’s time to figure out how to wash their clothes.
While some contestants may boil their garments in the camp’s cooking pot, others will use the hand sanitizer they can find in their medical box.
Even while the competition on Survivor may not be as fierce as viewers had anticipated, the participants still suffer.
Has a Contestant Ever Been Completely Kicked Out of Survivor?
Dan Spilo’s inappropriate touching of the cast and production crew members was the only time in which Survivor completely eliminated a participant from the game.
Spilo was removed after grabbing a female producer’s thigh inappropriately on a transport boat on day 36.
Hollywood agent Dan Spilo participated in Survivor: Island of the Idols.
He claimed that his contacts weren’t in properly and that he lost his balance while attempting to board the boat after being caught improperly stroking the producer’s leg.
But Spilo was caught touching someone inappropriately more than once.
Kellee Kim, a fellow candidate who was eliminated soon after speaking out against Spilo, had accused the 48-year-old of sexually groping her.
Spilo went to People Magazine to provide a public apology following his time on the reality show.
Although he was aware of how his actions had been seen, he hoped that his future behavior would demonstrate to the irate viewers at home what kind of man, husband, father, and friend he actually was.
Dan Spilo was excluded from all Survivor events, despite his plans to discuss the situation at the live finale of the show.
Despite this, fans still believed that Kellee Kim hadn’t received enough support from the show.
Spilo had touched her arm, hair, and legs repeatedly despite Kim’s repeated requests for him to stop.
She was voted off the island for allegedly trying to cause problems for Spilo, not because her castmates or the production team listened to her complaints.
The production team chose to keep Dan Spilo on the program, merely offering the other participants the general advice that they should tell someone if they felt endangered.
The other competitors were clueless about what this meant at the time of recording.
Did Caleb Reynolds Nearly Die on the Show?
Yes, while filming a challenge where two other competitors had also passed out, Caleb Reynolds came dangerously close to passing out from exhaustion and dehydration.
However, when Reynolds started to lose all color in his face, the set doctor quickly realized that his situation was very critical.
Jeff Probst ranked the medical scare with Reynolds as one of the scariest episodes in the show’s history when questioned about it in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
The show’s executive producer and host Jeff Probst, would not let a competitor pass away while under his care.
Reynolds was dehydrated, overheated, and weary when Dr. Joe Rowles and his medical team first noticed how critical her situation had become.
As soon as they did, they called on every crew member on the set to provide ice and drink for the competitor.
As the medical professionals put an oxygen mask on the contestant’s face, casting director David Dryden held a bag of ice to Reynolds’s chest while directing the camera.
Caleb Reynolds remained unresponsive to the oxygen mask for about a minute.
Jeff Probst gazed helplessly by as he observed Reynolds’s face gradually lose color.
Thankfully, the contestant’s body started to react to the oxygen mask, and his color quickly returned.
Reynolds was taken out of the game and sent to a hospital in the United States to recover after the medical and production teams collaborated to stabilize his vital signs so he could be removed.
When reflecting on the terrible incident, Jeff Probst can’t help but be pleased with his crew for working so rapidly to get Caleb Reynolds to a safe point.
This incident served as a reminder of the value of the show’s team being ready for medical crises.
Participants Voted Off Due to Bad Conduct
Due to their unruly behavior, some candidates have been eliminated by a decision made jointly by production and contestants.
While some participants may succeed in playing the season’s villain, others are eliminated for acting badly.
Contestant Jeff Varner was eliminated in 2017 after he revealed that Zeke Smith was a transgender.
Varner, who wanted to eliminate Smith, used the fact that Smith had kept his gender identity a secret from the other members of his tribe as evidence against him.
Varner even went so far as to claim that Smith would keep his identity a secret from the rest of his tribe in the future.
When Varner outed Smith, the rest of his tribe defended him, even going so far as to explain to Varner why such conduct was totally unacceptable on television.
Fans of the show were outraged that this sequence was displayed on television until Zeke Smith said that he had given production permission to show this clip and that Smith had collaborated with production on it.
The tribe felt closer to Smith than they did about voting him out, and Smith believed he could rely on his tribe members to be respectful.
Varner was, nevertheless, dismissed by a unanimous vote.
Fans of the program have their own ideas about what transpired after Alexis Smith, James Clement, and Erik Reichenbach broke into the production team’s tent and stole their food.
The contestants had concealed some refreshments in the middle box, including Gatorade and peanut butter, which were stolen.
Erik Reichenbach refuted rumors that the production team rigged the vote-offs, which were made by fans.
The competitors did, however, acknowledge that they were anxious about being disqualified or not getting paid.
It’s possible that fans will never fully understand the consequences of their acts.
Did Jon Dalton’s Grandmother Actually Die?
No, Jon Dalton’s grandmother didn’t die while Survivor: Pearl Islands was being produced
It was something that Dalton and his friend had previously planned to do in preparation to make the audience and other cast members more sympathetic towards the wicked Dalton when his friend came and informed him of the fake news of his grandmother’s death.
Jon Dalton had been playing the reality game fiercely up to this point in the competition and had not been one to make friends with the other competitors.
Their final three competitors, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Andrew Savage, and Jon Dalton, were eliminated from the season.
Dalton prepared for his friend to break the news to him in order to win the compassion of his final two opponents, while other candidates used their family time to reconnect with the loved ones they missed the most.
Dalton’s strategy, however, failed since Savage and Diaz-Twine didn’t give a damn about Dalton’s feelings and were only interested in winning the match.
Dalton still believes that the “dead grandma lie” was one of his finest moves of all time and may have even been the greatest move in reality television when asked about it after making two appearances on the Survivor series.
Dalton did succeed in his goal of turning into a reality-TV show villain, despite neither Savage nor Diaz-Twine showing any pity for him.
Dalton wanted to introduce an outside element to demonstrate that he not only deserved the role of villain but also relished every minute of playing it.
While many of the past “bad guys” on Survivor preferred to attribute their appearance on the program to crafty editing or compelling storytelling, Dalton was completely prepared to embrace the role.
Despite having experience in professional wrestling, Jon Dalton was not trained as an actor and still isn’t one.
Instead, you can find him hosting his reality tv podcast or selling real estate in Virginia.
Did Colton Cumbie Really Have Appendicitis?
No, contrary to what the doctors on the program thought, Colton Cumbie did not have appendicitis while filming Survivor.
Instead, Cumbie had a serious bacterial infection that affected the walls of his intestines and stomach.
When Cumbie was stable enough to make the trip home, he was sent back to the United States for treatment after initially receiving antibiotic treatment at a local hospital.
Fans of Survivor and the cast weren’t sad to see this person go, despite the horrific nature of the scene.
From the first season he participated in, Colton Cumbie had a habit of making racist remarks and not getting along with his other competitors.
By the time Cumbie was invited back to the franchise, he had already established himself as the stereotypical “bad guy” in reality television.
Bill Posley, an African American cast member, was trying to make apologies to Cumbie when Cumbie called Posley “ghetto trash” and tormented him about “having a real job” during the first season of the show.
During the Tribal Council, the subject of race was quickly raised in relation to his behavior.
Cumbie defended his behavior by saying that he attended an Alabama private school where there were no classmates of color.
He also argued that he was unable to be racist since he had African Americans in his life whom he cared for.
Cumbie could only come up with his housekeeper as an example of one of these loved ones when questioned.
Cumbie asserts that the editing unfairly portrays him and that he felt uneasy while the show was being filmed, just as Jon Dalton had said.
In real life, Cumbie says, he has many more friends than enemies and is nothing like how he is represented on the show.
Did Pat Cusack Fracture His Spine?
No, Pat Cusack’s back discomfort was actually caused by the degradation of the spine’s spinal cord.
Due to this injury, Cusack was the first contestant eliminated during Survivor David vs Goliath without ever having the opportunity to be voted off the program.
He suffered significant lower back pain when the boat he was riding in on the return trip to the island where the contestants were staying struck a large wave.
Cusack had little hope of competing if he couldn’t move efficiently.
Cusack begged to remain in the competition in brief terms as he lay on the stretcher on the beach, despite the discomfort making him shudder in anguish.
The film crew was aware that Cusack required medical care if he ever wanted to recover, no matter how much he begged.
Cusack burst one of the liquid-filled sacs between his vertebrae, contrary to what island doctors initially believed.
His spinal discs began to deteriorate as a result, which is still causing him some discomfort.
Cusack received physical therapy and spinal treatments after returning home to help reduce the extent of the long-term harm.
He asserts that if he lifts something that is too heavy or exerts himself too much, the discomfort will still be present.
Although Pat Cusack would have preferred to have continued in the competition, he cannot be angry with the production crew for removing him from the season.
His injuries might have turned out to be much worse and caused him considerably more suffering in the future if he had stayed and continued to compete in the physically demanding reality competition.
Despite some of his teammates’ complaints that he could be a little demanding, Pat Cusack doesn’t think he would have altered his strategy other than to work on his dictatorial tendencies.
Did Russell Swan Actually Have a Medical Emergency?
Yes, Russell Swan’s medical condition was so terrible that he was unable to even remember what happened during the recording session when he passed out.
Swan, a fan favorite, had a very different interpretation of the events than how they were actually unfolding.
Russell Swan thought that nothing unusual was happening as he recorded the famed challenge.
Swan had not experienced any signs of hunger, thirst, or fatigue despite the fact that it had been a long day and the sun had been shining strongly.
Moments after Jeff Probst stopped speaking to the competitors, Swan started to show signs of severe weariness and dehydration.
Swan recalled that before reaching the puzzle station, he and his colleagues had been pushing a big ball.
He recalled being told by a different teammate to leave his side of the ball and bumbling around while blinded.
Probst followed the medical staff as they surrounded Swan the moment he hit his chin.
Swan initially felt angry. He believed that the reason they removed him from the game was simply that he was thirsty. The candidate watched the episode and discovered that it wasn’t the case.
Swan observed himself stumbling about and clinging to the puzzle for balance before passing out totally rather than contributing to his team.
When the production team had seated him upright, he then observed as his eyes turned to the back of his head.
Swan couldn’t recall what the medics had told him when he was removed from the set because of how ill he was feeling.
He recalled that there was some discussion about heart attacks and that the doctors had been injecting him with fluids.
Survivor Relationships: Are they Real?
Yes, the majority of the relationships that Survivor viewers see are genuine.
The romances featured on the reality competition show Survivor are never planned or pushed by production, even though not all of the couples have succeeded in the real world.
Shortly after their season’s premiere, Elizabeth Beisel and Jack Nichting of Survivor: Island of the Idols revealed that they were dating on Instagram.
The couple enjoys sharing images of their experiences online. Before they arrived on the island, Sebastian Lowe and Jenna Bowman had already met and fallen in love.
The two candidates knew they were meant to be together from the beginning, despite the fact that fans were unable to determine if Bowman and Lowe were simply incredibly good friends or whether there was something more serious going on between them.
The couple currently resides together and travels the nation together while maintaining a travel vlog channel on YouTube called “Tarzan and Jen.”
Those two were reunited after just one 13-hour travel. Despite being frank about their developing relationship on the show, Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich were the two finalists of their season.
Brkich was crowned the sole survivor, but Mariano was able to pop the question to Brkich before the results were announced.
The couple currently has four children, with their youngest being a girl who was born in 2014.
This reality television couple has been together for over ten years, and their strong and sincere bond has allowed them to compete together on other programs like The Amazing Race and Survivor: Winners at War. Do well to like, comment, and share this post.