CBS and Survivor producers picked 31 potential players to come back and play again in a Second Chance season (we’re not counting Mike Holloway as number 32, because he was always ineligible due to his win in Worlds Apart). From those 31, fans were able to vote in the 20 who ultimately made the cast. But what about people the network and show wanted back, but couldn’t get?
We asked host Jeff Probst about what players said “thanks, but no thanks” when asked to come back for another shot at the million dollars, and he mentioned four different contestants that turned down the opportunity.
“Greg Buis was someone we really wanted from season 1,” said Probst when we spoke to him on location on day one of filming for Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance (which debuts Sept. 23). “[He] spoke on the coconut phone. And he wanted to do it, but he’d just been given this really great opportunity as the CEO of a nonprofit and he said, ‘I just can’t. I can’t take the job and leave.’”
So, no more coconut phone? Bummer. Who else was not in it to win it? “Jeff Kent was a guy that … he didn’t say no, but we said, ‘Look, we have to cut the list down. Are you in or are you out?’” explains Probst. “And he said, ‘You know, call me another time.’ So he was wishy-washy.”
Okay. Makes sense. The guy has enough money from Major League Baseball so certainly doesn’t need some more pocket change. But what about among women? “We would have loved to have had Elizabeth Hasselbeck back, but she said no many times.” Again, that makes sense. She certainly is no need of the money nor the camera time. Anyone else?
“RC, we wanted, and she didn’t want to play. And I understood. You know, RC came out to play Blood vs. Water and her dad got sick [so they had to pull out before filming] and I’ve heard enough Survivors tell me that the emotional journey is so strenuous that she just thought, ‘You’re going to put Abi on the list too and I don’t want to see her. Let’s just forget it.’ Maybe we can revisit RC another time and she’ll want to come back.” And perhaps in an Abi-less season, she will.
To watch Probst talk about the folks they couldn’t get, as well as filming day one of Survivor: Cambodia on the 15th anniversary of the show’s debut, click on the video player above. And for more Survivor scoop — including an exclusive new video every day — follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
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