Monty Brinton/CBS

Kelly might make for boring TV, but she's not done yet.


S31 E5
Show Details
TV Show
October 22, 2015 at 10:03 AM EDT



SUBJECT NAME: Wiglesworth, Kelly

TRIBE: Ta Keo/Bayon

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Tall, athletic, unfortunate back tattoo, suspiciously smooth forehead

PERSONALITY: Quiet, motherly, non-confrontational

OVERVIEW: Subject was considered the poster girl for the entire Second Chance concept after losing the first-ever season of Survivor by a single vote but has since disappeared completely. Inside sources report the subject was seen in the first few days of the game being berated by one Jeffrey Probst for providing super-lame answers to any questions from the host about her past in the game, in effect not allowing any narrative to be built around her triumphant return. Subject then continued her gradual disappearing act by refusing to engage in any sort of “strategy” or duplicitous dealings while continuing to provide the most boring one-on-one confessional interviews this side of Cowboy Rick.

LAST SEEN: Serving food to tribe; avoiding cameras.

ACTION PLAN: The subject is considered harmed and extremely boring. All cameramen should approach with extreme caution.

Oh boy, that report was officially filed last night with the SMPB by millions of viewers at 9 p.m. EST. You may not have even noticed what happened in the episode, but it was far more shocking than the Bayon Four’s decision to turn on Monica and vote out one of their own. Let me set the scene for you so can fully appreciate how disappointed producers appear to be in Kelly Wiglesworth’s ability to create compelling television.

As the SMPB report outlined, Kelly was the most high-profile returning player to come back this season. More than 50 million people watched her lose by one measly vote to Richard Hatch back in season 1. She had been away for 15 years and 30 cycles of the show. Of course, this would be a huge storyline — the hugest — going into the season. But as soon as Kelly showed up in Cambodia, it was clear the producers had a problem, and that problem is this: Kelly Wiglesworth is just not a charismatic television personality.

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I want to be absolutely clear here: I like Kelly. I enjoyed my chat with her before the game and found her to be open, honest, and a genuinely good person. But that doesn’t mean she makes good TV. And she is down to earth enough that I’m guessing she would wholeheartedly agree with that assessment. I saw it firsthand when I was out there for the first few days of filming. Every time Probst asked Kelly about her last time out or feelings about returning to play, she whiffed. He kept coming back to her — for obvious reasons — and she kept giving clipped, boring responses. I remember thinking to myself, man, they are in trouble with this one.

Now let me be clear about something else: There is an inherent contract you make as a player to give Probst something when he comes to you with a question. After all, they are making a TV show, and so you do want to do your best to make it entertaining. This doesn’t mean yelling or screaming or creating a scene. Nor does it mean sabotaging your own game. Go back and watch Boston Rob. He rarely ever directly answered Probst’s questions, but he gave entertaining enough responses (even if they said nothing) so that Probst got something out of him and moved on.

That’s all you have to do as a player — make a joke or a witty comment as a misdirect, and you’re good. Kelly was incapable of any of this. I watched Probst chew her out at that first Tribal Council (which Probst does to pretty much everyone at some point), and my spies tell me that was not the last time that happened with her. And the proof is in the confessionals. While we have heard ad nauseum from Spencer, Varner, Kelley with an extra e, Jeremy, and Fishbach this season narrating the action, we have heard barely a peep from the most high-profile person on the show.

This next part may have escaped your notice, but here’s what was so shocking: We went to Tribal Council believing that it would be either Monica or Kelly voted out, and guess how many words we heard from Kelly between losing the challenge and Tribal Council? ZERO! Not a peep. Not a single confessional spot, even though we got them from Monica, Spencer, Kimmi, Jeremy, and Stephen. Yep, that’s right — everyone else on the tribe got at least one confessional interview between the challenge and Tribal except the person who we were being led to believe might be voted out. Is Kelly just that bad when being interviewed? It would seem so.

NEXT: Shut your clam!

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