Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Carl Bilancione says the show should 'get rid of the idols'
With season 41 of Survivor delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show's past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they've been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
If there has been one common answer among the more than 225 Quarantine Questionnaires we have run from former Survivor players, it is to the following question: If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Player after player has delivered some form of the same answer: to cut back on the amount of idols and advantages on the show that have turned the game into one more of scavenging skills and luck than actual survival and strategy. And Carl Bilancione from Survivor: Africa is no different, delivering his message in very blunt terms: "Get rid of the IDOLS!"
The season 3 star — who remains the only contestant in the show's history to be eliminated due to losing a tiebreaker survival quiz — looks back at his nine-day stay on the island, why his edit "SUCKED," and why he's pretty sure he'll never be asked back to play again.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
CARL BILANCIONE: Since appearing on Survivor 20 years ago, I had many opportunities. I had a television show on PBS called The Sports Hotline, Let's Talk (A Sport) With Dr. Carl. I had several radio shows on sports, including one called Ace & the Doc. I also was in a documentary film called Movie Money Confidential, which is being shopped around in Hollywood. I'm still a dentist, but very part-time and about to retire to pursue my other passion — wildlife photography.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
I played with integrity. I wasn't about to lie and cheat because I didn't want my patients to see that. Today I would cheat, lie, and do whatever…
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
Missing the questions. I don't get nervous. I was brain-dead since I had not eaten and lost 18 pounds in nine days. Also, semi-believing Silas and T-Bird.
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
Lindsey had many meltdowns and I listened to her and tried to help her.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
The edit SUCKED! Mark Burnett told me that they were going to profile me as the rich Porsche, Mercedes dentist because there was no valid reason for me to have been voted off.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
No culture shock, just the realization how wasteful Americans are and how much we take for granted by living in the greatest country in the world.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
Frank, T-Bird, Lex, and Ethan.
Frank is the one I speak with most — we have the same family values and we just connected on a lot of levels. I just mentored his daughter Tassia for dentistry. They spent eight days here at my house. Frank and I and our wives went to Bermuda to do deep-sea fishing. I caught a 600-pound Atlantic bluemarlin and Frank caught a 750-pound one. However, we did catch-and-release and got certificates from the government. Unfortunately, Frank's states his was 250 pounds, so I tell him I got the bigger one… LOL.
Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
Every season. My favorite was ours and The Australian Outback. That's when they were authentic.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Boston Rob — we could have been the mob connection.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Get rid of the IDOLS!
Finally, would you play again if asked?
I would play in a New York minute, but I don't believe Jeff Probst ever liked me, so I wouldn't get asked!
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