SURVIVOR: Island 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 were an exhibit A in the case against wanting to be designated a tribe leader on Survivor, it would be David Samson from Survivor: Cagayan. Just minutes into the game, Samson was named the leader of the Luzon (Brains) tribe. And because of that, he was voted out two days later.

As the leader, Samson named Garrett Adelstein as the tribe's weakest member, a move that displeased Adelstein and provided an opening to rally the rest of the tribe to vote Samson out on day 3, which they did.

For someone as competitive as Samson — the president of the Florida Marlins major league baseball team at the time — being voted out first was a tough pill to swallow, but swallow it he did. Now, he steps up to the plate with his Quarantine Questionnaire to look back at his all too brief stay on the island, reveal what he's been up to since, and explain what happened when he got back home that makes him wish he "had stayed on the island for an additional few months."

David Samson
David Samson on 'Survivor: Cagayan'
| Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, what have you been up to since appearing on Survivor?

DAVID SAMSON: After finishing my career as a baseball executive in 2017, I joined CBS and now have a show called Nothing Personal With David Samson. For 45 minutes each day, I discuss sports, entertainment, politics, or anything else I want to discuss and I think the audience wants to hear. Forty-five minutes per show is a purposeful number, because it is longer than the entirety of my stay on Survivor!

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

Looking at Jeff Probst with disbelief as he snuffed my torch and realizing that not only would I always be a "first boot," but also that I would never forget Jeff's face at that moment.

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?

I regret not working with Garrett. I judged him incorrectly from the moment I met him. 

What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened in your season but never made it to TV?

The number of hours spent trying to make fire with no flint. The lack of food is real. The lack of sleep is real. The paranoia is real. The anxiety is real.

How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?

I am outraged. [Jokes] I wasn't voted off first. I made it to the end.

What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment?

I came back and immediately returned to that year's baseball season. The Marlins lost 100 games that year, so I wish I had stayed on the island for an additional few months.

Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?

Never. How can you regret something when you do what you have wanted to try for so many years? My only regret would have been not applying. Of course, I would like to have won, but finishing last or second is the same to me; it is still a loss.

Whom do you still talk, text, or email from your season?

Sarah Lacina and I are very close friends and have run around the world together. Tony [Vlachos] and I are in touch. Actually, I am in touch with most of the Survivor: Cagayan cast. We share a common experience that is hard to explain to others, so we rely on each other often. The entire Brains tribe is in a text group, and we communicate often.  

Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?

I have never missed a season. I am so happy Sarah won, as she is so deserving, and I am proud that Tony is the best player in Survivor history (apologies to Sandra [Diaz-Twine]).

Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?

I have been lucky enough to meet so many former players that it is hard to narrow the list. That said, I would love to play with Ethan [Zohn] and RC [Saint-Amour]. And I would love to play with the entire cast of season 28 again. We would miss Cliff [Robinson] very much, but I think it would be fascinating to bring back an entire cast and see how different things would and could be. 

If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?

It's hard to change perfection. Jeff and the other producers are professional entertainers. They know how to build a show, create characters, and tie it all together to satisfy millions of people. Their ability to change and adapt and grow the show is exemplary.  And there is no end in sight.

Finally, would you play again if asked?

Wait to see.

To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get all the latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub and follow Dalton Ross on Twitter.

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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