Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Chris Hammons wants a season with no prize money
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.
Survivor made big news when CBS doubled the show's prize money to $2 million dollars for the champion of season 40, Winners at War. That was in addition to the higher minimum guarantees of at least $35,000 for every former winner who showed up to play.
If the network is now looking to lower costs in light of all those huge payouts, perhaps they should give Chris Hammons a call! The former college football star-turned-trial lawyer who was voted out on day 28 of Millennials vs. Gen X has a budget-conscious offer for CBS to consider.
"I would play for free!" Chris tells EW. "I don't care about the money. I want the title. I want the adventure and challenge."
Chris' pitch goes even further than that: "Let's get real players out there and play a season for NO MONEY! That would be the ultimate Survivor: a player willing to play just for the title." It's a title that Chris covets, especially after making what he considers a critical mistake his first time around by lying about his profession.
Now, Chris reveals what he would have done differently, why he "cried like a baby" in a scene that never made it to TV, and the confused reaction he got back home once he returned from his confidential exile. Suit up for the Chris Hammons Quarantine Questionnaire!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
CHRIS HAMMONS: Since Survivor, I have continued to be a husband, a dad, and a trial lawyer. This is a very hard balance to maintain. I try to be involved in coaching all the sports and making every event for my sons, Jacks and Costner. I drive my wife, Jennifer, nuts most of the time! Then there is my law practice. I represent people that have been catastrophically injured, or maybe a family member that has lost a loved one. It takes a lot of my energy and time to make sure these folks get the justice that is required. Basically, I wear many hats in a single day, but I love what I do and I love my family!
Then, Bret and I also raced around the world on The Amazing Race a couple of years after Survivor. #TeamBromance hopefully made the Survivor world proud with our efforts. Bret had a leisurely stroll around the world as I schlepped his backpack from country to country. We had a blast! There never was a dull moment with Bret and I running through the streets of whatever country came next.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
I was proud of the way I competed in challenges. It was a lot of fun watching back with my sons. Brutal honesty — I don't feel proud of my performance. I am very critical of myself when I do not reach my goals. My goal was to win Survivor! I guess that failure is why I obsessively watch Survivor reruns and stay in shape awaiting the next adventure!
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
My biggest regret is lying about what I did for a living. I told everyone I was in the coaching world. I hid the fact that I was a trial attorney, which, in turn, hid a huge piece of who I am as a human being. My passion for representing the underdog (the accused or the injured) was buried under my lie. I truly believe this hurt me in the game. I would have connected on a more personal level with many of the contestants that season if I had just been honest about my career. A major part of my life was hidden away, which I believe made me hold back with many of my tribemates. When you take the biggest piece of you and bury it, nothing good comes from it!
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
I cried over my dead dog Josie! I cried like a baby telling a story of how I found my dog dead after being hit by a car. A stranger that lived nearby my house had lovingly given me a hug as I carried my dog to my vehicle. Anyway, I was sitting next to Bret telling this story to a few of the others. Bret, of course, wasn't listening at all when he turned and noticed I was crying. He looked directly at me and said (in that big Boston accent that I can barely understand), "Are you crying?! There's no crying on Survivor!"
It was hilarious. It was like day 27 and by then anything can set you off emotionally. Bret has told that story 500 times since then and I laugh every time! If it had made the show, I would have never heard the end of it from anyone I know.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I liked the edit I received on the show. I was really nervous that I would be depicted as a smart-mouthed prick! It could have very easily went that way. I vented in my side interviews about everyone, and I typically was trying to be funny, but some of it would have been offensive. I, like everyone, would like to have had more airtime but I cannot say my edit was bad.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
I would say I had a tough time coming back to regular society. I was physically drained. I was so disappointed in myself and obsessed every day about mistakes I made. I wanted back out there so badly. Facing people in my regular life for the first time was actually pretty comical. I arrived back in Oklahoma on May 15 at 1:00 a.m. My son had a soccer game that morning at 8:30 or 9:00. I showed up there skinny, bearded, and looking half dead.
The parents and friends that were at the soccer game had not seen me in close to 50 days. Everyone, was like, "Where the hell have you been?" One dad told me he believed I was in jail. Another parent told me they heard I was not an attorney but some sort of black ops type and was on an overseas mission. Rehab was a common response. I would just look at them and say Google my name, because the cast had leaked by then.
I can't say that I have ever fully adjusted from being on Survivor. I don't know that a single day has gone by that I don't think of my time on Survivor. I was a huge fan before being on the show, but I just feel I didn't make the most of my time!
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
Never! I have no regrets about being on the show. I have major regrets about my performance on the show. Again, I just hid a piece of me from everyone and it really hurt by ability to communicate with people.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
Bret and I are basically married, or at least Bret wishes we were. Bret has become like an uncle to my children and is truly a huge part of my family. Of course, Sunday and I remained very close. I know she is gone but I still LOVE you, Sunday! Zeke and my wife text more than I do, but I love catching up with him. Every time I am in L.A., I make it a point to hang out with Dave. He is one of my favorites. I have had many of our cast to my house to go to OU football games. Ken and I text to catch up with our lives. If I am in Denver, I try to grab a drink with him. I believe our cast is pretty unique. We still have a group text and it always fun to see them when I can.
Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
Yes. I watch Survivor almost every day. I know that is crazy, but it is true. It is my favorite show. I have recently watched a lot of the old seasons and really enjoyed them. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be either Heroes vs. Villains or any season with Coach or Phillip Sheppard on it. Russell, Coach, and Phillip are by far the most entertaining Survivors of all time!
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Rupert! I wish I could play with Rupert. Before I ever ran with Rupert and Laura on The Amazing Race, I was a huge fan of Rupert on Survivor. He is honest and straight forward. I am very similar in that I stick to what I say I am going to do. I know the new Survivor is about screwing everyone over as fast as possible, but I believe if you can get a group to stick together (old school) you could be successful in Survivor by going back to the old ways.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
I would like to see the venue change again. I fell in love with Survivor because of the interesting places the show went to. I looked forward to the finale and the segment when Jeff would announce the new season of Survivor. I understand the reasons they don't move, but I wish they would… even if it was just a special season. No offense to any player, but it is also time to bring back different players. We are seeing the same people over and over and over and over again.
I also believe it is time American Survivor took on Australian Survivor. I love watching both, and there are some awesome competitors on Australian Survivor. It would be physical as hell! We would need big guns on our side. Obviously, to include myself! You want ratings? Everyone can get behind this idea. It would be incredible!!!
Finally, would you play again if asked?
I tell my wife all the time — if Jeff called and said get on a plane now — I would be wheels up that second! I want that as much as I want anything in my life. I cannot stand going out when I did. I want back on to compete in the challenges and really give it a try with me actually being me! I would play for free! I don't care about the money. I want the title. I want the adventure and challenge. Let's get real players out there and play a season for NO MONEY! That would be the ultimate Survivor: a player willing to play just for the title. I'm in, Jeff – JUST CALL!
To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get all the latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub, and follow Dalton on Twitter.Watch Survivor on Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and more options
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