SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 indefinitely postponed 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.

Many Survivor viewers were not big fans of the Outcast twist on Survivor: Pearl Islands. Allowing players that were voted out to reenter the game — and after eating food and sleeping in a bed in a hotel, to boot — didn't exactly seem fair. If viewers were not fans of the twist, imagine how Andrew Savage felt about it, especially after one of the Outcasts (Lillian Morris) whom Savage had no reason to think he would have to contend again with defected to the other tribal alliance at the merge, ensuring Savage and the Morgan tribe's downfall.

The twist didn't sit well with Savage during the game, or after it. "There was a long and difficult adjustment period," says Savage about returning back home after season 7. "I was deeply haunted by the Outcast twist and the circumstances under which I left the game and how my adventure of a lifetime ended."

Savage ultimately got a second adventure of a lifetime after being voted back in by fans to play again 24 seasons later on Survivor: Cambodia — Second Chance. He formed an early alliance with Jeremy Collins, but then had to hustle after multiple tribe switches put Savage either down in the numbers or on the defensive as alliances constantly shifted. This time, he made the jury (as Abi-Maria Gomes cheerfully reminded him), but was ultimately undone when Kelley Wentworth played a hidden immunity idol to save herself and send Savage to his second Survivor torch-snuffing.

How does Savage feel about his Survivor journey now? We sent a Quarantine Questionnaire to the mayor of Morgantown to get the full scoop, and he shares his proudest moment, his biggest regret, and an unseen moment that probably still gives Ciera Eastin nightmares.

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.

ANDREW SAVAGE: After 16 years as an attorney at Yahoo/Verizon Media, 5 months ago I decided to accept a tremendous offer to join Adobe and lead the legal team that supports the entire Adobe Digital Media business. A truly amazing company with incredible people!

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

Two moments come to mind. By far the best moment was at the live reunion show for season 30 where Probst announced the results of the fan vote to determine who was voted on to participate in the Second Chance season in Cambodia. It was so humbling to me for the super fans to choose me, and I am eternally grateful! The second moment was winning the Hero Challenge in Cambodia for my tribe, since we had not eaten in 4 days and we were in trouble.  

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experiences?

Not making it to day 30 for the family visit, so my incredible soulmate and wife of 25 years Steph could visit and get a true taste of the Survivor experience. 

What's something that will blow fans minds that happened out there in one of your seasons but never made it to TV?

It was in Cambodia. Back at home, Ciera Eastin's favorite pet is a cat and the cat sleeps in her bed at night. On day one or two in Cambodia, Ciera was cold and decided to sleep on the ground next to the fire to stay warm. In the middle of the night, Ciera is groggy and half asleep and begins to pet her cat who is cuddling and sleeping under her arm. Suddenly, Ciera fully wakes up and realizes, much to her horror, that her lovable cat is actually a huge rat that had snuggled under her arm to stay warm. Ciera let out a scream that probably woke up Probst, who was sleeping many miles and islands away. Needless to say, Ciera didn't sleep on the ground anymore!

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

My edit was spot on, I have zero complaints.

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

After my first season, Pearl Islands, there was a long and difficult adjustment period. I was deeply haunted by the Outcast twist and the circumstances under which I left the game and how my adventure of a lifetime ended. After Cambodia, I had no adjustment since I had given it everything I had, and I had finally killed the Pearl Islands demons after over a decade. 

Pearl Islands_91719_D1270
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

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

Never, not a single second!

Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?

Jeremy Collins and I and our families have gotten very close. We consider each other family simply based on our values and mutual interests. I also am in regular contact with what we call the Morgan Five (the remaining five from the Morgan Tribe in Pearl Islands — OT, Tee, Ryno, and Darrah). All very good folks and close friends. 

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

Yes, we still watch. Winners at War was epic, of course. Tough to compete with that season since every player was a legend in her/his own right.  

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

Hmmmm... tough, but good question. Let's go with, I'd like to play against Boston Rob: go head-to-head across the board and have some epic fun! 

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

I would revert back to some of the earlier days/seasons of Survivor and get rid of the gimmicks of idols, fire tokens, etc. Survivor is epic IMO based on larger-than-life characters and I don't think it needs all those shiny objects, bells, and whistles to stay interesting and relevant. 

Finally, would you play again if asked?

Hell yeah! But I seriously doubt I'll get the call. I've been incredibly fortunate to experience the adventure of a lifetime twice, and for that, I am eternally grateful. 

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.

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Episode Recaps

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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