Stephenie and Bobby Jon join Survivor Guatemala as players; the old guy goes home first

As it turned out, the big Survivor Guatemala surprise wasn’t that Survivor Palau cast members Bobby Jon Drinkard and Stephenie LaGrossa joined the cast. (They are full-fledged players, competing once again for $1 million.)

The real surprise was that the first challenge–an 11-mile, 24-hour race through the jungle–was so physically demanding that it left Bobby Jon on the ground, cramping severly as his eyes rolled back into his head. The other male members of his tribe were all vomiting and incapacitated, leaving the women–including, conveniently, Margaret, a nurse–to care for them. Despite having won the first challenge/race, Bobby Jon’s tribe lost the immunity challenge. But instead of booting him, the tribe kicked off the old guy, Jim, who injured his bicep during the immunity challenge.

The other big surprise was the fact that a large part of the conversation was about previous editions of Survivor. A few years ago, I recall that Mark Burnett told the cast members they could talk about past seasons all they wanted, but that those discussions would never be aired. But this season, even Jeff Probst made continual references to other seasons and to the history of the game. In its 11th season, we’re now apparently in meta-Survivor.

The Game is on in Guatemala [CBS]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.