Survivor Palau winner Tom Westman now sells insurance

Tom Westman, who won Survivor Palau two years ago, is now an insurance salesperson.

He was a New York City firefighter, and left that shortly after the show aired to become a motivational speaker. Now, he sells “group life and disability insurance to brokers, who mostly don’t know — or care — that he skewered a shark with a machete to feed his starving ‘Survivor’ tribe on the Pacific island of Palau,” The Hartford Courant reports.

“I always did feel that there was something else out there. I had a nagging sense that something had missed me, and corporate America is something I wanted to be part of,” Tom said, marking the first time ever someone sincerely said “something else out there” was in fact working for corporate America. Now he works for “The Hartford Financial Services Group and takes the 5:44 a.m. train in from Sayville on Long Island, where he lives with his wife,” every morning.

He says the $1 million became $540,000 after taxes, and it “paid for three college educations [for his kids] with 39 days of work. That’s a dream opportunity.”

From A `Survivor’ Loincloth To A Suit [Hartford Courant]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.