Coach told different stories about leaving; will being wealthy hurt Taj, Brendan?

On last Thursday’s Survivor Tocantins episode, Taj Johnson-George, the SWV singer who’s married to a former NFL star, told her tribemates who she’s married to, and some of them immediately recognized Eddie George.

In his EW blog post about Thursday’s episode, Jeff Probst responded to that, writing, “The problem with Taj’s revelation is that you give people a reason to vote you out. Taj just shouted at the top of her lungs — ‘I don’t need the money! I’m already rich!!!’ That could be costly.” (Someone really needs to take Shift+1 key combination away from Jeff.)

Will that really affect her game? And what about Brendan Synnott, who founded and later sold Bear Naked Granola? That he was being cast was accidentally revealed before the season started, meaning that some of his competitors, including Coach, knew about his profession and wealth.

Tribal Warfare author Chris Wright analyzes Survivor’s history of wealthy contestants and finds that Taj and Brendan’s wealth is “probably not” likely to affect their chances in the game. However, he argues that the economic climate and the fact that revealations about their wealth came earlier than others’ (in Brendan’s case, before the game even started) could change this season, as wealth “might be more of a factor as the game draws to a close.”

Meanwhile, Survivor Tocantins player Ben Wade was recently fired as a coach at the university where he worked, and the ensuing coverage has revealed more details, including inconsistencies in his statements. First, his boss discussed the incident further, saying that Ben “wasn’t truthful to me as the director of athletics on why he needed to leave. … He didn’t come to me and say, ‘I need to leave because I’m going on ‘Survivor,'” athletic director Brent Good, told the News-Leader.

One of the players on his team, first-year student, Rhiane Mitchell, told the News-Leader’s , “I’m still a bit disappointed, but I’ll get over it. We talked, sorted things out. … All the girls told them that we wanted Coach to stay. I was disappointed … because he’s a great coach.”

Earlier, Ben told SBU’s student newspaper, The Omnibus, “I told them ‘I’ve got to leave; you know I would not leave if it weren’t an emergency. I can’t get out of this and I have to go do it. I can’t give you the details.’ Then they jumped to conclusions that it was tied into what I went through with my brain tumor. That was something that grieved me when I came back and realized everyone was freaked out for my health. I was simply not allowed to tell anyone I was going to Brazil to be on ‘Survivor’.”

He told me something completely different on Oct. 30: “I said I’m going to have a lot of testing and evaluations; that was when I flew out there the first time, to L.A. So this time I said I’ve got to go back out, get some testing done, and be away for two months,” Ben said.

Jeff Probst blogs ‘Survivor: Tocantins': episode 2 [Entertainment Weekly]
Survivor Tocantins: Money Trouble for Taj and Brendan? [Tribal Warfare]
Another turn in Wade case and Player: “Survivor” coach told team he had health problems [News-Leader]
Coach Wade voted off SBU Island [Omnibus]

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.