Lou Diamond Phillips did I’m a Celebrity because he’s a Survivor fan, is “extremely grateful” for public’s response

I’m a Celebrity 2 winner and actor Lou Diamond Phillips is a fan of Survivor, and that’s ultimately what led him to do the show.

A few years ago, he met Jeff Probst at a celebrity poker event. “If you guys ever do a celebrity Survivor, I’m in, because I love the show, I think it’s fantastic,” he told me late last week. When producers approached him about the NBC show, which of course is like Survivor light, they said, “We’re doing that, are you interested? Suddenly, it was like, put your money where your mouth is. My wife, who’s a huge reality show junkie, was like, Wow, that could be fun.”

He said, “add the charity element to it, and all of a sudden I’m thought, I’m 47 years old, do I still have what it takes? Can I do that? And I thought, this is really the opportunity to put yourself to the test.” Nevertheless, the actor told me, “It took a long time for them to convince me. What convinced me, ultimately, the timing was pretty good. I wasn’t doing anything.”

I asked him if he worried about how this would affect his acting career, since he was the most high-profile cast member and the show had low ratings and bad reviews, and he said, “I don’t think that I can worry about perception and what other people are thinking. What I will say that the response after the fact has been hugely positive, even from the press, who are hugely jaded. The one thing I’m extremely grateful for … was how much the American public is behind me. The fact they voted for me, the fact that I’m still getting twi-, tweetered, or tweets, or whatever the fuck it is. And this response from people who responded to me not as a character but who I am as a human being. I’ve had a lot of faithful followers for 20 plus years as an actor, and they saw who I am and what I have to offer as a human being: as a man, as a father, as a husband, on that show, and have responded to it positively. That’s something that I didn’t imagine was going to happen when I went in.”

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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.