Survivor Philippines confirmed but preview doesn’t name Jonathan Penner, Michael Skupin, Russell Swan

Survivor Philippines will be CBS show’s 25th season, bringing back three men who “have paid the ultimate price, pulled from the game with one question in their hearts: what could have been,” according to Jeff Probst’s preview of the new season. While it showed images of Jonathan Penner, Michael Skupin, and Russell Swan, it did not explicitly name them as the returnees, and instead showed silhouettes.

Probst said that “three castaways who were airlifted out will get a second shot,” and said they will be part of “three tribes of new players.” He described the location as one of their “most treacherous locations yet” with “a dark and sinister secret,” including “ravenous sharks,” “deadly snakes,” and “furious storms.”

Probst told EW (which doesn’t identify the returnees, because it’s EW) that the three tribes was the first change producers made as “an effort to change up the way the numbers were playing. People were locking into these alliances of five.” As to bringing back evacuated people, he said, “I love second chances. I love the losers bracket in sports. I love all of it. So I love these guys coming back.”

Having those three men return is a nice change from the recent trend of bringing back obnoxious characters immediately or within a season or two–Colton, for example, fit with this theme but thankfully did not return. In part because of the fact that Penner has had two chances now and that Skupin was evacuated back when the show was far more popular, the man who was on most recent season, Russell Swan, may be the most unfamiliar (if you don’t recall him, read my pre-Samoa interview with him, and his post-evacuation interview).

That may change the dynamic between the returnees and the newbies, though I suspect the returnees will still have a strong advantage and make it far, since they’ve done this before and that does create an advantage. Also, they’re alpha males, and so Probst will probably toss them an immunity idol before each Tribal Council.

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.