Ask Andy: What celebs would be best on Survivor? Would you go on Survivor, Big Brother, or Amazing Race?

If you had to choose between going on Survivor, Big Brother or Amazing Race which would you pick and why? Although I abhor most reality shows with celebrities, which celebrities would be the most interesting for a show like Survivor? I would think that a good mix of lazy, pampered celebrities and some down to earth ones would make for an interesting combination. Thanks! –Andrew

Thank you for the great double question. First, a celebrity edition of Survivor is, I still think, an awesome idea (though I do not like Probst’s idea of making it one week only). For me, the best celebrities to watch would be the ones who know and love the game, and/or who are smart. That’s it.

The one name that comes up a lot is Neil Patrick Harris, because he’s expressed interest, and he’s a good model: intelligent, interested, and also willing to have fun with it and put himself out there. A random list of other people that popped into my head: Anderson Cooper, Amy Poehler, Morgan Spurlock, Ashley Judd, and Jeff Probst. Yes, I want to see Probst play his own game.

I’ll disagree that “lazy, pampered celebrities” would be good; I think that’d be like the quasi-survival shows they’ve tried in the past that just didn’t work because the celebs were too full of themselves. And lazy cast members on the non-celebrity version are rarely interesting to watch. The Apprentice does a great job of casting celebrities perfect for its format, so I’d trust its casting team to cast Celebrity Survivor.

As to what CBS reality show I would go on, that’s a tough call. It’s also probably complete fantasy, because I doubt I’d ever be cast. But a boy can dream.

First, Big Brother is 100 percent out: just visiting the smelly house felt claustrophobic, and I cannot imagine being locked in there with the usual collection of cast members. Also, honestly, I don’t trust the way the network or its producers run it.

I’d really like to play Survivor just to see how I’d do with the social game. My insecurities and fear of judgement would be both advantages and disadvantages, and I’m also a good listener and a good liar.

The survival part would be challenging, I’m sure, but I’m game for those kinds of challenges– and the actual challenges, which made me hyper-competitive when I went on location in Gabon, Brazil, and Samoa. Also, I was a Boy Scout all the way to Eagle, so I have experience camping and cuddling for warmth.

However, since Survivor would require taking off my clothes in public, I’ll vote for Amazing Race. Yes, despite my endless criticism (which, you’ll recall, is out of love for the show and its format), I think the challenge of adapting to so many different places so fast would be an extraordinary one. I love travel, so visiting incredible new places would be a thrill.

I think I’m really good at navigating around new places, so I’d like to put that to the test. I also learn so much about myself every time I am in a place where I don’t feel comfortable, such as a country where people speak a language that I do not. Add in trying to complete challenges under the pressure of a clock that is basically invisible, never mind doing that with someone close to me, and it seems like an exceptional challenge.

However: Having just written that, I’m wondering if I didn’t make that choice because I think Amazing Race would be somewhat easier, and that my answer is coming from a kind of deep fear of what Survivor would really be like, with the boredom and elements and paranoia and. So, I’ll cheat and say: I’d choose both and see what happens.

Have a burning question that you want me to answer? Ask away!

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.