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The 11 most-popular Survivor stories from 2015

It’s no secret that Survivor earns a lot of my attention. Besides its status as the show responsible for the waves of reality television that followed, the simple truth is that it continues to engage me on every level, from its exceptional production design to the game that’s played.

In one year, the CBS series went from celebrating its 30th season with a season that was a miserable low to bringing back beloved players for an outstanding season that proved how much Survivor still works.

Here’s what people read the most this year about Survivor on reality blurred.

11. Peih-Gee smuggled flint and more onto Survivor

Peih-Gee Law on Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance

Peih-Gee’s craftiness—she disguised a flint and fishing equipment as jewelry—didn’t quite work, but was an early “wow!” moment in a season that would more and more of those, on screen and off.

10. Richard Hatch on Survivor, from cheating to prison to truth

Survivor Borneo winner Richard Hatch on National Geographic's The 2000s: A New Reality

My interview with Survivor‘s first winner, Richard Hatch, included discussion of Jeff Probst’s claim that Hatch smuggled matches into All-Stars and Hatch’s recently repeated allegation that Kelly Wiglesworth cheated (backed up by Dirk) during season one. It was a fascinating interview.

There will be more Hatch in 2016: He’s been cast on The Biggest Loser.

9. Dan justifies Shirin’s abuse on Survivor by blaming the victim

Survivor Worlds Apart Dan Foley

Some of the ugliest and most reprehensible behavior on Survivor continued months after it actually happened, as Dan Foley blamed Shirin Oskooi for the abuse she suffered during the game. And as awful as what we saw was, there was even more we didn’t see.

8. The incredible story of how Spencer solved a Survivor puzzle in seconds

Survivor Cambodia Spencer Bledsoe puzzle immunity challenge

Spencer Bledsoe’s ability to solve a complex puzzle in under 15 seconds wasn’t an accident: it was the result of preparation in the form of practice.

7. Survivor Kaoh Rong: Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty: what we know about Survivor 32

Jeff Probst Survivor 32 Survivor Koah Rong: Brawn vs Brains vs Beauty

A new season is ahead, and whether it was the inclusion of an NBA player or a Big Brother cast member, or the medical emergencies shown in the preview, there’s already a lot of interest.

6. CBS reveals huge Survivor Second Chance vote total, fans freak out

Survivor Second Chance season 31 cast vote

CBS announced 10 million votes had been cast for Survivor Second Chance, and then confirmed to me something even more surprising: that actually 10 million ballots had been cast.

5. Vytas Baskauskas banned from Survivor reunion for contract violation

Survivor Cambodia Second Chance reunion finale Vytas Baskauskas

Survivor Second Chance first boot Vytas may take some consolation in the fact that more people wanted to read about why he wasn’t there he was than what happened during the actual finale itself.

4. Survivor 31 and 32 location: Cambodia, on Koh Rong

Survivor 31 location Cambodia Koh Rong
A populated beach on Koh Rong in Cambodia, the location for Survivor 31 and 32. (Photo by Shutterstock.)

For the first time since season 25, Survivor was filmed in a brand-new location: Cambodia. It turned out to be quite beautiful and, in terms of the weather, quite brutal.

3. Survivor cast may be determined by viewer vote

Survivor 31 cast vote

My report on cast members being contacted to return for a second chance referred to the season as season 32, even though, as we know now, for the first time in Survivor history, the show filmed and aired seasons out of order, making the returnee season 31.

2. What happened to Terry Deitz’s son Danny

Survivor Cambodia Second Chance Terry Deitz Danny Deitz
Survivor’s Terry Deitz and his son Danny, who is recovering after a heart transplant, during a post-episode update.

Terry’s abrupt, middle-of-the-night exit from the game to be with his son was a mystery during the episode, prompting people to search for what happened to Danny.

1. The Survivors who may return if they get enough votes

Survivor 31 cast vote

The identity of the potential returnees and their impending announcement were, in terms of page views, more popular than the actual season—and the most popular Survivor story of the year.

Survivor Cambodia Second Chance logo

Reflect back on more of Survivor from this year, from news to episode recaps for every episode of Survivor Worlds Apart and Survivor CambodiaBrowse every Survivor story on reality blurred.

About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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