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The uninspiring list of potential returnees for Survivor 34

The uninspiring list of potential returnees for Survivor 34
Which returnees will be celebrating and/or competing on a Fiji beach in a few months? (Photo by Shutterstock)

Update, May 31, 2016: Here’s the final Survivor 34 cast.

Earlier, April 12, 2016: A list of more than 30 people who are under consideration to return for Survivor 34 has been leaked, and while some are players I’d love to see again, as a whole it is, well, not exactly inspiring.

Inside Survivor revealed the list of people who were in Los Angeles for finals casting, while Reddit added four more: Jonathan Penner, Jeff Varner, Sabrina Thompson, and Aubry Bracco.

The list, below, includes eight winners, including two-time winner Sandra Diaz-Twine, while at least one other winner who’s not on the list, Jenna Morasca, has hinted about a possible return. There are also several runners-up.

Most players are from Survivor’s past five years. There are five people from the current season, Survivor Kaoh Rong, including the obvious (Caleb) and inexplicable (Peter), but not the seemingly obvious (Neal). The numbers of runners-up, winners, and others on the overall list indicate that there aren’t any spoilers on this list in terms of players still in the game.

The possible Survivor season 34 returnees

Here’s the list. I’ve noted those who’ve appeared on more than one season, won a season, were a runner-up, or are on this season:

  1. Earl Cole: winner
  2. Danni Boatwright: winner
  3. Mike Holloway: winner
  4. Natalie Anderson: winner
  5. Tony Vlachos: winner
  6. Sophie Clarke: winner
  7. J.T. Thomas: two seasons, winner
  8. Sandra Diaz-Twine: two seasons, two-time winner
  9. Ozzy Lusth: three seasons, runner up
  10. Jonathan Penner: three seasons
  11. Cirie Fields: three seasons
  12. Jeff Varner: two seasons
  13. Andrea Boehlke: two seasons
  14. Malcolm Freberg: two seasons
  15. Monica Culpepper: two seasons
  16. Carolyn Rivera: runner up
  17. Chelsea Meissner: runner-up
  18. Sabrina Thompson: runner-up
  19. Aubry Bracco: current season
  20. Tai Trang: current season
  21. Debbie Wanner: current season
  22. Caleb Reynolds: current season
  23. Peter Baggenstos: current season
  24. Hali Ford
  25. John Cody
  26. Jon Misch
  27. LJ McKanas
  28. Marty Piombo
  29. Natalie Bolton
  30. Sarah Lacina
  31. Troyzan Robertson
  32. Alexis Maxwell

Looking over the list, it reminds me of older returnee seasons, when it was just about bringing back the same person over and over (and over) again. I loved Cirie and Sandra, but a fourth appearance isn’t necessary; ditto for Ozzy. And others are just baffling: Monica Culpepper?

Likewise, the list of people who have not had more than one chance aren’t very exciting. While I’d love to see Caleb or Aubry or Tai back again, that can’t be separated from how much I’m enjoying watching them now. And some distance and time from the game isn’t a bad thing; Second Chance proved that.

Of course, this is a list of 32 and there’s likely a larger pool in play here. And there will only be 18 people—maybe 20—who ultimately do return, so this is nothing to get mad about.

But it reminds me clearly that what’s worked best with returnees in recent seasons has been drawing from the pool of people who’ve never returned, and/or have a reason to really want this again. This isn’t The Challenge, after all.

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  • 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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