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.
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:
- Earl Cole: winner
- Danni Boatwright: winner
- Mike Holloway: winner
- Natalie Anderson: winner
- Tony Vlachos: winner
- Sophie Clarke: winner
- J.T. Thomas: two seasons, winner
- Sandra Diaz-Twine: two seasons, two-time winner
- Ozzy Lusth: three seasons, runner up
- Jonathan Penner: three seasons
- Cirie Fields: three seasons
- Jeff Varner: two seasons
- Andrea Boehlke: two seasons
- Malcolm Freberg: two seasons
- Monica Culpepper: two seasons
- Carolyn Rivera: runner up
- Chelsea Meissner: runner-up
- Sabrina Thompson: runner-up
- Aubry Bracco: current season
- Tai Trang: current season
- Debbie Wanner: current season
- Caleb Reynolds: current season
- Peter Baggenstos: current season
- Hali Ford
- John Cody
- Jon Misch
- LJ McKanas
- Marty Piombo
- Natalie Bolton
- Sarah Lacina
- Troyzan Robertson
- 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.