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True Dork Times Survivor 14: Fiji Spoilers
General and/or pre-show information and rumors Filmed: October-December, 2006
Airdate: February, 2007
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SPOILERS and Speculation (Semi-chronological)
MayanSun at Sucks and
February 1, 2007: Game-play related tidbits (excerpted) from the seasonal Jeff Probst pre-Ep1 media teleconference, as transcribed by MayanSun of, and posted at Sucks. (Note: Just general spoilers here, we copied the cast-related info over to the Probst Cast Impressions page):

Exile Island
"There's one difference to Exile Island in that it does have literally thousands of deadly sea snakes and you see that play out in episode 2 when the person on Exile has a run in with a snake. It's very clear that they exist and are a problem."
"This time what they'll find when they get there, the first clue will tell them that it's not on Exile Island, it's back at your camp. So it immediately throws kind of an interesting dilemma. Now that I know this do I share this information with anybody or do I secretly try to be the person who gets sent back to Exile again so I can keep this secret and get more clues and try to find the whereabouts? And now when I'm back at camp how do you look for an idol when you're living with 6, 7, 8, 9 other people? So it complicated that and added just one more element to that."

On a related topic...
Hidden immunity idols
"If you have the idol you've got to decide, 'do I think it's me, do I think they're playing me? Do I need to play the idol right now?' The idol I can tell you gets played more than once this season. It's not a season of Yul holding on til the end. "
"When they first go to Exile Island the clue literally says, words to the effect of, 'you will find this back at your beach.' Subsequent clues tell them where exactly to look. So the dilemma we had was, how do you have the same clue apply to both beaches and hide the idol in the same spot? Then they slowly realize, what a second, there's one on our beach, there's gotta be one on their beach. If there's ever a switch or a merge or any of that stuff, it became a really big game of cat and mouse of who knew what, who might be looking for the idol, who wanted to go to Exile Island and why?"

And then there's the topic of...
Two tribes... 'Haves' versus 'Have nots'
"You cut from the winning tribe where one of the tribe members says 'How bad is it that we have more food here than some of the people at home watching have in their refrigerator.' Cut to the other tribe where they are on their hands and knees literally licking leaves to get drops of water. It's the hardest I've seen a group hit probably since Africa. They just, they don't have anything and they're not seasoned survivalists. They don't know what to do so they literally start tearing palm fronds off and laying them on the ground and telling each other, 'this works, lick 'em.'"
"Survivor is about social interaction. This fulfilled that mantra. We've now got a new dynamic and after 14 seasons we fortunately found something that worked in which we created adversaries so fast, it grows because it's very hard to catch up to the tribe that has this big of a lead in terms of your living situation. So you have some animosity."
"Question: ...Having one tribe in a very fancy camp with a lot of food and the other tribe with no food and no water, doesn't that throw off the challenges, that it is almost unfair?
Probst: Possibly. I think that's a fair question and potentially fair criticism. You have to see it play out but in terms of it being fair, it's not the word I would use. It just is. There's nothing to say that the tribe that has the winning shelter will be entitled to it forever, either. There's nothing to say that just because you won it that doesn't mean we won't take it."
Gulp... so you mean they never lose, but you screw them over, anyway?

And lest we forget...
Future 'twists' and other such 'noteworthy' events
"[The car challenge] is back. The reason that it wasn't there last year is that before the show started we didn't have a car sponsor. I'll tell you 'til I'm blue in the face, GM did not drop out because of our race thing. We know in advance they didn't want to be in the show anymore so they left. Ford came in and I'll tell you this, the car challenge is back and the car curse, the question of the car curse is back. The car challenge plays an instrumental role in this season, a huge role. I feel bad that GM was a sponsor all these years and Ford comes in the first season and gets a lot of bang for their buck."
"I just watched Episode 3 last night about 1:30 in the morning and I just sat there going, 'man the execution of this show.'"
"And he may not be as strong as Rocky or Mookie or Boo or Alex or Edgardo, all these guys we haven't talked about. We have some really strong guys. This is definitely a season dominated by strong guys in their late twenties, early thirties."
"There's one other thing that happened late in the game. There's a big ethical decision that has to be made that I think people will care about. I think by the time it happens you will be invested in the people involved, that you will care. It's the quintessential question of Survivor. Where do ethics begin and end and where does the game begin and end? It poses that question. What is your word worth in this game and in your life and is there a difference? Would you act the same way at home? When we were out there and it happened it was a big moment. I think on the show it will probably have the same sort of significance. It's something to look out for."
TV Guide Channel's Survivor: Fiji Preview show
January 28, 2007: Nominal "highlights" of spoiler-related variety from TV Guide Channel's Survivor: Fiji Preview show:

- Jeff Probst: "We have a big cannibalism theme going on this year, because Fiji is one of the places where, as recently as 100 years ago, cannibalism was very normal."

- Jeff Probst: "One thing that we're doing this season, that we haven't done in a while, is a food-eating challenge. We're going around, as we always do, to the locals, and saying, 'What do you eat?' One of the things that surprised me, that they say they eat all the time is pig snouts. And I thought, wow, is that Survivor? Yeah!" [No word if, in keeping with the cannibalism "theme", the Survivors have to force pigs to eat pig snouts].

January 12, 2007: Brief but info-filled blurb from

"Survivor: Fiji — Shocking Twists Revealed!
   The tribes will be segregated by political affiliation! No, by sexual orientation! Actually, the plan for Survivor: Fiji, premiering Feb. 8, is to group the 19 castaways as one tribe equipped with enough supplies and resources to fashion themselves an exceptionally cozy camp. But come Day 3, one player will be called upon to split the one mass into two. The tribe which then wins the first immunity challenge lives large at the existing camp, while the other is relocated to a separate island with only a pot, a machete and a water source. (Think The Apprentice: L.A., but with millions more viewers.)
    What's more, an immunity idol will be hidden at each camp, and Exile Island will now offer its visitor a clue to its whereabouts. I can see the promos now: 'Fox offers you one Idol, but we've got two.'"
TV Guide Channel's Survivor Fiji: Preview show
January 12, 2007: Derrik J. Lang's semiannual cast-release story gets demoted from ubiquitous AP wire copy to his own, semi-autonomous (albeit AP-backed) blog post, further proof of Survivor's decreasing relevance to anything. Still, fairly full of show-relevant insights:

   "Jeff Probst: The overall theme is letting them make almost every decision in terms of how this game will play out in the initial setup. That was the big idea. It starts with 19 people because we had somebody quit the night before, which has never happened before, so that threw us for a bit of a loop because we didn't anticipate an odd number.
    They're literally just put on a beach. They've got some fruit trees there, but that's it. I come over in a float plane and drop a box. And in that box they start to get the information. And the information is you're gonna need to build the most elaborate shelter Survivor has ever seen. Here's blue prints, a building plan, a map to find lumber and tools. You've got a sink and a kitchen area and a couch, all kinds of stuff to build this elaborate shelter. They're told they have to finish this before the game can continue.
    They build this great shelter. They've got water and flint. Once they finish building it, I show up and say, 'Now you're gonna figure how to divide these tribes up.' They choose somebody to divide the tribes. That person divides them, and they square off in a challenge. The losers have to go to a new beach where they literally have a machete, pot and water they have to boil. No fire. They have a cave they can kind of get under, but it's miserable.
Preview shots: Click thumbnail image to view larger image
Winners' camp
Winners' camp
Winners' camp
Winners' camp
Losers' cave
Losers' cave
   The game is about one tribe living a life of luxury, and the other tribe really scraping to get by while the other tribe has it so good it almost doesn't feel like Survivor to them. They have a couch. They have tables. The tribe that wins the first challenge goes back to this reward, which is all these luxury items. They're not necessarily better. They just make life better like hammocks and umbrellas and bottles and decanters and all this silverware and plates and china and a bush shower. So you see them eating. It looks like some sort of Ralph Lauren picnic.
    The other tribes show up and they're dragging their butts because they haven't even had water. What was really interesting was how quickly you started to see the attitude change where the winning tribe started to have this sense of entitlement. It was fascinating to watch the rich tribe get lazy and entitled and the poor tribe get desperate and resentful.

   The Slug: Tell us about the person who quit. There wasn't an alternate?
   Jeff Probst: We brought alternates in the past. We had an alternate in Cook Islands. Sundra was an alternate, and Sundra made it to the final four. But we only bring an alternate if we're worried about somebody. We weren't worried about anybody. We thought we had a solid group of people.
Mellisa McNulty, the missing contestant    One woman, bless her heart, she just got overwhelmed and started panicking. We told her about how the show works and how you'll be a little isolated. It was just too much for her. Our psychologist talked to her. Our medical doctor talked to her. We went out and talked to her. There was just no way you could try to encourage her to stay on the show. She was not comfortable — not even close to comfortable. And the game hadn't started. So we said, 'All right. You're out.'
   The Slug: Oh my. When did this happen? During training?
   Jeff Probst: It was the night before. We did give them a little course on what's going to go on out there. You know, what berries to pick and what snakes to watch out for. She was OK during that period. As a group, they can feel the game's about to begin. They're secluded. And they can sense a shift in energy. She could feel the game was about to begin. All the producers go out and explain the game. She just panicked. So we were stuck with 19. It required one shift. We were originally going to have two tribes of 10. We won't be able to do that now. So we came up with an alternate idea of what to do.
   The Slug: What happens?
   Jeff Probst: It plays out in the first episode. It's nothing significant. Instead of having two equal teams, you have two tribes and one extra person. And what do you do with that other person? It played out just fine. The only drag is we lost a person, and it just affects your creativity a little bit. Where you maybe wanted to do a double Tribal Council and vote two people out, you can't because you just lost one. It has a little bit of trickle down, but when it happens before the show, it's very easy to move everything a little bit.
   Jeff Probst: I can say this group is one of the most real groups we've had. They fact that a lot of them are from California will not feel that way. This is one of the most real, dirty groups we've had.
    The Slug: Tell us about the Hidden Immunity Idols. There's two this season, but how are they used?
    Jeff Probst: I think we figured out how to do it this season. The very first time we introduced it, you had to play it before anybody voted. Then the second time we introduced it, you could play it after the votes had been made and read. So it was an absolute get-out-of-jail-free card.This season, I think we found the happy medium. You must play the Idol after the votes have been cast but before I read them. Before the votes, I say, "How confident are you? Do you want to take a chance? Or should you play your Idol?" That made a dramatic difference. The Idols get played. Nobody is sitting on their Idol until the end and taking it home as a souvenir."
Cynthia Wang for AOL/ People
January 12, 2007: Excerpts from a largely CBS-penned copy accompanying the cast reveal, although still containing nuggets of info:

"- As for the show, this time around, the theme is Haves vs. Have Nots. The new series will begin with all of the contestants in a single tribe. All 19 adventurers are dropped off on an island near a natural cave and given supplies to make for a deluxe camp. But by the third day the group will be split into two and the tribe that wins the first immunity challenge will stay in relative luxury, while the losing tribe will be forced to move to a new island with only a pot, machete and a water source.
- Elements of the last two seasons – Exile Island and a hidden immunity idol – will return but with a twist. This time, the person sent to Exile Island will look for clues to where an immunity idol is hidden somewhere at each tribe camp. This means there could be the tantalizing possibility of two hidden immunity idols being in play at the same time.
- As for the figure of 19 participants instead of 20, one potential castaway cast herself off the show before it began. Melissa McNulty [sic.], a 28-year-old talent manager from Los Angeles, had been flown to Fiji before she decided to bow out of the game. Producers decided not to bring in an alternate and so the series continues with 19 castaways. "
Ryan Heidet for Reality TV Magazine
December 22, 2006: Spoiler-related excerpts from a Probst interview, the full text of which was written by Ryan Heidet at Reality TV Magazine:

"The 14th season, premiering in 2007, takes place in Fiji and also has twists. 'We came up with a couple of small ones for Fiji that had a big impact,' Probst said. 'We have two immunity idols. It’s kind of funny to talk about all this stuff. We changed it by adding another immunity idol and we changed the location of them. And nobody knew where they were and it became a very different game.'
   The idols apparently play an important role once again. 'Idols get played next season,' he said. 'People don’t hold onto them like Yul did. That makes for great drama because tribal council was suddenly a wild card. Every night you’re thinking does somebody have it, are they gonna play it?'
   This isn’t the only major thing Fiji’s season will deliver. 'One of the biggest decisions that’s ever had to be made on our show gets made late into the season – and it’s controversial,' he said. 'And it will definitely have Survivor fans on one side of the fence or the other. There will be no neutral on it. You will think this decision was the right one or the wrong one'."
survivorfreak10 at Sucks
December 20, 2006: Sucks poster survivorfreak10 registers to reveal the following tidbit about the S14 hidden immunity idol:

"I went to the Cook Islands finale and heard Probst say during red carpet interviews that the hidden immunity idols get used next season. They aren't held onto like Yul or Terry did."
December 17, 2006: Jeff Probst's voiceover from the Survivor: Fiji preview (replete with actual contestant photos, as far as we know) that aired during the Survivor: Cook Islands reunion show:

Coming in the new year... Survivor turns the tables on two tribes, as one lives the life of luxury, while the other is left with virtually nothing. For the first time, there will be 19 new Survivors. This diverse cast, with lifestyles ranging from a Harvard-educated lawyer to a once-homeless street performer, will be forced to battle each other more fiercely than ever before. Crawling with thousands of deadly sea snakes, Exile Island will be more treacherous than ever. This time, two immunity idols and a twist will drastically complicate the game. And one of the most controversial decisions ever made by a Survivor will have America talking. Who will outwit, outplay and outlast all the others? Join us next time, for the premiere of Survivor: Fiji."

Preview shots: Click thumbnail image to view larger image
boat boats boats
boats boats boats
boats challenge? challenge?
challenge? a contestant a contestant
a contestant a contestant contestants in camp?
a contestant contestants in camp? a contestant
exile island? tribal council tribal council
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