Reporting Lisa Petrillo
MIAMI (CBS4) — “Survivor: South Pacific”, the 23rd installment of the hit CBS show, premieres Wednesday night. CBS is bringing back Redemption Island and two alumni players, Coach and Ozzy.
Last season, “Boston Rob” Mariano returned to play Survivor against 17 other castaways and won the season when his tribe never made a big move to oust him. Will either Ozzy Lusth or Coach Wade be so lucky this season?
“I need a tribe that is willing to accept me as an asset to get them farther in the game,” said Ozzy.
“I mean what are the two things you want in Survivor? You want to win the challenges early so you can make it to the merge and you want to find somebody who is not going to stab you in the back. And I think Ii can bring both of those things to the table,” said Coach.
So can history repeat itself?
Castaways, who didn’t know the identities of the returning players yet, talked about how they would handle alumni who returned to play once again.
“Two more people with bigger targets on them than me. I love it,” said Jim Rice, a medical marijuana dispenser from Denver.
“Yeah, well their ass has to go,” said Stacey Powell, a mortician from Texas. “The new survivors that have been in the game before, my philosophy is that person has got to go.”
Dawn Meehan, an English Professor at Brigham Young University, agrees. “I love that there are two people coming back. They can build the shelter and then go home.”
Most castaways agreed.
“They are coming back to this with more knowledge than any of us could prepare for. So I think the smartest thing to do is get rid of them immediately,” said Semhar Tadesse, a spoken word artist from Los Angeles.
“My wife, when we as watching the season finale, she said it is going to serve you right if it’s Coach,” said Rick Nelson, a Utah rancher. “It’s like well, at least I’ll get to meet a dragon slayer, so it’ll be all right, but I’ll get rid of him first chance I get.”
Survivor host Jeff Probst doesn’t blame the castaways for their opinions.
“I think the initial reaction to seeing Coach and Ozzy is you’re gone the second we go to tribal council. And I get that, I understand why someone might think that, I don’t think it’s a wise move. I think it’s fear-based, and a much stronger choice is to say ‘okay, there are eight of us, and one of them. Let’s agree right now, that when we’re ready to, we’ll get rid of this numbskull.’”
John Cochran, a Harvard Law student, is ready to play.
“I want someone who everybody hates, that’s obnoxious, that’s degrading, that no one wants to be around, so we can get rid of them.”
Mikayla Wingle, a lingerie football player from Tampa, Florida said the suspense is killing her.
“My mom’s got a feeling it is going to Parvarti.”
Mark Caruso, a retired NYPD Detective, wants to give everyone a chance.
“I always give people a chance, always. And if they turn out to be undesirable then there’s a bus they can be under. And if they happen to be good people they can ride it until the end and they can give me their vote.”
“I’m very excited and apprehensive about who will come to our little world and how long they’ll stay,” said Christine Shields Markoski, a teacher from Merrick, NY.
Sophie Clark, a medical student from Willsboro, NY believes she can handle any returning survivor.
“I can’t really think of any survivors who’d make my jaw drop. I’m pretty confident and calm enough that I don’t think anybody is really going to shake me up.”
Jeff Probst has some advice for Coach and Ozzy.
“What Coach and Ozzy have to do is they’ve got to find the way in. All I’d be doing on day one is listening. Where’s my in, who’s receptive to me, who doesn’t have a dagger in my back already, and then go to them and say ‘listen, here’s the deal: I’ll gladly fall on the sword in four weeks, just let me get a chance. Don’t send me to redemption island in week one.’”
South Florida will be represented in Survivor: South Pacific. Albert Destrade, from Plantation, is a 26-year-old baseball and dating coach.
Finally, there’s Brandon, Brandon Hantz. The name might sound familiar. The 19-year-old oil tanker crewman from Texas is the nephew of notorious Survivor villain Russell Hantz.
Survivor: South Pacific premieres in a special 90-minute episode Wednesday, Sept. 14th at 8:00 p.m. on CBS4.