Fifty percent of the voting for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame was based on the ballots of the Executive Voting Committee. This blue-ribbon panel consists of “Survivor” luminaries such as Host and Executive Producer Jeff Probst, Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, Executive Producer David Burris, Producer Jesse Jensen, the current members of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame, the “Survivor” press corps, and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” Guy Gordon Holmes. The other fifty percent came from “Survivor” fans like you.
The Class of 2010 included Parvati Shallow, Russell Hantz, Rob Mariano, Richard Hatch, and Sandra Diaz-Twine…
The Class of 2011 included Cirie Fields, Ozzy Lusth, and Tom Westman…
This past Monday, Amanda Kimmel was inducted as the first member of the Class of 2012…
And now, the “Survivor” Hall of Fame is proud to induct Rob Cesternino into the Class of 2012. Rob received the most fan votes out of any nominee.
We had a chance to speak with the newly crowned Hall of Famer to get his thoughts on this honor…
Gordon Holmes: Congratulations, Rob. How does it feel to be honored by a vote made up of your “Survivor” peers, the ‘Survivor’ production crew, the press, and the fans?
Rob Cesternino: Being inducted into the “Survivor” Hall Of Fame is an honor that I cannot begin to describe. As many people know, I was a “Survivor” junkie going back to the first season. It was my dream come true to get on the show in the first place and I’ve always been so grateful for that. I cannot tell you how ridiculously flattered I was when I saw that I was on Jeff Probst’s ballot last month. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the “Survivor” fans who have always been so amazing to me. If you’re reading this and you helped to make this happen, I want to personally thank you. If you didn’t and you voted for somebody else, I hope you did not become physically ill when you heard I was selected. Also, I know that this honor would’ve meant a great deal to my Dad, as well, who passed away around this time last year. He always got such a thrill out of the fact that I had actually made it on the show.
This month has also been exactly 10 years from when we played the game in the Amazon, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about that experience. I don’t believe that I’m the greatest “Survivor” player but I do believe that there was something about my game that contributed something to the overall collective thinking of future “Survivor” players. Up until that time, people played “Survivor” in voting blocks. You’d make an alliance and if that didn’t get you to the end, that was it and you’d go down with the ship. It is my belief that “Survivor” players should always put their own self-interests first and vote with whatever players give them the best chance to get further in the game – whether they’re in your alliance or not. Unfortunately, a majority of players still don’t think this way, but when it happens it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Holmes: What’ve you been up to since we saw you in “All-Stars”?
Cesternino: A few months after the end of “Survivor: All-Stars,” I moved to Los Angeles and began working in online content creation. I’ve developed a number of web series on Youtube and I was co-executive producer of the first original web series on MySpace.TV. In 2010, I married my amazing wife, Nicole whom I first started dating during the time “Survivor: The Amazon” was airing. Around the time of the 10-year anniversary of “Survivor” and the premiere of “Heroes vs. Villains” I was overwhelmed with the desire to start posting my thoughts on the show again. In February of 2010, I built a website and started up “Rob Has a Podcast.”. The idea was to start doing interviews with former “Survivor” players to get their insights in to the current season. Over the years, the show has continued to grow and grow and take on a life of its own. I think the biggest reason for our success has been that there are so many people out there who love this show and there are not a lot of places to find intelligent conversation about it. Maybe none of your friends watch “Survivor” or the people in your office aren’t fans but we’ve built a place to have these discussions. Also, a lot of people scoff if you tell them that you’re a “Survivor” fan and what most people don’t realize is that it’s a very smart show and there’s a lot to be analyzed in every episode. There’s also a lot of crazy stuff that happens in each episode, but that’s part of the fun too. Having this community around the show has made “Survivor” as much fun for me as it’s ever been.
Holmes: Is it going to be hard to maintain your image as someone “Who Sucks” now that you’re in the Hall of Fame?
Cesternino: For any of your readers who don’t get the reference, as a Survivor named “Rob” I am often mistaken for my fellow “Survivor” Hall-of-Famer, “Boston Rob” Mariano. When I was writing the “Survivor” blog on CBS.com during “Survivor: Nicaragua” some readers were confused and thought “Boston Rob” had written the articles and were leaving him comments. One reader took it upon himself to correct the other commenters by telling them “This isn’t Boston Rob, this is the Rob that sucks”. I thought this was hilarious and I’ve embraced it ever since.
Now, I don’t think this necessarily means that I am a person that sucks, but I do think that if you were to compare my “Survivor” resume to that of Rob Mariano, you would probably say that mine was the more “suckier” of the two. That being said, I don’t think this is anything to be ashamed of. In my opinion, Boston Rob is the greatest player to ever play the game. I recently had him on the podcast and he has seen it all in this game. We went head to head in the All-Stars and he got me and I never saw it coming. To paraphrase Pedro Martinez, I have to tip my cap and call myself “the Rob that sucks”.
Holmes: How’s “Survivor: Philippines” holding up for you? Liking it?
Cesternino: I’ve really enjoyed the Philippines. With all due respect to Kim Spradlin, who I thought was amazing last season, “One World” felt like it was a coronation. We watched each week to see if Kim could pull it off and eventually she did. I believe the simple recipe for compelling “Survivor” consists of two ingredients: great characters and unpredictability. This season has had both of those things so it’s been a lot of fun. I was very sad to see Penner go two weeks ago, especially because I thought it was the wrong strategic decision, but with only five people left it’s really anybody’s game – except for Abi-Maria. What more could you want with the finale coming up this week? I may be in the minority on this but I think the future of “Survivor” is a bright one. I think the changes that were made this season really helped the show and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
What the fans said about Rob…
“He changed the game for better and…had a bigger effect on the game than anyone except Richard Hatch. No longer was the gamer or the strategist the bad guy.” – Jamie
“The man constantly shifted his strategy and changed up the game, proving to be a savvy, adaptable player. Completely revolutionized the game.” – Alex
“Cleverly found out his place in his alliance and made sure he wasn’t at the bottom. Dominated Amazon and should have won.” – Sue
What the Executive Voting Committee said about Rob…
“His first appearance was a milestone. “Survivor” had never before had someone who combined such an amazing knowledge of the game with a very clever wit and ability to tell a funny story at any time about any other player.” – Jeff Probst
“He was an aggressive strategic player who didn’t believe in loyalty. He was effective at switching alliances to keep himself in the game, and always had several deals on the table. He went with whatever benefited him and kept him alive in the game.” – Sandra Diaz-Twine
“He made gamers appreciate that getting to the final four with your alliance is not enough. That anyone on the bottom of an alliance who isn’t making moves to get to the top of a different alliance is setting themselves up for failure. Simply put; Rob made “Survivor” better.” – XFINITY TV’s Gordon Holmes
Be sure to check back Friday to meet the final member of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes
Watch the ‘Survivor: Philippines’ Finale this Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.