UPDATE: Voting for the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2013 has ended. Please come later this afternoon to meet the first inductee. And, follow @survivorhall on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.
As members of the Executive Voting Committee, the “Survivor” press corps (along with Producer Jesse Jensen, Host and Executive Producer Jeff Probst, and other “Survivor” luminaries) has an awesome responsibility. The committee’s votes will make up 50% of the final tally for entry into the prestigious Class of 2013. The other 50% will come from “Survivor” fans like you.
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Drusilla Moorhouse – Today.com
Drusilla Moorhouse is a contributing editor for Today.com and has covered “Survivor” for E! Online, Zap2it and TV.com. A fanatic of the “Eco Challenge” producer Mark Burnett’s O.G. reality competition, Dru carried a torch for “Survivor” even before the first pixelated images of Richard Hatch hit the airwaves.
Malcolm Freberg – (“Survivor: Philippines” and “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites) He is the whole “Survivor” package: gorgeous, athletic, charming, and bold — while wielding the rapier wit prized by producers. I’m still annoyed that he and his brother weren’t selected for “Blood vs. Water.” But when he does return (that’s not even a question), here’s hoping he skims the Boston Rob Rulebook first. With some lessons in manipulation and a better poker face, he could win the million bucks.
Denise Stapley – (“Survivor: Philippines) This fierce female is who I wanted to be when I grew up — maybe without the job as a sex therapist. But I’d be thrilled to possess a fraction of her strength, athleticism, scrappy determination, and refusal to accept defeat — especially after hauling her torch to every single Tribal Council in her season. And if she doesn’t make it in the Hall of Fame, she deserves sainthood for her patient tolerance of Abi.
John Cochran – (“Survivor: South Pacific” and “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites”) The scrawny, neurotic outcast’s original revenge of the nerd storyline demanded a satisfying sequel — and “Caramoan” was Cochran’s “Rocky II,” with a legit Hollywood ending. After a shaky start — more befitting a comedy club open mic performer than a “Survivor” contestant — he took a daring stand against the “South Pacific” cool crowd. It backfired and branded him a Judas, but he was invited back as a “favorite” — itself a victory for the “Survivor” superfan. His triumphant win, including three individual immunity necklaces, proved that he was better than his punchlines. And he had the last laugh: landing a writing gig for the CBS sitcom “The Millers.”
Mara Reinstein – US Weekly
Mara Reinstein is the movie critic for Us Weekly magazine. But thanks to her unofficial title as Resident “Survivor” Fanatic, she has somehow finagled her way into 12 (!) “Survivor” location visits since 2004.
Sue Hawk – (“Survivor: Borneo” and “Survivor: All-Stars”) OK game play, but must give her credit for delivering one of the greatest lines in TV history. Thirteen years later, I know you can still quote it.
John Cochran – (“Survivor: South Pacific” and “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites”) Redeemed himself in “Fans vs. Favorites 2” by playing a shrewd game — and did it with a seriously nasty sunburn.
Lisa Whelchel – (“Survivor: Philippines”) It’s a sad fact of life (ha! I kill me!) that she never got Emmy love playing Blair Warner. So, I’m personally insisting that she goes in the “Survivor” HOF. I was worried she was going to pull a Jimmy Johnson. Instead, she pulled a respectable Dawn Meehan. Mrs. G would be so proud…
Dalton Ross – Entertainment Weekly
Dalton Ross is the Assistant Managing Editor of Entertainment Weekly. He may have written about this show once or twice over the past 13 years.
Kim Spradlin – (“Survivor: One World”) What?!? How is she not in already? She was my number one pick last year and yet was denied entry. Who the hell is voting on these things anyway? (I mean, besides…you know, me.) There’s one word to describe Kim’s play in “One World” — dominant. Any way you slice it — socially, strategically, athletically — dominant. It’s time to stop the insanity and let the woman in. Better late than never, I suppose.
J.T. Thomas – (“Survivor: Tocantins” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains”) It sounds odd at first because the last thing we remember from J.T. was him writing a love letter to Russell and giving away his tribe’s hidden immunity idol to a dude waiting to slit their collective throat. But think back to Tocantins. People were falling all over the guy. He came into the merge down in numbers and flipped the script completely just because everyone fell so absolutely in love with him. It was one of the most complete performances in “Survivor” history. And as for that “Heroes Vs. Villains” debacle, well, there are plenty of Hall inductees who did even worse in their follow-up seasons, and at least J.T. attempted to make a big move. A big STUPID move, it turns out. But a big move nonetheless.
Brian Heidik – (“Survivor: Thailand”) Yes, he’s equal parts sleazy and cheesy, and yes, his season was an absolute dud, but if we’re basing this on how people actually performed when they played the game — and that’s what I base my votes on — then this former porn star should be in. I would say to go re-watch his season to see what I mean, but does anyone really want to watch “Survivor: Thailand” again? Still, he ran the game from start to finish, orchestrating every single important vote and winning every single important immunity challenge. If this is a popularity contest, then Heidik is one of the last guys you’d choose. If it’s on actual gameplay, then it’s time for the man to get his due.
Tom Santilli – Examiner.com
Tom Santilli is the “Survivor Examiner,” having covered “Survivor” for Examiner.com and TheTVKing.com since 2009 and having been a rabid fan since the very beginning. He is also a film critic and appears weekly on the syndicated TV show “Movie Show Plus.” (follow him on Twitter, @tomsantilli and at TomSantilli.com). He claims to own his own “Medallion of Power” that gives him a slight advantage in writing “Survivor” recaps.
Brian Heidik – (“Survivor: Thailand”) To me, Brian is the sole remaining “first-ballot” contestant still deserving inclusion…an upper echelon player and the one guy who needs to be in the “Survivor” Hall of Fame above all other remaining players out there. I voted for him last year (as did Dalton Ross!) and I will continue doing so until others take notice…and judging by many fans I’ve chatted with, his name has been picking up some serious steam recently. Brian is unlike any other Sole Survivor for many important reasons. At the time that he won, nobody thought that a “bad guy” could ever win “Survivor” again after Richard Hatch. Brian to this day is the only true “villain,” playing a villainous game, to have won it all. Brian played masterfully, despite back-stabbing and lying his way to the prize. He was a thinker, but he also won several individual immunity challenges along the way. Others (like, say, Kim Spradlin) have made “Survivor” look easy, but he was the first. Like him or not, admit it or not, he is the blueprint for every strategic player to this day. Ty Cobb wasn’t a nice guy, but his contributions to the game made him a Hall-of-Famer. The “Survivor” HOF will never be complete until it includes the likes of Brian Heidik.
Rudy Boesch – (“Survivor: Borneo” and “Survivor: All-Stars”) Beyond Brian and those already currently residing in the Hall, there should be a place for Rudy in there somewhere. This isn’t just a sentimental vote, although that’s part of it. He was also one of the most entertaining and inspirational contestants ever. His face and name remains one of the game’s most iconic. His unexpected friendship with Richard Hatch encapsulated the essence of “Survivor,” showing that people from all walks of life can live together and even become friends within the unique framework of the game. Let’s not forget that he was one hand-slip away from winning the first-ever “Survivor” too. When contestants wised up by the time of “All-Stars,” Rudy was voted off early because every other person knew they had no shot against him, were he to stay. Heck, the dude walked away from a roll-over car accident this Summer without a scratch. He’s invincible. He’s incredible. He’s Rudy. And he should be a Hall of Famer.
John Cochran – (“Survivor: South Pacific” and “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites”) Below Brian Heidik and Rudy Boesch (and those currently in the Hall), I begin to start considering the best “Survivor” winners of all time. If the Hall of Fame is meant to represent the best, how can winning not be taken into consideration? But I’ll share with you why I haven’t voted for other iconic non-winners. Colby Donaldson? He’s an icon and a hero, but I value game-play and strategy too highly to vote for someone who chose Tina Wesson over Keith Famie to lose a million dollars. Jonny Fairplay? The guy quit the game, which in my mind disqualifies him from ever being inducted. Rupert? Not eligible this year. That leaves Cochran. Cochran mastered the timing of “Survivor”: Knowing when to strike before being struck. He orchestrated big moves and was in control of the game from start to finish. His game was only the second ever (after J.T. in Tocantins) where a winner won by a unanimous jury vote while also never having a single vote cast against them the entire game. What separates Cochran’s game from J.T. is that Cochran orchestrated his game, whereas J.T. relied heavily on Stephen Fishbach to navigate his way to the end. A true student of the game, Cochran pulled off one of the most impressive and unlikely “Survivor” wins the game may ever see. Yes, his game is fresh in our heads, but if there was a “Mt. Rushmore” of Survivors from the past 5 years of the show, his head would be on it.
Voting for the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2013 has ended. Please come back Wednesday, December 11, 2013 to meet the first inductee. And, follow @survivorhall on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.
Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water.”