NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.
Name: Tyler Fredrickson
Current Residence: Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Ex-Talent Agent Assistant
Gordon Holmes: You dress up as a hobo and jump out at children in downtown Pasadena. What the hell is the matter with you?
Tyler Fredrickson: (Laughs) That’s where I live, that’s one of the fun things I enjoy doing. I take on different personalities, whether it’s around Halloween or I just feel like being goofy. I like being unpredictable. I love imagination, I love storytelling. The movies I grew up on; “Star Wars,” Spielberg…that type of space. So, to get to replicate that with kids or do events or act out stuff…
Holmes: Are these kids expecting this or are they random tykes walking down the street?
Fredrickson: It could be that. (Laughs) I do a lot of stuff at my church. Stuff with the youth group. It’s a very small part of my life.
Holmes: You worked as a talent agent assistant. How will that background help you in “Survivor”?
Fredrickson: In Hollywood, basically everybody starts off fetching somebody’s coffee. I decided to invest in my future by going to what is deemed as the best talent agency in the business. I worked with one of the heads of motion picture lit for over two years. And what you’re doing there is talking people off of the ledge every day. You’re working with some of the highest-paid, most respected clientele in the business. Big, A-list stars and they have their own fears and frustrations. And your job is to be the liaison between them and the agency. When you come out here to “Survivor” there are absolutely things that cross over. But, instead of trying to talk people off of the ledge, you’re trying to push them off.
Holmes: You kicked the game winning field goal against USC on national television, so you’re used to pressure-packed athletic situations. That’ll help you.
Fredrickson: Yeah, my first NFL game was Monday Night at Lambeau. Talk about an exciting place to start your career. And I’ve played in some high pressure college games as well. I tend to thrive on that kind of pressure. I talked to Probst about it. I said, “I want you to try to get into my head because that’s where I thrive.”
Holmes: “Survivor” is a game that is jam-packed with deceit. Are you comfortable looking someone in the eye and lying?
Fredrickson: Absolutely. I’m comfortable winning. Lying is a part of it. We all check into this hotel knowing what it takes to win. I don’t think there’s been someone who has won without lying since Ethan or maybe Yul. And those were years ago. The game has changed. People are too savvy, it’s too complex. I’m comfortable lying, but there are missed opportunities. Probst said, “You could be the first guy voted off, then you could play again and win.” So, for me I’m hoping to go with my gut and make the right calls.
Holmes: When you think of “Survivor” as a concept you think, “I’m going to go out there and cut throats.” You’re thinking of seventeen nameless, faceless individuals. You’re going to get very close to these people. Are you worried it’ll be hard to make the right move for your game once you know these people and possibly care for them?
Fredrickson: I don’t think so. We are going to be, from here on out, the season thirty fraternity. Bitterness will fade, and enemies will become friends. But right now we’re supposed to look at each other with contempt. I want to get to know these people. I want to have relationships outside of the game. But as far as true relationships, there’s a barrier there. The goal is not to form lifelong relationships. The ultimate goal is to win this game.
Holmes: Is flirting on the table?
Fredrickson: Yeah, I told my wife, I said, “I’m not going to wear my wedding ring, I don’t want to lose it.” That was my excuse.
Holmes: (Laughs) And she bought that? You are a good liar.
Fredrickson: (Laughs) We had talked about it. And analyzing the guys that have won in the past, they typically do it with a woman in second place. That’s not to say that women can’t be strong competitors, they win quite often. But usually there’s a guy working with a strong woman or a weak woman at his side. And for me, bro-ing up could be dangerous. At times guys get territorial, it’s really only good when you have nothing to lose like the Three Amigos a couple of seasons ago or when you’ve got a “Yes man” like a Phillip or Grant were for “Boston” Rob. Smart guys, but they were doing his bidding. I don’t expect to find either of those situations. I want to be smart about balanced alliances, and that includes women.
Holmes: Do you have any experience roughing it?
Fredrickson: You mean outside of playing five years in the NFL?
Holmes: Yeah, but after practice you’d get a sandwich. No sandwich is waiting for you here.
Fredrickson: Sure. I feel good about pushing myself even though you can’t replicate what it’s like out here. So, while I’m unprepared for that, I feel good about the mental stress.
Holmes: Speaking of mental stress, past Survivors have told me that this game is a non-stop date with paranoia. Everyone’s gunning for you eventually.
Fredrickson: I don’t know how I’m going to act yet. There’s a swagger and a confidence that the best players have. If you really trust the people around you, you don’t get caught up in that. If “Boston” Rob got caught up in paranoia, his group would start to doubt him. There is something to be said about having to trust to win the game. If you can do it confidently, maybe you can get past the insecurities. I don’t know if it’s going to work. I could be gone first, second, third, fourth with that kind of attitude.
Holmes: If you could align with any past Survivor, who would it be?
Fredrickson: I really liked the way Ciera played, granted she cut off her mom. But there’s something to be said for someone who’s willing to make big, extreme moves. Again, we’re aligning with them in the hopes that they don’t make big moves against me.
Holmes: What’re your thoughts on this cast?
Fredrickson: There are a few that I haven’t even said a word to yet, and I feel like they have that cutthroat ability. I prefer to be on their side. I’m looking around trying to figure out who’s the meathead, who’s the guy who’s looking up in the clouds like Phillip or Coach. There are a few of those guys. It seems like most of the guys are on top of their game. They seem competent. The girls seem like they’re observant. Nobody is lost in la-la land. It seems like everyone has a good sense of humor.
Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it’ll be?
Fredrickson: No idea. I’ve thought about this for days. We’ve got eighteen people here, I don’t foresee them throwing in a Russell and a “Boston” Rob. I’ve been wondering because the seasons go a location and then a twist. But, 29 was “San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water II.” So, now I’m going, what are we? They used the twist and the location.
Holmes: “Survivor: Central America.”
Fredrickson: “Survivor: It’s Back Again!”
Holmes: “Survivor: Nicaragua…Part Deux.”
Fredrickson: “Survivor: Even More Of It.”
Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.