Sunday, April 22, 2001

Rodger on camera again

Former 'Survivor' keeping busy with TV interviews

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — After months of staying quiet, Survivor: The Australian Outback contestant Rodger Bingham is in front of the camera again.

        Mr. Bingham, 53, of Crittenden outlasted 11 other contestants. He was voted off the CBS reality show Thursday — and now he's talking.

        “I've been going at it since 7:30 this morning,” Mr. Bingham said Saturday. “We started with The Early Show, then The Early Saturday Show, then we did Entertainment Tonight, and then I did 15 (satellite) interviews with TV stations in Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati, Kalamazoo — all over the place. We've been going solid.”

[photo] Rodger Bingham (left) signs a Survivor shirt for Jessica King, 9, of Florence as Jessica's mother, Cheryl, looks on.
(Enquirer file photo)
| ZOOM |
        Mr. Bingham, who brought a Bible as his luxury item for the adventure, quickly became a favorite among the contestants with his down-home personality.

        “It's been real enjoyable,” he said from New York in a telephone interview with The Courier-Journal. “The best part is seeing the kids. As soon as we got off the plane in New York, the very first person to pick me out of the crowd was a little girl. She had a big smile on her face, and she asked me for an autograph.”

        Mr. Bingham, known as “Kentucky Joe,” said he submitted an application for Survivor to prove something to himself rather than the $1 million the winning survivor receives.

        “For me, it was never about the money,” said Mr. Bingham, a farmer and industrial arts teacher at Grant County High School. “It was more personal. I wanted to see how I would do in the actual survival situation.”

        His knack for catching fish and building shelters probably kept him from getting ousted sooner.

        “It's kind of hard to vote off a guy who's putting food in your mouth,” he said.

        The winner will be revealed on the Survivor finale, which airs May 3. Because Mr. Bingham will be in Hollywood for the finale and a subsequent appearance on Hollywood Squares he has had to turn down several invitations for the Kentucky Derby on May 5.

        Mr. Bingham's media appearances will continue this week, when he appears on The Late Show With David Letterman, The Late, Late Show and The Rosie O'Donnell Show.


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