Thursday, February 28, 2002

Expect 'evolutions' in newest 'Survivor'

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When Survivor returns to an island today, the participants (and viewers) should expect one big change in the $1 million game: No rice rations or jugs of water.

        These 16 folks will be on their own for Survivor: Marquesas (8 p.m., Channels 12, 7), fourth in the series.

        “It was always my idea to do that,” says Mark Burnett, executive producer. He could do it on Nuku Hiva, a remote South Pacific island with plenty of fruit, fish, shellfish and taro, a potato-like plant also abundant in Hawaii.

        The castaways were shocked to open their supply box and find no food, after their raft trip from a fishing trawler. The box contained a frying pan, knife, magnifying glass, two cooking pots and two machetes.

        “The island has enough to eat,” Mr. Burnett told TV critics in a conference call earlier this week. “Believe me, they soon figured it out.”

        Viewers also should expect other changes in Survivor 4, which Mr. Burnett called “small evolutions.” Changes were made to keep participants off guard, keep his production crew from getting bored, and to keep viewers from switching to Friends, TV's No. 1 series. (Cincinnati has been CBS' No. 1 Survivor market for the past two adventures.)

        “You need to evolve,” he said. “There are some small, subtle evolutions to improve the game.”

        Mr. Burnett also hinted there could be some romances in either the Maraamu (yellow) or Rotu (blue) tribes. “Yes, definitely the potential is there. But we don't want to give anything away,” Mr. Burnett said.

        Eleven of the 16 are 36 or younger; most have hard, sexy bodies. Viewers can't escape the fact because the cast members talk about each other's physical attributes. It sounded like Fox's Temptation Island.

        “Sarah has a cute body. She paid a lot for it. And if you have it, flaunt it,” said Vecepia “Vee” Towery, 36, an office manager from Hayward, Calif., about Sarah Jones, 24, from Newport Beach, Calif.

        When Gina Crews, 29, the Gainesville, Fla., nature guide, saw shirtless FedEx pilot Hunter Ellis, 33, of La Jolla, Calif., she declared: “I'm already in love with Hunter.”

        Here are the tribe members:

        • Maraamu: Rob Mariano, 26, Massachusetts construction worker; Sean Rector, 30, former Harlem teacher; Peter Harkey, 45, Massachusetts bowling alley and wine shop owner; Patricia Jackson, 49, South Carolina truck assembler; plus Sarah, Gina, Hunter and Vee.

        • Rotu: Neleh Dennis, 21, Utah student (and first Survivor Mormon); Gabriel Cade, 23, Los Angeles bartender; Tammy Leitner, 29, Arizona crime reporter; Zoe Zanidakis, 35, Maine fishing boat captain; John Carroll, 36, Nebraska nurse; Robert DeCanio, 38, New York limousine driver; Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien, Vermont real estate agent; and Paschal English, 57, a Georgia judge.

        Survivor 5 locations have been scouted in South America and Asia, though CBS hasn't ordered more shows yet. CBS executives have said they want two Survivors for each September-May TV seasons.

        “I don't think anyone would want us to do more than that,” Mr. Burnett said.


Old-timey music a hit at Grammys
Cincinnati's assignment: Ernest J. Gaines
Project can help teach 'Lesson'
Excerpts from the novel
Thoughts from the selection panel: Why we chose this book
Bibliography of Ernest Gaines' work
3 reasons to see Everett Dance Theatre
Chieftains crazy like a fox
- Expect 'evolutions' in newest 'Survivor'
Next Wave/Who's up and coming: Overachiever steps into a different life
The Early Word
Get to it