'Facts of Life' Star and Baseball MVP Join 'Survivor: Philippines'
CBS has revealed most of the cast members for "Survivor" season 25. Several famous figures are included in the line-up, including former "The Facts of Life" actress Lisa Whelchel and retired Major League Baseball second baseman Jeff Kent.
"I've watched it from the very first episode, and had Survivor parties with my family," the sitcom star recalls how she's offered the gig. "A friend of mine said, 'Let's just film a little iPhone video of you and you can put it on your Twitter and ask all your followers to retweet it. And maybe they'll contact you and know you want to be on the show.' And that's what happened!"
Of her strategy on the show, she shares, "I'm not going to volunteer it, but at the same time, even though there are a lot of young people and I'm sure they have no idea who Blair Warner is, there are some older people and even if only one knows it certainly will get around, so I won't deny it."
2000 National League MVP Kent points out his advantage. "You know, there are not many tall white guys with mustaches walking around still these days," he tells Entertainment Weekly. "I'm hoping my reputation's not big enough that these people know who I am."
Whelchel and Kent join 13 other new players as well as 3 returning contestants. While CBS has not announced the alumni, it is believed that host Jeff Probst spills the beans via his tweet. "@LisaWhelchel, Jeff Kent, Skupin, Russell Swan & Penner - plus awesome newbies! Who knows maybe we'll birth some new 'all-stars!'," so he posted on his Twitter Monday, August 20.
Michael Skupin was a cast member of "Survivor: The Australian Outback" (season 2), who was forced to leave the game after accidentally burning his hands on Day 17. Russell Swan competed in "Survivor: Samoa" (season 19), but was evacuated on Day 15 when his heart rate plunged.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Penner finished in seventh place on "Survivor: Cook Islands" (season 13). The actor returned to the show for the sixteenth installment set in Micronesia, but was evacuated in the sixth episode due to a life-threatening infection in his injured knee.
"Survivor: Philippines" will not include the Do It Yourself challenges which were featured in last season. As for the first hidden immunity idols, Probst teases, "They are hidden in plain sight. There's actually a clue at the bottom of a rice jar that says, 'The idol is hidden in plain sight. In fact, it's right under your nose.' And if they take the top of the rice tin off, they would find that is the idol. The top of the rice tin is the idol."
The game will premiere with a special 90-minute episode on Wednesday, September 19 at 8 P.M. ET on CBS. Interview videos with the cast can be seen on the official site.
The officially-announced cast members of "Survivor: Philippines":
- Sarah Dawson (Insurance Sales, 28)
- Katie Hanson (Former Miss Delaware, 22)
- Jeff Kent (Former Baseball MVP, 44)
- Dana Lambert (Cosmetologist, 32)
- Carter Williams (Track Coach, 24)
- Abi-Maria Gomes (Business Student, 32)
- Roberta "R.C." Saint-Armour (Investment Banker, 27)
- Artis Silvester (Computer Engineer, 53)
- Lisa Whelchel (Former "Facts of Life" Actress, 49)
- Pete Yurkowski (Engineering Graduate, 24)
- Malcolm Freberg (Bartender, 25)
- Zane Knight (Tire Repair, 28)
- Angie Layton (Student, 20)
- Roxanne 'Roxy" Morris (Seminary Student, 28)
- Denise Stapley (Sex Therapist, 41)
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