Will Survivor Second Chance Affect Future Returning Player Chances?


The base criteria of Survivor: Second Chance casting was simply that a contestant had to only play once before and not win. It goes without saying that they couldn't have quit the game, as quitters only ever get asked back in special cases. This criteria is likely that which most of the Survivor fan base agrees is fair. But could this be the end of winners returning or players competing for a 3rd time? Or are we in for Colby vs Jerri season 33 or Heroes vs Villains 2 season 34 with players like Tyson and Tony making a return? In today's feature article American Ozlet Ivan Ornelas analyses where we currently stand in terms of bringing players back and what the future may hold.

 Winners Returning: Pros and Cons


The pros for winners returning are that they are a familiar group of players for casual and more passionate Survivor fans alike. Even the lesser talked about ones such as Vecepia and Earl are recognizable because what they did deserved plenty of recognition: become the Sole Survivor. So plan A for bringing back players which would boost ratings on paper would be winners, right? It’s possible. But not always the case. Like previous articles have mentioned, Survivor needs some big characters in each season, and those players are long odds to win Survivor. I’m sure more people find Coach, Corinne, and Courtney more entertaining than Yul, Bob, and Danni, but on the other hand, especially with our diverse and interesting group of winners, they can provide some new and continuing storylines for future seasons. And many fans would relish the opportunity to see if these Sole Survivors can repeat their feat or at least have another strong showing.

However there are many cons. Many of the winners that people would like to see again have expressed they no longer wish to play, they are unavailable, or in the case of Parvati and Cochran they are now (or were) CBS employees making them ineligible. Also, now that we’ve not only witnessed Sandra win her second title but we’ve also seen Tina nearly match that accomplishment in Blood vs Water, unless it’s an all returning player season or there is a very weak cast of newcomers, you would think returning winners would be voted out very soon, at the latest being right after the merge. These players are going to be much more careful to quell these star players and not end up on the wrong side of history. I feel we’ve come full circle and even in another all returning player season it could be season 8 All-Stars all over again with the winners being cannon fodder, best case scenario nearly getting a sniff at a spot on the jury like Ethan Zohn.

 3rd Plus Time the Charm?


As of now we’ve had 14 Survivor contestants play 3 seasons: Amanda Kimmel, Candice Cody, Cirie Fields, Coach Wade, Colby Donaldson, James Clement, Jerri Manthey, Jonathan Penner, Ozzy Lusth, Parvati Shallow, Russell Hantz, Stephenie LaGrossa, Tina Wesson, and Tyson Apostol. Two of them, Boston Rob Mariano and Rupert Boneham played 4 seasons. Rob and Tyson won on their 3rd/4th try while Coach and Parvati made it to the end in their 3rd seasons. As much as 4 seasons seems like a lot, I wasn’t shocked that these two would be tied for most appearances in this Survivor series. Just like Blastoise and Charizard are icons for Pokemon video games and Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are icons for soccer, you can’t pick many better Survivor icons than Rob and Rupert. Thankfully (I like returning players but too much of a good thing is never a good thing) there is a very small sample size of feasible 2 time players I could see being asked to play again. Besides, 3rd/4th time players usually have a tough road to success, with some major exceptions (Redemption Island). There’s not enough data to make a solid claim that these players will struggle no matter what. For all we know someone like Erik Reichenbach, Danielle DiLorenzo, or Ami Cusack could come back a 3rd time and win it all. But as far as the current group of 3/4 time players go, most of them end up being considered a threat at some point and get voted out. Even Jonathan Penner, who dodged many bullets in the Philippines, and Jerri Manthey, who played a very different and likely her most impressive game in Heroes vs Villains, only got so close yet so far. The biggest issue being that even the best players and even if you switch up your game in a subsequent season (whether playing with other returning players or new players), at some point you end up being a target. There’s next to nothing that can be done.

 What Would be Accomplished With This Rule?


I think it will help the show out in the long run. Especially after the aforementioned duo accumulated 4 seasons each, people began to realize sometimes enough is enough and we’ve seen what we have wanted to. Make room for a new face, your legacy can’t get much better now. Considering how some players have been disappointing in their 3rd try, and especially Russell playing in 3 out of 4 seasons from the 19-22 span, at that point players coming back has lost its magic. Between possible and wanted players, there may be several winners like Tony and Mike we would like to see again and maybe having someone like Malcolm or Kass return for a 3rd season wouldn’t be unlikely, but for more examples it requires a bit of thinking.



I don’t think there should or will be an outright ban on 3+ time returning players but I would save them only for all star seasons. Aside from possibly another blood vs water season, I hope we don’t have any more seasons with a combination of new and returning players. They either become one sided, boring, or both. But on a level playing field, seeing either a group of new players or returning favorites compete in this incredible game is a recipe for success and has helped this series stay alive for 15 years and beyond. Survivor Cambodia is off to a great start and while some ideas Survivor has had may not have merited a second take, second chances definitely does.

What do you think about Ivan’s perspective? Is Second Chances the best format for determining returning players? Or should Survivor continue to bring back winners and players who have already played twice or more before?


About Survivor Oz (2110 Articles)
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16 Comments on Will Survivor Second Chance Affect Future Returning Player Chances?

  1. I agree with your verdict – a level playing field is the foundation for a season’s success. Cambodia shows that Second chance is definitely a successful blueprint. The format of mixing returning with new players should be discontinued. I would also be highly intrigued by an all-winners season in a few years. I think it could work since everyone could be considered either a social, strategic, or challenge threat. What winners are on record as being opposed to returning?

  2. I dont have a problem with returning players as long as they have done something to deserve returning. If you go out pre jury then you should not get another shot,

    • Brian Corridan though.

    • Not to mention players that have come back and been really good… Jeff Varner, Boston freaking Rob… it aint about where you place. Although I dunno that a first boots season could have a good winner.
      Am I falling for the bait of the trolling commenter though…

  3. Nathan Nixon // October 26, 2015 at 12:03 pm // Reply

    I really like the seasons with returning players, I think could be great see again great players like Danielle, Candice or Amanda, Brenda, Colby, Andrea, Malcolm, Monica (yes, again) and why not? Maybe another big characters like Jon, Jaclyn, Morgan, Carolyn, Tyler, Sierra, Eddie or little characters like Hope Driskill (honestly I think that she deserves a second shot after her little existence on the show). It’s great have seasons with new players for know new characters and it’s great have seasons with returning players for see them playing again.

  4. I don’t mind third-timers who return for good reason and with time between seasons to breathe. There’s no one I need to see four times. Watching Russell three times in two years was too much; watching Rob and Rupert four times was too much.

    I can think of people I’d like to see a third time, but I’d really only like to see them return for Blood vs. Water or full-returnee seasons.

  5. I agree with the rule of 3+ players only allowed in all stars. Boston Rob was to seasoned of a player and dominated making the season boring, Ozzy, Coach and Russell returning to play with nobodies was disappointing because they would have been so interesting in an all star season where they would have had far better interactions.

    • Theres no possible way to make Ozzy interesting. Also South Pacific ruined Coach. Sophie winning was the only reason I have it higher than Redemption Island.

  6. I disagree on a mixed season between newbies and returnees. Seasons like Micronesia, blood vs water, and Phillipines mixed well and the fact the newbies were cast well and they might not necessarily all been the best game players, they were mostly entertaining. Guatamala RI South Pacific and Caramoan were not good seasons because they did not cast good newbies. The key to a mix season is bringing in fun newbies that can be enetertaining

  7. I think fans vs favorites could still be a good format if they would actually get people who are fans of the show. New players who love the game and know how the game is played would make the game less lopsided against veterans. Recruiting models and people who don’t know the game and putting them against the best will always be a blowout. Please no more 2/3 players against new players though

    • Exactly! They didn’t pick good fans at all for Caramoan. Fans should be people like Erik, Cochran, and Spencer.

  8. I still don’t get why they don’t have the most interesting first players voted off asked back. Did you hear that guy Peter from Survivor Marquesas interview? Hilarious! He was on the same team as Rob when he played and I’ll bet Rob made sure he got voted off because he knew he’d be a threat. That’s a returning contestant I’d love to see back. They need to tap into returning contestants like that and stop bringing back boring whiny dull people like Ami. What a train wreck! And not the fun kind of train wreck that you want to keep watching. I fast forward every time that girl appears. Get some cool, interesting people from the past who will have a good story and will be really fun to follow!

    • Do u honestly think production would’ve put Ami on if she acted the way she said of course not. Ami played a good game in Vanuatu and deserved to come back. Yes Caramoan was poorly cast but they definitely learned from their mistakes

  9. I think that there should definitely be done about the VOTING if they do that for future returning seasons. First of all, people should not waste their vote on people for dumb assumptions. For example, people voted in Monica thinking she was gonna be the new Parvati. Not only did she not nearly live up to this expectation, she went from being someone seen as invisible in Samoa to being an invisible EARLY BOOT in Cambodia meaning that she was a complete waste in this new season. (Yes Kimmi wasn’t the smartest person to go after Monica but still) the fact that she got voted in over someone like TERESA really upsets me. Also, why were people like Woo and Keith voted back in when they’re playing the same dull and dyfuctional game that they played before. The fact that these people got voted in over someone like SHANE is just embarrassing. I feel like certain people do deserve a chance to return but not by a vote. Also, I don’t really mind certain people returning for a third time. I’m dying to see Eliza, Courtney, Malcolm, Andrea, etc return. Also, I really wanna see Chase return from Nicaragua

  10. I. Hope that. Joe gets. A. Third time. Maybe he win. In third try. Please have joe on If you have a. Third try. And I. Like the voting to where you can vote for the cast I Like to see. Woo. Monica. Ozzy. Kimmie. Get a third try and spencer. But. If. Joe comes back on. For the third try bring back. Redemption island. And ozzy. Were on bring back the. Redeptiom island and In. The. Winner. Bring back Section. For season 33 I. Didn’t see. Jt Thomas. Name please. Bring him back. You. Should have joe. And. Ozzy on the same. Time. And. I like to. See coach and Tyson back to.

  11. I. Hope that joe. From. Season 31 comes back for a third chance. Along with woo spencer Malcolm. Coach. Ozzy. Andrea. And. In the winners to come. Back for all-stars or something I. Didn’t. See jt.thomas. And. You. Should have the. Redemption island. On. Again if joe is on. Spencer. That way if joe is voted out he goes there and not home. And I. Like to see kimmie on along with. Woo. You should have. The people vote. For the third. Chances. And the winners that come back. For all-stars season And have those people on there and i also like to see Eddie. Get. A. Third. Chance. Keith. Not from last. Season but a long time ago Natile white for the winners. All-star.

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