It's been a big year for Survivor, celebrating 15 years and similarly it's been a busy time for Survivor Oz, continuing our usual coverage and branching out with new spin offs and segments. Alongside our regular contributors, we've added some brand new faces to our team, welcomed back some familiar ones and snagged some big interviews throughout the year. In our last feature article of the year, Ozlet Colin Hilding takes a trip down memory lane, recapping some of the biggest interviews and announcements of 2015! Read on to see the highlights of the year that was.
January kicked off in style celebrating the 15th anniversary of Survivor. On the 1st of January we launched a collage picture which featured every player from Borneo to San Juan Del Sur in one big cast portrait. Extending from this former Ozlet Jimmy Kurniawan submitted a Survivor anniversary video on Youtube. Also in celebration of 15 years of Survivor we launched our biggest project ever as Ben, Noah, Colin, Paul and Kate got together to rank every single Survivor player from bottom to top. The rankings cast spanned five episodes and over 32 hours of content. The rankings cast created a huge debate and discussion amongst the fans of Survivor Oz and has gone on to be one of our most celebrated and renowned projects. One of the biggest interviews of the year took place as Ben sat down with Chief Survivor casting director Lynn Spillman to discuss the Survivor casting process and 15 years of Survivor. January was also one of our most controversial months with two separate episodes gaining notoriety. Our live countdown of the top 25 episodes voted by the fans caused a mass debate on how ‘wrong’ the list was and our Worlds Apart cast preview episode also gained attention. While the new season was launched with a preview episode, the most recent one of San Juan Del Sur was put to a close with our staple Ozcap covering our thoughts on the season.
The rankings cast continued to be released in February in the lead up to Survivor: Worlds Apart. We also brought you some interviews with season 29 players including: winner Natalie Anderson, Jeremy Collins, Jaclyn Shultz and Dale and Kelley Wentworth. The 30th season kicked off in late February with our staple Oztopsy’s returning along with power rankings by San Juan Del Sur married couple Jeremy and Val Collins. Guest host Colin Hilding also stood in for Noah with the Arzlets to bring a preview of the 26th season of The Amazing Race which saw already established couples racing against blind date couples. Top 10’s also celebrated the Worlds Apart lead up with Top 10 ‘No Collar Survivors,’ ‘Blue Collar Survivors,’ White Collar Survivors’ and ‘Things to look Forward to in Worlds Apart.’
March was also about the then current season of Worlds Apart. Live Oztopsy’s continued every week along with written recaps by Clifton Gibbons and power rankings with Ben and Noah. Episode recaps also debuted here with Ben, Colin and Noah sharing hosting duties. Jeremy and Val kicked off the premiere followed by Tina Wesson, Kathy Sleckman, Purple Kelly covering the double episode and original winner Richard Hatch to close out the month with a discussion on episode six. The Amazing Race coverage also continued with recaps of all of the recent episodes. The rankings cast was put to a final rest as well with the publishing of the full list of all players ranked.
Worlds Apart continued on and while the power rankings were cut halfway through, Oztopsy’s and recaps were in full swing. Natalie and Nadiya Anderson joined guest host Colin to cover episode 7 while recap veterans Brian Corridan, Jonathan Penner and Troyzan Robertson also made their return to discuss the 30th season. Gabon contestant and godmother of Survivor Oz, Gillian Larson returned once again for an annual chat about her Reality Rally event and all that we could expect in 2015. The 26th season of The Amazing Race continued with three new recap episodes. Nick Chester published a notable feature article this month that caused a hot debate as he discussed the case against Sandra Diaz-Twine’s game. After appearing as a guest on Big Brother Oz in 2014, where she talked more of Survivor than her own show, Big Brother Australia cast member Gemma Kinghorn was welcomed as an official Ozlet. She wasn’t alone, as April also saw the return of former Ozlet Cable Brandon, who returned to the S-Oz family after a brief hiatus. April also saw the launch of the third Survivor Oz spin off as Ben, Noah, Jarrod and Alex brought you ‘EurOzvision.’ The show was dedicated to the 2015 Eurovision song contest and saw the four guys recapping (and making fun of) all the songs that would be performed in May.
May was easily one of the biggest months in Survivor this year as we had not only the finale of the 30th season but the excitement of the reveal of Survivor: Second Chance. For the first time ever, we, the fans, were able to vote from 32 former player candidates of who we would want to see in the next season of Survivor. Leslie Nease from China recapped episode 11 while Teresa ‘T-Bird’ Cooper (#Tbirdwasrobbed) returned for a dual recap and Second Chance campaign interview. Kimmi Kappenberg, Kelly Wiglesworth, Monica Padilla, Keith Nale, Pieh Gee Law, Abi Maria Gomes, Terry Dietz, Jeff Varner, Tasha Fox, Stephen Fishbach, Andrew Savage, Kelley Wentworth and Kass McQuillan all had their Second Chance interviews and went on to make the final cast. Troyzan Robertson, Mikayla Wingle and Stephanie Valencia also had interviews but ultimately didn’t make the cast. Second Chance was all the rage with an Analysis episode before the big reveal, a top 10 on Second Chance snubs and an exit poll vote from the fans. Fan favourite John Carroll returned to recap the Worlds Apart finale and a top 10 on the best things about the season rounded out the month. Voting for the Ozcar’s 2015 also opened for a June reveal. EurOzvision ended out their first ‘season’ with a final recap on the 2015 event, discussing the winner and everything in between.
The off season of June brought the annual Ozcars. Winners for the 2014-2015 season included Worlds Apart winner Mike Holloway as biggest new hero, while his controversial cast mate Dan Foley took the biggest new villain. The award ceremony also included an appearance by Carolyn Rivera, the first Worlds Apart cast member to appear on the show, although sadly she lost to San Juan Del Sur winner Natalie Anderson in the category of best new player. While last year brought a lot of talk of recency bias when Cagayan took the title as best season of all time, it held strong in a close 2nd place as Heroes vs Villains reclaimed the title. Other notable wins included Rob Has a Podcast in the new category of best Survivor media and the ever controversial Kass McQuillen as the best Survivor Oz interview. Ozlet of the Year went to Kate McLaughlin who can take pride in beating out her fellow Rankers Noah and Colin.
July kicked off with a very rare interview with Borneo contestant Gretchen Cordy. This exclusive interview even lead to Ben being featured as a guest on Gretchen’s own radio show. On the top ten front Ozlets Julian and Nick traded lists on whether San Juan Del Sur or Worlds Apart were better seasons. Although the US version was on hiatus, there was no shortage of Amazing Race Oz coverage as episodes began for the Amazing Race Canada, with Noah stepping aside as host for Canadian ‘Arzlet’ Colin. Another spinoff debuted in the Oz network as lifelong James Bond fans Ben, Colin and Noah launched Double Oz Seven. By mid-month our Worlds Apart interviews began, with Carolyn Rivera returning for her first full interview. Biggest villain Ozcar winner Dan Foley also joined us for an extended interview, which at 4 hours officially became our longest interview ever. By the end of the month we were joined by another San Juan Del Sur contestant in jury favourite Josh Canfield. The month ended with a special episode titled Survivor at 30: A Retrospective.
With Cambodia still over a month away we kept our listeners busy with a full length interview with San Juan Del Sur favourite Jon Misch. Over on feature articles Alex Morella asked the question whether Worlds Apart winner, and Ozcar winner, Mike Holloway could be classified as a hero or a villain. As The Amazing Race Oz continued recapping weekly episodes of the Canadian edition, they also featured an interview with season 2 contestants Cormac and Nicole Foster. As in previous years we also gave you an Ozlets 3rd Anniversary episode, where Ben was joined by the two remaining original Ozlets Noah and Troy. As Noah and Troy talked about past and present Ozlets, the latest batch of new Ozlets were revealed: Adam Allen, Alec Culver, Gabriel Swenson, Jordan Rose, Patrick Gustavson, Ryan Brink and Tom Shembrey. We rounded out the summer with the official Cambodia: Second Chances cast assessment and preview episode.
September was the month of Survivor Cambodia, and arguably the busiest month of the year here at Survivor Oz. As we anxiously waited for the premiere Nick Chester brought 2 features on Second Chances. Rossi also contributed a third feature on whether Second Chances could be a disappointment. Tom, Noah and Alex all wrote second chance themed top ten lists. Amazing Race Canada wrapped up with recaps and an interview with season 3 favourites Brian and Cynthia. Amazing Race US season 27 coverage began with both a preview episode and an interview with season 26 finalists Mike and Rochelle. Our Listener Question episode was brought back for the second year running, and like in 2014 our listeners did not disappoint in bringing us some of the most outrageous questions to ever make it to air. The outrageous questions and answers continued as Worlds Apart favourite Jenn Brown was as outspoken as ever in her first appearance on our show. Fellow Worlds Apart cast mates Tyler Frederickson and Nina Persch also provided insightful interviews. Listeners were treated to the only ever ‘Lost Episode’ of Survivor Oz, a compilation where Ozlets were quizzed on Survivor trivia. While only the first round was recorded, and there are no immediate plans to resurrect the QuOZ, listener response proved to be very positive. At long last the premiere of Cambodia: Second Chances arrived, bringing with it the return of the live Oztopsy, the Power Rankings featuring Ben, Noah, Colin and Jarrod, and a fantastic episode 1 recap with season 5 winner Brian Heidik.
October started out with the continuation of Cambodia recaps which included some great players and characters such as Carolyn Rivera and Dan Foley from Worlds Apart. The always reliable, hilarious and loveable Billy Garcia stepped in at the last minute to recap with us, and as always didn’t disappoint. We also brought you the first ever Ozlet special recap with Noah and Ryan. October also saw the intro interviews for all of the new Ozlets: Jordan, Patrick, Alec, Gabriel, Gemma, Adam, and Ryan. The Amazing Race Oz podcasts and weekly Oztopsies kept on coming as well. In October we celebrated the 4th birthday of Survivor Oz with the women that helped start it all, the one and only Gillian Larson! October also brought you some of the most talked about top 10s and feature articles like top 10 reasons Heroes vs Villains is overrated, Making the Case for Chase Rice and top 10 underrated episodes just to name a few.
November brought on more of the unpredictability of Survivor Cambodia and the great recaps we had with John Carroll, the loveable Purple Kelly and snubs of the season Troyzan and T-Bird (I voted for you both). New Ozlet Ryan also filled in for a recorded recap with newly married San Juan Del Sur pair Jon and Jaclyn. November also brought on of the coolest articles we’ve ever brought you as Ozlet Julian visited the original locations of Survivor: The Australian Outback and shared his pictures and stories with us. We also had many great top 10s and feature articles this month such as tribe swaps and analysis of throwing challenges. November also brought some of the biggest news for Survivor Oz fans. Australian Survivor is coming back! We took a break from Cambodia to bring you a special episode featuring Ben and Australian Ozlets, Noah, Cable, Julian and Ryan as they gave their reactions to the new local version of Survivor in an entertaining podcast.
In December we wrapped up both The Amazing Race as well as the end of Cambodia: Second Chances. The Survivor recaps came to a close as Colin stepped in to talk to Marty Piombo, who is always a fun listen. This was followed by Denise Stapley who coincidentally was scheduled the very week her old tribe mate Abi was voted out. As the season of Cambodia wrapped up we were joined by season 15 winner Todd Herzog to discuss the finale. We also had one of the more entertaining interviews of the year with Reed Kelly from San Juan Del Sur. Arguably the most anticipated interview of the year came as we tracked down and spoke to none other than Debb Rich (formerly Eaton) from Survivor: The Australian Outback! We also continue to crank out top 10s and feature articles as always. This month also marks the end of the Amazing Race 27 and Survivor: Cambodia which marks another year of Survivor Oz!
What has been your favourite moment from Survivor Oz in 2015? What are you looking forward to in 2016? Let us know below and stay tuned later this week as we bring you the top 10 top 10s for 2015!
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