TV Article

And The Banned Played On

''Survivor'' castoffs speak -- The first six contestants off the island talk about the reality show

Now that we've seen Richard's naked body, what more do we really need to know about those rat-packer castaways on CBS' Survivor? Then again, as the final Tribal Council draws ever closer, public fascination with the runaway series — which will conclude in a two-hour blowout on Aug. 23 — is growing faster than Jenna the group cheerleader's underarm hair. The show is the most-watched summer series in history, and certainly a boon for CBS, which hasn't seen a warm-weather hit like this since The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour launched in August of '71.

Though we still have lingering questions for the remaining islanders (Are Colleen and Greg gonna keep slipping into the jungle for some overnight nookie? Is Rudy gonna do an Old Navy commercial?), we thought we'd check in with the six booted Survivors, who endured misspellings of their names and est-style confrontations before being kicked off tropical Pulau Tiga island.

CASTOFF CASTAWAY #1 SONJA CHRISTOPHER

AGE 63

OCCUPATION Musician from Walnut Creek, Calif.

SURVIVOR TRADEMARK She was the kindly ukulele-playing klutz who fell during the first tribal competition.

NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE GETTING THE HEAVE-HO Three

Did you have any idea you'd become a full-fledged celebrity?
No! A friend of mine says I'm the perfect balance of optimism and denial, and I think I went into complete denial about this whole thing.

Any strange side effects from the fame?
Somebody called in to a radio talk show and said he was my grandson and claimed the real reason I was kicked off was because I was having an affair with Rudy.

Which, of course, raises the question...
Don't even ask.

What's the preferred misspelling of your name?
[While voting her off, Susan, the truck driver from Palmyra, Wis., spelled it S-o-u-n-a.] People were saying ''Oh my gosh, Sue couldn't even spell your name.'' But as somebody else pointed out, ''What was she supposed to do? On the way to the Tribal Council say, 'Excuse me, how do you spell your name?''' I don't think so.

Did you ever really think you'd win?
No, I didn't really have any illusions about going all the way, but I thought if I could get beyond the first vote I might stay on for a while. I was hoping they'd realized that even though I'm an older woman I could bring something interesting to the group. But those blankety-blank beach sandals did me in. I kept tripping over them.

Were you satisfied with the luxury item you decided to bring?
No. I would have brought a smaller ukulele.

What was the most annoying thing about all those cameramen?
I'd get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and — boom — the red light would go on. That's not nice.

Oh, by the way, who wins?
Ha-ha. I don't know myself who the ultimate Survivor is, and I don't want to know. I can guess — but I won't even do that.

Why don't you just blurt out a name?
Now, that wouldn't be fair, would it?

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