Executive producer Mark Burnett pulled out all the stops with his battle-of-the-sexes edition of ''Survivor: The Amazon,'' but he claims the latest installment, ''Pearl Islands'' (premiering Sept. 18 on CBS), tops it courtesy of ''a very dynamic cast. We didn't want to lose anybody.'' With that, here are a few of the contestants to keep an eye on.
DARRAH JOHNSON The Southern belle tolls for thee. This Mississippi mortician/funeral director should know how to put the competition on ice. Then again, she made the incredibly disturbing assertion that she's competing ''to meet new people from all over the world with different personalities.'' Whatever, Darrah. You can buy friends with a million bucks!
RYAN SHOULDERS If Ryan takes home the loot, it will be a revenge of the nerds unseen since the heyday of Lambda Lambda Lambda. That's what happens when you're a produce clerk. And your favorite sport is capture the flag. And you're hanging out at the National Forensics Tournament. And you actively read magazines titled ''PC Gamer'' and ''Nintendo Power''.
LILLIAN MORRIS It'd be easy to lump Big Lill with ukulele-picking Sonja from Borneo and she's-not-but-she-sure-looks-like-she-is ''Mad Dog'' Maralyn from Australia because of her relatively advanced age (51) and quirkiness (she walks around in a Boy Scout uniform, which would be considered square for a teenage boy, much less a 51-year-old woman named ''Big Lill''). But then this saucy enigma goes and rattles off Nelly and AC/DC as her favorite musicians. For those about to starve, we salute you.
RUPERT BONEHAM Not only does he score points for sporting the most excellent name of Boneham (say it with me, people), but Rupert just looks like he was made for the outdoors -- coming off as a cross between Hagrid and the Brawny paper-towel guy. Need more proof he's ready to bury the competition? How about the fact that homeboy used to work as a gravedigger? Maybe he can form a killer alliance with the mortician.
SANDRA DIAZ-TWINE You'd think Diaz-Twine's experience as an employee of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service might have her tasting victory already, yet considering she lists Honeycombs, Fruity Pebbles, Trix, Froot Loops, Sugar Smacks, Cocoa Puffs, and Frosted Flakes among her favorite cereals, we're not sure she has an appetite for anything that isn't presweetened. It also raises the question: Just how much cereal can one woman eat?!?
JON DALTON Sure, Johnson and Boneham may have worked with dead people, but did they ever serve at the knee of a man in a kilt? Dalton did, doing time as a production assistant for -- brace yourself -- ''Rowdy'' Roddy Piper! So one should assume that Jon has come to the Pearl Islands to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and since producers don't let you bring along any food, it's safe to say he's all out of bubble gum.