No friendship for your boy

There was no friendship at the Big Brother 18 finale.

In the closest final vote in five seasons, and the first ever 5-4 decision since the jury was expand to nine members, Nicole Franzel edged out the breakout star of the season Paul Abrahamian.

Nicole Franzel became the first woman to ever beat a man in the final two as she won Big Brother 18. (CBS)
Nicole Franzel became the first woman to ever beat a man in the final two as she won Big Brother 18. (CBS)

Despite being on the block six times, winning two veto competitions and running away with the final four challenges to secure his spot in the final two, the player who dubbed himself “Your Boy” couldn’t overcome what he believed to be a bitter jury as he told Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross.

“I was a little bit shocked. I don’t know what more I could have done. The most in-house competition wins of the season, cleaning house towards the end of the game, really winning every single competition, and being up against two people who have played the game before,” Paul told Dalton Ross following the jury’s shocking decision to award Nicole the $500,000 prize. “I thought it was a no-brainer, but clearly the jury was a little bit pissed, let’s put it that way.”

In perhaps the most shocking ending in Big Brother history, Paul Abrahamian came up one vote short of the half-million dollar prize. (CBS)
In perhaps the most shocking ending in Big Brother history, Paul Abrahamian came up one vote short of the half-million dollar prize. (CBS)

Paul could have taken James to the end, instead opting to evict him at the final three. Some might argue Paul would’ve won the game had he done so, but hindsight is always 20-20.

After all, Paul was confident he could beat both of the two-time competitors in the final two.

“I honestly thought I could beat both of them by either a 7-2 or 6-3 vote. But seeing as how it ended with Nicole – especially with the enemies she had in the house – I knew James created less enemies in the house and Nicole had a little bit more heat on her, so I thought it would be my best move to take her,” Paul told Dalton Ross when asked if he took the right person to the end. “But clearly seeing how that turned out, I think it would have been the same way with James. I think there was just a slight distaste for how crazy I was.”

Paul might have been a little crazy. There’s moment after moment that corroborates that claim. But crazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The muffin man wouldn’t have happened if Paul weren’t a little crazy. The same can be said about the rise and fall of our good friend Pablo the Pelican.

While James may have found love in the house in Natalie, he came up empty-handed in his quest for $500,000. (CBS)
While James may have found love in the house in Natalie, he came up empty-handed in his quest for $500,000. (CBS)

“I know the second you guys walked through those doors, you said he’s the loud and crazy one,” Paul said in his speech to the jury on finale night.

After rattling off his accomplishments from the season, which included finding the Paris Room first and the round-trip ticket, winning his way to the end after his closest ally Victor was clipped and splitting up the biggest power couple house of Corey and Nicole at the final four, Paul finished his final plea in typical fashion.

“What I’m proud of the most is I accomplished this by staying true to my crazy self and not having to change a single thing about me,” he began. “My cards were shown this entire game because I had nothing to hide, and I told you guys I’d break some rules, but there’s one rule I’ll never break. And that’s rule number one – friendship.”

“Crap that was good,” Nicole mumbles before she started her final speech.

It was the proverbial mic drop for your boy. All the while one contestant, Da’Vonne, could not have been more animated or excited.

In the end Paul got votes from James, Victor, Michelle and Bridgette.

Nicole received five votes, with them coming from Corey, Natalie, Paulie, Zakiyah and most shockingly Da’Vonne.

With a 4-4 deadlock and one vote – Da’Vonne’s – left to read, I thought he had done it. Your boy had done the impossible. There was no vote I was more certain about Paul receiving (besides Victor’s of course) than Da’Vonne.

And then in a matter of seconds, the mood went from friendship to pissed as Julie Chen pulled the final key from the box with “Nicole” written on it.

A sneak peek at Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

It’s here, well at least the first eight minutes of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X are here. Later tonight, we’ll be able to see the full 90-minute premiere of the show’s 33rd season.

But in the interim the first eight minutes will have to suffice.

Before the premiere of Cambodia – Second Chance, CBS released a similar extended intro for the episode. It was an excellent tease, that didn’t give away anything but did more than enough to get the Survivor juices pumping.

It’s exciting that CBS has continued this trend because tonight’s premiere can’t come soon enough.

A Survivor, Big Brother double-feature set for Wednesday


It’s Survivor premiere week. It’s one of those weeks on the television calendar that just has me downright giddy. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday night Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, the franchise’s 33rd installment, debuts on on CBS. Right after, at 8:30 p.m., we get the season finale of Big Brother 18.

Three full hours of reality television will make Sept. 21 a great night. Ever since CBS made the move a few years back to make this spectacle a reality, they’ve had a resounding success.

In a way Survivor, which has seasons in the fall and spring, has served as bookends to Big Brother, which runs now from June until September. And Wednesday night will be a great chapter in that great book that is reality television.

Listen to the Gen X’er, young grasshopper

The Takali Tribe (CBS)
The Takali Tribe (CBS)

In Survivor’s battle of the generations, 10 Gen X’ers were forced to leave their families and day-to-day lives behind to fight 10 millennials and their peers for $1 million on the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji.

As with the Vanua tribe in Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, most members of the Takali tribe have no chance at winning the game, having the most ballots tallied on day 39.

Like with the millennials, as we break down the 10 Gen X’ers every judgement, assumption and accusation will be based solely on their player bios on We’ll give you a quick snap judgement based on the highlights (or lowlights in some cases) and categorize them into one of three groups – contender, goat or Purple Kelly. A contender is pretty obvious. A goat is someone who is just there or along for the ride. The goat will inevitably receive zero votes at the final tribal council. And in honor of Kelly Shinn from Nicaragua, the Purple Kelly designation is assigned to the person you’ll be saying, “who’s that” to at the merge.

Bret LaBelle (CBS)
Bret LaBelle (CBS)

Bret LaBelle, 42

The newest member of Cops-R-Us, Bret went to Fiji by way of Boston. Now of course comparisons can be made to recent winners like Tony Vlachos, the Jersey City cop, or Jeremy Collins, the Cambridge firefighter. But I think Bret is the real deal. He appears to be a savvy player who, if he can stay off people’s radar in the games’ early days, could just walk home with a million dollar check.

Chris Hammons (CBS)
Chris Hammons (CBS)

Chris Hammons, 38

When it comes to Survivor alpha males, it doesn’t get much better than Chris Hammons. After his father was incarcerated at age 15, he went on to win a national championship as a captain on the University of Oklahoma football team. Because of his life experiences, the trial attorney is able to relate to people from all walks of life, which instantly gives someone a chance at winning the game.

Ciandre "Cece" Taylor (CBS)
Ciandre “CeCe” Taylor (CBS)

Ciandre “CeCe” Taylor, 39

Ciandre has been through a lot in life, and because of that she says she’s an outgoing and strong-minded individual. This could go two ways for “CeCe.” It could cause a rift early on in her tribe, especially after a swap, or, she could use those traits to get ahead in the game. Unfortunately for Ciandre, like her purple buff, she’ll be Purple Ciandre and won’t last long in the game.

David Wright (CBS)
David Wright (CBS)

David Wright, 42

David is the quirky, neurotic fish-out-of-water, and I think he’s going to be great. As a comedy writer, he’s going to be great in confessionals. The dude likes breakfast, too, as he said when asked what it means to be a Gen X. Ultimately his fate in the game early on will rely on his ability to relate to the alphas on his tribe, which I think he can do, meaning he will be in this game for the long haul.

Jessica Lewis (CBS)
Jessica Lewis (CBS)

Jessica Lewis, 37

There’s something about Jessica that makes me think she can pretend to be your closest ally in the game as she brings out her motherly attributes, but then in a moments notice, she’ll slit your throat and vote you out using her skills from the court room. In Survivor, that’s a lethal combination. Everything’s been earned in Jessica’s life, and that’s going to carry her far, especially in this game.

Ken McNickle (CBS)
Ken McNickle (CBS)

Ken McNickle, 33

Clearly Ken is not like most of the other Generation X’ers on his tribe. He’s the youngest player on Vanua by four years, and who wouldn’t want to trust that smile. He’s got the social and physical game down, the question is, does he have the strategic chops to avoid the post-swap, pre-merge boot. Maybe it’s because I think he looks like Joaquin Souberbielle, but I think Ken will suffer a similar fate.

Lucy Huang (CBS)
Lucy Huang (CBS)

Lucy Huang, 42

Lucy thinks she’ll win the game in part because her strategic moves will be respected by the jury. It’s a bold statement for pre-game thoughts, especially since she hasn’t made a single move yet. She described herself as stubborn and controlling, and she doesn’t like lazy people. If you can’t tell what I’m think, Lucy is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way over the 39 days, making her the perfect jury goat.

Paul Wachter (CBS)
Paul Wachter (CBS)

Paul Wachter, 52

To be totally honest, I didn’t get a damn thing from Paul’s bio. But there’s the old phrase that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, Paul’s picture certainly is. Paul just feels like “Survivor.” After all, the boat mechanic said his three main hobbies are singing in a rock band, treasure hunting and spearfishing. Paul may end up being a goat, but much like Tai Trang, he may be seeing Sia on finale night.

Rachel Ako (CBS)
Rachel Ako (CBS)

Rachel Ako, 37

Let’s just get straight to the point – the three items she would bring to the island are, “SPF, tampons, and lip balm, so I’m camera ready.” Come on, Rachel, the show’s producers aren’t savages now, you could’ve chosen a few better items. The contestant she said she was most like was also herself, although in pre-game press, she said she was most like Amber Mariano. That’s not enough to stop her best case scenario from being a goat, though.

Sunday Burquest (CBS)
Sunday Burquest (CBS)

Sunday Burquest, 45

A pastor named Sunday? That’s like an ice cream man being called Cone. Sorry, Sunday. The jokes just write themselves. While you have to give Sunday credit for filling out her bio rather extensively, it’s unfortunate that her pre-game bio will be longer than her time in the game. Because if the Gen X’ers lose the first immunity challenge on day 3, there’s no doubt that Sunday will see her last day.

No better reality host than Jeff Probst


From 2008 until 2011, Survivor’s Jeff Probst won four consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for outstanding reality host. He won the inaugural award in 2008, beating out some of the top reality hosts in the country like The Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan, American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest and Dancing With the Star’s Tom Bergeron.

But then in 2012, the nominations stopped. Survivor’s host-master general just kept running CBS’ longest-running active show.

Probst has been referred to as the show’s 17th player. This was of course back when the show traditionally had 16 contestants in the game. Nowadays in the program’s 33rd season, there are typically 18-20 players vying for the million dollar prize.

And while some shows could go on without their host (I think the briefcase-opening Deal or No Deal would have survived perfectly fine had Howie Mandel not been the host), Survivor is synonymous with Jeff Probst. The show would not have had the success it did without Probst.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross, the host opened up about season 40 of Survivor being the show’s next landmark goal.

There have been multiple times when it looked like Probst could’ve left the show, most notably following the show’s 12th season. In 2012, the host’s daytime talk show, The Jeff Probst Show ran on CBS. However, it never took off, and Probst returned to Survivor with a renewed energy and de-facto show runner status.

“I can’t believe a third of my life has been spent doing this show,” the 54 year-old Probst told Ross. “At one point it was like, ‘Oh, I have this job Survivor,’ and now I’m realizing, my career will be defined by Survivor.”

In a recent piece on Bill Simmons’ new HBO show, Any Given Wednesday, he said that, “Jeff thrives because he genuinely loves the show.”

In order to bring the same excitement and enthusiasm that Probst brings to jungles across the world, you have to love the product you’re invested in.

Drew Carey seamlessly replaced Bob Barker on The Price is Right. Guess who else could host The Price is Right just as well, if not better? You guessed it, Jeff Probst.

Jeff Probst dishes on the Survivor 33 contestants

As the premiere of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X nears closer, we will continue to preview all of the twists and contestants for the upcoming season. But in the meantime, it would only be fitting to share Jeff Probst’s take on the contestants.

The host is high on the cast, stating that most of the contestants are likable, which is a good thing for the players but at the same time everyone will want to get rid of everyone, too, for that exact reason.

Probst said that we haven’t seen anyone like Zeke since Richard Hatch, and that if he made it to the end and won he would be one of the greatest winners ever. But at the same time he could be the first one out because of the tremendous threat he poses.

Interesting words from the host, indeed.


Three questions heading into the last week of Big Brother 18

  • What will the final three look like?

With either Paul or Victor scheduled to be evicted during Tuesday night’s episode, it ensures that at least one-half of Corey and Nicole will be playing in the final three HOH competition for a spot in the finals. Because Big Brother has such an emphasis placed on challenge outcomes at the end of the game, I think it’s safe to say that Victor will be evicted tomorrow (although the episode doesn’t air until Tuesday) for the third time.

That leaves the challenge-inept Paul alone, your boy has no other boy. He’s going to skate into the final three along with James.

That leaves the final spot down to Corey or Nicole. And because I ultimately think Nicole is going to win the game, Corey will follow Victor out the door shortly after.

  • Who will win America’s fan-favorite?

After James walked away with the $25,000 prize as America’s favorite house guest in BB17 following his seventh place finish, he entered the BB18 house as the odds-on favorite to repeat. But then the Muffin Man came. Seriously, there should be no doubt about your boy, Paul.

  • Will we be seeing any BB18 contestants on the fall edition?

While there are actually a few players I’d love to keep seeing on my TV, I don’t see it happening. The fall edition of Big Brother is more than likely going to feature an entire new batch of contestants, but what we could see is those contestants back in the house next summer.

A Survivor first 33 seasons in

Back in March, following the medevac of Caleb Reynolds after a reward challenge that featured extreme heat in Survivor: Kaoh Rong, I questioned the limits that Survivor pushed its contestants to.

Despite three contestants going down while playing for a prize of coffee of spices, I wrote that the production team would never put their contestants in life-threatening situations. The show may push the physical, mental and emotional limits of players but it would never act in a reckless manner.

So when Jeff Probst teased during preseason press interviews for Millennials vs. Gen X that weather will impact the show in a way that the game has never seen, questions arose.

The host revealed that it was not heat-related, like the issues that caused so many ailments in Kaoh Rong. And when it was shown that the upcoming season would take place in Fiji, information was put together that tropical cyclone Zena struck the island nation around the time shooting was scheduled to take place.

Earlier last week, it was exclusively revealed to Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross that the entire cast had to be temporarily evacuated from the game on day two on April 6 due to the rare circumstances.

Survivor has been hit by a variety of harsh storms and brutal weather conditions but never have such extreme measures been taken.

“This time, the storm caught us. It was only day two and in a matter of hours, a nice afternoon turned into a severe rainstorm the kept growing in intensity by the hours,” Probst explained to Dalton Ross. “We were monitoring the weather minute by minute back at base camp. When the national Fijian weather service upgraded it to a cyclone, we had to evacuate both tribes from their beaches and get them to safety. We have never had to evacuate tribes in 32 seasons of Survivors.”

While last season featured a record three medical evacuations, this rendition featured an albeit brief, evacuation of an entire cast.

For 30 seasons, remember Kaoh Rong was filmed before Cambodia – Second ChanceSurvivor was relatively lucky when it came to the conditions contestants went through on the show. Now, two of the last three installments of the program have had less-than-ideal situations due to the unpredictable nature of weather.

But that’s the beauty of Survivor. Even 33 seasons in, the elements of outwit, outplay and outlast all remain more important than ever.

Early goodbye to Pablo the Pelican

On her way out the door of the Big Brother house, Big Meech went out with a bang, as to be expected. But what was not anticipated was what she snatched on her way to see host Julie Chen.

It’s no secret that your boy, Paul, grew close to a pelican pool toy that he aptly named Paul in the house. He wore it everywhere – through thick and thin, even during his secret service punishment.

So when Michelle was evicted, she made the unguided decision to take the pool toy that Paul named Pablo with her. There was no reason for the move. Paul was on the block next to her after all.

As she told EW’s Dalton Ross the day after she was evicted, she took the pelican so Paul simply couldn’t have it. Michelle’s fellow houseguests often compared her to a baby for all the crying she did during the game. Turns out her final act just proved their point.

I’m a millennial, get me out of here

The Vanua Tribe (CBS)
The Vanua Tribe (CBS)

Somewhere on the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji, 10 millennials were stranded without their hashtags, Instagram accounts and whatever else unemployed 20-something-year-olds do to occupy their time.

While there may be 20 total players competing for the million dollar prize in Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, very few have any chance at winning. Technically, each player has a five percent chance, but in reality only five or six players stand a chance at walking away victorious on Day 39.

As we breakdown the ten millennials (the Vanua tribe), every judgement, assumption and accusation will be based solely on their player bios on We’ll give you a quick snap judgement based on the highlights (or lowlights in some cases) and categorize them into one of three groups – contender, goat or Purple Kelly. A contender is pretty obvious. A goat is someone who is just there or along for the ride. The goat will inevitably receive zero votes at the final tribal council. And in honor of Kelly Shinn from Nicaragua, the Purple Kelly designation is assigned to the person you’ll be saying, “who’s that” to at the merge.

Adam Klein (CBS)
Adam Klein (CBS)

Adam Smith, 25

Adam seems nice enough. He’s clearly a super fan as he’s watched the show since middle school, and the guy often frequents the Survivor Reddit page. He manages a homeless shelter, which seems admirable. Unfortunately for the mustache-loathing super fan, Adam is going to be too nice and walked over. If he’s lucky to make it to the end, there’s no other outcome than Adam the goat.

Hannah Shapiro (CBS)
Hannah Shapiro (CBS)

Hannah Shapiro, 24

Another lifelong fan of the show, Hannah instantly reminded me of the young, intelligent super fans to appear on Survivor recently such as Shirin Oskooi or Aubry Bracco. She’s clearly the neurotic, fish-out-water contestant. After all, the player she most identified with is John Cochran. Hannah could be an early boot if she struggles to adapt, but I think ultimately that she’s a contender.

Jessica "Figgy" Figueroa (CBS)
Jessica “Figgy” Figueroa (CBS)

Jessica “Figgy” Figueroa, 23

The player Jessica “Figgy” most claims she was most like was Stephenie LaGrossa. That’s fine, I don’t care what the inevitable third-boot thinks because she is clearly most like is Flicka! I mean they do look somewhat, maybe 10 percent similar. And neither one wants to go by the name of Jessica, instead opting for some ridiculous nickname. You win, Purple “Figgy.”

Justin "Jay" Starrett (CBS)
Justin “Jay” Starrett (CBS)

Justin “Jay” Starrett, 27

Jay(?)’s biggest pet peeve is when people say they’re going to do something and then don’t do it. Well you’re sure going to like Survivor, Justin/Jay, because people always stick to the plan. He also wants to bring a DVD player and DVDs to the island but no TV. Maybe someone promised Purple Jay there’s already going to be a flat screen on the island.

Mari Takahashi(CBS)
Mari Takahashi (CBS)

Mari Takahashi, 31

In one way, Mari represents everything that a millennial is as an internet gaming sensation. But she seems intelligent and more importantly socially aware. She even cited Yul Kwon as the player she was most like. For those uninitiated, Yul is probably the most under-appreciated best player in the game. If Mari can manage to stay off of everyone’s nerves and not let everyone know how smart she is, she’ll be a contender.

Michaela Bradshaw(CBS)
Michaela Bradshaw (CBS)

Michaela Bradshaw, 25

I literally got nothing from Michaela’s bio. After a quick scan I had her at goat status, but now I think she might be Purple Michaela. To her credit, she’s a self-motivated individual. But at the same time, she cited recent fan-favorite females as who she’s most like, which leads me to believe she’s not overly familiar with the game. At the end of the day, I think she’s ultimately a goat.

Michelle Schubert (CBS)
Michelle Schubert (CBS)

Michelle Schubert, 28

If there’s one word to describe Michelle’s bio, it’s irony. As one of the many God-worshipping individuals on the Vanua tribe, Michelle cites “Boston” Rob Mariano as who she’s most like. What’s funny is that Mariano hated religion in the game because he viewed it a tool that brought people together. I really don’t think God care who wins Survivor, and I don’t think we’ll get to know Purple Michelle too win.

Taylor Stocker (CBS)
Taylor Stocker (CBS)

Taylor Lee Stocker, 24

It appears that brevity might be Taylor’s strong suit – both in his bio and in his game. The definition of a millennial to the Gen X’ers, Taylor is fan of the following phrases: rachet, bae, sicky sicky, gnar gnar and LOL. I think most players will just be LOL’ing at his game. To Purple Taylor, the game is not about the money, which is good because he won’t be walking home with any of it.

Will Wahl (CBS)
Will Wahl (CBS)

Will Wahl, 18

Will Wahl is the youngest player in Survivor history. He looks young but probably not quite as young as he is. His bio doesn’t reveal a ton except for the fact that he’s a super fan and would bring a bible to the island, that might give him something to bond with people over early on. While I don’t think Will will end up being a contender, I don’t view him as a goat. Unfortunately for Will, the makes him Purple Will.

Zeke Smith(CBS)
Zeke Smith (CBS)

Zeke Smith, 28

Zeke admitted that he listens to Survivor podcasts in his bio. Now that’s a guy I like. When asked about what he thinks of being a millennial, Zeke says he doesn’t view himself as on. He said to, “ask one of the other children.” If he can survive the early stages on the millennial tribe and make it to a swap, I think Zeke will be the biggest contender on Vanua.