And sure enough there's a skipper (Kelly, 22, a river guide) and even a professor (Ramona, 28, a biochemist)--but we still can't figure out who's going to be the show's Gilligan.
CBS today released pictures, occupations and the first names of the contestants. The network says the castaways' first-name-only basis will help keep secret the eventual winner of the show's $1 million prize. (Survivor won't air until the summer.) But producers also want to prevent a repeat of the Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? restraining-order fiasco, so the less the media know about the contestants, the better.
The contestants already had to survive a rigorous five-month casting call in which candidates had to fill out a six-page questionnaire and make a video professing why they feel themselves to be the "ultimate survivor." Producers narrowed down the field from more than 6,000 applicants to 48 finalists. After a final round of interviews, producers chose the wannabe survivors.
The sweet 16, who come from all walks of life (there's a homemaker, a student, an ex-Navy Seal, a lawyer, a neurologist and a traveling salesman) and span in age from twentysomething to seventysomething, then underwent extensive physical and psychological testing to make sure they were up for the challenge. Here's a glance at the castaways: Colleen: 23, single, college student B.B.: 64, divorced, retired CEO Dirk: 23, single, substitute teacher Gervase: 30, single, youth basketball coach Greg: 24, single, journeyman (i.e., unemployed) Gretchen: 38, married, homemaker Jenna: 22, single, college student Joel: 27, single, traveling salesman Kelly: 22, single, river guide Ramona: 28, single, biochemist Richard: 38, single, corporate trainer Rudy: 72, married, retired Navy Seal Sonja: 62, single, musician Sean: 30 single, neurologist Stacey: 27, single, attorney Susan: 38, married, truck driver The introduction comes the same day the happy campers are shipped off to remote Pulau Tiga, a tropical rain forested island off the coast of Borneo in the South China Sea. In a twisted blend of Real World and Lord of the Flies, the castaways will spend 40 days there in a winner-takes-all game of physical and mental endurance.
Ten camera crews are along to capture the daily life of the "islanders" as they band together using their collective wits to survive in the jungle. Aside from the $1 million grand prize, the survivors will also challenge each other in various physical and mental endurance contests for certain awards, à la The Running Man.
At the end of each hour-long episode, the survivors will hold a "tribal council" where they cast a secret-ballot vote that determines which one gets kicked off the island. The castaways are sent packing until only two remain. At that point, previously expelled cast members will vote on which of the two finalists deserves the cash.
Gilligan never had it so good.