Survivor: Second Chance – How Being A Survivor Superfan Has Shaped My Life

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It’s hard to believe that 15 years have passed since “Survivor” premiered! I’ve been hooked since day one and 31 seasons later I can honestly say I’m more excited than ever for tonight’s premiere and the entire season of “Survivor: Second Chance.”

As a superfan, my “Survivor” obsession goes way beyond just watching a weekly TV show. Yes, I’ve seen and analyzed every episode to date, but beyond that, “Survivor” has had a huge impact in my life. When I was a teen, I loved the show so much that I produced and hosted my own full-scale version of it for 16 of my family members (check it out – http://www.realityrush.com/wp-content/press/Naperville_Survivor_Article.pdf). Year later, my passion for running reality TV game adventures actually turned into a company called Reality Rush (http://www.realityrush.com). My love for “Survivor” also introduced me to the best group of friends while I attended Boston College. Over the past 10 years, this crazy group of gamers reunites annually to compete in reality TV games (check it out – http://aroundtheworldwithjustin.com/boston-college-reality-reunions/)! Beyond running and playing in games, Jeff Probst has been a huge influence on my career by inspiring me to pursue my dream of working in television. And most importantly, one of the reasons I can’t get enough of “Survivor” is because it’s all about treating life as an adventure. Although I haven’t been able to compete on the actual show (yet) I’ve made it a priority to travel around the world creating my own “Survivor” adventures and my travel blog “Around the World with Justin” (http://aroundtheworldwithjustin.com). When Jeff Probst won his first Emmy he said, “The adventure you’re ready for is the one you get.” I’m always ready for adventure and thank “Survivor” for being a huge part of my life.

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When I started watching “Survivor” 15 years ago I would have never imagined at 31-years-old I’d be watching Season 31 and hosting a “Survivor” After Show. Even crazier, the fact that I get to do it with 3-time player Jerri Manthey is so surreal. I watched Jerri become a black widow villain in season 2, try to redeem herself in season 8 and then come full circle as a hero in season 20. Tonight, Jerri and I will begin our sixth season as co-hosts and the superfan in me still geeks out every time I see her. She’s an incredible woman, huge fan of the show and I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to talk “Survivor” with her every week.

Going into the “Survivor: Second Chance” premiere, I haven’t been this excited for a season since “Survivor: Heroes vs Villains.” Typically I don’t like “returnee” seasons cause I want newbies like myself to get a shot to play, but this season is different. For the first time in “Survivor” history everyone TRULY wants to be in the game and fight TO WIN the game. The “Hunger Games”-style reaping to get on this season set us up for what I’m guessing will be one of the best seasons in history. There are so many gamers, challenge beasts, memorable characters and threats it makes me giddy! I hope that fans everywhere will geek out with us all season long and to all the players… May the odds be in your favor… let the games begin!

By: Justin Walter

Survivor After Show Episodes

Survivor After Show Bonus

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