Australian Survivor is preparing the battle lines for its fourth season, once again pitting a tribe of “everyday Aussies” against “the giants of Australian society” in a grueling 50-day showdown for $500,000.
The Champions vs. Contenders theme proved a ratings winner for Network Ten in 2018, topping the key advertising demographics in its season finale, which was significantly up on season two’s last episode. It’s unsurprising then that Ten would go back to the well this year for another round of ex-athletes fighting it out with average joes.
Hoping to repeat the success of Olympic gold medalist Shane Gould, the new Champions tribe is made up of Olympic heroes, world record holders, business gurus, and athletic legends. These Aussie icons will stop at nothing to be the Sole Survivor.
The Contenders, on the other hand, have something to prove after the Champions dominated last year’s season. With a team that includes a cleaner, a teacher, and a miner, these scrappy underdogs will scratch and claw to make it to the end.
The Champions announced so far are:
Pia Miranda, 46, Actress
AFI award-winning actor Pia Miranda has starred in some of the best film, television and stage productions this country has ever created, but now she’s taking on a role unlike no other: Champion Survivor. Best known for her role as Josie in the classic Australian coming of age movie, Looking For Alibrandi, Pia is throwing away the script and diving into a wild new challenge. This mum of two may appear like an easy target to her competitors, but Pia is hiding a secret weapon: she’s a Survivor Superfan and knows how this game gets played.
“I have been watching Survivor since the first season in 2000 and I’ve been sitting on the couch for almost 20 years saying I could win, so I guess now is my chance!” Pia said. “I really want to play as a fan and be someone that a fan would enjoy watching.” But tuning into past seasons isn’t the only preparation Pia has been doing to make sure she’s Survivor-ready. As part of her daily training, Pia has been swimming, doing yoga, practicing puzzles and making fire. Alibrandi no more. Pia has come to play.
Nova Peris, 48, Olympian
Born in 1971, Nova first came to the nation’s attention as part of the Gold Medal winning women’s hockey team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. After taking out the Commonwealth gold two years later, Nova decided to switch sports and competed in the next Olympics as a sprinter where she made the finals. In 1997, Nova was awarded Young Australian of The Year as well as receiving a medal for the Order of Australia, making her Nova Peris OAM. With extensive work in the community under her belt, Nova became the first Indigenous woman to be elected to the Commonwealth Parliament for the senate in the Northern Territory.
On joining the show, Nova said: “I’ve done most things in life and this is so off the grid from the modern world. My mother and grandparents are survivors and wanted to see if I can be one too. It’s the ultimate challenge.” Believing she’s “relentless,” Nova thinks her mental strength and never give up attitude will also help her along the way. And it doesn’t hurt to have a background in politics to know how to work with people. “Of course, I think I can win. I have had to get along with people my whole life. My social skills are very good and I’m mentally tough. Nothing much fazes me!” Mum of four and grandmother to one, Nova is out there to win.
Luke Toki, 32, Mining Technician/Former Castaway
Lauded by superfans as the greatest player in Australian Survivor history, WA’s Luke Toki is heading back to the jungle and he’s coming to claim his crown. Having made a massive splash in season two, Luke is a lovable prankster, infamous for spying, lying and wearing the clothes of his departed victims around camp. Joining the Champions tribe as the People’s Champion, Luke will be taking no prisoners as he promises to pick up his antics where he left off. Returning to the game a little older and wiser, this tough talking mining technician hides a huge heart beneath his hard exterior and is playing this game so his young family can have a bright future. On returning to the game of Survivor, Luke said: “I’m gonna play hard and take the piss out of people. I really believe I have the tools to win. I am willing to die out here to win, haha.”
Simon Black, 40, AFL Legend
AFL Superstar Simon Black is set to tackle his greatest challenge yet: 50 days, no shelter, minimal food, epic physical tests and an island full of mind games. Joining the Champions tribe, Simon will have to call on all of his physical and mental toughness in order to beat his competitors and become the Sole Survivor. One of the most decorated players in recent AFL history, the former Brisbane Lions Captain was a three-time premiership player, AFL Rising Star Nominee, Brownlow Medallist, Norm Smith Medallist, three-time All Australian team member and was also awarded Club Best & Fairest three times. Since his retirement in 2013, Simon held a position as Assistant Coach at his former club and in 2016, Simon founded the Simon Black Australian Rules Academy, a full time sport and educational program which provides pathways for students to pursue university and fitness qualifications while training and playing AFL.
Andrew Ettingshausen, 53, NRL Legend
When you think of NRL, Andrew Ettingshausen (ET) is one of the biggest names in the sport’s recent history. Renowned as one of the best NRL players of our time, ET played 328 games for the Cronulla Sharks over 18 years. The longevity of his career and his contribution to the NRL has cemented his status as a legend of the game and was awarded the Daly M Centre of the Year Award in 1994 and 1996. Still living in Sydney’s shire and the father of four girls, ET now spends most of his time out on the water with his own fishing TV series, Escape With ET which airs on Network 10.
Janine Allis, 53, CEO Powerhouse
One of Australia’s leading Entrepreneurs and CEO’s, Janine is the founder of Boost Juice bars, which is now one of the largest juice bars in the world. With over 600 stores in 15 countries, the iconic brand has secured Janine a spot in the list of top Aussie businesses. Her overall company, Retail Zoo, employs over 7000 people working across four businesses. The winner of numerous retail, franchise and business awards including Telstra Business Woman of the Year, she is also well known to Australian TV audiences from Network 10’s, Shark Tank.
Ross Clarke-Jones, 53, Big Wave Surfer
A legendary big wave surfer, Ross is one of the most iconic surfers to catch waves over 80 feet high. Known as Mad Dog, Ross has a need for speed in all things action. Making his name as a big wave surfer at the 1986 Billabong Pro, he then spent 12 years on the ASP World Tour. In 2001, Ross became the first Australian surfer (and first non-Hawaiian) to win the prestigious Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau. Then in 2016, he took second place at the elite big wave competition now known as The Eddie, which is the world’s most renowned big wave surfing competition.
Steven Bradbury, 45, Olympic Gold Medallist
Not many people have a phrase named after them in the Australian National Dictionary, but ‘Doing a Bradbury’ has become part of the country’s vernacular. Steven is a former short track speed skater and four-time Olympian. He’s most famous for his Gold Medal win at the 2002 Winter Olympics after his four opponents all collided, leaving him to skate to victory. This win made Steven something of a folk hero and the story of the underdog who never gave up.
Susie Maroney, 44, Marathon Swimmer
The most highly decorated long-distance swimmer in Australian history, Susie knows how to stay strong mentally and how important endurance is to win a game like Survivor. Growing up with asthma, her mother got Susie and her siblings into swimming to build up their lung capacity which lead to a huge career in marathon swimming. Most famous for her 1999 swim from Mexico to Cuba, the world’s longest open water swim, Susie completed the 200 km swim in 38 hours, a feat no one has done since.
First of the Contenders to be announced are:
John Eastoe, 28, Gold Miner
Looking like he’s fresh off the set of a VB commercial, John is the ultimate Aussie larrakin. An underground gold miner from WA, John is cheeky, tough, determined and a bloke who just wants to have a good time. Hoping these characteristics will help him in the game, John is not a superfan of the show but thinks he’s still got what it takes.
Matty Farrelly, 29, Highschool Teacher/Pro Wrestler
With two very strong sides to his personality, Matt is a humble history teacher by day and by night, a hard talking, arrogant, pro wrestler under the alias of Matty Wahlberg. Strategic, cocky and a self-professed, “21st Century Success Story,” While he might play hard on his pro wrestling persona, there’s a definite soft side to Matt who knows how to look after people and make them feel comfortable thanks to his teaching history.
Sarah Ayles, 45, Cleaner
Sarah is a cleaner from South Australia and already a real-life Survivor. In 2004, Sarah survived the Boxing Day tsunami while in Sri Lanka. Not knowing what was happening until it was too late, she jumped off a balcony and was dragged 800 metres away trying to hold on to anything she could. She eventually was grabbed and pulled onto a roof. Mum of two and married for over 10 years, Sarah has taken the hard times and turned them around hoping to inspire people to live their lives to the fullest.
Network 10 has yet to announce the premiere date of Australian Survivor season four, which is currently still filming in the tropical paradise of Savusavu, Fiji. Jonathan LaPaglia will return as host.