Survivor Second Chance: Most Likely Awards – Hero To Zero

You know what TV needs more of? That’s right. Award ceremonies.

Up next we have the Colby Donaldson Award for Most Likely to go from Hero to Zero.

In the previous category, we talked about how returnee seasons offer the chance for redemption to players that failed to meet expectations, or who made fatal errors, or who were perceived as villains the first time. On the flip side of that, returnee seasons also allow us as viewers to take off the rose-tinted glasses as it pertains to certain players. Colby Donaldson represents this category very well. Despite not winning Survivor: The Australian Outback, Colby was a challenge beast that was beloved by fans – a true American hero. His decision to take Tina to the end instead of Keith was viewed as a mistake but not one that hurt Colby’s image as the hero – he did the right thing by his alliance and was respected for it. But in each subsequent return, the shine started to wear off Colby the hero. In Survivor: All-Stars, he underperformed but just about held on to his image and remained popular. But in his third return in Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, he had completely lost his appeal. He sucked at challenges, his strategic game was short-sighted, and he got out-performed by Coach in a battle of strength. As James put it, it was like finding out Superman is wearing a fat suit.

Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance is all about players returning to right their wrongs, but that doesn’t mean that everyone’s reputation is going to improve. There are a host of players that could embarrass themselves in their second outing. There are those that while they may not have won the game, they received positive edits that cemented them as great players that just fell short. There are those that were hugely popular with fans despite their shortcomings. Returning to the game with a hero reputation is a huge risk. Again, I have nominated two men and two women that I think are most likely to go from Hero to Zero.

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And the nominees are…


Joe Anglim – the most recent Survivor golden boy, who in Survivor: Worlds Apart captured the hearts of Survivor fans and teenage girls across the world. Due to his good looks, his underdog position, and his challenge dominance, Joe became one of the most popular Survivor contestants in recent memory. While he didn’t come close to winning the game, he was definitely edited as a hero. The reason Joe has a high chance of going from Hero to Zero is because we don’t particularly know a lot about Joe as a personality – we know he’s the good looking challenge beast, and that is about it. This is similar to Ozzy, who returned to Survivor: Micronesia as the popular challenge dominating golden boy, only to show that when he wasn’t beasting challenges he was in fact very arrogant and lacking in social and strategic awareness. I’m not saying Joe has the personality of Ozzy – but he could.


Stephen Fishbach – where Joe got the positive, underdog, challenge beast edit, Stephen got the positive, underdog, strategic mastermind edit in Survivor: Tocantins. Fishbach made it all the way to the Final 2, despite him and his alliance entering the merge drastically outnumbered. Even though Stephen didn’t receive a single jury vote, he still received the strategic edit, and he was up against J.T, one of the best, most likable winners of all time. Stephen’s reputation as a savvy strategist has only continued to grow outside of the show with his strategy based Survivor columns for People Magazine and his commentary on RHAP (Rob Has A Podcast). And it’s because of all those things why Stephen has such a high chance of going from Hero to Zero. He has so much to lose and so little to gain. His target coming in is massive, and if he is booted early or blindsided, it could really put a dent in Stephen’s Survivor reputation – it could go from “Stephen should have won Tocantins” to “That’s why Stephen didn’t win Tocantins”.


Kelly Wiglesworth – the conscience of the Tagi 4 alliance back in Survivor: Borneo. Kelly battled with a moral dilemma back in 2000 when she was part of what is considered Survivor’s first ever alliance. She was young and perhaps a little naive, but with an impressive challenge winning streak she was able to make it all the way to the Final 2. In that Final Tribal Council, Kelly was viciously blasted by Sue, who admonished Kelly for the way she had played the game. This tirade from Sue only helped elicit sympathy for Kelly, and she almost became the first ever winner, losing by just one vote. Much like with Stephen, Kelly has very little to gain and so much to lose from her return to Survivor. She wasn’t that into the idea of alliances and strategy the first time around, and with the way the game has evolved, Kelly could find herself overwhelmed very quickly. She may suffer a complete breakdown in Cambodia. She could go from the young girl that almost beat Richard Hatch, to the woman completely out of her depth and booted early.


Ciera Eastin – if Joe is currently one of the most popular Survivor men, then Ciera is one of the most popular Survivor women. Her scrappy game-play and willingness to shake up the game in Survivor: Blood vs Water, earned her a significant amount of fan support. In fact, out of all the women on the ballot, Ciera was the one I was most confident would get voted back on. Having to vote out her mom, Laura, garnered her sympathy and respect. She may not have won but her fight and determination made her a popular hero figure. But when you actually look at the moves Ciera made, while admirable, they weren’t particularly smart or well timed. This could be detrimental going into Cambodia, because Ciera could confuse good game-play with making big moves. There is a fear she could play too hard too fast and end up making a huge blunder. I hope not because I enjoy watching Ciera play, but I have this dreaded feeling that she is going to go from really popular female player that made crazy moves, to an embarrassed early boot – like Sugar in Heroes vs Villains (but without exposing her boobs and harassing her male tribe members).

Vote below for which of these four nominees you think is Most Likely to go from Hero to Zero in Survivor: Cambodia. Results will be announced in September.


Check out our Survivor Second Chance interviews here and Second Chance Cast Retrospectives.


Photo Credit: Rosmarie Voegtli via Compfight cc

Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously Digital Spy, ET Canada, and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull. Martin is the owner and editor-in-chief of Insider Survivor.

9 responses to “Survivor Second Chance: Most Likely Awards – Hero To Zero”

    • I agree. To me, Spencer is a hero who risks losing fan’s respect while someone like Joe, to me, can’t lose much since I never paid much attention to him. Joe performed decently in challenged but he didn’t outwit, didn’t outplay and didn’t outlast. I think he has zero to hero potential though.

  1. The worst case scenario would be Spencer acting like pre-Cagayan Spencer (go see his interviews) instead of the fan-loved late Cagayan Spencer.

    I hope the 3 long-lasting Luzon members did well this season. After seeing post-game photos, Its pretty obvious that at least 2 of them went rather far.

  2. I feel like Spencer and the Deitz should be on here cuz they both have that cockiness that could come out if they find themselves in a comfortable position, or maybe since Spencer doesn’t have much of a chance for that, they’ll end up just not doing much and being early or late pre-merge boots.
    Having said that, the general perception of Joe as another Ozzy or Malcolm is likely be brought down a tad to the point where people aren’t that interested. Unless he breaks the mould and becomes super strategic while not being a threat.
    Thing is, if Fishbach goes early, won’t he just be another Rob Cesternino in still having the potential to win? And if he goes later, like worst case scenario is he goes down the JT route and takes some risks that don’t work out.

    • I’m surprised there’s no mention of Andrew Savage. He displays a level of cockiness that we didn’t see going into his original season; it would be disappointing for this to prove his downfall.

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