The original Survivor season is kind of insane to watch nowadays. No one really knew what the game was about and “alliance” was a dirty word. But in a recent Reddit AMA (ask me anything), Gretchen Cordy from “Borneo” dished the dirt on some major behind-the-scenes stunts and stories — it’s a bit mind-blowing. The full AMA is worth a read, but here are the highlights.
Pagong Shared Their Food With the Crew… And Then The Show Wouldn’t Give Them More!
This is a story that could only have happened in the first season. Apparently, production wasn’t quite prepared for the full stay out there because Cordy said at one point, they ran out of food for the crew. So Pagong shared their rice with the crew members and then the show refused to give them more.
“We were told we would have as much rice as we wanted so we fed the crew because they didn’t have enough food for them and then when our rice ran out they wouldn’t give us more and I was so pissed!” said Cordy. “I started cooking up the leftover chicken feed we had and a producer told me it wasn’t safe to eat and made me dump it.”
Cordy Can’t Believe How Well-Liked Sue Hawk Was
After the show wrapped, Cordy said that when it finally aired, she was “blown away” by the reaction to Sue Hawk.
“I was blown away when I saw people loving on Sue after the game. I kept thinking ‘did you not see how she treated people?'” said Cordy. “It took a while for me to realize that people who saw it, saw a show…with characters. I didn’t see it that way as I was playing (or not playing as the case may be).”
She added that if she were ever able to play again, she would realize that “everyone here knows what they have signed up for.”
“The rules are, there are no rules. Of course whether or not I would fair any better remains to be seen … I think I could play a good game, but I wasn’t sure what the rules were [in season one]. It was a constant mental battle trying to determine what was fair and what wasn’t. Now everyone knows that everything is fair… stealing, lying, cheating,” said Cordy.
She also revealed she has been called about coming back to the show three times but they “never panned out.”
Kelly Wiglesworth Was Waffling With Her Alliance The Whole Time
Back in season one, “alliances” weren’t a thing yet and everyone playing had clearly been sent into the show being hyped that it was all about “survival” and “every man or woman for himself” because the cast was constantly worried about working together — which seems quaint nowadays.
Kelly Wiglesworth, who finished in 2nd place on “Borneo,” was part of the OG alliance that made it to the final four, though she was shown as not feeling good about being part of it. Cordy said it was an even bigger problem than the show made it out to be — and Cordy actually thought the Tagi tribe couldn’t stand each other.
“Tagi seemed like a bunch of people who didn’t like each other. They would bitch about each other all the time. It still baffles me how Rich pulled them together,” said Cordy, adding, “Kelly was waffling the whole time. She couldn’t stand them, but I think in the end she thought it was her best chance to win.”
BB Andersen Had a Huge Fight With Mark Burnett
One thing that did not make it to air was that BB Andersen wanted to quit and he got into a fight with creator Mark Burnett about it.
“BB wanted to leave and Mark told him he would have to quit on camera and BB said he wasn’t a quitter. Mark told him he couldn’t just have him disappear and got him to calm down some but that day BB told me he wanted to be voted off,” revealed Cordy.
She added that when Andersen was voted out, they didn’t know they wouldn’t have any chance to say goodbye, so they started yelling at him as he was walking down the path — which was misinterpreted by the crew.
“I heard some of the crew thought we were mocking him, but we weren’t we were just trying to send him some love. I still feel bad they thought that.”
The Tribal Council Set Might Not Be As Sturdy As It Looks on TV
After Cordy was voted out, she had trouble sleeping and just wandered around the beach for a while. She said she was “in such a daze” because “it was like you were in one world and then walked through a portal into another!”
But when the sun came up, she saw “something weird in the woods and went over to investigate.”
“It was a bunch of styrofoam! It was the backside of the Tribal Council! At that moment I realized it was all a game!” said Cordy.
Pagong Was Always Up to Shenanigans
Cordy said Pagong was “definitely the ‘fun’ tribe” and was always up to something.
“When the tribe would be pissed off about something we didn’t think was fair it just might happen that someone would go into the water with a mic pack on,” said Cordy, adding, “One of the crew who had a thing for Colleen (that narrows it down!) would let her smoke his cigar while we were waiting to cross the bridge to tribal council.”
She also said Richard Hatch wasn’t the only person out there who liked being naked.
“Greg loved to be naked and when the crew would go to sleep he would run around at night buck naked with ferns or something stuck in his hair and make us all laugh,” said Cordy. “When they were trying to film the rebuilding of the shelter they set up a time-lapse camera and left and every so often he would strip down and stand in view of the camera.”
If you’re wondering when Survivor will return, there is talk about the production team filming three seasons this spring so that they can air one in the summer of 2021, one in the fall, and then one in the spring of 2022, but there is no word yet on if they can make that happen. Probst has said they are exploring options outside of Fiji, which is where the show has filmed since season 33, but there is no official word yet on when production will start back up.