One of the most popular seasons of CBS' long-running "Survivor" reality series pitted diehard fans of the show against returning players. Starting next week, the "Fans Vs. Favorites" concept returns, as a tribe of lucky fans gets to see if they can Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast a tribe full of "Survivor" veterans.
Among the returning 'Favorites', Malcolm Freberg is one of only two to compete in back-to-back seasons. An early favorite to win the grand prize last year, Malcolm instead was blindsided and edged out of the final three. Now, he attempts another go-round, just two weeks after production of the previous season ended. "I’m not in the same place I was the first time. I had three months to train and get my body in shape for that first go-round. I’ve had almost, what, two or two and a half weeks, and I’ve just been eating ice cream and just drinking beer in my apartment. I haven’t done anything really to get ready. So you’re gonna get a slightly different physique this time around, until the starvation sets in," Malcolm told Entertainment Weekly. "I’m confident I’ll be bigger than everybody else and hopefully it comes down to the mental more than the physical, as it always does."
Malcolm's quick turnaround has only been attempted by one other player: the infamous Russell Hantz, who used his mind games and blind luck to get far in back to back seasons, each time coming up short. "There is definitely a stigma attached to doing this now, and you have to imagine that people are going to be wary to approach you. I’m like a wild card," Freberg explained. "Nobody knows what they are going to get if they team up with me. It’s just going to take me to be my super charming self those first couple of days to show them I’m not like Russell or a five-foot narcissistic, crazy evil strategic munchkin. They’ll get the height thing for a first glance, but they won’t know what to expect. I’m the only one creating a first impression on that beach the first day and I’m going to have to be very careful to make sure it is a good one."
He continued, "I was just where we are all going. I just spent almost two months out in the Philippines. And that knowledge is one of the advantages I have to kind of counter-balance that wild card stigma coming into the game. I know what the fishing situation is. I know how to get the coconuts, the resources we have available, just the entire environment. All these guys have played Survivor before but I have location-specific information that I will be able to share and dole out at will. And I’ll definitely be giving it out strategically and not just willy-nilly. It’s definitely going to be an advantage and I’m just going to have to use it early on to make myself more valuable those first few days."
Freberg sees his position as not nearly as advantageous as other returning players, many of which were culled from previous seasons and may have alliances going into the game. "Just looking around, there are a few people that are going to have past relationships from their seasons, and it’s kind of going to be fun to see how that works out because that might not necessarily be the healthiest thing going into it. I don’t have anybody that I know," he said. "I’m the new kid on the block here. And I’m going to be counting on somebody to be looking for a new relationship for me to have a chance in this game. So I’m flying blind without an ally going into it, but sometimes that works in this game."
Don't miss "Survivor: Caramoan - Fans Vs Favorites" premiering February 13th on CBS!