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17.3.14

SMtv talks Survivor SA with Nico Panagio


Buhle Mbonambi spoke to Survivor SA: Champions host, Nico Panagio about the game, souvenirs, blindsides and having Corne and Mark take part in the game, where contestants are expected to Outwit. Outplay. Outlast each other for R1 million 

Survivor SA: Champions has been an interesting season so far, with blindsides, drama and interesting twists.  Nico has been great as a host (even though we do sometimes miss Mark Bayly). But that's a story for another day. Nico has had a hectic schedule, shooting Top Billing and a new movie. So while some of the questions and answers may be dated, it's still interesting to see what his thoughts are on the game. 


Back on the hosting seat for the third season- its been a while since the show was on air. Were you excited that the show is coming back?

I would imagine that I am one of the greatest fans of the game of Survivor and as such the prospect of doing another season is always intensely exhilarating for me. I enjoy the work immensly and Survivor takes the whole business of reality enetrtainment to another level. It is an incredible privilege to be a part of such a phenomenal show.
And this twist of having Mark and Corné who cant be voted out- does it create a differently playing field for the castaways?
Indeed it does! The team leaders usually emerge organically within hours of the contestants getting together. In this season though, leadership is pre-determined. That does not mean, however, that the Captains are automatically accepted as the leaders and in fact there is huge a amount of pressure on both to prove their worth. Whilst both Mark and Corné have respectively experienced captainship in their careers, on Survivor island the nature of leadership is vastly different from anything you'd expect on a sports field. Pretty soon they both realised that they need to adapt their skills constantly to manage their teams and ensure the continued respect of their tribes.


How were Mark and Corne on the island?
Hungry! Seriously though I have to say that I was very impressed by the way that both of them handle the experience, I really mean that without in any way, being politically correct. These guys have grabbed the game by the horns and have ridden it like their lives depend on it, throwing every ounce of determination, passion and fight into it as well as some blood, sweat and tears! Their involvement in this season has been a ground-breaking twist in the game that surpasses anything we have seen on any season of Survivor worldwide!
And their relationship with their tribemates? Where any of them star struck?
I think everyone comes into this game with preconceived ideas just begging to be shattered. You never know what to expect of this game and that includes your tribemates. In the case of the 2 captains, each of them naturally came with their respective sports histories, good or bad and within days of the game commencing, I believe both captains had either pleasantly surprised or adequately impressed their fellow tribemates. If any one was starstruck, the concept of stardom or fame is very short-lived and worth very little in the shadow of the realities of life on Survivor island. How 'famous' you are pales in comparison to your ability to provide food & positive encouragement as well as exceptional performance in the challenges -  which once again has a direct impact on your survival in the game.
Did the castaways hit the ground running?
Every single one of the contestants came packing this season! I have never seen such a bunch of fired-up Survivor fans on one island at the same time. Not only have they come with strategies and strength to take in this game but they each had enough savvy to make a serious impact on the way this game is and has been played. This ensures endless hours of gripping twists and turns which is the very fabric that the game of Survivor is made from and is what keeps it thrilling season after season.
I heard there were quite a lot of blindsides
The very fact that we have so many formidable players in one season makes for a series of awesome blindsides at every turn. This season is almost a game of Veterans since each player is an avid Survivor fan and has studied the successful power plays of various seasons of the game. They have brought a combination of passion, power and sheer determination coupled with know-how, which has made for one of the most explosive seasons of Survivor yet!
What do you make of the castaways- are we going to love them or love to hate them?
Reality shows live and die by the quality of the contestants and this bunch are certainly varied! Ultimately this game is a battle between variations of good and evil and you dont always know which is which until you are deep into the game. As such, you have a climax that no one expects after an epic journey of character-revealing adversity, making for a gripping experience for all involved and especially for the viewer! Without a doubt your love/hate parameters will be pushed to their limits and in the end , there can be only one . . .
Is this the best season yet?
By now you just have garnered that that is very much the way I feel. Survivor is like a game of chess, same board, same rules but a different game every time. The equation of this season is just so perfectly balanced that it has made for the most intense season yet. The challenges alone are testament to how very competitive and finely balanced these two teams are. Its important to keep in mind that the thing that makes Survivor such a unique show, is that everything is absolutely real. The challenges are shot as they happen and the nail biting tension happens once only, as you see it unfold on the screen. Often times we, as the production team, would marvel at the fact that you could not possibly script this stuff better!
Like Jeff Probst do you ever take a souvenir from the season? If so, what is it?
Well for starters, I always make sure I get one of each BUFF that is featured in that season. Apart from the fact that they are very practical on the island (and also later back home when Im mountain biking or trail running) they are also collectors items and everybody wants one! I remember wearing the merge buff from season 4 on the last day of the ABSA Cape Epic. I have a great pic on the podium receiving my 'finishers' medal with the 'Survivor' logo big and clear on my forehead! I remember thinking, after finishing, that I may never be a contestant in the game but at least now I can also claim to be an ultimate Survivor!
If you werent the host, would you ever take part in Survivor?
Absofreakinloutely Yes! In fact I auditioned for the first season of Survivor SA but they werent taking any 'known' faces that time. When the Mozambique season, featuring celebs came along, I was already the host so that was that. Maybe one day USA will go for my idea of Heroes vs Hosts and myself and Jeff can form an alliance and eat rats together . . . ;)
So what should we expect this season?
This season the games are bigger and better than ever before with a standard of difficulty that is unsurpassed, the contestants are crazy passionate and on strategically on-fire and the twists and turns are mind-blowing. The location is breathtaking and the cinematography captures it beautifully. The natural pests & predators are plentiful and then of course there are the storms . . . 
Any word on the next season?
Next season like everything else with this Game is a big secret and all will be revealed in good time ;) One of the lessons you learn very quickly as a contestant is to expect the unexpected and that goes for the viewer too!

Catch Survivor SA: Champions on Sundays on M-Net at 5.30pm 

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