Survivor: Guatemala Spoilers
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Pre-game and/or general info and rumors Filmed: June 27-29, 2005
Airdate: September 15, 2005
Episode 1 vidcaps (newest sets below) | Full gallery: Click here
Solo Gary intro ad

Aired 9/11
Judd/ Margaret/ Brooke/ Gary/ Jamie cast ad

Aired 9/10
Episode description
Video: Watch the CBS web promo. (Real media; added 8/18/05)
CBS: "18 Survivors will be marooned within this mysterious and rugged terrain. For the first time, the castaways will actually live within the ruins of a vanished civilization. And they will be forced to embrace the ancient Maya lifestyle. Join us this fall as the adventure continues with Survivor: Guatemala, The Maya Empire."
Other vidcaps: S11 preview (5/15) | Early Show (8/11) | E! News (8/11) | Jeff Probst cast notes (8/11) | ET cast release (8/11) | TV ad1 (8/18) | TV ad2 (short, 8/25) | TV ad2 (long, 8/25) | TVGuide channel ad (8/30) | Brooke/ Jamie cast ad (8/31) | Second web promo (9/1) | Margaret/ Rafe/ Amy/ Brandon cast ad (9/2) | TVGuide channel cast interviews (9/4) | TVGuide channel challenge run-through (9/4) | Judd/ Margaret/ Brooke/ Gary/ Jamie cast ad (9/10) | Solo Gary intro ad (9/11) |
Celeste Mackenzie, special to the Toronto Star. Original article scanned and posted by BJ at Sucks, text version by biancaxxx.
September 15, 2005: Sucks poster BJ finds a (print-only) article in the Toronto Star, which appears to contain a few spoilers:

"Survivor leaves mixed feelings among locals; Old Mayan city Guatemala locale Many neighbours paid for labour
   (La Máquina, Guatemala) There goes the neighbourhood.
   A Mayan city three millenia ago and now a government-touted tourist destination, Guatemala's Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park is the host of Survivor: Guatemala, The Maya Empire, premiering tonight at 8 on Global and CBS. With howler monkeys roaring like lions from tree perches above centuries-old Mayan ruins, Yaxha is just one natural wonder the government's tourism board hopes to promote via the show, having lobbied to bring the production to Guatemala. But the arrival of the massive American TV production caught many locals unaware.
   Closure of the park before filming in June surprised residents in nearby villages like La Maquina, according to Luis Armando Rosales, president of the local tourist association. There were unfounded rumours of looting among the ruins, and some residents worried the spirits of the Mayans buried in the park would be upset by all the commotion. 'Yaxha is a sacred place that must be respected,' neighbour Joel Martinez said. 'Something terrible is going to happen, but the Americans will leave and we will pay the price.'
   Others were happy for the visit, like La Maquina resident Gladis Salinas, whose husband worked as an unskilled labourer for the show. 'I wish they'd stay longer so Emilio could keep his ($8 U.S. per day) job,' she said. The minimum wage for unskilled labour in Guatemala is about $4.50 per day. Some 50 people from La Maquina worked for Survivor as cooks, cleaners, camera haulers and groundskeepers, and they built and dismantled games and sets. The hamlet consists of about 130 households. Gloria Diaz Grajeda, who runs a diner, prepared up to 150 meals a day for local staff with the help of half a dozen other women. Vans showed up regularly to pick up the meals and take them to the park.
   An hour away in Flores, Peten's capital, Mayor Emilio Tager agrees that temporary work was beneficial, but says Survivor's premise is a joke when compared to daily life here. 'Putting on this huge show requires a huge investment, including the $1 million prize, (to attract) people from rich countries who want to try something new - people who are bored with golf and other sports and are looking for other adventures. Yes, here people are getting some work, but afterwards they'll just be the same,' he says.
   Promos for Survivor: Guatemala give the impression that the show takes place deep in the jungle. In fact, the entrance to Yaxha is at the turn-off from La Maquina on the main highway. Still, Yaxha is a spectacular site that includes not only ruins, but also a beautiful lagoon.
   Carlos Perez, a labourer who worked on the sets, says scavenging for food wasn't difficult for Survivor contestants: 'We prepare the area where they would be (filming), including placing fruit from trees where they would find it.'
   According to the Ministry of Culture, part of the agreement between Survivor and the Guatemalan government was no hunting or cutting of vegetation in the park. Instead, private farms near Yaxha were also used for filming. There, picking fruit, cutting trees and use of open fires could take place.
   Other sites outside Yaxha, such as a private park that offers rides on cables through the jungle canopy, were also used to film. Filming also took place in Peten's best-known site, Tikal, which boasts the tallest pre-Colombian ruins in the Americas.
   Perez gives us some minor spoilers, noting that some of the games that the Yaxha and Nakum teams (into which participants are divided) include breaking ceramic targets with slingshots, crossing rope bridges, and a downhill race with some kind of sled. He says the games were given a trial run by teams of crewmembers called 'imitators' before the actual filming took place.
   As a casual employee, Perez was able to talk about his work. Unlike employees on contract, he didn't have to sign a confidentiality agreement. However, he never got close enough to get wind of which participants had been eliminated, and who continued to advance. He did say that he'd noticed one contestant, 'a fat young man,' lost about 40 kilograms.
September 13, 2005: posts its transcript of the Jeff Probst teleconference (see also the post below this one). We highly recommend reading the entire thing, but we've added excerpts we feel might be relevant for spoiling, below:

- "Brandon Bellinger: ...He's got a quick wit and he's got a smart mouth. He's a strong kid. He's really strong. I think people are going to really enjoy him. I think he's got a likeable quality."
- "Danni Boatwright: ...If somebody like Danni gets deep in the show she'll be a threat because she definitely gets competition."
- "Margaret: ...Right away, Episode 1, she's a star because this 11 mile trek that they begin with is so brutal that you have the most unlikely of people on their backs, on their knees, throwing up, eyes rolling in the back of their heads. Margaret is qualified to run triage and figure out who is doing ok, who's just over heated, who might be in trouble and what to do.... At one point Margaret was concerned about somebody, she really was concerned. And we got concerned. So she got into a big role right off the bat."
- "Brian Corridan: ...Considers himself incredibly bright.... Brian is really fascinating to watch and listen to. He's like Hatch Lite. He's Richard Hatch Lite. He truly believes he is the second coming."
- "Gary Hogeboom: ...Well Danni Boatwright, the talk radio host from Kansas, on day one, said "that's Gary Hogeboom, I know that's Gary Hogeboom". So it was a great little dance that went on right away with Hogeboom saying "I'm Gary Hawkins" and Danni having this information about who he was. Do they confide in each other? Does she use that information? Does she hold onto it? It got off to a good start."
- "Rafe Judkins: ..He's got this tremendous personality. Very likeable. I think people are going to really get behind Rafe.... If we ever did a Q and A, theoretically, that guy would have a leg up."
- "Jim Lynch: ...I think Jim's big thing is going to be...he's a big... he's one of those "I know how to do it.". That's gonna be hard for him to back down and be a team player because he probably does know how to do it. And he's with 20 year olds and he's gonna have to get along."
- "Morgan McDevitt: ...I wasn't sure she had the staying power. As the show started, I started changing my mind. I saw someone who really did want to play and really would work. She kind of became an underdog in that sense for me, personally. I think she always saw herself as a full on threat...."
- "Lydia Morales: ...Lydia is a charming woman with quite a history. I don't know how much will come out on the show. Truly a survivor in her own life. A woman who is going to have to work hard to stay in the game because it's a physical, physical, physical season. It's the most physical we've ever done and Lydia is probably the least physical of all the people out there."
- "Jamie Newton: ...I think there's a bit of a chip on his shoulder but it's a charming chip. And Jamie is a strong guy. What I found endearing about Jamie is that I truly believe that he intends to do the right thing everyday. Sometimes that's harder for him to do than others. I believe his heart is in the right place and that makes him an interesting person to put on this show."
- "Amy O'Hara: ...she shows you what she is, she says what she means. "Yeah socializing with a group of people is going to be a little difficult but I've done it before. I worked with a police force and I can merge. I'm a little rough around the edges." She's a little bit of Twila. And it's fun. And Amy is tough, chick is tough. And this season tough could keep you in the game."
- "Judd Sergeant: ...He's colorful. He's hot headed, he's strong. He's a pretty good player of Survivor.... I think Judd gets the game. He knows he's got to build alliances with people. He knows he's got to be trustworthy to a certain point and he knows he's got to pull his weight."
- "Brooke Struck: ...her strength or her liability lies within her approach to the game which is very calm. The show starts off with an 11 mile trek through the jungle and it's a doozy, it aint no walk. You got a map and a compass and Brooke is the kind of person who will offer to lead and it just depends how she does it because that can really irritate people or it can be comfort to have somebody who's willing to take the risk and knows how to read a compass."
- "Blake: ...But as I said this season is tough and even the fit guys are going to have a hard time.... I don't know what the take on Blake will be."
- "Brianna: ... she was really interesting for me in terms of how this journey played out for her and what she wanted to get from it and whether she was successful."

- "Question: You did answer about Hogeboom and did anyone get wise to the fact that he's an ex NFL player.
JP: ...he's a former pro quarterback and has some sort of celebrity but not so much that it's guaranteed that he'll be outted, it becomes sort of interesting. On one hand this guy could still be a superb athlete but if you show that, you're dead.... It's early on, day two or day three when we have our first challenge. Danni is sitting on the side saying 'I think that's Gary Hogeboom.' It got into my head and I just about said it and luckily caught myself."

- "JP: What struck me is these ruins are 2500 years old. That means the people have been gone for 250 centuries!" (No spoiler value there, just funny).

- "JP: Hogeboom gets it. I don't know how much of that comes from playing in the NFL and being the quarterback position and having to lead a team. But he's extremely sharp. He's sharp enough to know that this is how people might see me. If people figure out that I'm an athlete this is the harm it will do me. He knew enough not to excel too much coming out of the gate. It's an 11 mile trek. Hogeboom was probably as well conditioned as anybody out there. But I don't think you'd see it. I don't think he shows it. He played low key. And in terms of being a guy who doesn't want to lose, there's no doubt about it if Hogeboom could last in the game awhile to the point where it gets to be individual then he could be a threat because he could be strong.
   Question: And you were saying that this guy on the 2nd day outted him?
   JP: It's a woman, Danni. She's like a 30 year old, attractive, in great shape, athletic background, lots of brothers and hosts a radio show. She doesn't out him, she says... I can't remember if she says it in reality or in an interview but she knows, well she's pretty sure, she goes "I think that's Gary Hogeboom." But the big question at that moment for me was, man if I knew that about somebody and I found out that what you were saying was that your name was Gary Hawkins I would come to you, I would either hold that... the question is does she hold that information until she needs to play that chip and say "listen Mr. Hawkins we need to make a deal or I'm going to bust you." Or does she go to Hawkins and say "listen I know who you are I'll keep your secret we'll team up." There are lots of options."

- "JP: It's the toughest beginning we've ever had. You will see many people on their back, on their knees, throwing up, eyes rolling back. And it's people you wouldn't have expected. It's not necessarily the 19 year old girl that weights 84 lbs. It was hard and it sent a clear message that was 'you better think twice about voting off the strong because you're afraid they will hurt you in this game.' Cause without them it's only a matter of time before your tribe dwindles."
    Question: And is the camp on the coast or in the interior?
    JP: It's in the interior. And the trek're vying for two different camps. One is theoretically alot better and more enjoyable than the other and you're also playing for fire. Fire is...if you've watched Survivor, is key because without it you can't boil water. Without water you're seriously hurting."

- "JP: I am not ready for what one day was during one challenge, 120 degrees. It's stifling and sucks your energy. You see these challenges that when you see them edited are down to 5 or 6 minutes but in reality we're out for two or three hours. You have to reset something up because it's in a series of heats. I kept noticing that my brain, which is not the fastest already, just didn't respond as quickly. I really for the very first time, looked at these guys and thought 'man this is really serious... they are exhausted and dehydrated.' Sometimes you'd see people get cold because they are so dehydrated and it's 105 and they're freezing. That's scary stuff. During one challenge I covertly called the doctors over to make sure we were not in trouble. You'll see it in the first episode."

- "Question: In previous seasons the people perceived to be threats to win the game seemed to get voted off early and it eliminated the most interesting players, strongest players. Did you change anything in the game to discourage that?
JP: Well you can't change anything to discourage people from voting off the threats because ultimately it's a point of terms of just getting voted off because you're strong and therefore might be tough to beat in an individual challenge. I think by no particular reason other than being in a tough environment we did change that. They knew after that 11 mile trek, they're smart enough to know that everything happens for a reason. We're putting this on day one because we want you to understand something, this show is going to be tough. The people who are now worried are the weak people. Lydia who, bless her heart, is charming but not very strong in challenges. And Morgan, who only weighed 95 lbs, is maybe getting beat up out there. You better learn how to make that corn or build fire or build a shelter. You gotta bring something to the party now."

- "JP: There are, in every episode, multiple moments or encounters that I don't know happened. I want to have free reign at TC and not be a scripted monkey. I want to be able to watch somebody roll their eyes and ask why. People at Tribal want to talk and can't help but talk and they really shouldn't talk. You really should say less. In terms of should I influence the game...of course, yeah if I said 'hey Gary Hogeboom QB'... we'd have a horrible lawsuit. I'd be in a real bind. It's a dicey... the vague ones come when you're hard on someone at Tribal Council... like 'you're not pulling your weight'. And people go back at camp and go 'Probst said you're not pulling your weight.' In Guatemala it was very contentious. There are a couple of people who aren't going to be inviting me to dinner anytime soon.
   Question: Has someone ever, when voted out, gone totally ballistic and threatened violence?
   JP: Nobody's threatened violence. We had a couple this season of Guatemala, where people were so blindsided and it was so personal and there's one in particular that is probably the most colorful exit that we've ever had. I say colorful in quotes because it's funny looking back on it but it wasn't funny to the person at the time. People are generally respectful at Tribal Council. I try to remind myself when I go get the votes that for somebody it's their last Tribal Council and the end of something they've worked hard for and they may not even know it's coming."

- "JP: It's not heavy water-based but we do have water challenges. We get them out in the water. The water factors in.... I know the people in Africa are going to want to defend their title but I really believe that this season was tougher, the temperatures and humidity and bugs. The hardest challenges we've done. Land based challenges, physical challenges. Get down dig your feet in the mud and pull."

- "JP: We think we have very evenly divided tribes this time. The initial trek kinda speaks to that because you're racing for the better of two camps and fire which is probably more important than the better camp. The 11 mile trek goes all of one day and into the next and it was very close."

- "Question: Are you still surprised when it comes down to the end and women have the numerical advantage and never use it?
JP: ... If we have 2 or 3 women that are very competitive with a background in sports and competition, like Cindy and Danni, let them get deep in the show, they may play the guys."
John Powell of Jam! Showbiz. See also discussion of the conference call at SurvivorSucks
September 13, 2005: Jeff Probst holds a conference call with various entertainment media press-type people. We expect there will be additional versions of this, and we'll try to include the relevant stuff on this page. Jam! Showbiz is the first to hit Google News, though. Excerpts below:

"Probst talks 'Survivor Guatemala'
    Two familiar faces are returning to Survivor but host Jeff Probst isn’t saying who the former players might be. 'I supported the idea because I think socially it is a really great question. People see it very differently and I think people are going to react very differently. So people will say… "No. No. No. You had your chance. Go away." In my thinking that is shortsightedness. That is putting some silly ego or pride ahead of the goal and the goal is…How do I get further in the game?,' Probst told Jam! Showbiz of the latest Survivor twist.
   Probst revealed that the producers did mull the twist over and created a list of potential candidates before they decided who would get a second chance to play the game. Probst nixed the idea of allowing America to pick the returning Survivors.
   In the back of his mind, Probst realized that the twist could fail miserably if both returning players were targeted immediately and voted off but producer and series creator Mark Burnett supported the decision.
    Survivor Guatemala will also feature another familiar face: former NFL quarterback Gary Hogeboom. During his career, Hogeboom played for the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and Phoenix Cardinals. According to Probst, Hogeboom persistently lied about his football background so he would not be targeted by the other players. During the series, Hogeboom claimed to be Gary Hawkins, a lowly real estate developer, which is Hogeboom’s current vocation. During one of the first challenges, Danni Boatwright, a sports radio talk show host, recognized Hogeboom but he refused to acknowledge his true identity.
   'He didn’t hesitate to lie,' Probst said of Hogeboom. 'He’s got to run this little game of…I’m good enough to keep around. I am not so good that I can beat you and no, my name is not Hogeboom. It is Hawkins.'
   Set in the Mayan ruins of northern Guatemala, the series begins with a punishing eleven mile overnight hike through the jungle as the tribes race against each other to win fire and their choice of a camp site. The trek was designed by planners from Mark Burnett’s Eco-Challenge series.
   'It is the toughest beginning ever,' said Probst revealing that many of the players passed out or became sick from the ordeal. Probst termed contestant Margaret Bobonich, the family nurse practitioner, as the star of the first episode since she looked after many of the ill players.
Probst’s assessment of the ‘Survivor Guatemala’ contestants
BRANDON BELLINGER: Has a smart mouth and pretended to be the dumb farmer. He is very likeable.
DANNI BOATWRIGHT: Is an athlete and comes from a family of strong competitors. Does not like to lose.
MARGARET BOBONICH: Star of the first episode and was seriously concerned about one of the players during and after the hike.
BRIAN CORRIDAN: Thinks he is ‘Richard Hatch Lite’.
CINDY HALL: More comfortable around animals rather than people. As a zoo keeper, she knows a lot about the outdoors and the animals which populate Guatemala.
GARY HOGEBOOM: Used an alternate persona to hide the fact that he is a former NFL football player. Might not have given his all at the start to hide his athletic background.
RAFE JUDKINS: An understated personality who studied Mayan culture before he even knew he was selected to be on the series. Probst believes viewers will rally behind him.
JIM LYNCH: A know-it-all who likes things done his way.
MORGAN McDEVITT: Probst didn’t have faith in her at the start. She changed his mind and is seen as sort of an underdog.
LYDIA MORALES: Knowledge of fish won’t come into play as there is not much opportunity to fish where the camps are situated. The water there is muddy and dense. Very charming. A survivor in her own life.
JAMIE NEWTON: Has a chip on his shoulder. Always intends to do the right thing and has a good heart.
AMY O'HARA: Has a little bit of Twila in her. She has a big mouth but is very, very tough.
JUDD SERGEANT: A hot head but is a strong player because he has studied and understands the game. He knows what he has to do to endear himself to the other players.
BROOKE STRUCK: Sharp and calm. A leader.
BLAKE TOWSLEY: Most of the men involved in the casting liked him. The women didn’t.
BRIANNA VARELA: She had another reason for being on the series. Probst: Something else was going on. He is not sure what she was looking for from the experience."
Inside TV magazine, alerted by codayoda1221. Transcript taken (by us) from scans at SurvivorPhoenix
September 10, 2005: As initially described by codayoda1221 at Survivor Sucks, Inside TV magazine (apparently TV Guide's attempt at a glossy, People-like magazine before turning TV Guide itself into one), runs an article on Survivor: Guatemala. Notably, as pointed out (in the thread linked above) by Mayan Sun (Survivor Fever) this article includes a clear shot of Stephenie LaGrossa in the Yaxha canoe. Whoops! Text below. See also scans of the original article at SurvivorPhoenix.

"Survivor: Guatemala
   'Palau and Vanuatu will seem like a cakewalk' compared to Survivor's 11th season, says host Jeff Probst, who heads to Guatemala September 15. Sheltered by 2,500-year-old ruins, the CBS show's contestants were in for clouds of mosquitoes, blazing heat and howler monkeys that, Jeff tells Inside TV, sound like grizzly bears.
   'I can't emphasize how hard it is,' he says. 'There's more vomiting in the first few days than we probably had in the last three seasons combined.' Eww. Among Jeff's early picks are 'instantly likable' Rafe Judkins and Danni Boatwright, who reminds him of last season's never-say-die Stephenie LaGrossa. Game on!"

"Going to Guatemala
   Eleven seasons and we still get excited by a new Survivor! Challenge No. 1? An 11-mile trek through the Central America jungle. 'We knew going in [that] Guatemala would be hard, and we decided to embrace that and not fight it,' host Jeff Probst tells Inside TV. But these 16 castaways were up to the task. 'When I first told people about the hike, you can see a couple of people have a look on their face like, oh my God,' says Jeff. 'But the majority of them have a look, "Right on, bring it on!"' That's right Jeff, bring it on!"
In Touch Weekly, transcribed by Trixiego
September 3, 2005: As transcribed by Trixiego at Survivor Sucks, In Touch Weekly runs an article on Survivor: Guatemala (presumably penned by Kevin Dickson, who shows up in TVGuide Channel's coverage of the first challenge run-through). We haven't seen the original, but we presume the parenthetical notes at the end are Trixiego's summary of the rest of the article.

"The Toughest Surivor Ever
   The smiles on the cast of the upcoming Survivor: Guatemala didn't last long. From the minute host Jeff Probst started the game, members of the two tribes, Yaxha and Nakum realized they were in for Survivor's most brutal tests ever. 'We'd been accused of getting too soft,' Jeff says. 'On this one, we decided to return to our roots and make it as tough on the Survivors as possible.'
    For this installment, this meant an inhospitable location in northeastern Guatemala prone to blistering heat and torrential rain and inhabitated by all kinds of biting, stinging creatures. Within a day of the game starting, the Survivors were suffering: Many had come down with dysentery, others suffered heatstroke and some considered quitting. As he watched the battered teams competing in the series' first challenge, producer Mark Burnett said 'We may have gone too far this time.' And even before the game started, some contestants expressed misgivings about playing. 'It looks really hard here,' said Brian Corridan. 'I wish I got on Survivor Palau!'

(Can't swim - Crocs shown with statement: the lake nearby was full of man eating crocs)
(No shelter - Contestants the lived around Mayan ruins, but not inside them)
(No sleep - troops of howler monkeys lived in the trees, deafening roars kept them awake)
(Big bugs - Creepy tarantulas disease carrying mosquitoes and huge flying insects plagued players)
(High heat - Temps reached 122 degrees, great for cold blooded snakes and repitiles)
(Stinging things - Ground at camp was crawling with scorpions)."
TV Guide (9/4-9/10) print edition, transcribed by beatles20147
September 1, 2005: As first noted by CobySucks, and later transcribed by beatles20147 at Survivor Sucks, TV Guide's September 4-10 print edition carries a description of the opening episode. Includes spoilers about the hike, and general season spoilers.
Update: you can see scans of the original article at SurvivorPhoenix.

"Grab Your Torches!
by Shawna Malcom
    Survivor: Guatemala kicks off with the most brutal challenge yet--and a major twist that will knock your buff off!
   Deep in the heart of the Central American rain forest, the cast of Survivor: Guatemala is getting a rude wake-up call--and we're not talking about the shrieking howler monkeys. It's Day 2 of the game, and the Nakum tribe is hurting. Danni, a rail-thin pageant queen turned sports radio personality from Kansas, is nursing some serious scraps and bruises on both legs, the result of a nasty spill down a hill, while Blake, a commercial real-estate broker from Texas, is fretting over how to remove several thorns lodged in his left shoulder. Meanwhile, the requisite 'oldest Survivor,' retired Colorado fire captain Jim (a spritely 63), looks deathly pale as he hunches next to a majestic Mayan ruin, puking his guts out.
   Welcome back to TV's most enduring reality show, no in its 11th edition. It may go down as the most grueling season yet. Crocodiles lurk in the waters; mosquitoes cloud the air; the thermometer can rise to a steamy 114; and the challenges are so intense they'd make Palau winner Tom Westman cry for his mommy.
   The tone is set early in the first episode with a brutal challenge: The two tribes, Nakum and Yaxha, are pitted against each other in an 11-mile overnight hike through the poisonous snake-filled jungle. (The winning team gets the better of the two camps and the flint to help create fire.) Even Survivor challenge producer John Kirhoffer, who helped cook up the torturous trek, underestimated the toll it would take. 'The hike turned out to be excrutiating,' he says. 'You can test these things [beforehand], but you never really know how hard they're gonna be on somebody who isn't used to it. We have a lot of really fit people, and it just kicked their asses.'
   But perhaps Guatemala's toughest task will be living up to last season. Survivor: Palau was a critical darling and fan favorite. Host and producer Jeff Probst is well aware of the pressure. 'Palau is maybe one of our top three seasons,' he says. '[The location] was gorgeous. We had a great finish and a good winner. Then you come to Guatemala, where it's brown, rainy, and muddy, and you think God, I hope this isn't ugly. I hope the season isn't ugly and the people aren't ugly.'
   Probst isn't talking about the Survivors' faces here: Overall, they're a fairly photogenic bunch. Among the personalities who pop right away is Morgan, a bubbly magician's assistant; Cindy, a zookeeper; Lydia, a fishmonger who stands all of 4 feet 10 inches; and Amy, a fourth-generation cop who sums up her reason for being here thusly: 'I'm a fuckin' lunatic.'
   A Survivor first, Guatemala boasts a celebrity: former NFL quarterback Gary Hogeboom, who spent six years with the Dallas Cowboys in the '80s. Hogeboom, however, plans to keep that information under his buff. 'It's been years [since playing in the NFL], and this is a pretty young crowd,' he says. 'If someone thinks they recognize me, I'm just gonna play it off: "Nope, it's not me."'
   Survivor: Guatemala will incorporate more of its country's culture than in previous seasons. With consent from the Guatemalan government, the Survivors will live among the 2,000-year-old ruins, and some of the challenges are Mayan-inspired, such as a ball game that Kirhoffer describes as 'the great, great, great, great grandfather of basketball.' It is believed that the ancient Mayans traditionally sacrificed a losing member to the gods, something Danni had read up on prior to her trip. 'I just hope we don't get beheaded,' she jokes. 'Watch, instead of writing our names down [at tribal council], that'll be the new twist.'"
CBS press release, via Yahoo! News
August 11, 2005: CBS finally gets around to announcing the cast, done as usual on the Early Show (vidcaps and transcript of Early Show segment are here):

"CBS Announces 16 New Castaways for 'Survivor: Guatemala -- The Maya Empire'
Former NFL Quarterback Gary Hogeboom Among the New Castaways Set to Compete When the Eleventh Installment of the Hit Television Series Premieres on Thursday, September 15
NEW YORK, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- CBS today announced 16 new castaways to compete in SURVIVOR: GUATEMALA -- The Maya Empire. The castaways will begin their adventure with a grueling 11 mile hike through the jungle when the eleventh installment of the Emmy Award-winning hit series premieres Thursday, Sept. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network.
   SURVIVOR: GUATEMALA -- The Maya Empire takes place amid the ancient Mayan ruins and ceremonial sites (some as many as 2,000 years old) located in the northern area of Guatemala. Amid the excruciating triple-digit heat, crocodile infested waters, relentless mosquitoes and terrifying sounds of the howler monkeys, these new castaways will attempt to 'Outwit, Outplay and Outlast' in hopes of winning the $1 million prize and title of 'Ultimate Survivor.' In addition to the grueling overnight hike, the castaways will be faced with two additional surprises in the first episode that will dramatically impact how they play the game."
DanBollinger at the Survivor Sucks EZ board
July 23, 2005: Dan Bollinger posts at Sucks's S11+ forum, in the "Guatemala!" thread:

"Tribe Names!

Dozens guessed that Yaxha would be a tribe name and they were right! Clemsonbeav didn't guess Yaxhá, but did guess (p. 9) that the other tribe would be called Nakum.

Yaxhá and Nakum: Two tribes with those names.
That's what a local source told Wezzie and I today.
VolcanicGlass at Survivor Phoenix
June 25, 2005: SurvivorPhoenix article:"The Others"

Fine article, but we'll cut to the spoilerific chase:

"The twist this season? Several sources report that two of the 18 cast members of Survivor Guatemala are expected to be players who have played the game previously. What role they will have, or whether they will fully participate in the game, is so far unknown....

As for who the 2 players are, we can guarantee that they are none of the quitters from past seasons. Think popular, think gritty. One woman. One man."

Read the rest of the article here.
Byron Dardón, reporting for Prensa Libre (Guatemala).
June 18, 2005: PrensaLibre (Free Press) article:
"Turismo: El país expuesto al mundo"

Moderately lengthy article (en Espanol, as the title suggests), largely covering similar ground as those below. But one key fact is stated: "Willi Kalschmitt, comisionado presidencial para el Turismo, informó ayer de que la filmación de la edición 11 del reality show Survivor iniciará el 27 de junio próximo y concluirá a mediados de agosto."

Our translation: "Willi Kalschmitt, presidential Commissioner of Tourism, told us yesterday that filming of the 11th edition of the reality show Survivor will begin the 27th of June, and conclude in mid-August." Click the link to the right to read the full story.
May 20, 2005: CBS News/Associated Press article:
"Guatemala Wants 'Survivor' Boost
GUATEMALA CITY (CBS/AP) Guatemalan officials are hoping that the new edition of the CBS reality show Survivor will draw more tourists to the spectacular Mayan ruins of the Peten jungle.
  'It is a program seen by 200 million people and we have the opportunity to show our archaeological riches,' presidential tourism commissioner Willy Kaltschmitt said on Friday.
  The American television network announced last week that the next edition of Survivor would be called Guatemala — The Maya Empire. Earlier versions were shot in places such as Australia's Outback, Palau, Thailand and the Amazon region.
  The CBS program not only presents the contestants' antics, survival challenges and personalities, but also showcases the wonders of nature surrounding the drama. For example, on Survivor: Palau, winners of a challenge swam with rare non-poisonous jellyfish. Others were greeted by friendly dolphins.
Kaltschmitt said he hopes the program, set at the Yaxha archaeological park, will fit into government efforts to promote the heritage of the Maya cultures that flourished across the region about 2,000 years ago.
  'If we wanted to pay a minute of television around the world to promote Yaxha, it would take the annual budget' of the government tourism institute, he said, noting that Palau saw increased tourism attention from the just-finished series.
  Kaltschmitt said a camp for the series' staff and competitors would be established next week and filming would start in June.
  Yaxha is a few miles northeast of the famed Maya city of Tikal. The region is noted for mosquitoes as well as ancient architecture and the competition will take place during the rainy season in an area that sees rain, on average, 185 days a year.
  CBS accepted restrictions required for activity in a national park, Kaltschmitt said, and Guatemala promised to facilitate the program."
chapin23, at the Sucks S11+ forum
May 16, 2005: Guatemalan poster chapin23 arrives at Sucks' S11+ forum, and posts the following (excerpted):
"...Here at Guatemala, we knew about the possibility of the location about 3 weeks ago. But some dumbass government agencies weren't very excited about it and gave the producers a hard time. Finally it got approved about a week ago.
...I bet many are wondering how the hell do you pronounce Yaxhá....Well it goes like this: Yahk-shah.
   It's a beautiful park, the lake (lagoon) is amazing. But bad news for all of you who are thinking of coming over to spy on the filming. It will be protected by three government agencies, and I heard the main challenges will take place in a private farm.
   Tikal is the largest and most important city of the Mayan Empire. It's about 45 minutes from Yaxha. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the rewards involves climbing to the top of temple 5, its view is outstanding.
   No volcanoes there though. Most of our volcanoes are located south of Peten, the volcanoes you guys saw last night are shots from other regions of the country, but I wouldn't be surprised if they take the survivors for a treat of our most active volcano, the Pacaya. It is located too close to Guatemala City (about 30 minutes), though, so it wouldn't appear very "survivor like". You can see the city from its peak.
   A company named Casas Canadienses will be in charge of building the lodge where the crew will live at, and probably will supply the materials for challenges. The park closes on May 18, filming starts in June."
Patojo Shute , at the Guate360 blog.
May 12, 2005: "Sobrevivientes en Yaxhá
Survivor, el "Reality Show" de la cadena televisiva estadounidense CBS será llamado "The Ancient World".
Desde el 18 de mayo hasta el 10 de agosto será filmado en Petén dentro del Parque Nacional Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo.
Publicado por Patojo Shute. Mayo 12, 2005 04:08 PM"

TDT translation: "Survivors in Yaxhá
"Survivor, the 'reality show' of the American CBS network, will be called 'The Ancient World.' From May 18 until August 10, it will be filmed in Petén, in the Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo National Park."
Carlos Rigalt, reporting for El Periódico (Guatemala).
April 26 , 2005: "CBS grabará la serie “Survivor” en Yaxhá
El parque Nacional Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo será el escenario y podrá ser visto por los televidentes alrededor del planeta."
[Excerpts]: "[Yaxhá] podría volver a recibir una nueva influencia extranjera, de parte del reality show Survivor, de la cadena CBS, que se empezará a filmar en junio. "
   "En el convenio -que según Willy Kalltschmitt había sido la condición original a seguir entre el Gobierno y los productores del programa- se establecerá que deberá haber seguridad permanente, de parte de los guardias de las instituciones guatemaltecas, durante los 57 días de filmación. El parque tampoco será clausurado en su totalidad, como se había dicho al principio, indicó. La grabación del programa podría generar una ganancia de US$2 millones al país, en contrataciones de servicios como líneas aéreas, taxistas y proveedores locales."

TDT translation: "CBS will record the series 'Survivor' in Yaxhá
The Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo National Park will be the scenery and could be seen by TV viewers around the planet."
- The article states essentially that a deal was struck after representatives of the Ministry of Culture, CONAP and Inguat toured the site on April 23rd. Filming will start in June (presumably with cast). Also, the show will have permanent security forces, the entire park will not be completely closed, and the show allegedly could provide $2 million (U.S.) in various fees and employment to people in the area.
Carlos Rigalt, reporting for El Periódico (Guatemala).
April 19 , 2005: "Reality show “Survivor” en Yaxhá crea controversia
El conocido reality show de la cadena “CBS” podría ser filmado en Yaxhá, Petén. El programa se encuentra en quinto lugar de audiencia en EE.UU.
Carlos F.Rigalt/elPeriódico"

[Moderately lengthy article describing intra-governmental battles over who gets to approve (or disapprove) the filming of Survivor in Yaxhá. Main objections appear to be to Survivor's exclusive use of the site for the 57-day filming period. Feel free to read/translate yourself, but its main spoiling importance is as the first print mention of the filming site, weeks before the reveal at the S10 finale].

Follow-up story here.

Have some info we missed? We'll take it at: