ByStephen Adamson, writer at Creators.co
I love the game. I love the hustle. MP Staff Writer and Retired Rapper. Twitter: @_StephenAdamson
Stephen Adamson

I still remember, I think I was watching the Super Bowl in like 2000... I was 10 years old. I saw a promo for this new show that looked ridiculous, unprecedented, legitimately dramatic, and super intense. It talked about the fact that a group of contestants would be put on a remote island and would have to fend for themselves. It was pretty vague though - just a Super Bowl spot that CBS grabbed - and, man, they haven't looked back since then.

What you have to realize is that it was still a novel idea to put real life non-actors on a TV show. Now, there are hundreds if not thousands of reality shows that have come and gone in the past decade or so... but nothing really beat out [Survivor](movie:946621) in terms of becoming a huge sensational hit. In fact, I would argue that it's one of the most prominent reality TV series' of all time.

Believe it or not, the show is in its 30th season. Yeah 3-0. That obviously includes the All-Star versions of the show that were a little bit different. But man... that's two seasons per year for 15 straight years. Impressive.

Let's take a look back at some of the best Survivor winners. Some have done okay, while others not so much...

Richard Hatch, Borneo

Then

This was way back in the very first season of Survivor. Richard Hatch was a corporate trainer and was heavily disliked... I remember him being naked almost all the time for no reason. It worked out though... he made it to the top and never got voted off the island.

Now

He was on Celebrity Apprentice, which is in itself fairly ridiculous... but, the part of his modern day story that is most noteworthy is the fact that he served sentences of 51 months and nine months for tax fraud. He kind of proved that winning a show like this doesn't mean you're set for life... by any means.

Rob Mariano, Redemption Island

Then

Mariano managed to be a three-time 'Survivor' loser, also a two time [The Amazing Race](series:749536) loser. This dude just loves the thrill of being a reality TV contestant apparently... he won the $1 million on 'Survivor: Redemption Island' and also got a bonus $100,000 for being the "fan favorite". He married Amber Brkich who he met on Survivor.

Now

He's kind of a pro-poker player, but like... he's pretty much just a reality TV legend and professional crazy-dude.

Parvati Shallow, Micronesia

Then

It's kind of wild that her last name was "Shallow". She kind of was, using flirtatiousness and sex appeal to help herself get far in the games. She was a winner in the Micronesia competition, was runner-up in 2010's 'Heros vs. Villains', and at first came in sixth on 'Cook Islands'.

Now

Shallow - I still can't get over that being her last name - is currently the host of CBS.com's 'Survivor After Show'. She interviews castoffs and has essentially dedicated her life to this show.

Ethan Zohn, Africa

Then

When Zohn won 'Survivor: Africa', it really wasn't that surprising. I mean, he was a former pro soccer player and dominated in like every athletic competition. He ended up working as a sideline reporter for ESPN during the 2002 World Cup and appeared on some other reality shows (everybody seems to get another chance to shine on a new reality show)

Now

Sadly, in 2009, Zohn was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma... he fought it and went into remission. The cancer came back in 2011, but by 2013 he announced he was cancer-free. He dated another 'Survivor' winner (lots of Survivor incest went down, obviously... hmm) but they split in early 2013 after being together on-and-off for 10 years.

Todd Herzog, China

Then

This dude was like a master manipulator on the show, winning it all in China. He was the youngest winner ever, at 22. Smart dude.

Now

He tried to be a hristylist for a bit, and he's now a waiter in the Orlando, Florida area. He dated 'Survivor: Tocantins' contestant Spencer Duhm. I am not sure why, but it seems like Survivors feel like they have to date one another... it's all very interesting.

Yul Kwon, ‘Cook Islands’

Then

This dude was representing all Asian men everywhere, as a truly sexy cat who broke through stereotypes and did so in style. This year, in an effort to get better ratings, the show controversially divided the tribes by their ethnicity. The gimmick only lasted 6 days, and Yul Kwon ended up winning it all.

Now

Clearly still sexy, Kwon was the Deputy Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau for the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) from 2009 to 2011. Since then, he is back on TV hosting the PBS series 'America Revealed' and the LinkTV show 'Link Asia.' Plus he's still a millionaire and has managed his money well. And no, he isn't dating a Survivor participant.

Brian Heidik, Thailand

Then

He had a background in used car sales and pornography - clearly this background helped him win what ended up being arguably the most sleazy season in 'Survivor' history.

Now

In 2006, Heidik literally shot a puppy with a bow and arrow, and he also assaulted his estranged wife. Quite clearly, neither of those things is good and is very horrendous behavior from anyone - let alone a winner of a reality TV show.

Jenna Morasca, The Amazon

Then

She got naked so that she could get some peanut butter and chocolate during an immunity challenge. She ended up winning it all - sex sells, you already know. She also got naked again in 'Playboy' magazine and made another $1 million. Not too shabby.

Now

As we mentioned above, she and her boyfriend Ethan Zohn did 'The Amazing Race' in 2011, but they split up in early 2013.

Amber Brkich, All Stars

Then

She wasn't really known on 'Survivor Outback' for being all that competitive, but rather - she was known for being a hottie. I mean, she totally is. Anyway, she was chosen for 'All-Stars' and won the million after engaging in an alliance with Rob Mariano (previously mentioned).

Now

Amber said yes, and she and Rob were briefly on a ridiculous reality show called 'Rob and Amber: Against The Odds'. The lost in 'The Amazing Race' twice, and now they live in Las Vegas with their three young kids.

Sandra Diaz-Twine, Pearl Islands/Heroes Vs. Villains

Then

A true legend in the game, she won 'Survivor' twice. The $2 million she got from the two Ws is the most any woman has ever collected in U.S. TV contest history. Wow.

Now

Diaz-Twine retired from her bank teller job and is currently raising her two teen children. In an interview with People Magazine, she said if she played 'Survivor' again, she would "probably win". Nice.

-

This show was and is absurd...ly amazing. I think The Amazing Race is my favorite reality show of this sort, but Survivor is up there too!

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