Monday, December 11, 2017
TV and Media

'Survivor' Monica Culpepper previews Sunday's finale

As Tampa's Monica Culpepper heads to Sunday's finale of Survivor: Blood vs. Water, she appears to be in a good position to win it all, or at least be in the Final 3.

But she knows that being the wife of ex-NFL player Brad Culpepper can play on the minds of jurors who might not want to give her $1 million, she said in an e-mail interview exclusive to the Tampa Bay Times before she headed out to Los Angeles for the live reunion show on CBS.

"My social position in life with Brad is definitely on my mind and on the jurors' minds," she said.

That wasn't Monica Culpepper's only challenge.

She could reveal only so much before the final show airs, but she did say how hard the competition was on the 43-year-old's body. After losing 20 percent of her body weight living on coconuts and eating chalky, hard bananas that she roasted on sticks like hot dogs, she found it difficult to adjust to eating again, "because so much of what we eat is processed." And she's still drinking coconut water, she said.

The Culpeppers both sported Plant High School ballcaps on the show like a bat signal to home where their son plays on the school football team. Brad, a Tampa attorney, joined Monica in the show's first try at pairing veteran Survivor players with loved ones, which turned typical strategy on its head and earned praise from critics for reinvigorating the franchise. The result has been an intriguing Survivor season — filmed in the Philippines last May and June — with solid ratings.

Brad drew a lot of heat for his all-male alliance and his outsized personality, and was the fifth person eliminated from the game. Monica has flexed her very toned muscles, winning a fair share of challenges to "show the kids that more than one bada-- lives in our house." In the highest rated episode of the season, she escaped two tie votes to kick her off the island, triggering a random draw for eviction for only the second time in 27 seasons of Survivor.

As the players head into Sunday's finale, there are four players left in the game and another three at Redemption Island, only one of whom will make it back into the game. Monica, Tyson Apostol and Gervase Peterson have maintained a tight alliance, but she points out that she is in a "perfect pole position again," as the swing vote to choose with whom she wants to sit in the Final 3.

Only one other Tampa Bay Survivor contestant has gone this far. In 2002, Lutz school teacher Jan Gentry made it to third place on Survivor: Thailand.

One drawback for Monica Culpepper can be that her tribe mates say she spends too much time rehashing strategy and seems too paranoid.

"It's Survivor," she said, dismissing the complaint. "Paranoid is the wrong word. Cautious, absolutely. I bet everyone sitting behind me wishes they were a bit more cautious. It's working for me. I'm still in it."

It has been unclear from the broadcasts whether the other players knew that Tyson and Gervase were secretly taking coconuts for themselves, jokingly calling themselves the Coconut Bandits, but she said that was hard to take.

"We (had) nothing left at this point thanks to Tyson the hogmo. Unripe tiny bananas and water with bug larva floating in it is all that is left! All the more reason to drag him to the end and beat him."

She resorted to chopping up the hard bananas into tiny pieces for the tribe.

"I'd boil them in water to get something to fill our bellies. Very unsettling at this point."

 
Comments

Monday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballBryant at Louisville7 p.m.ESPNUChicago State at Northwestern7 p.m.FS1Drake at Minnesota8 p.m.Big TenAlabama A&M at DePaul9 p.m.FS1NBAHeat at Grizzlies8 p.m.Fox SunPelicans at Rockets8 p.m.NBARaptors at Clippers10:30 p.m.NBANFLP...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballTulane vs. Florida StatenoonESPNU; 1010-AMLa Salle at Villanova1 p.m.FS1Women: Marshall at Florida1 p.m.SECArizona State at Kansas2 p.m.ESPNWomen: Texas at Tennessee3 p.m.ESPN2Women: SE Louisiana at TCU3 p.m.Fox SunSouthern at ...
Published: 12/09/17

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingSuper featherweights: Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux9 p.m.ESPNSuper featherweights: Roman vs. Salido10:30 p.m.HBOCollege basketballDuke at Boston CollegenoonESPNUCLA at MichigannoonCBSMonmouth at KentuckynoonESPNUCoastal Carolina at South Carol...
Published: 12/08/17
This week’s pop culture winners and losers: Tonya Harding edition

This week’s pop culture winners and losers: Tonya Harding edition

WINNERS: Tonya Harding The once disgraced Olympic figure skater is no longer on thin ice in the pop culture world. Harding joined Margot Robbie, who is playing her in the upcoming film I, Tonya, on the red carpet this week. While Harding pleaded g...
Published: 12/08/17

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballValparaiso at Purdue6:30 p.m.FS1Ohio at Maryland7 p.m.Big TenIowa at Iowa State8 p.m.ESPN2Howard at Georgetown8:30 p.m.FS1College footballAwards show7 p.m.ESPNGolfLadies European: Dubai Masters4:30 a.m.GolfPGA Europe: Australia...
Published: 12/06/17
Mahaffey Theater cancels Garrison Keillor performance after sexual misconduct allegations

Mahaffey Theater cancels Garrison Keillor performance after sexual misconduct allegations

The Mahaffey Theater has canceled an upcoming performance by Garrison Keillor in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against the former host of A Prairie Home Companion.Keillor was to perform in St. Petersburg on Feb. 5, but the show's promo...
Published: 12/06/17
Review: History’s ‘Knightfall’ will please fans of epic history, popular culture

Review: History’s ‘Knightfall’ will please fans of epic history, popular culture

Sometimes a Templar Knight dies in your field and you have to return his master sword to the temple in Paris, because God's kingdom depends on it.All that happens to Parsifal (Bobby Shofield) in the first episode of History's new period drama Knightf...
Published: 12/06/17
36 period dramas you can stream right now on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu

36 period dramas you can stream right now on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu

If you've loved period dramas for any length of time, you probably feel like you've seen them all. Not that there's a shortage of shows dramatizing any and everything from the 1600s to the '60s. But sometimes you've seen all Masterpiece and BBC curr...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: TCU at Texas A&MnoonSECSiena at Louisville7 p.m.ESPN2Wisconsin at Temple7 p.m.ESPNUWestern Carolina at North Carolina7 p.m.Fox SunKent State at Xavier7 p.m.FS1Loyola-Chicago at Florida8 p.m.ESPN; 620-AMAustin Peay at Ill...
Published: 12/05/17
What pop culture from 2017 made you most hopeful for 2018 and beyond?

What pop culture from 2017 made you most hopeful for 2018 and beyond?

Can we all just agree that 2017 has been a toilet fire of epic proportions?Seriously, between all the strife and discord and tragedy and loss, it feels like 2017 was engineered in a lab to feel like a kick in the shins from the moment you woke up in ...
Published: 12/05/17