Saturday, June 23, 2018
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
5 recent shows to catch up on over the summer

5 recent shows to catch up on over the summer

emember all those TV shows you’ve heard about but never watched, saving them for that proverbial someday? Summer is the best time to finally watch them — curtains drawn, A/C cranked down to 70. Quick, before fall gets here, and critics start insistin...
Published: 06/22/18
MegaCon Tampa Bay celebrity guests include ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Doctor Who’ stars

MegaCon Tampa Bay celebrity guests include ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Doctor Who’ stars

MegaCon Tampa Bay has announced a lineup of celebrity guests that will likely conjure a mix of excitement and nostalgia among local geeks.They include Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who currently plays Negan on The Walking Dead, Christopher Lloyd, best known f...
Published: 06/21/18
Miss Vanjie talks her ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ exit, memes, drag roots

Miss Vanjie talks her ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ exit, memes, drag roots

Tampa might have the worst track record when it comes to contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race.Both queens who hail from the Cigar City were eliminated right away during their seasons. Alisa Summers was the first boot on Season 4 in 2012. Then on Season ...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Sports on TV/radio for Thursday, June 21

TODAYBaseballRed Sox at Twins1 p.m.MLBMets at Rockies (in progress)4 p.m.MLBCubs at Reds7 p.m.MLBBlue Jays at Angels10 p.m.MLBCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas Tech8 p.m.ESPNUGolfPGA: Traveler’s Championship3:30 p.m.GolfHorsesRoyal Asco...
Published: 06/20/18

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, June 20

TODAYBaseballDodgers at Cubs2 p.m.MLBMarlins at Giants3:30 p.m.FSFMariners at Yankees7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMCollege baseball, World SeriesOregon State vs. North Carolina7 p.m.ESPNGolfPGA Professionals Championship6:30 p.m.GolfHor...
Published: 06/19/18

Sports on TV/radio for Tuesday, June 19

TODAYBaseballOrioles at Nationals7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Giants10 p.m.FSFDiamondbacks at Angels10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas2 p.m.ESPNTexas Tech vs. Arkansas7 p.m.ESPNGolfPGA Professionals c...
Published: 06/18/18

Sports on TV/radio for Monday, June 18

TODAYBaseballYankees at Nationals7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Giants10 p.m.FSFDiamondbacks at Angels10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesOregon State vs. Washington2 p.m.ESPNNorth Carolina vs. Mississippi State7 p.m.ESPN...
Published: 06/17/18

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 17

TODAYAutosXfinity: Iowa 250 qualifying2:30 p.m.FS2Xfinity: Iowa 2505 p.m.FS1BaseballMarlins at Orioles1 p.m.FSFRays at Yankees2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMAstros at Royals2 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners (in progress)5 p.m.MLBCubs at Cardinals8 p.m.ESPNCollege b...
Published: 06/16/18

Sports on TV/radio for Saturday, June 16

TODAYArena FootballPhiladelphia at Albany6 p.m.CBSSNAutosTrucks: Iowa 250 qualifying4:30 p.m.FS2Trucks: Iowa 2507 p.m.FS1BaseballRays at Yankees1 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Orioles4 p.m.FSFTwins at Indians4 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners8 p.m.FoxCFLHa...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports on TV/radio for Friday, June 15

Sports on TV/radio for Friday, June 15

TODAYArena FootballWashington at Baltimore7 p.m.CBSSNAutosNHRA: Thunder Valley Nationals qualifying6 p.m.FS1BaseballRays at Yankees7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Orioles7 p.m.FSFCFLToronto at Saskatchewan9 p.m.ESPN2GolfU.S. Open10 a.m.FS1LPGA: Meije...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18