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"Survivor' castoffs chat with fans

Published Sep. 9, 2005

Although the audience was small, the two former stars treated those who closely follow the show to a Q&A session.

Former "Survivors" Ramona Gray and Sean Kenniff were paid $6,000 by the University of South Florida Student Activities Board to appear as part of the spring lecture series.

That's about $240 for each of the 50 people who showed up for the event Monday night in the nearly empty Special Events Center.

Professors and pundits disenchanted with today's youth can take heart. When Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis spoke, the place was packed. But students either were too busy with midterms or couldn't be bothered to listen to what Gray, 30, and Kenniff, 31, had to say.

It wasn't much. After all, the former stars of the first Survivor series can't tell all about the show or they'd be in violation of the contracts they signed with CBS. But for the Survivor junkies in the crowd, the pair offered a lot of details, if little new information.

The lecture was really a question-and-answer session consisting of questions such as "Who hooked up after the show?"

"Everyone always asks me, are Greg (Buis) and Colleen (Haskell) doing it?" Kenniff said. "They'll deny it, but they're definitely doing it. I slept in very close proximity to them when we were off the island, and let me tell you, something was going on."

Gray quietly added that Buis and Haskell were still a couple.

Gray, who was voted off the remote island in the South China Sea in the early stages of the game, was a chemist in Edison, N.J., before the show. Kenniff, the last non-"alliance" player to fall, was a neurologist in New York City. Since the game ended, neither have gone back to their old lives. Kenniff quit his practice and now works as a correspondent for the TV show Extra.

"I have three agents, a manager, a personal assistant and a public relations firm," Kenniff said.

"I did Letterman, Larry King Live, Politically Incorrect," Gray said. "I wouldn't be able to keep up with everything by myself. It's like, "What am I supposed to do today again?' "

Gray and Kenniff agreed that the new crop of survivors in the Australian Outback seemed to be getting off easy. They're well-fed and lazy, Gray said.

"When we came back, we looked all mangy, we looked like we had scurvy, we looked like prisoners of war," Kenniff said. "I think they decided to lighten the load a little this time around."