Why I want to be on 'Survivor'...
Interview with Scott Cheney in the heart of Chicago's magnificent mile.

 

Melinda: I'm curious as to why it's something you want to do. Why do you want to be on 'Survivor'?
Scott: Let me start by saying I'm not a freak for reality tv in general, I've met or talked to a couple people who will watch any reality tv show and then I know people who won't watch any, they despise the whole thing. Within reality television I think 'Survivor' is a great use of that genre. I think 'The Mole' used the genre really well and I think 'The Amazing Race', those three I think are the cream on the crop for reality television and then you've got like 'The Bachelor', you know, stuff like that - shows that I think suck, the hybrids of the reality tv shows and game shows like 'Dog Eat Dog' which really is lame. There's a lot of really lame stuff out there. 'Fear Factor' I could care less about. That's like the most popular thing on television.

Melinda: Is it? That's the one with the super models right?
Scott: Well they've done some super model celebrity ones. 'Fear Factor' is like, well sometimes on a reality show like 'Survivor' you have something frightening to do - eat gross stuff or get on some high thing and dive off some thing you never thought you'd do. In 'Survivor' that's integrated into a much broader picture... What makes 'Survivor' good is there's a lot of levels - in 'Survivor', 'The Amazing Race' and the 'Mole'.

... I've auditioned for two of those, and the third one, 'The Amazing Race' - um I will probably be talking to a friend of mine here very shortly to make sure he watches the one that starts in a couple weeks because I'd like to audition for the fourth installment. With that one you partner up with someone and you go across the country, it's like a scavenger hunt sort of thing all around the world, literally. ... I think those 3 shows are very worth while.

... I'm interested in it competitively. I think it would be a great, fun competition. Even if it wasn't on tv, even no one in the world ever saw it, I would still want to do it. They seem fun and a great diversion for the rest of your life. How often do you get to go to some bizarre little deserted island and live off the land for awhile. I'd do it if no one saw it, if it didn't pay a penny. I would do it if I had to pay for it as long as I could afford it. But now you up it - if you happen to be good enough to win, you might win a million bucks. And then throw in the possibility of some bizarre celebrityness of it. Now alot of those people will be forgotten about so I don't look at it as if I'd become sort of great star just by doing this. For some of those cast members - doors have opened - it's changed their lives. They've been propelled into a direction that they wouldn't have had the opportunity of before that.

Melinda: You could go on Regis.
Scott: Yeah. Really, that to me is the least of it. Wow look at that suit.

(Just then a guy in an amazing silver suit walks by.)

Melinda: Nice suit.
Guy: Thanks.
Scott: Wow.

(It really was an amazing silver suit.)

Melinda: So did you try to get on 'Survivor' after you had seen it on tv?
Scott:Yeah. I've seen a few announcements about new shows, I did shoot a video tape and send in an application for one that never ended up being produced because it was scheduled to go into production in Sept. of that year. But after Sept 11 happened it got canceled. It was called 'The Runner', it was a spy sort of scenario where the runner is being hunted down by the public - you watch for this person as he travels cross country and that person makes every effort not to be caught before he gets to his final destination.

(I hear on the radio while putting this together that there is going to be new show about wanting to run for president. 'The People's Candidate' or something. Call in voting. Sounded a lot like 'American Idol'. Not that you would automatically be prez but you might end up a candidate. - Melinda)

Scott: First I applied for 'The Mole'. Not 'Survivor'. I didn't want to eat bugs. I like coffee in the morning. I have a hairy back and I don't know if I want to be half naked all the time. It was too gritty. Then I thought, you know what, I think I could do it and I'd like to test myself to know... These people all by the end of the show have lost 40-80 pounds each. I like to eat. I eat 3, 4, sometimes 5 meals a day. If I only have one or two meals I feel like I'm starving, I can't get by. So when I look at them getting one or two tablespoons of rice a day I think there's no fucking way I can do that.
Melinda: Do you get mean when you don't eat?
Scott: I do.

Scott: Of course they want people who'll make good tv. People who are going to be argumentative, people who have strong opinions about things or people who are little pussies that are gonna get beaten down by those people. You want those extremes. I'm not an extreme...
Melinda: Is there a criteria for the tapes - what are you supposed to give them?
Scott: They say very little, show us who you are, you have 3-5 minutes. It's a free for all. On their websites you can see the audition tapes of all the people on the shows. Some of them are all out productions. And then there's others of three minutes of them talking directly into the camera... Some one had clips of themselves in a rodeo. I don't have anything exciting clips of anything like driving a race car or anything...
Melinda: Did you try to do something like that [for the audition tape]?
Scott: I've thought about it...I'd have to invent it.

Melinda: How many tapes have you sent in?
Scott: Three.
Melinda: Do you have to fill out a lot of personal information?
Scott: A shitload. They ask so much stuff. They ask very personal questions. About family, loved ones. Girlfriends etc. How are you gonna feel if you're away from them for a few months. I would be happy to be away from everyone I know for a few months.
Melinda: Maybe you should play that up a little bit more so you come off more as a callous asshole.
Scott: Yeah.

Melinda: What would happen if someone died? Do you have to sign a lot of waivers?
Scott: Tons. Of course they want to take care of you. One guy on 'Survivor' fell into a fire and was in there for a few seconds and he had 3rd degree burns, they had to fly him out, he was off the show for good. But you couldn't sue them.

... I think it's also a way of not having a boring life. I think I need my life spiced up right now. In my twenties I had plenty of spice. Now it's like go to work, pay your bills...

Melinda: Do think this show would give you a legitimacy, a reason to do something like that? Like it gives you permission rather than just quitting your job and taking off for two months.
Scott: It would give me the means. At this point its so hard for me to justify quitting a job...I'm in my mid-thirties...getting cast would give me the means and hopefully be the beginning of a new direction. Now I have a sense of routine...
(laughs)
This is one of those moments where I feel like a loser these. days. Ten years ago I was on top of the world. I lived on top a mountain, and working with very creative, interesting people, every day was something new, it was just great. There was this guy, a friend, who told a new person there, if there's only one person you get to know while you're here it should be Scott. When she told me that later in the summer it was a cool feeling. I was the person people should know. And I don't feel like that any more.