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Matthew Lenahan

During the reunion show of Survivor:Nicaragua, we learned that the upcoming season of the show would be bringing us some new rules!

In a new interview, host Jeff Probst discusses the new format and rules. The most notable change on the upcoming Survivor: Redemption Island, which premieres Feb. 16 on CBS, is that when a contestant is voted off, he or she won’t leave the game but instead go instead to the “Redemption Island,” where he or she will face off against the next person voted off in a duel.

The loser goes home and the duel winner goes on to face the next arrival at Redemption Island until one person is left standing. That individual will then get a chance to return to the game.

“We did a haphazard version of Redemption Island a few years ago called the Outcasts,” Jeff explains. “It didn’t work and it didn’t please the audience and there was one fundamental flaw – we didn’t tell people up front it was going to happen … So I have no problem with people coming back into the game because everybody knows up front [now]. A rule can’t be unfair if you know going in. It’s an equal opportunity.”

And thanks to the two infamous quitters, NaOnka Mixon and Kelly Shinn, being allowed to quit the game and remain on the jury, much to the fury of fans, the show has now implemented new rules regarding quitters. From the new season on, producers will have total discretion on whether to keep quitters on the show or leave them off the jury. “The most frustrating part for me was that both of them, due to a precedent we already set on the show, were allowed to stay on the jury and have an influence at the end of the game,” Jeff tells PEOPLE.

In other Survivor news, Matthew “Sash” Lenahan found himself in the same position as popular villain Russell Hantz during the finale show. Despite playing a pretty good game, Sash ended up not only losing the game, but receiving zero votes from his jury peers as he simply ruffled too many feathers. In an interview with TV Guide, Sash discusses not receiving any votes and who surprised him the most on the jury. Excerpts below -

TVGuide.com: Why do you think you didn’t receive a single vote from the jury?
Matthew “Sash” Lenahan:
It’s rough. I think I played a great game on the show. I don’t regret anything. I think I made the best move every step of the way, and I did the best that I could. I can’t control how the jury is going to vote. I did think that I had a shot tonight, but I think the jury voted a lot based on emotion and previous relationships, and not necessarily based on the way I played, which is how I would have based my vote. I just thought some of the members of the jury would have respected the game more.

But saying that, Fabio is a great winner. I am a super fan of the show, I’ve watched all 10 years and 20 seasons, and no one has ever played like Fabio has. I thought I knew all the twists and all the turns and all the angles, but he played a way I’ve never seen, so he’s very deserving.

TVGuide.com: Was there anyone on the jury whose comments surprised you the most?
Sash:
It really surprises me because this is a game. There are some people, Jane in particular, who tried to hit below the belt. You saw with me, the comments she made about my mother, the comments she made about Marty and his kids. It’s a game. I had my game face on, but I love everyone. I don’t hold any grudges. I know that they are all amazing people, but it’s a shame when you see people take it to a level that’s unnecessary.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RULES? DO YOU THINK SASH SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN SOME VOTES? DID JANE TAKE THINGS TOO PERSONAL?

Los Angeles native Jud Birza aka Fabio became the $1 million winner of Survivor:Nicaragua after outlasting, outwitting and outplaying his fellow competitors following 39 days in the rain forest.

The 21-year-old college student and model beat out musician Chase Rice, 24 and real-estate broker Matthew “Sash” Lenahan, 30, to become the youngest Survivor contestant ever to win the game.

Fabio won by a 5-4 vote, beating out Chase. And in what can only be described as the Russell Hantz effect, villain Sash received zero votes.

Fabio, who won the last three immunity challenges, stated numerous times that he is not as dumb as others thought he was. Dog trainer Jane Bright, 56, was declared the fan favorite, winning the $100,000 Sprint Fan Favorite award. NaOnka Mixon, who host Jeff Probst called “a great villain” admitted that she “acted a fool” on the show but ultimately defended all her actions.

And thanks to NaOnka and Purple Kelly aka the Quitters, Jeff announced last night that starting with the new season, quitters will now have some repercussions, such as not being allowed on the jury. The decision will however be in the hands of the show’s producers.

The next big announcement was that the new season will have a new twist called Redemption Island. According to Jeff, when a contestant is voted out, they will go to Redemption Island and stay there alone, before being ultimately joined by the next person voted out. The two will then compete in a duel and the winner will remain on Redemption Island. After a certain period, the last person left standing on Redemption Island will get to return to the game.

We also got an update of Boston Rob and Amber. The two just delivered their second daughter Carina Rose on December 10th.

My Thoughts – I thought Fabio made an excellent move in deciding to vote out Holly. He’s definitely not as dumb as he appears. Holly would have likely won had she made the finals and quite frankly, I believe she deserved to win. She is the only member of the older tribe left in the game, the only woman left standing and she made some great moves in the game. She is the one who orchestrated the elimination of Brenda — a major competitor. Had it not been for Holly, Brenda would have likely been in the final 3 with Sash.

Personally, I was rooting for Fabio the most and I’m glad he won. I did not think Chase deserved to win at all and believed his game play was about as impressive as Kelly Purple’s. He just seemed to go with the flow, doing what others told him to do. I’m not surprised Sash didn’t get a vote. I’m guessing he failed to watch Russell Hantz’s performance on the last season. Part of Survivor is the social game and pissing everyone off and backstabbing everyone is never a good idea. Sash was a bad player in my opinion because he lied when he didn’t need to, thus making himself more enemies than he needed to.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SEASON OF SURVIVOR AND FABIO WINNING? SHOULD PLAYERS LIKE SASH & RUSSELL BE PUNISHED FOR BACKSTABBING? THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RULES?

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