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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

Do You Know Angela Perkins In New 'Survivor' Cast?

Perkins in red top posing on beach
Robert Voets
CBS Broadcasting Inc.
"Survivor: Ghost Island" contestant Angela Perkins from Cincinnati.

March 7, 2018 update:  Here are links to my lengthy March 6 interview, "Angela Perkins Compares 'Survivor' Experience To Army Life,"  and to my March 7 story from her viewing party at Mason's Buffalo Wings & Rings, "Crowd Cheers Angela's 'Survivor' Narrow Escape." 

Both have lots of new photos. The March 7 story also has information about Perkins' viewing parties through the "Survivor: Ghost Island" finale on May 23.

Original post Jan. 31, 2018: Do you know Army veteran Angela Perkins from Mason? She's the first local "Survivor" cast member in many years.

Perkins, 42, was one of 20 contestants announced by CBS Wednesday, Jan. 31 who will be competing for the $1-million prize on "Survivor: Ghost Island." It premieres Wednesday, Feb. 28 (8-10 p.m., Channel 12 CBS).

Near the very end of the show's six-minute promotional video, Perkins describes herself:

"I just recently retired from the military. I was deployed once to Iraq, and once to Afghanistan. I've done amazing things like jump from helicopters and airplanes...."


At my request, CBS asked her for more information.  Perkins says she's divorced after 21 years of marriage and more than 21 years in the Army.

"After two long deployments, I came head-to-head with my husband because he had so much resentment from me being gone and in the service! I now am divorced and reside in an apartment after giving up my dream home to my ex and everything we worked for just for the opportunity of being on 'Survivor.' "

Perkins says she did not grow up here. She went to Bedford Senior High School in Erie, Mich. She has two sisters and two brothers.

Credit Robert Voets / CBS Broadcasting Inc.
CBS Broadcasting Inc.
Angela Perkins (front row, second from left) will be a member of the Naviti Tribe with (front row) Morgan Ricke, Perkins, Desiree Afuye, Chelsea Townsend, Kellyn Bechtold) and (back row from left) Wendell Holland, Chris Noble, Sebastian Noel, Bradley Kleihege and Domenic Abbate.

She's the oldest of a cast dominated – as usual – by 14 people under the age of 30. But "Ghost Island" will have a rare Midwestern flavor, with two contestants from Indiana (New Albany near Louisville and North Manchester west of Fort Wayne), and one each from Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan.

The new "Survivor" twist for the 36th season is that players a players "may be sent to a separate haunted island filled with 'Survivor' relics from the previous 35 seasons of the show….  Showcasing the series’ extensive history, Ghost Island is filled with real idols and advantages from previous seasons…. serving as a haunted graveyard for unfortunate choices made by former players.

Here's the CBS announcement:

CBS announced today the 20 castaways who will compete against each other on SURVIVOR when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 36th season with a special two-hour premiere, Wednesday, Feb. 28 (8:00-10:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.   

This edition, themed “Ghost Island,” features 20 new castaways divided into two groups of 10, and centers around the bad decisions of past players.  In a new twist, players may be sent to a separate haunted island filled with Survivor relics from the previous 35 seasons of the show.  The question is: will these new players be able to learn from the past mistakes of others and “reverse the curse,” or will the past come back to haunt them?  Showcasing the series’ extensive history, Ghost Island is filled with real idols and advantages from previous seasons, including from Brazil, China, Africa and Australia, serving as a haunted graveyard for unfortunate choices made by former players.

“SURVIVOR continues to be a complicated game of social politics and everything rests on one’s ability to make the right decision at the right time,” said Executive Producer and Host Jeff Probst. “This season, Ghost Island serves as a constant reminder that one bad decision can haunt a player forever.”

These new castaways will be forced to compete against each other with the same ultimate goal: to outwit, outplay and outlast each other in an attempt to become the Sole Survivor.   The show is hosted by Emmy Award winner Jeff Probst.   This season’s castaways include an Army veteran, a social media strategist, an emergency medical technician and a marine animal trainer.

The following are the 20 castaways competing this spring.


Angela Perkins, 42

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Army Veteran

Chelsea Townsend, 24

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah


Desiree Afuye, 21

Hometown: Newark, N.J.


Kellyn Bechtold, 31

Hometown: North Manchester, Ind. 

Career Counselor

Morgan Ricke, 29

Hometown: New Albany, Ind.

Marine Animal Trainer

Bradley Kleihege, 26

Hometown: Haslett, Mich.

Law Student

Chris Noble, 27

Hometown: Florida Keys, Fla.

Male Model

Domenick Abbate, 38

Hometown: Nesconset, N.Y.

Construction Supervisor

Sebastian Noel, 22

Hometown: Melbourne, Fla.

Fishing Guide

Wendell Holland, 33

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.

Furniture Designer


Jenna Bowman, 23

Hometown: Detroit, Mich.

Account Executive

Laurel Johnson, 29

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.

Financial Consultant

Libby Vincek, 24

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Social Media Strategist

Stephanie Gonzalez, 26

Hometown: Ocala, Fla. via Puerto Rico 

Graphic Sales

Stephanie Johnson, 34

Hometown: Boise, Idaho

Yoga Instructor

Brendan Shapiro, 41

Hometown: Herndon, Va.

Physical Education Teacher

Donathan Hurley, 26

Hometown: Phelps, Ky.


Jacob Derwin, 22

Hometown: Merrick, N.Y.

Music Teacher

James Lim, 24

Hometown: Los Angeles

Business Analyst

Michael Yerger, 18

Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.

Real Estate Agent


John Kiesewetter joined the WVXU news team as a TV/Media blogger on July 1 2015, after nearly 30 years covering local and national broadcasting for The Cincinnati Enquirer. He’ll be posting news about Greater Cincinnati TV, radio and movies; updating your favorite former local TV/radio personalities or stars who grew up here; and breaking news about national TV, radio and media trends. You’ll also learn about Cincinnati’s rich broadcasting history.