From “Project Runway” to “The Glee Project” and “The Bachelor,” Seattle and its surroundings have been fertile grounds for reality-TV stars.
Now the granddaddy of all reality competitions, CBS’ “Survivor” (8 p.m. Wednesday), welcomes a father-daughter pair from Washington for its latest edition, another iteration of “Blood vs. Water” that pits castaways against their loved ones.
Dale Wentworth, of Ephrata, and daughter Kelley Wentworth, of Queen Anne, are among the stars in the 29th season of the show that kicked off the reality craze when it debuted in 2000.
Kelley, 28, was a fan of “Survivor” first and wrangled her farmer father into watching in season two or three. The pair auditioned for CBS’ “The Amazing Race” a few years ago and that went nowhere, but their application remained on file and “Survivor” producers sought them out, leaving a message for Dale on his 55th birthday in March. By June they were en route to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, to begin production.
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The pair knew going in they might have to outwit, outlast and outplay one another and said there were no hurt feelings after the cameras stopped recording.
“It’s a game and there’s only one winner, one sole survivor, so we knew going in if we could play together, great,” said Kelley, Seattle field marketing manager for nutrition company CytoSport’s Muscle Milk. “If we have to play on our own, then that’s what we have to do.”
Dale, who farms feed corn on 450 acres of land, said his background offers pros and cons when it comes to competing on “Survivor.”
“To some degree I’m a little more self-sufficient. I’m used to, if I don’t have it, I have to fix it or go without,” he said. “But hindrances go along with that lifestyle as well. I don’t have as big a social circle as my daughter does. Going into the game knowing what the game throws at you, they do their best to mess you up. The diversity of the other castaways you might be faced with is one of the things that gave me butterflies for quite a few nights.
“You’re paired up with people you normally wouldn’t meet in average, everyday comings and goings and then you are put into situations you normally aren’t put in and you have to rely on them and work to build up trust and rapport,” he continued. “For me, my social circle is limited to half a dozen cows and two or three family members.”
Both Wentworths prepared for “Survivor” by forgoing protein a week before they left America and Dale packed on an extra 15 pounds on the advice of an ex-Marine trainer. Now they’re preparing to get recognized. For Dale, it’s already happened just from appearing in the show’s promos.
“I had a dental cleaning appointment the day after the cast list was released, and it’s the first time the lady took an hour and 45 minutes to clean my teeth,” he said. “She had a lot of questions. That’s tough on a normal day but especially tough in that situation.”
Freelance writer Rob Owen: RobOwenTV@gmail.com or on Facebook and Twitter as RobOwenTV.