'Facts of Life' alum Lisa Whelchel to compete on 'Survivor'
"Facts of Life" alum Lisa Whelchel has signed on to compete on the 25th season of 'Survivor' in the Philippines.
Whelchel, who portrayed the snobby Blair Warner on the 1980s sitcom, says she is a longtime fan of the reality series, where 18 castaways compete for $1 million.
"I'm a huge, huge fan and have been from Season 1. I haven't missed an episode. I love the game and was born to play it," the former Mouseketeer told Yahoo. "I never wanted to do reality TV, but this doesn't feel like reality TV. This feels like having an adventure that I've always wanted to have. Even if this weren't filmed, I would want to do it. It just happened that it's filmed and put on television and I use to be on television."
Whelchel became a born-again Christian at age ten and has written several books about Christianity, motherhood and homeschooling. She and her husband Steven Cauble, an associate pastor at her church, have three young children - Tucker, Haven and Clancy.
The 49-year-old former actress, who appeared on "The Facts of Life" from 1979 until 1988, said that she Tweeted a video to "Survivor" host Jeff Probst, expressing her interest in joining the cast of the show.
"What made her really appealing to us from a casting point of view is she wanted to do 'Survivor.' She's a super fan. She really knows the show, so it was great when we first met her. It was kind of a no-brainer to say 'yes,' and now to see her out here on a beach doing this is very exciting. I hope she lasts long enough so that she gets a real shot at playing this game that she loves," Probst told Yahoo. "Lisa's biggest obstacle is going to be her age, and it's not like she's that old, but she's old for 'Survivor.' I don't think Lisa's celebrity will get in her way nearly as much as her age."
Also joining the cast is Jeff Kent, a retired major league baseball player who played for the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.
CBS revealed that the upcoming 25th season of the survival reality series will divide the contestants into three tribes, named after animals found in the region - Kalabaw (water buffalo), Tandang (rooster) and Matsing (monkey).
The season will also see the return of three former "Survival" contestants who were medically evacuated from past seasons.
"Survivor: Philippines" premieres on Wednesday, September 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Watch Lisa Whelchel's introduction video below.