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Survivor Winner Tyson Apostol Gives Very On-Brand Reasons Why He Joined The Challenge: USA

screenshot of tyson apostol blood vs water survivor
(Image credit: CBS)

Tyson Apostol is no stranger to the reality TV world. He competed on CBS’ Survivor four times and finally won its million-dollar prize in 2013. (There was also a brief stint on Marriage Bootcamp with his now-wife.) And over all those years, fans have come to learn one thing for certain about the father of two: his brand is deadpan sarcasm. So much so that he would likely give Ron Swanson a run for his money. This quirky, sometimes snarky, personality trait has continued to endure even more recently as Apostol explained the reasons why he joined The Challenge: USA.

It’s another high-stakes, high-reward, elimination-style kind of competition, which the competitor is no stranger to. But instead of votes and cunning being one’s downfall, it’s sheer force of will in head-to-head battles that rules the day. So why did Tyson Apostol join the MTV/CBS crossover? Speaking to his home state publication, The Salt Lake Tribune, he hilariously shared that getting to rub his spot in the faces of the hundreds of other Survivor alums was part of the logic. He said:

The people who don’t get invited are, like, half of it. The people that were on ‘Survivor’ that didn’t get invited are going to be so mad that I’m here right now.

Alas, The Challenge: USA had only 28 players to cast from across CBS’ vast repertoire of reality shows. Tyson Apostol wasn’t the only winner from the Jeff Probst-hosted series to make the final cut – Heroes vs. Villains vs. Hustlers’ Ben Driebergen and Cagayan’s Sarah Lacina are also in the mix. Meanwhile, a handful of Big Brother 23’s “Cookout” alliance (who were evoked by Shan Smith) are competing – so the others might just want to watch out because they took their approach all the way to the bank before. A smattering of Love Island and Amazing Race fan-favorites round things out, to boot.

However, Tyson Apostol remains a formidable threat himself. Per the rules of The Challenge: USA, the winning co-ed team in the first challenge of an episode get to choose any team to face off with the losing one in the elimination round. This means Apostol’s honed winning Survivor strategy tactics can be put to good use – as they were in Week 2 when Apostol ,and his teammate Angela Rummons sent Javonny Vega and Cely Vazquez to the gauntlet where they were ousted. Apostol told the outlet that this is one of the other reasons he joined the show after a 2-year hiatus since his last on-camera stint, Winners at War (whose finale disappointed one other competitor) saying:

I know that on these shows, people are going to break. And I love having a front row seat watching the build up to them breaking. And even sometimes having, like, a small something to do with them breaking. … Like, ‘Oh, I just broke that dude’s brain. He doesn’t even know which way is up right now, and he’s spiraling out of control.’ Or she. It can be a he or a she.

Tocantins viewers will remember very well how thoroughly Tyson Apostol enjoyed breaking his opponents down until he inevitably won. But this wasn’t always the case. Sometimes he was on the receiving end of a major gaffe – as was the case on Heroes vs. Villains, where he essentially voted himself out of the game. (His alliance member Courtney Yates claimed later on that she actually tried to stop him from that particular mistake.)

Nevertheless, in another on-brand bit of blunt humor, the infamous TV personality was candid that at his big old age of 43, the decision to duke things out on The Challenge: USA was “more pay versus pleasure.” (Each challenge offers $5,000 for the winning co-ed team, with the finale challenge prize coming out to $500,000.) In truth, he still almost said no to the CBS head honchos who invited him on because it might’ve just been a “garbage” kind of show with nothing for him to show for it but a “headache.” Alas, his wife Rachel convinced him that he could end up the “O.G.” winner of this new spinoff.

And he might just, yet. He’s still in the fray as of this writing, but possibly not for much longer in the grand scheme of things. Tyson Apostol added, “At some point, there’s going to come a time when I’m going to look pathetic compared to what I used to be, and I don’t want that moment to be on national television.” We’ll see if his performance is more pathetic than victorious in the coming weeks of The Challenge: USA, which airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. EST on CBS after Big Brother 24 as part of the 2022 TV schedule and streams via Paramount+ subscription.

Lauren Vanderveen
Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.