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Samson cast out in first 'Survivor' episode

JUPITER, Fla. -- Never one to walk away from a challenge, Marlins president David Samson embraced and enjoyed the opportunity to fulfill a dream of competing on the hit reality TV show, "Survivor."

But his quest to be the lone survivor turned out being a quick one.

"Survivor: Cagayan," on CBS, debuted with a two-hour premiere on Wednesday night. And Samson, who turned 46 on Wednesday, was voted off in the first tribal council, which came a little more than one hour into the episode.

The first to go is not how Samson envisioned his stay in the series he has watched since it came on the air in 2000.

"I have no regrets," Samson said on camera. "I played the way I thought I needed to play to get forward in the game, and the tribe just doesn't have it together. Or they have it together, just against me. But no hard feelings to any of them. I consider myself pretty much the luckiest person in the world."

"Survivor: Cagayan" was filmed in the Philippines last summer, and the cast was officially announced in January.

The 18 contestants were divided into three tribes -- Brains, Beauty and Brawn. With a degree in law, Samson was placed in the Brains tribe, which had an average IQ of 130.

Arriving at the island wearing a navy-blue blazer, blue shirt and khaki pants, Samson looked ready to lead and succeed from the second he stepped on the sand.

"In baseball, there is only one winner at the end," Samson said. "Same with 'Survivor.' The difference is we're on a beach."

Each tribe selected a leader, and Samson -- who asked aloud if it was because of the blazer -- got the vote from his teammates.

As tribe leader, Samson's first order of business was a controversial and ultimately costly one. He was asked to identify the weakest link. To the surprise of the rest of his team, Samson immediately weeded out Garrett, who also happened to be the biggest and strongest of the six.


Samson reasoned he felt Garrett would be a liability the last two-thirds of the game. He also conceded Garrett would be formidable as the game progressed.

Garrett was sent ahead to the island, given a head start to get camp set up. Garrett also found a clue and located the immunity idol. In doing so, he gained major leverage, while vowing to himself he would do everything "to get rid of David."

The Brains got off to a rough start, encountering trouble building a shelter, which collapsed when contestant J'Tia sat on it to test its stability.

The first immunity challenge was tabbed a disaster by host Jeff Probst, who went on to proclaim the performance was one of the worst in the history of the show.

For Brains, it was tribal council.

Samson cast his vote for J'Tia, a nuclear engineer. In doing so, he whispered to the camera, "In the real world, I may hire you." Then he added, "Not tonight."

By a 4-2 vote, it was Samson who was asked to turn in his torch.

In promoting the series, Samson called the experience surreal when Probst said at the beginning, "Welcome to 'Survivor: Cagayan.'"

In parting, Samson heard Probst declare: "The tribe has spoken."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.

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