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‘Survivor’ helped by cast that’s long in tooth

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Kelly Shinn: The University of Hawaii student is among contestants on “Survivor”.

What it’s about: The 21st edition divides into two tribes — the Espada, who are over 40, and the La Flor, 30 and under. The other new twist is "The Medallion of Power."

The team that holds this gets some sort of advantage during immunity challenges — which could level the playing field for Team Geritol.

7 p.m. Wednesday on CBS

My say: Getting old isn’t for sissies, nor for "Survivors," either. The only conventionally "old" winner — by TV standards, anyway — was Bob Crowley, who was 57 when he aced "Survivor: Gabon." Otherwise, youth — under 40 — has ruled.

Is the outcome preordained? "Espada" means "sword" and "La Flor" is "flower," so perhaps CBS is hinting that conclusion-jumping is unwise.

The contestants: "Nicaragua" has an excellent cast, and the grizzled vets made the difference. Here are my picks for most intriguing:

» Dan Lembo, 63: Lembo is a Manhattan real-estate executive who values his personal wealth at "over $5 million." He was recruited by the show after a producer spotted him. He’s a tough guy. Really.

» Jimmy Johnson, 67: Twice Super Bowl champ as Dallas Cowboys coach, Johnson also played the Nice Guy card. "When things were kind of rough and we were lying on the bamboo at night, they’d say, ‘Jimmy, give us a football story.’ We really had a great relationship."

» James Tarantino, 48: This Gloucester, Mass., commercial fisherman submitted a one-minute video, and fans voted him their favorite would-be contestant. Easy to see why — he’s all charisma and swagger, and "character" writ large. Expect him to go far.

» Kelly Bruno, 26: Because of a congenital deformity, her leg was amputated below the knee when she was a child. This University of North Carolina medical student later became a world-class triathlete. (Her father, a doctor, was killed during the recent Haitian earthquake.)

» Tyrone Davis, 42: Like Johnson, this Inglewood, Calif., fire captain cites winner (and former fireman) Tom Westman as his favorite contestant. Like Lembo, he’s tough and strong.


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