16 Face 'Survivor' Experience

Survivor Thailand cast
CBS
On "Survivor: Thailand," 16 new castaways will be stranded in a remote corner of Thailand. "Survivor" host Jeff Probst tells The Early Show viewers which of the thousands who applied have made the cut for this season's game.

The fifth installment of the "Survivor" TV series will take place on the island of Ko Tarutao off Thailand's southwestern coast.

It is a location with a storied past. Pirates and prisoners once battled the harsh environment of an otherwise picturesque landscape.

For "Survivor: Thailand," 16 Americans will live there for 39 days, forced to provide their own shelter, food, water, and to form their own society.

"It's such a great time and the cast this time is awesome," says executive producer Mark Burnett.

"I honestly don't think I've had as much fun in the casting process as I did in this. We're in a big room, the people come in and it's interrogation time," adds Probst.

The group chosen to compete for the million-dollar prize and the title of sole Survivor in alphabetical order are:

Jake Billingsly, a 60 year-old land broker from Mckinney, Texas; Erin Collins, a 30 year-old real estate agent from Austin, Texas; Stephanie Dill, 29 and a firefighter from Fayetteville, Ark.; Jan Gentry, a 53 year-old teacher from Tampa Bay, Fla.; Helen Glover, 47, a Navy swim instructor from Middletown, R.I.; Brian Heidik, 34, a used car salesman from Quartz, Calif.; Jed Hildebrand, 25 and a dental student from Dallas, Texas; and Shi Ann Huang, a 28 year-old executive recruiter from New York City.

Also, Ghandia Johnson, 33, a legal secretary from Denver, Colo.; Clay Jordan from Monroe, La., a 46-year-old restaurant owner; Penny Ramsey, a 27-year-old pharmacuetical salesperson who lives in Plano, Texas; Pastor John Raymond, 40 of Slidell, La.; Ted Rogers Jr., 37 and a software design manager from Durham, N. C.; Ken Stafford, a 30 year-old police officer from Brooklyn, N.Y.; Tanya Vance, 27, a social worker from Kingsport, Tenn., and Robb Zbacnik, a 23 year-old bartender from Scottsdale, Ariz.

These 16 men and women were selected after a long process of interviews and evaluations, a process that both Probst, and Burnett were part of.

Probst explains, "The best part of the whole casting process is the whole good cop, bad cop. There's always two or three people in the room saying 'Gosh, you look beautiful' and then there's another person saying…"

"Which is usually me," Burnett interjects. "The reason I'm so tough, casting time, is because I figure they sent videos in and they are in control of that. They are presenting an image of themselves that they want us to see. We know they did 50 takes of the video...But that's not what I want to see. I want to see what they are like beneath that."

"Basically, they are going to be needled out here or suffering and that's the side I'm going to see on TV," Burnett continues.

As for the look of this tribe, Burnett says it is probably the best-looking cast they have ever had.

"And that's pretty much a fluke. They happen to be very interesting and dynamic people," he says.

"People don't believe that, though. They think we cast looks first and type second," says Probsts.

"That would be called a calendar," says Burnett with a laugh.

You can catch the premiere of "Survivor: Thailand" on Sept. 19 on CBS.