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Jeff Varner

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Jeff Varner

S31 Jeff Varner

S2 Jeff Varner

Contestant Profile
Born: April 16, 1966 (1966-04-16) (age 50)
Hometown: New York City, New York;
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Occupation: Internet Projects Manager
Survivor Career
Version: United States
The Australian Outback
Tribe(s): Kucha
Finish: 10/16
Alliance(s): Kucha Alliance
Challenge Wins: 6
Votes Against: 11
Days Lasted: 21
Tribe(s): Ta Keo
► Angkor
Finish: 17/20
Challenge Wins: 2
Votes Against: 4
Days Lasted: 11

Jeffrey Keith "Jeff" Varner is a contestant from Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: Cambodia.

In Australia, Jeff was remembered for stepping down at the first merged Immunity Challenge for peanut butter, only to be voted out at Tribal Council in a deadlock vote because of his previous votes from Debb Eaton and Kimmi Kappenberg.

After nearly 15 years, Jeff, (now referred to as Varner), returned to Cambodia playing a much more aggressive game, quickly adapting to the erratic and impulsive gameplay of the modern Survivor. However, a foot injury put his second chance to an end.


Retrieved from

Jeff Varner is an internet project manager, having most recently worked as Director of People and Process for a Manhattan start-up company. There he developed and managed the technical and interpersonal aspects of a Human Resources/Operations hybrid system for a staff of 30. Prior employment includes work as a website producer, graphic designer and marketing manager for various companies.

Varner obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Earlier employment included stints as a waiter, bartender and traveling salesperson. He is most proud of successfully making the transition from small town living to the much faster pace of a big city.

An aggressive athlete, he first put on a pair of skates when he was two years old and has since played competitive hockey (right defense) for 16 years, though he admits he spent most of the time in the penalty box. Additionally, he studied martial arts, receiving a black belt in Tae Kwon Do when he was 15 years old. While pursuing his degree with UNC, he was Captain of the National Champion Tar Heel Cheer Team (1989–90). He is an avid rollerblader, spending many afternoons skating through Manhattan's busy streets.

Jeff was raised on a tobacco farm in Greensboro, North Carolina. He played right defense for a hockey team in the local youth hockey league. He participated in Tae Kwon Do classes soon after. He attended Southern Guilford High School, where he was active in student government and theatre arts. He later went on to earn a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[1]

Season: Survivor: The Australian Outback
Previous Placing: 10th place
What will you do differently this time around? "Fifteen years is a long time. Like the game itself, I've grown, matured, changed, and learned to appreciate things much more than before. I expect my second chance will reflect all of that. In Australia, I was free, played the game and allowed myself to let go and have fun. I intend to approach this time around the exact same way. This game doesn't necessarily have to be an unpleasant experience. However it plays out, I assure you I'll have fun every second I'm there."


The Australian Outback

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Voting History

Jeff's Voting History
Episode Jeff's
Voted Against
1 Debb Debb
2 Kucha Tribe Immune
3 Kucha Tribe Immune
4 Kucha Tribe Immune
5 Kimmi Kimmi
6 No Tribal Council
7 Colby;
Amber, Colby,
Jerri, Keith, Tina;
Amber, Jerri,
Keith, Tina
Voted Off, Day 21

^1 In The Merge, the vote ended with a 5-5 tie between Jeff and Colby, forcing a revote. Nobody changed their vote on the revote, eliminating Jeff due to prior votes at Tribal Council.

Survivor: Cambodia

Jeff Varner was chosen from a pool of 32 candidates to be one of the 20 castaways to compete on the second chance season, Survivor: Cambodia.

Voting History

Jeff's Voting History
Episode Jeff's
Voted Against
1 Vytas -
2 Shirin -
3 Peih-Gee -
4 Woo Abi-Maria, Andrew,
Tasha, Woo
Voted Off, Day 11


  • On May 13, 2001, Jeff, along with Outback cast mates Colby Donaldson and Elisabeth Filarski appeared on Rock & Roll Jeopardy!. Jeff finished in 3rd place earning $1,000 for his charity which was for a burning center for the University of North Carolina.[2]
  • On May 17, 2001, Jeff appeared as an panelist on Hollywood Squares for Survivor Week along with the rest of The Australian Outback cast.[3]
  • Jeff along with Alicia CalawayGervase Peterson, and Susan Hawk appeared on Big Brother 2. They competed against the final four in a luxury competition and won $15,000 to share between them.[4]
  • In 2003, Jeff was one of several castaways who appeared on MTV's Men vs. Women: Rumble in the Jungle, a preview show for Survivor: The Amazon and offered his commentary in the debate of which gender was stronger.[5][6]
  • Jeff worked as an entertainment reporter for KCBS in Los Angeles, CA then E! News Live, and then as a field correspondent and host for the TV Guide Channel. He was a weekend news anchor and field reporter at FOX 8 WGHP in High Point, North Carolina. In his first year in broadcast news, he won an Associated Press Broadcast News Award: Rookie of the Year, in 2005.
  • Jeff began his career in communications as a public relations assistant and corporate communications manager for Citicorp in New York City. He was part of the first team in the corporate world to utilize the internet to communicate project information as a manager in Citicorp's "Product Design and Development Division."
  • He used that background to transition into web development, working in developing web properties for Citibank, MCI, Harlequin Romance, and Martha Stewart Living Online. Jeff used his Survivor exposure to turn his web and PR career into a full-blown on-camera reporter, anchor and host.
  • In May 2007, Jeff left FOX 8 due to what he called "angry and unprofessional management" from the station's news director. He is now working for WWMT in Kalamazoo, Michigan as a News Anchor for the News Channel 3 morning news.Jeff was promoted November 27, 2008 to WWMT evening anchor. He anchors the 10pm CW7 newscast solo, then joins Judy Markee as co-anchor for Live at 11.
  • On July 27, 2009 Jeff was selected as one of the top 20 broadcasters nationwide to serve as finalist for co-host for a day on Live with Regis and Kelly. Local new viewers nominated their favorites. For two days, Regis and Kelly viewers voted for the best, and on July 29, 2009 the nationwide vote selected Jeff as co-host. He hosted August 7 with guests Susan Lucci and David Cook.[7]
  • On January 9, 2010, Jeff attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party.
  • In 2012, Jeff became a news anchor for the CBS affiliate WNCT in Greenville, N.C.[8] He left sometime in September 2014.[9]
  • Jeff is planning to launch an Travel Company called Project Explorer.[10]


Statistics of Jeff Varner
Seasons competed: 2
Days lasted: 32
Challenge Wins
Tribal wins: 8
Individual wins: 0
Total wins: 8
Tribal Council
Total votes received: 15
Exile Island
Times exiled: N/A
Redemption Island
Duels won: N/A
Days spent on Redemption Island: N/A
  • Jeff's luxury item was a coloring book and crayons. The pages were later sold on eBay for charity.[11]
  • Jeff was the second player eliminated at Tribal Council through the "previous votes against" tiebreaker. The first was Mitchell Olson.
  • Jeff received at least one vote at every Tribal Council he attended in The Australian Outback.
  • Jeff was the first male contestant to finish in 10th place, and the first male contestant to be on the merged tribe but not be a member of a jury.
  • Jeff has claimed to have stopped eating peanut butter after The Australian Outback.[12]
  • Jeff revealed that he had a pre-game alliance with Shane Powers, who did not receive enough votes to return for Cambodia.[13]
  • Jeff is the fourth contestant in series history to play in two seasons and be eliminated pre-jury both seasons. The others are Russell Swan, Francesca Hogi, and Colton Cumbie.


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