Mike White Reveals Whether He Will Ever Play 'Survivor' Again (Exclusive)

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Survivor, Mike White
CBS

Like every Survivor fan looking down the barrel of a fall without a new season, Mike White is figuring out how he will outwit, outlast and outplay this unanticipated hiatus. (Though Jeff Probst previously said he hoped to get season 41 on the air this year, Variety reports that production has been further delayed amid the ongoing pandemic.)

"It's pretty depressing, I know," White tells ET during an interview for his new movie, The One and Only Ivan. "One of the mainstays of my TV consumption is Survivor -- I've literally watched it all over the years, that's why I went on it -- so, it's a bummer for me."

The quadruple threat (writer-director-actor-Survivor superfan) competed on season 37 of the series -- Survivor: David vs. Goliath -- where he made it to final jury but lost out on the title of Sole Survivor to Nick Wilson. Wilson went on to compete on this year's Winners at War, which, of course, White watched.

"I'm always impressed with what they do from a production standpoint. But there's a part of you that once you've done it, it brings up intense memory anxiety or something," he laughs. "It's not exactly pleasurable in the same way it used to be, because I'm like, Oh God, I know what that was like. The whole time you're having those conversations in your head about all the things that you know from just having experienced it firsthand."

But does White root for Wilson because he won his season? Or root against him because, well, he won his season? "I love Nick and I was happy he won my season, to be honest," White says. "It's fun to win too, but I was happy for him. So, I certainly was rooting for him." (Ultimately, Nick was voted out on Day 34 in the season's penultimate episode.)

As for White, having survived Survivor once, when will he go back?

"When you know how high the mountain is you're climbing, it's a little bit more daunting than the first time, where you're just like, 'Well, hope for the best!'" he explains. "At the same time, it was one of the funnest things I've ever done, so I would never say never."

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