Hunky Nico, Survivor SA presenter

By admin
21 January 2010

NICO PANAGIO (36) looks cool and calm in the sweltering heat as sets and cameras are put in place for the first challenge between the two celebrity Survivor tribes. It’s the second day of filming M-Net’s Survivor South Africa: Santa Carolina and there’s commotion everywhere.

Late in the afternoon, after hours of preparation, the production team gives the go-ahead and Nico gets onto a crate that peeks just above the waves. A palpable tension and silence joins the shimmering heat.

“Survivors, are you ready?” he asks. Whether they are or not, the second he commands them to “go!” they tackle the first challenge as if their lives depend on it.

This is one of many scenes that will keep viewers glued to their TV screens on Wednesday evenings from 20 January as our stranded celebrities battle it out.

And Nico will be there every step of the way, setting the scene, overseeing the challenges, snuffing out torches.

When he got the call inviting him to try out to be the Survivor presenter he was nervous about auditioning for the first time in years.

“I wanted the job with everything in me,” he says. “It’s one of the jobs I’ve always dreamt of doing.”

It’s no secret Nico would give an arm and a leg to take part in Survivor as a contestant. “But I figured if I’m presenting at least it means I get to stay on right to the end.”

He found the Survivor job his most challenging yet. “In a TV series you play a character and on Top Billing I’m just Nico. But with Survivor I had to be the teacher everyone liked - yet the contestants had to realise I was still the teacher.”

The worst part was having to send the losing team back to their camp empty-handed. The highlight was each tribal council. “That’s where the people you least expect come forward and start playing the game.”

He spent more than a month on the island but time sped by - and no sooner had he returned than he was on the set of a new Afrikaans drama series for DStv channel kykNET.

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