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Stephen Fishbach is a contestant from Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Cambodia.

In Tocantins, Stephen was known for his strong strategic play, and he was described by Coach Wade as "The Wizard." He and his close ally J.T. Thomas dominated the flow of the game, earning them both spots in the Final Two. However, a poor performance in the Final Tribal Council combined with J.T.'s popularity caused him to lose the title of Sole Survivor to the latter in a unanimous vote, thus making him the first and only runner-up in Survivor history to receive zero votes in a Final Two.

After being chosen by public vote to compete in Cambodia, Stephen played more aggressively in an effort to prevent history from repeating itself. He was a key player in the dynamic majority Bayon Alliance for much of the game, involving himself in multiple pivotal blindsides. However, his fixation on targeting 'golden boy' Joe Anglim earned him the enmity of some of his own allies. An initial attempt on his life was staved off when Jeremy Collins played a Hidden Immunity Idol for him, but Stephen's enemies persisted, and he was successfully blindsided at the following Tribal Council. He is also the first contestant to hold the Vote Steal advantage.


Retrieved from

Stephen Fishbach (29)
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Occupation: Corporate Consultant

Stephen Fishbach believes he's a cutthroat player who can manipulate his way to Survivor success, though you couldn't tell that by looking at his non-threatening appearance. The first one to tell you he resembles a Muppet, Stephen plans to sidetrack his competition with his goofy charm and quirky sense of humor.

Aided by his quick wit and prankster personality, this Internet marketing director could very well be a major player behind the scenes. A Yale graduate, Stephen certainly has the right mix of brains and charisma to disarm his fellow castaways. This New Yorker believes people will be inclined to trust him but claims "that would be their mistake, because then I strike!"

Described by his friends as wild, smart and ambitious, Stephen's biggest pet peeve is when somebody is "overconfident or cocky." He plans to use that type of person to his advantage by forming a bond and then subtly prompting them to carry out his decisions. A strategist, Stephen prides himself on being able to pretend to agree with someone's idea while replacing it with his own.

In his free time, Stephen keeps himself active and fit by boxing and lifting weights. He also takes part in urban combat activities, namely the Idiotarod, which he describes as a great event where "five idiots drag a shopping cart from Brooklyn to Manhattan." Among his reasons for why he believes he will excel at Survivor, Stephen lists "he's strategic and devious."

Stephen is single and currently resides in New York, N.Y. His birth date is January 24.[1]

Name: Stephen Fishbach
Season 18
Survivor: Tocantins
Current Age: 36

Hometown: New York, NY[2]



Stephen Fishbach was placed on the Jalapao tribe. He was reassured that he wasn't going to be the first to go upon seeing Sandy Burgin. After the supply raid, the tribes were asked to vote for the weakest based solely on first impressions. Like most of his tribe, Stephen voted against Sandy. Instead of eliminating her, she and Sierra Reed were given a helicopter ride to their respective camps. Upon seeing J.T. Thomas, Stephen viewed him as a "good old boy" and won't be able to get along with him. When they arrived at camp, Sandy didn't built the shelter as she was looking for a Hidden Immunity Idol instead, so the next day, Jalapao built a decent shelter. At the season's first challenge, Timbira just barely won over Jalapao. After their loss, Carolina Eastwood started bossing people around in order to improve their camp. Aggravated with Carolina and impressed by Sandy's performance in the challenge, the tribe voted out the former over the latter. After Carolina's boot, the tribe received flint.

The tribe made fire very quickly. They bonded when they searched for protein in the form of termites. Stephen was clueless when Taj Johnson revealed her husband's last name was George. At the challenge, Stephen helped his team score a point. Jalapao won immunity and fishing gear. Stephen bonded with J.T. while fishing. He would gladly play into the "eager, goofy best friend" if it meant that J.T. would carry him far. They decided to make a pact to the end. Jalapao won the next three challenges. Everyone enjoyed the victories, knowing that Timbira was miserable. Taj aligned herself with Stephen, informing them about the Exile Alliance. Timbira finally broke Jalapao's winning streak by winning immunity. Like everyone else, Stephen was disappointed because they would've had a 7-5 advantage. Stephen, Taj, and J.T. discussed whether to vote out the strong but antisocial Sandy or the weak yet pleasant Sydney Wheeler. In the end, the trio agreed with sending Sandy home. 

Stephen and Taj found the Hidden Immunity Idol. Taj gave Stephen the idol because he had pockets. Jalapao won the next challenge for a trip to the Charmin Cafe. Unfortunately, Stephen was selected by Brendan Synnott to join him on Exile Island. He was unsure about placing his fate in the hands of the Exile Alliance. Although J.T. nearly single-handedly won immunity for Jalapao, Timbira won because of Spencer Duhm's poor defense. That night, the tribe agreed that Spencer was the weakest and he was unanimously voted out. Sydney was concerned that she would be the next to go because of Stephen and J.T.'s tight friendship. The Reward Challenge was very close, but Timbira won. They chose to exile Joe Dowdle and he decided to bring Erinn Lobdell with him. Taj made a fake idol to fool Joe. Taj told J.T. about the idol in order to secure his trust. J.T. told Stephen that he had seen the idol in Taj's bag. Stephen explained that he and Taj were planning on telling him, further solidifying their friendship. Timbira won the challenge again, causing Jalapao to have their numbers disadvantage worsen to 4-6. The friends tried to get Joe to vote out Sydney, but he refused. Stephen and J.T. considered the possibility of voting out Taj because Stephen technically had the idol. In the end, the alliance stayed loyal and Sydney was voted off in a 3-2 vote.

Everyone was concerned about Joe's knee, which was infected from a previous challenge. The Tree Mail implied a feast for the winner. Instead, they arrived to a merge feast. J.T named the tribe ForzaCoach Wade approached Stephen and J.T to recruit them in an alliance. Stephen was amazed at how easily the former Timbira tribe was willing to turn on each other. Unfortunately, Joe was medically evacuated because of his knee. Despite that, the Jalapao Three were in control of the game. Erinn also defected to the Jalapao's. Stephen was exiled and he discovered that there was no new Idol. Despite that, Stephen learned to make fire. Brendan was the first to go because of his idol and his strength. Stephen was exiled again with still no hint of a new Idol. Stephen sat out of the Immunity Challenge for pizza. Debbie Beebe beat out Sierra for immunity. The Jalapao Three decided to blindside Tyson Apostol because of his dominance in challenges, without telling Sierra, but Sierra was pleased and glad that Tyson was voted out. Stephen won the Reward Challenge, and had his allies accompany him. When they returned, Coach told them that Sierra was trying to reorganize the original Timbira to expel Jalapao from the game (In truth, It was Debbie that was doing this). When Sierra learned of this, she accused them of lying leading Stephen and J.T. to be suspicious of all three of them. After careful consideration, Stephen and J.T. decided to vote Sierra for causing drama.

Knowing she was in danger, Debbie threw Coach under the bus. Debbie even stated that she would give up the Final Immunity Challenge so Stephen and J.T. could make the final two together. The Jalapao Three deemed Debbie the biggest threat for her strategic mindset and athleticism. At the Survivor Auction, Stephen bought a mystery Item for $140. The item turned out to be chicken hearts, much to everyone's horror. Like the others, Stephen conceded to Taj having the smartphone to call her family. Taj exiled herself to allow everyone to spend time with their loved ones. Stephen enjoyed the time with his brother. Despite the horrible start to the Immunity Challenge, Stephen won. Everything went as plan for that tribal, and Debbie was voted out. On the way back to camp, they informed Coach that Debbie has been targeting him. J.T selected Stephen to join him on reward. J.T. won immunity and Stephen became the swing vote between Erinn and Coach. Stephen ultimately voted out Coach.

Taj and Stephen decided to vote out J.T. if he didn't win immunity. However, he ended up winning it. Fearful of her winning immunity and taking J.T., Stephen convinced J.T. to turn on Taj. Stephen was afraid to win the Final Immunity Challenge, because he would break his promise to J.T. in order to win the game. Erinn also wanted to take Stephen to the end as well. However, Stephen ended up losing the final Immunity to J.T., who chosen to take Stephen to Day 39 over Erinn.

At the Final Tribal Council, Stephen pleaded his case to the jury by saying how much he had grown and he and J.T. had the same strategic mindset. At the Reunion Show as the votes were being read, Stephen quickly realized that he was shut out by J.T. This was proven correct when J.T. won unanimously.

Voting History

Episode Stephen's
Voted Against
1 Carolina -
2 Jalapao Tribe Immune
3 Jalapao Tribe Immune
4 Sandy -
5 Spencer -
7 Sydney -
8 No Tribal Council
9 Brendan -
10 Tyson -
11 Sierra Erinn
12 Debbie Individual Immunity
13 Coach -
14 Taj -
Ineligible -
Jury Votes
for Stephen
Runner-Up, Day 39


Stephen was chosen in a public vote to compete on the "Second Chance" season, Survivor: Cambodia.

Stephen was a member of the Bayon tribe consisting of himself, Andrew Savage, Ciera Eastin, Jeremy Collins, Joe Anglim, Kass McQuillen, Keith Nale, Kimmi Kappenberg, Monica Padilla, and Tasha Fox. Stephen was initially uneasy due to the alpha males on his tribe, seeing as it deja vu from his time on Tocantins. Stephen attempted to look for a Hidden Immunity Idol with no luck but his unease would be postponed as Bayon managed to win the first Immunity Challenge. When Savage told a heartfelt and touching story about his kids and family, Jeremy walked off alone on the beach to cry and a paranoid Stephen blurted out in front of his tribemates that he thought Jeremy was hunting for an idol. Bayon would once again win another Immunity Challenge and learned that a tribe switch with a newly added tribe was going to happen. Stephen remained on Bayon along with his original tribemates Jeremy, Kimmi, and Monica. It was during this time that Stephen's odds in the game bettered as he formed a close bond with Jeremy, who he viewed as his new J.T.. When Bayon lost their first and only challenge, Kimmi announced to Stephen and Jeremy that Monica had approached her for an all female alliance and that she was a snake in the grass. Though Jeremy wanted to get rid of Spencer or Kelly due to fear that booting Monica would cause distrust with the other Bayon members, they nevertheless stuck together and got rid of Monica in a 3-2-1 vote. The tribes would shuffle once again with Stephen and the Bayon tribe winning immunity and making the merge.

At the Final 11 individual Immunity Challenge, Bermuda Triangles, Jeff Probst announced that there would be a secret advantage for the first person to jump off their platform and reach their respective buoy. Stephen narrowly beat out Spencer Bledsoe and won the advantage, learning that it was an Extra Vote, allowing him to steal someone's vote and rendering them unable to vote themselves. Though Stephen was safe at that night's Tribal Council when Kelly Wiglesworth left in a 6-3-2 vote, Spencer became more paranoid about the advantage despite being Stephen's ally and rallied up votes against him, though Jeremy lobbied for Stephen due to his loyalty. At Tribal Council, Jeremy shocked everyone when he pulled out a Hidden Immunity Idol and played it on Stephen, negating 5 votes against him and sending Ciera, who received 3 votes, home in a 3-2-0 vote. This would only give Stephen an extra few days as at the next Tribal Council, Stephen and his allies decided to split their votes between Abi-Maria Gomes and Joe in case Joe had a Hidden Immunity Idol since he was vulnerable for the first time. At Tribal Council, Stephen played his Extra Vote and stole Joe's vote, but the split vote proved to be fatal as Stephen was sent home in a 4-3-2 vote with Spencer flipping due to his paranoia over the power.

At the Final Tribal Council, Stephen applauded Jeremy for being the more honorable member of the Final Three for staying loyal to his word and asked Tasha to defend the perception that she had merely been doing Jeremy's dirty work the entire game. He also asked Spencer about his cutthroat game-play but in the end, he voted for his close ally Jeremy to win in a 10-0-0 vote.

Voting History

Episode Stephen's
Voted Against
1 Bayon Tribe Immune
2 Bayon Tribe Immune
3 Bayon Tribe Immune
4 Bayon Tribe Immune
5 Monica -
6 Bayon Tribe Immune
7 Kass -
8 Kelley1 -
9 Kelly -
10 Ciera Abi-Maria, Joe, Keith,
Spencer, Tasha
11 Abi-Maria
+ Joe3
Abi-Maria, Keith,
Kelley, Spencer
Voted Out, Day 29
Voted for
Sole Survivor

^1 In "You Call, We'll Haul", Kelley used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating Stephen's vote against her.
^2 In "Like Selling Your Soul to the Devil", Jeremy used a Hidden Immunity Idol on Stephen, negating 5 votes against him.
^3 In "My Wheels Are Spinning", Stephen used a Vote Steal advantage on Joe, allowing him to cast an additional vote in Joe's place.


Stephen officiating Tyson and Rachel's wedding.

  • Stephen previously dated Survivor: China contestant Courtney Yates
  • Stephen currently writes blogs on Survivor for
  • In 2012, Stephen began co-hosting Survivor Know-it-alls with Rob Cesternino. However, with Stephen competing in Survivor: Cambodia, he was replaced by columnist Josh Wigler.
  • In Summer of 2009, Stephen appeared on the TVGuide special "Survivor Millionaires: Where Are They Now?" during J.T. Thomas' segment.[3]
  • On January 9, 2010, Stephen attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party.
  • On April 12, 2015, Stephen performed former castmate J.T. Thomas's wedding ceremony.[4]
  • Stephen officiated Tyson Apostol and Rachel Foulger's wedding in 2015.[5]
  • Stephen helped Liz Markham to get on the show.[6]
  • Stephen, along with Rob Cesternino, broadcasted a special edition of Survivor Know-it-alls in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 10 to recap the twelfth episode of Survivor: Game Changers.[7]
  • Stephen got engaged on September 17, 2017.[8]
  • Stephen married Julia Lemle on June 9, 2018.[9]
  • Stephen and Rob Cesternino were asked to compete together in The Amazing Race 31, but were unable to do so because of Stephen's wedding.[10]
  • Stephen, along with nineteen other former Survivor, Australian Survivor, Survivor South Africa, and Survivor New Zealand contestants, competed in the second Survivor-themed mini-competition of Sequester on June 20, 2020. He made it to the seventeenth and final round, finishing as the runner-up against Nick Iadanza in a 4-3 vote.[11]


  • Stephen was recruited for Survivor when casting agent who knew him during childhood contacted him through Facebook.[12]
  • Both times Stephen competed, there was a unanimous jury vote, first for J.T. Thomas and then for Jeremy Collins.
  • Stephen is the oldest man on Jalapao.
  • Stephen lost 30 lbs. during his time in Tocantins.[13]
  • Stephen is the only finalist in a Final Two to not receive any jury votes.
  • Stephen is the highest-placing former finalist on Cambodia.
  • Stephen is the first castaway to acquire and subsequently use the Vote Steal advantage.
    • Stephen is the first castaway to vote for two different people in the same round of voting.
  • Stephen lost 20 lbs. during his time in Cambodia.[14]


Survivor: Tocantins Castaways
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Survivor: Cambodia Castaways
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