John Cochran (Survivor contestant)

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John Cochran
Born John Martin Cochran
(1987-01-17) January 17, 1987 (age 29)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Known for Survivor: South Pacific
Survivor: Caramoan (winner)
Television The Millers (writer)

John Martin Cochran, commonly referred to as simply Cochran, is an American television personality, primarily appearing on CBS. He first appeared on the 23rd season of Survivor, Survivor: South Pacific, and came in 8th place. He returned for the 26th season, Survivor: Caramoan, and ultimately won the title of Sole Survivor and the $1,000,000 prize. He later went on to become one of the writers for the comedy series The Millers.

Personal life[edit]

Originally from Oakton, Virginia, Cochran attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School. Even at a young age, Cochran was already a fan of Survivor, following the show since the very first season, and even writing a college paper comparing the jury system of Survivor to the American jury system. During high school, he handed out Survivor newsletters, wore a Survivor-style buff on his arm when the show was airing (and even wore a buff in his yearbook picture), and chose his senior year quote as "The tribe has spoken."[1]


South Pacific[edit]

Cochran was originally placed on the Savaii tribe, and ended up receiving at least one vote in every Tribal Council that Savaii attended, with one vote in their first, second, and fourth Tribal Councils, and two votes in their third Tribal Council. In the last episode before the merge, returning player Ozzy Lusth, in an effort to end the winning streak of Christine Shields-Markoski on Redemption Island, asked his tribe to vote him out, saying that he would tell Shields-Markoski that his elimination was caused by Cochran using a Hidden Immunity Idol. Lusth subsequently gave Cochran the Immunity Idol he had found, making him promise to return it when he came back to the game.[2] When the merge finally came, Cochran returned the Idol, and then pretended to be the outsider of his former tribe when speaking to the other returning player, Benjamin "Coach" Wade. However, Wade quickly realized Cochran's intentions and instead decided to persuade Cochran into voting with the former Upolu members, promising him that he would outlast all of his former tribemates. When the vote that night came down to a split vote and the contestants had to vote again, it was Cochran who switched his vote and sent home former tribemate Keith Tollefson. He was immediately criticized by all of his former tribemates, but the former Upolu members, including Brandon Hantz, came to his defense.[3] Soon afterward, all other former Savaii members were voted out in succession, with Lusth, Jim Rice, Dawn Meehan, and Whitney Duncan all being sent home. However, once Cochran was the last Savaii member left, the former Upolu members turned on him and voted him out by a vote of 5/7, with only Cochran himself and former Upolu member Edna Ma voting for Rick Nelson instead. After losing the Redemption Island duel to Lusth, Cochran came in 8th place, having lasted for exactly 31 days; he became the fifth member of the nine-member jury.[4] In the final Tribal Council, Cochran voted for Wade to win, along with Nelson and Ma, thus making Wade the runner-up to Sophie Clarke, who received six votes.[5]


Cochran returned for the 26th season, the second season to be subtitled "Fans vs. Favorites," and was placed on the "Favorites" tribe, Bikal. He was joined by fellow South Pacific contestants Brandon Hantz and Dawn Meehan. Cochran once again aligned with a majority of his tribemates, under the alliance name of "Stealth R Us," named so by the unofficial tribe leader Phillip Sheppard. Even after the tribal swap in Episode Six, Cochran still remained on the Bikal tribe, along with Sheppard, Meehan, fellow returning player Corinne Kaplan, and newcomers Julia Landauer, Matt Bischoff, and Michael Snow. The new Bikal tribe focused on eliminating all of the new players on the tribe, successfully voting out Bischoff and Landauer before the merge came. However, when Sheppard was eliminated due to a blindside by Malcolm Freberg, Reynold Toepfer, and Eddie Fox, Cochran became the default leader due to being viewed as Sheppard's right-hand man. Over the course of the post-merge half of the season, Cochran went on to win three individual immunity challenges, in episodes Eight, 11, and 14. He was also the only contestant in the season to win more than one individual immunity challenge. He would make a major move to plot the blindside of potential threat Brenda Lowe at the Final Six. Lowe had been plotting to blindside Cochran at either the Final Five or Final Four. After a crucial win at the Final Four immunity challenge to secure his place in the finals, and with Sherri Biethman the easiest finals opponent, he would debate bringing Fox or his closest ally Meehan. He decided on Meehan, realizing that Fox, despite floating through the game, had numerous good friends on the jury and was the bigger threat. When it came down to the jury presentations, Cochran received nearly unanimous praise for the way he played the game strategically without letting emotions interfere, and for always sticking to his promises. As Biethman was considered to have ridden coattails to the end, and Meehan was criticized for her emotional instability, Cochran won a unanimous 8-0-0 vote.[6] He became only the third winner in Survivor history to win a unanimous vote, after Earl Cole in Survivor: Fiji and J.T. Thomas in Survivor: Tocantins. He was also only the second winner to win a unanimous vote while also never receiving a single vote against him in any tribal council, after Thomas.


After Caramoan ended, Cochran was inducted into Xfinity's Survivor "Hall of Fame," as part of the class of 2013, alongside Kim Spradlin and Jonny Fairplay.[7] Several years later, in the official issue of CBS Watch magazine commemorating the 15th anniversary of Survivor, Cochran was voted as the 7th greatest player of all time.[8] Additionally, in a 2015 interview shortly before the premiere of the 30th season, host Jeff Probst declared Cochran to be his favorite season winner ever.[9]

The Millers[edit]

Shortly after his second Survivor appearance, Probst put Cochran into contact with Greg Garcia, creator of and writer for The Millers. Garcia offered Cochran a job as a writer for the show. Cochran accepted the job, and after graduating from Harvard Law, moved to Los Angeles to begin working on the show.[10] His job with the show was further showcased in the reunion special for Season 27 of Survivor, Blood vs. Water, when Probst interviewed Cochran about how he got the job, and even showed a comedy sketch starring Cochran and Millers star Will Arnett.[11]


  1. ^ "Survivor South Pacific: Meet John Cochran". CBS. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Season 23: Episode 7 - Trojan Horse". CBS. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Season 23: Episode 8 - Double Agent". CBS. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Season 23: Episode 12 - Cult Like". CBS. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Season 23: Episode 15 - "Loyalties Will Be Broken"". CBS. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Survivor: Caramoan Finale". CBS. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  7. ^ Holmes, Gordon (December 12, 2013). "‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame 2013 Inductee – John Cochran". Xfinity. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Ross, Dalton (February 25, 2015). "Jeff Probst names his favorite Survivor winner, non-winner, twist, challenge, and season ever". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  10. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (May 23, 2013). "'Survivor: Caramoan' Winner John Cochran Lands CBS Writing Gig". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  11. ^ Survivor: Blood vs. Water reunion show, CBS, December 15, 2013

External Links[edit]

Preceded by
Denise Stapley
Winner of Survivor
Survivor: Caramoan
Succeeded by
Tyson Apostol