May 02, 2011 10:00 AM by Ryan Haidet
Survivor fans, peel back the clock with me for a second. Go all the way back to season five — Survivor: Thailand. Do you remember Robb Zbacnik? He was one of the young guys on the Sook Jai (purple) tribe who is probably best known for bringing a skateboard as his luxury item. If you don’t remember him for that, Robb is also known for screaming in pain when he was stung by a sting ray while taking a swim. Remember him now? He’s back in reality television, but this time he’s not involved in island drama. Instead, he’s dealing with the heat at a popular restaurant along the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles — the Saddle Ranch.
If you’re not familiar, the Saddle Ranch is a well-known spot in Southern California where many aspiring actors, dancers and musicians work with the hopes they might be spotted by a talent scout. It is now also the central focus of a new reality show on VH1. The show basically follows the lives of several people who work in various roles at the Saddle Ranch — Robb, the sixth person voted off of Survivor: Thailand in 2002, is one of the bartenders.
I’ve been to the Saddle Ranch on Sunset Blvd. many times in my visits to Los Angeles, and I never ever dreamed there was so much drama going on behind the scenes. The atmosphere there is always exciting, loud and entertaining. It even has a mechanical bull at the one end of the restaurant where the operators like to make the ride extra jiggly for women who are well-endowed. On the food side, the Saddle Ranch truly is a meat-lover’s paradise with huge portions of steak, burgers and much more. And did I mention the massive servings of cotton candy?!?!
Anyway, when I stopped by the Saddle Ranch with a few friends last December during the weekend of the Survivor: Nicaragua finale, film crews were inside the restaurant taping the new show for VH1. I had to sign a waiver saying I was fine with potentially being featured in the show since I was within range of where the cameras were shooting. I did see Robb behind the bar with Kameron — another star of Saddle Ranch — as the production swirled around them. But from my perspective, there wasn’t much drama at all as I sat nearby watching the action. Most of what was taking place featured the cameras tight on Kameron as she talked with a guy as he sat at the bar. There was none of the arguing we’ve seen in the first few episodes so far. Intrigued by the situation, I walked right up to a producer and talked with him about the show.
As we walked inside the Saddle Ranch that night, the hostess — not the one featured in the show — asked us if we wanted to be in the non-filming area just in case we weren’t comfortable with the concept. Duh! Of course we wanted to be in the production zone! Another interesting note, when you’re watching Saddle Ranch, you will only see a small portion of the total staff since some of the workers — including our waitress — did not want to be featured participants in the show.
Although I haven’t seen myself on Saddle Ranch yet, set your DVR! You might see me on the show at some point in the season.
Repeats of the Saddle Ranch air multiple times throughout the week with new episodes on VH1 each Sunday night at 9:30 p.m.
Images of Robb courtesy of VH1. Image of cotton candy taken by Ryan Haidet.
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Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Saddle Ranch, Survivor, VH1 Reality TV Shows |
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