Tega Cay woman turns dream of 'Survival' into reality

Charlotte radio personality Leslie Nease will join a professional poker player, a grave digger and a WWE wrestler as a cast member of this season's "Survivor: China," CBS announced Monday.

Nease, a talk show host on Christian station WRCM-FM ("New Life" 91.9), has been off the air this summer while the series was filmed in China and won't return to the airwaves until after the finale of the 15th installment of the popular reality show.

Nease, 38, of Tega Cay, became hooked on "Survivor" in the third installment and has applied to be a cast member for every subsequent season.

She will be one of 16 vying for the $1 million grand prize when the show debuts at 8 p.m. Sept. 20.

Nease is one of three contestants with South Carolina ties. Also in the cast is Jaime Dugan, 22, who moved to Spartanburg at age 14 and is now a senior at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, majoring in public relations. And Erik Huffman, 26, of Greenville, a Furman graduate and member of the band Florez who moved to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue a recording career.

This year, the series will open in Shanghai, then move to HuangPu Mountain's Mi Tuo Temple for a Buddhist ceremony where the castaways will be told to leave their worldly possessions behind, CBS said. They will then be marooned on separate islands on Zhelin Lake in Jiangxi Province.

CBS said there will be two tribes initially -- Fei Long (translation: Flying Dragon) and Zhan Hu (translation: Fighting Tiger). Each group will get a copy of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" for motivation and assistance throughout the game.

As in past seasons, each tribe will get a chance to find a hidden immunity idol, which can stave off elimination at tribal council meetings. CBS said in the beginning, immunity idols will be plainly visible at each camp, though the castaways won't know it.

Nease joined WRCM in 2004 as co-host of the station's "Family Friendly Morning Show" with Gary Morland and recently took over middays. A part-time fitness instructor, Nease is the author of "Body Builders: Cross Training."

Other castaways in "Survivor: China" are:

• Jean-Robert Bellande, 36, a professional poker player in Las Vegas; James Clement, 30, a grave digger from Lafayette, La.; Dave Cruser, 37, a former model from Simi Valley, Calif.; Todd Herzog, 22, a flight attendant from Pleasant Grove, Utah; Amanda Kimmel, 23, of Kalispell, Mont., a hiking guide in Los Angeles; Peih-Gee Law, 29, a native of Hong Kong who is a jeweler in Marina Del Rey, Calif.;

• Sherea Lloyd, 26, an elementary school teacher in Atlanta; Denise Martin, 40, a school cafeteria worker in D ouglas, Mass.; Ashley Massaro, 28, a WWE wrestler from East Northport, N.Y.; Chicken Morris, 47, a poultry farmer from Marion, Va.; Aaron Reisberger, 32, a surfing instructor from Venice, Calif.; Courtney Yates, 26, a waitress in New York City; Frosti Zernow, 20, a student from Chicago.