Joe Manganiello Reveals Near Survivor Stint as 'Joe the Builder'

From construction to stardom, Joe Manganiello's unique journey

by Zain ul Abedin
Joe Manganiello Reveals Near Survivor Stint as 'Joe the Builder'
© Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Before achieving stardom with his roles in "Magic Mike" and "True Blood," Joe Manganiello, now 47, had his sights set on a different kind of screen presence – as a competitor on CBS' hit reality series "Survivor." In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Manganiello revealed his almost foray into the reality TV world, an intriguing tidbit that adds another layer to his diverse career path.

Years ago, at the cusp of the new millennium, Manganiello found himself at a casual pool party that would unknowingly set the stage for a potential reality TV stint. "I met someone who was casting for Survivor when it first came out," he recalled.

A young Manganiello, then working in construction to support his budding acting career, saw the show as a challenge he could conquer. The casting team, intrigued by his confidence, encouraged him to audition. However, there was a catch: he couldn't reveal his true profession.

"They said you can't be an actor," Manganiello explained, highlighting the show's preference for a diverse cast away from the actor-saturated streets of Los Angeles. This led to the creation of an audition tape that remains elusive even to Manganiello today.

"There's a DVD of my Survivor audition as Joe the construction worker from Pittsburgh," he said, reminiscing about a version of himself hammering away with a jackhammer, a far cry from his later roles on screen. Yet, fate had other plans.

A pilot he had shot earlier barred him from joining "Survivor," as participants weren't allowed to have prior TV exposure.

Manganiello's Hollywood Ascendancy

Manganiello's journey since that fateful audition has been nothing short of cinematic.

From playing Brad Morris in "How I Met Your Mother" to the iconic werewolf Alcide in "True Blood," and not forgetting his celebrated role as Big Dick Richie in the "Magic Mike" franchise, his career trajectory took a turn towards Hollywood rather than a deserted island.

"Survivor" has seen its share of celebrities over its 24-year run, with notable participants like Lisa Whelchel of "The Facts of Life" and "The White Lotus" creator Mike White. However, Manganiello's brush with the show remains a "what if" in the annals of reality TV history.

Now, as the host of NBC's new series "Deal or No Deal Island," Manganiello is set to finally get his tropical adventure, albeit in a different format. The show, premiering on February 26th, promises a unique blend of adventure and strategy, with over $200 million in prize money at stake.

Contestants will navigate daring challenges to secure briefcases hidden around the island, culminating in a high-stakes game of "Deal or No Deal."