This season of Survivor introduces a new theme: Island of the Idols.
As is the same with each season, 20 contestants will embark on an adventure in the hopes of taking home the $1 million grand prize.
The Idols of the Island
“Boston Rob” Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine are the “idols” this year. They won’t be there to compete, but rather, will “use their experience and knowledge to mentor the newcomers, and to challenge them when they have the chance,” in the words of Bustle.
For those who need a refresher, Rob Mariano is a TV personality known for competing on Survivor and The Amazing Race. In 2011, he was the winner of Redemption Island and took home the $1 million grand prize. He has appeared on Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: All Stars and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
And who is Sandra Diaz-Twine? The 45-year-old Connecticut native won the first two seasons she appeared on the shows Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivors: Heroes vs. Villains. She is the series’ only two-time winner.
Details about Survivor: Island of the Idols first surfaced in May, the same day as the Survivor: Edge of Extinction finale. Tonight’s premiere will last 90 minutes. It was filmed in Fiji.
The Cast Doesn’t Know The ‘Idols’ Live On Their Own Island
This season, according to US Weekly, Rob and Sandra will live on their own island– this isn’t a fact known by the cast members. When the castmates are sent to the “Island of the Idols”, they’ll inherit wisdom from the two Survivor veterans.
Asked by the outlet why they agreed to come back, Sandra shared, “I can never say no to Jeff [Probst]. So, the minute Jeff called me and said, “Hey, we’re doing something new, Island of the Idols. It’ll be you and Boston Rob” … Boston Rob was another incentive. Like, “Oh, OK. That’s wonderful. No matter what happens, I’m out there with a pro.” So, it didn’t take me but a split second between him saying, “Would you?” and for me to say “yes.””
Rob added “Yeah, so it’s different this time, obviously. You know, we’re not playing the game. It was presented more of like an opportunity to mentor or coach or, you know, teach what was learned over almost two decades and see if we can impart some of that wisdom on the new generation of players. So it was kind of different. Also, being able to have my kids … they’re at the age now where they’ve heard that their dad was on Survivor, but they’ve never actually seen it. So I think it’s kind of cool. They can’t vote us off and we’re not playing the game. But they get to still see us, see the entire experience throughout. So that was a big selling point also.”
Be sure to tune into tonight’s Season 39 premiere of Survivor: Island of the Idols airing on CBS at 8pm ET/PT.