CBS has officially renewed Survivor for seasons 41 and 42, though production has been delayed due to safety concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is what we know so far about the upcoming seasons.
UPDATE: At the end of “Winners at War,” host Jeff Probst gave an update about the status of the show, saying, “For obvious reasons, we haven’t been able to shoot but, man, we have some fun ideas. We’re always trying to explore and evolve the show and take chances and we’re committed to being on in the fall with our 41st season. Which means you should apply, especially if you’re young — I’m talking teenagers, 16, 17, 18, 19. Do it! Cool parents and a cool school, who knows? It could happen.”
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Casting Has Wrapped for Seasons 41 and 42
According to Survivor casting producer William Yelton’s Instagram post from March 6, the casting for seasons 41 and 42 officially wrapped that month. The season 41 cast was supposed to fly out to Fiji in mid-March. Fiji has been the filming location for the past eight seasons and Probst told Entertainment Weekly in that he hopes they never change filming locations because it’s such a beautiful locale. The last season to film outside of Fiji was season 32, which filmed in Cambodia.
There’s no word on a theme yet, but Reddit user BlueTexan62 says it sounds like there are no returning players, so it will be a cast of all newbies — but we do not know for sure where BlueTexan62 got his or her information.
Probst has also said in recent interviews that the Edge of Extinction twist will not be returning “for a while.” It’s not gone forever, but they aren’t going to start trotting it out every season either.
Production Was Set to Begin in March But Was Pushed Back
In mid-March, CBS announced that production on Survivor season 41 would be halted. It had been scheduled to begin on March 24.
“Due to concerns and uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19 globally, CBS and the producers of Survivor have taken the precautionary measure to delay production on the 41st season, which was set to begin filming later this month in Fiji. Pending worldwide events, the plan is to return to production on May 19. The health and safety of the castaways and production members is our top priority,” said CBS in a statement.
According to Entertainment Weekly, host Jeff Probst wrote in an email to the crew that they were still planning on shooting both seasons 41 and 42 — season 42 was scheduled to begin filming on May 24 — but both seasons would be delayed.
The email read:
Hey Survivor crew,
Due to the growing short-term uncertainty surrounding the global spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding desire for the continued well-being of our amazing crew, we have decided to push back our start date for Survivor season 41.
Though Fiji has no reported cases and is beautifully remote, our crew numbers over 400 and are flying in from over 20 different countries, creating a need for more time to fully analyze and create our new production safety plan.
This situation is unprecedented and we are learning more information every day. It is out of concern for the well-being of all of you that we have taken this step.
Our intention is to begin production after the S40 live show. Therefore, subject to new information, our new planned start date for production would be on or about May 19th, 2020. Our intention is to still to shoot both seasons 41 and 42.
We know many of you will have questions and we will start a communication chain to keep everybody up to date.
We are the most experienced international television team in the world and for 20 years we have calmly and successfully managed a variety of production issues. We will navigate this one the same way.
Thank you for understanding our need for this extra time to create our plan.
However, with the pandemic still disrupting things worldwide, it seems likely that production will have to be delayed further. CBS already pulled The Amazing Race from its Wednesday schedule — it was originally supposed to debut season 32 on Wednesday, May 20 — and pushed it back to “later in 2020,” which probably means CBS is saving it for the fall in case Survivor season 41 can’t be shot in time for a fall premiere.