Survivor is one of the longest-running reality shows on TV. It is renewed for seasons 41 and 42 on CBS, which should hopefully begin filming in the spring. But just how long will it run? And will host Jeff Probst ever call it quits?
Probst Isn’t Committing to the Big 5-0
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During season 40 shooting, Entertainment Weekly asked several producers, including Probst, who is a producer as well as the host, if the show will make it to the milestone 50th season.
Executive producer Matt Van Wagenen said “hell yes” and challenge producers John Kirhoffer and Chris Marchand both said they “think we’ll make it to 50.”
But Probst wasn’t so sure.
“I don’t know,” said Probst. “I will say that there is a complicated math idea on the board in there for [season] 41 or 42 which I’m trying to figure out, but I don’t know.”
And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic shut production down until (probably) spring 2021. But Probst does acknowledge that the show continues to pull in decent ratings year after year.
“You look at ratings, we’ve been super lucky. Our ratings are holding. Our audience is so frickin’ loyal, man. They hang in there with us. And this is what has happened with Survivor for the last decade. We’re like this [makes straight line with hand], other shows come and they skyrocket and ‘Oh, this is the new show,’ and [uses other hand to show another line going up, leveling off, and then dropping down] then they do this and they then do this and then they do that. And we just stay like this. We barely drop,” said Probst.
He says that staying steady in ratings “in television today, that’s like getting a raise.”
But He Does Say He Can See Five More Years
Entertainment Weekly writer Dalton Ross posited that the show doesn’t exist without Probst as its host, something Probst didn’t love hearing.
“I don’t like the pressure being that it’s all on me. That doesn’t feel great. I want to do it because we as a group want to keep doing it and keep finding ways to reinvent it,” he said, adding that “at this point, yes,” he’ll do five more years.
But right now, they’re just trying to figure out how to do the next two seasons. Fiji, the location Survivor has used since season 33, has been locked down during the pandemic — much to their credit, their COVID-19 numbers have been very low. But it has forced CBS to explore other options for production.
“Shooting in a foreign country is exponentially more complicated, and we are still exploring [the options],” he told The Hollywood Reporter in July. “I’m on the phone every couple of days, either with the government of Fiji or with our executive teams that are in charge of logistics and planning. We’re continuing to lay out ideas. We don’t have a plan yet. It’s what we’re spending all our time doing because it’s not like we’re going to Atlanta to shoot a show.”
He continued, “[Fiji has] done an incredible job of controlling the virus. They’ve had a total of only 15 cases in their entire country, and they’ve had no active cases for months. They have figured out how to handle it, and they just want to ensure that when we come shoot there, we don’t change that. We’re working together with them, but they’ve been very production-friendly in terms of wanting it to happen.”
Survivor will most likely return in the fall of 2021.