CBS announces 'Survivor: Vanuatu' to premiere September 16 as contestant names begin leaking
By Reality TV World staff, 07/19/2004
CBS has announced that Survivor: Vanuatu, the ninth edition of the long-running hit CBS reality series, will premiere on Thursday, September 16 at 8PM ET/PT.
The first "regular" Survivor series to air since Fall 2003's Survivor: Pearl Islands, Survivor: Vanuatu will feature sixteen new contestants and is currently filming on the troubled Pacific island chain near Fiji.
Formerly known as New Hebrides, Vanuatu consists of about 80 islands and 200,000 residents, with the islands mostly of volcanic origin and uninhabited. The country is so underdeveloped that the U.S. does not have a separate ambassador to it -- instead, the U.S. ambassador to Papua New Guinea doubles as the ambassador to Vanuatu.
Despite being subtitled "Islands of Fire," it's not believed that the program's production has witnessed any new volcanic eruptions, however the island chain has recently experienced several minor earthquakes, including a magnitude 4.8 event on June 24, a 5.1 quake on July 1, and a 5.7 quake on July 7. According to the Vanuatu Daily Post, filming began on June 28, although its believed that in addition to the pre-production crew, the program's sixteen survivors might have already been on location for pre-game survival training at the time of the initial June 24 event.
In the meantime, the show's twice annual cat-and-mouse game with online sleuths is fully underway, with longtime Survivor spoiler site SurvivorNews.net already claiming to be aware of the identities of all sixteen undisclosed contestants and inviting friends and family of suspected contestants to use its online "contestant confirmator" to verify the participation of suspected contestants.
So far, the names of eight contestants have allegedly been verified -- Ami Cusack, David Finta, Eliza Orlins, Jenean Neely, John Kenney, Julie Berry, Leann Needles, and Rory Freeman. CBS is not expected to formally release the names of any cast members until late August at the earliest.