Ending months of rumors, CBS has formally announced that Survivor's sixteenth season -- dubbed Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites -- will be a "half all-stars edition" that will feature popular former Survivor castaways returning to compete against a group of "superfans."

The network made the announcement at the conclusion of last night's Survivor: China finale, with host Jeff Probst presenting a Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites preview.

"This time we're doing something we've never done before," Probst teased during the preview.  "For 15 seasons, Survivor has taken millions of viewers to remote locations all over the world.  Many fans have watched from Day 1 and have always wanted to play... Now, a select few will get their chance at the adventure of a lifetime.  What they don't know is that they'll be playing against the ultimate competitors -- favorite castaways from the past."

While CBS revealed the format for Survivor: Micronesia and showed brief clips of eight extremely telegenic "superfans" during the preview, the individual identities of the new and returning castaways were not announced.

"Who will these competitors be?" teased Probst in the preview.  "Will the former Survivors be able to put aside their past conflicts and come together as a tribe, or will the superfans outwit, outplay and outlast the favorites?"

After the preview concluded airing during last night's live finale broadcast from CBS Television City in Los Angeles, CA, Probst said "at least one of these 16 [Survivor: China castaways] will be returning next season."

James Clement, the tenth castaway eliminated from Survivor: China, was not made available for post-show media interviews following his ouster at the conclusion of the show's November 29 broadcast.  No reason was given for his unavailability, however the move appeared to all but confirm Clement's participation in the then yet-to-be-announced Survivor: Micronesia.

In 2003, former Survivor: Pearl Islands castaway Rupert Boneham was similarly not available for media interviews after his elimination from Survivor's seventh edition because he was participating in the filming of Survivor: All-Stars, the show's eighth editon.

Rumors that CBS might be planning another Survivor installment featuring former castaways have circulated for years, with more formal reports that Survivor's Spring 2008 edition would be another all-stars season surfacing earlier this year

According to a May report in In Touch Weekly, a second all-stars edition would only feature castaways from the seven Survivor installments that have filmed since 2004's Survivor: All-Stars edition occurred (Survivor: Vanuatu; Survivor: Palau; Survivor: Guatemala; Survivor: Panama; Survivor: Cook Islands; Survivor: Fiji; and Survivor: China).

"No winners will be back," an "insider" reportedly told In Touch at the time.

The May In Touch report came two months after Probst told reporters that although he "personally didn't want to do" and "didn't enjoy" the show's initial All-Stars edition, he felt Survivor was "due" for another all-stars installment.
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!

"We're going into our sixteenth season, [a second all-stars] wouldn't be a bad idea... The only thing I can say is that I've come around to understanding that even though the All-Stars we did was a pain-in-the-ass from a production point of view, it was one of our best seasons," Probst reiterated to reporters during a September conference call to discuss Survivor: China.  "And it was our best season because we had our best people back.  I get that."

According to unconfirmed rumors, the decision to use a "half all-stars" format for Survivor's sixteenth edition was a late-stage decision that occurred after the show had already approached former castaways about participating in a second "full all-stars" editon.

As previously announced, Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites will premiere Thursday, February 7, at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.

While Survivor: Micronesia will be the first Survivor edition to feature an entire tribe of former castaways competing against new castaways, it wil not be the first Survivor installment to feature both new and returning castaways. 

Survivor: Guatemala, the show's Fall 2005 edition, featured an 18 castaway cast that included that Bobby Jon Drinkard and Stephenie LaGrossa -- the hardworking final two members of Survivor: Palau's incompetent Ulong tribe.  Survivor: Palau had aired in Spring 2005.  LaGrossa eventually finished second to Survivor: Guatemala winner Danni Boatwright while Drinkard managed to accomplish his goal of "making it to the merge" but finished eighth.