Following a year-long delay in production due to the coronavirus pandemic,Survivor producers were able to imagine and execute a new "unrelenting" 26-day game Jeff previously dubbed "Survivor 2.0" and "a bold new era" of the show.
Survivor's crew returned to Fiji in March 2021 to film two seasons of the CBS series back to back.
But since cast and production were required to quarantine for two weeks as a COVID-19 precaution, the Season 41 game was shrunk down from its usual 39 days to only 26 days -- and the change could apparently be a permanent one.
"The decision to change the game to 26 days came from the fact that we couldn't leave our bubble," Jeff explained.
"So if we wanted to shoot two seasons, we had to do it back to back. For us to shoot two seasons of 39 days, back to back, along with our 14-day quarantine, would have meant nearly 100 days, and that was simply too long."
When the game began filming, 18 new castaways were divided into three tribes of six to face a "more intense and more dangerous" season than ever before, according to CBS.
The network also recently teased an "unpredictable" season with a change in format that "even the strongest Super Fan" would find challenging.
"Once we landed at 26 days, the first thing we had to do was adjust the living conditions of the game so that 26 days would still feel like 39 days," Jeff told EW.
"At first glance, you might think that's impossible, but it's not. The players definitely felt it, and you'll see it in the show."
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TheSurvivor castaways were given minimal supplies and scarce Reward Challenges, and they faced risky advantages that either advanced a player's game or simply extinguished his or her torch.
"The conditions were very tough because they started with no food, very limited camp supplies, and very few rewards," Jeff reiterated.
"So their cognitive abilities are diminished much faster than in the past."
Jeff said every aspect of the game was adjusted to ensure an extremely impactful 26 days. Even advantages came with massive risks that could either advance a player's game or simply extinguish his or her torch.
"After only a handful of days with no food, they started to struggle to form clear thoughts. You'll see it," Jeff acknowledged.
"They struggle in all areas of the game. Nobody was complaining that 26 days was not enough!"
Not only were the conditions worse for the castaways, but Jeff pointed out how more gameplay had to be packed into a shorter time frame, which proved to be quite difficult for the cast.
"The pace is absolutely relentless, faster than any other season. There is no time to sit back and contemplate even for a moment," Jeff shared of Season 41.
"You have to be assessing and reassessing your options on an hourly basis because you have no idea what is coming next. The game design has never been so dangerous."
Jeff previously said producers' goal was to keep the players off-balance and uncertain and Tribal Councils were "intense" and filled with cutthroat moves and blindsides.
Jeff had pointed out how the new changes madeSurvivor -- which premiered its first season all the way back in 2000 -- feel fresh and more alive than ever.
"I loved this new version of Survivorand I think fans will too," Jeff gushed to EW.
"I don't think anyone will even notice that it's only 26 days. Remember, it's not the number of days that matter. It's what happens during those days. And a lot happens inSurvivor 41."
In another new format change,Survivor's 41st season will show Jeff taking viewers inside the action by addressing the audience directly throughout the season. He'll make fans aware of some of the twists before players even face them.
In addition,Survivor fans can test their own savviness and knowledge of the show by playing "Game Within the Game," allowing viewers to spot a hidden rebus puzzle within an episode and solve it each week.
The 18 castaways -- whom Jeff has raved about -- will be looking to outwit, outplay and outlast their opponents. They include a rancher, a former NFL player, a neurosurgeon, a pastor, a cyber security analyst, a grocery clerk, and a flight attendant.
After Survivordebuts its 41st season on September 22 with an extended broadcast, the show will continue to air new episodes on Wednesday nights in its normal timeslot of 8-9PM ET/PT beginning on September 29.