'Survivor' host Jeff Probst reveals 26-day game change is permanent, two major twists won't be in play on Season 43
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/21/2022
Survivorhost Jeff Probst has revealed its 26-day game is here to stay but two major twists from the past two seasons are out the window for Season 43 this Fall.
Survivor's past two editions, Season 41 and Season 42, filmed amid the coronavirus pandemic and featured a condensed and apparently more grueling 26-day game, a vast difference from the long 39-day game Survivor fans had grown to love over two decades of the show airing on CBS.
"The decision to change the game to 26 days came from the fact that we couldn't leave our bubble," Jeff toldEntertainment Weekly ahead of Survivor 41 in 2021.
"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."
Jeff, at the time, wasn't sure ifSurvivor would ever go back to its original 39-day format.
But now, producers have made a decision, and it appears viewers won't see a 39-day game again -- or at least not any time in the near future.
"Yes, the 26-day season is here to stay. This is our new game, and we are very excited about the future," Jeff told EW ahead of Survivor 43.
Survivor's next season premieres Wednesday, September 21 at 8PM ET/PT, and Jeff teased the episodes will be jam packed with little filler.
"From a big picture point of view, this new era is here to stay," Jeff explained.
"Twenty six days, no food, meager supplies, penalties for losing, risky advantages, fast pace, small tribes. We like this version and we think it has legs, so we're going to work within that format and see where it goes."
While Survivor's 43rd season is expected to have some surprises, Jeff has already confirmed there will be two major changes.
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Survivor is doing away with the "Do or Die" and the "Change History" -- better known as "the hourglass" -- twists.
Jeff pointed out how a twist's success or lack thereof is subjective and there is always a risk it "may fail."
Jeff anticipates that fans will speak up every season about what they like and don't like, from twists and timing to the game's apparent level of difficulty.
The "Do or Die" twist allowed players to decide whether to play or sit out of an Individual Immunity Challenge. If a player chose not to participate, he or she was ineligible to win Immunity.
But for the players who chose to compete, the first person to drop out of the challenge and lose would be forced to play a game at Tribal Council.
The losing castaway was asked to choose one of three wooden boxes. Two boxes had skull symbols inside, and one box had a flame symbol inside. If the castaway picked the flame box, he or she would be safe from the vote and live to see another day.
But if the castaway chose a box containing a skull, his or her game would end immediately.
"With Do or Die, the drama was electrifying but we also felt that was one twist we could put on the shelf... for now," Jeff teased.
Deshawn Radden and Lindsay Dolashewich played "Do or Die" on their respective seasons, and in an amazing turn of events, they both chose the correct box and were deemed safe.
The "Change History" twist gave an exiled player the choice to smash an hourglass, which would reverse the outcome of a group Immunity Challenge -- essentially taking victory away from the winners -- or leave the hourglass intact and keep the game in its natural state.
Erika Casupanan was the first Survivorcastaway to face this twist, and she chose to smash the hourglass.
Erika's decision stripped the winning tribe of immunity after the challenge, forcing them to compete again. One of the original Immunity-Challenge winners was subsequently voted out of the game at Tribal Council.
The twist -- dubbed "a lie" by many Survivorfans -- split Survivor viewers down the middle, as some were infuriated, especially when Erika went on to win the $1 million, and some were caught up in the excitement.
Rocksroy Bailey also chose to smash the hourglass on Exile Island on Season 42.
"The most vocal feedback surrounded the 'Change History' twist. People either loved it or despised it, but there was no gray," Jeff toldParade in a separate interview.
"The 'Change History' twist had been on my personal idea board of 'one day, when the time is right...' so I'll shoulder the full responsibility for those who wanted to rip my safari shirt off my back! For S43, we did not bring the 'Change History' twist back. But I feel the need to remind future players, it doesn't mean it won't return in the future."
Jeff also told Parade that castaways should always brace themselves for returning or new twist in order to "keep players guessing."
"That uncertainty is all we need to keep players off balance. So, as always, the key to doing well onSurvivor is to stay open," Jeff noted.
"You will never be able to anticipate everything that is going to happen. It's impossible. So the best use of your energy and constantly declining cognitive abilities is to try to stay alert to what is happening, not what you think will happen."
Survivor's new castaways competing for the $1 million grand prize include a pet cremator, an elevator salesman, a heart-valve specialist, a clinical psychologist, a U.S. Paralympian, and a college admissions director.