'Survivor: Island of the Idols' returning castaways Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine and twist formally revealed by CBS
By Steven Rogers, 05/16/2019
Survivor: Island of the Idols' returning castaways and format twist have been officially announced by CBS.
CBS confirmed this fall's 39th Survivor season will be titled Survivor: Island of the Idols and feature former Survivor winners Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine serving as mentors to a group of new castaways during a preview video shown at the conclusion of Wednesday night's broadcast of the finale of Survivor: Edge of Extinction. (WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW!)
"For our 39th season, two legendary winners return to the game," Survivor host Jeff Probst said in the video package.
"But for the first time ever, they won't be competing for the million-dollar prize, Instead, they'll live together on their own island and serve as mentors to a group of new players."
"It's a Survivor boot camp, where every visit is a dance with danger!"
In addition, the video also featured Boston Rob and Sandra boasting about their Survivor credentials and confidently proclaiming their knowledge could make someone Survivor's next winner.
"Sandra and I, between the two of us, we've played over 200 days. We've both won the game [and] Sandra's the only contestant to ever win twice. We know everything there is to know about Survivor. I mean I wrote a book on it!," Boston Rob said. "Survivor school is in session!"
"If they can take what Rob can teach them and what I can teach them and put it all together, they can take home the million dollars -- that's it, all they got to do is listen!," Sandra added.
However, according to Sandra, the new castaways will have to pay a price to gain access to the Survivor winners' insights.
"We're not giving you anything for free," she teased.
Survivor's 39th season wrapped filming in Fiji's Mamanuca Islands in late April, and the new season is scheduled to air Wednesdays at 8PM ET/PT on CBS this fall.
According to online spoilers, Boston Rob and Sandra will reportedly act as mentors to 20 new castaways.
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Castaways will be sent to the Island of the Idols through various methods throughout the season, Inside Survivor blogger Martin Holmes reported earlier this month.
The Island of the Idols twist will slightly resemble Survivor: Ghost Island's Ghost Island twist, where famous relics, idols and advantages from past seasons of Survivor awaited the cast.
According to Holmes, the theme "Island of the Idols" has a double meaning in that hidden Immunity Idols and advantages can be found on the mysterious island, which will also serve as the stomping grounds for Boston Rob and Sandra, two of Survivor's most iconic "idols" of all time.
When a player gets sent to the Island of the Idols, he or she will reportedly have the opportunity to gain advice and advantages from the former winners.
Similar to Survivor: Edge of Extinction's Extinction Island twist, Rob and Sandra's involvement in the game will reportedly be kept a secret from the other castaways for as long as possible on Season 39.
Producers therefore encouraged castaways not to speak of their experiences on the island with other players during filming, according to Holmes.
Survivor: Island of the Idols' twist may sound familiar
Debbie -- who got sent to Exile Island, which was more like a luxury vacation for its inhabitants, following a tribal swap -- was also able to choose one of three possible advantages: A stellar kit to construct a perfect-looking fake hidden Immunity Idol, an extra vote at Tribal Council, or an Immunity Challenge advantage for her tribe. Debbie selected the extra vote.
Survivor: Island of the Idols reportedly adopted that same concept, except the theme will run all season long.
The Island of the Idols, however, will not be a place where eliminated castaways gather and wait to receive a chance to return to the original game as seen in Survivor: Redemption Island and Survivor: Edge of Extinction, according to Holmes.
Once a player has his or her torch snuffed on Survivor's 39th edition, he or she will allegedly be out of the game for good and/or become a member of the jury.