Wondering how this week's unusual Episode 7 two-parter will effect the rest of the Survivor: Pearl Islands broadcast schedule? Wonder no more. During a post-Episode 7 press conference, Survivor producer Mark Burnett announced that due to the addition of the two-part Episode 7 episode, not only will this Survivor season not feature the traditional mid-series "recap" episode, but that additional new season finale changes are in store.

After announcing that the season finale of Survivor: Pearl Islands will be the first Fall season Survivor series to follow the recent Spring season series tradition of being broadcast on a Sunday evening and have a finale broadcast on Sunday, December 14, 2003, Burnett also announced that the seventh edition of the series will also be the first edition to feature a live finale broadcast conducted from inside the United States.

According to Burnett, the two-hour season finale will be broadcast from 8-10 PM ET and air live from an outdoor set in Panama City, Panama. Following the finale, Jeff Probst will host the usual live series reunion special from 10-11 PM ET, also live from Panama. As usual, all present Survivor cast members will be flown to Panama and be onsite, along with the usual select assortment of previous series alumni.

Officially, Burnett cited the desire for a change "from New York and Los Angeles" and "an opportunity to do something different" as his reasons for broadcasting the season finale from the exotic locale. Unofficially, we would have to believe that the fact that the much anticipated Survivor: The All Star Edition series is expected to begin filming in the Pearl Islands region within the next several days (and not conclude filming until mid-December) would seem to be a clear factor in the decision. However, in deference to the current series, Burnett refused to discuss any All Star production schedule or location details during the press conference, so apparently you'll just have to take our unofficial word on it for now.

Regarding the disappearance of the traditional mid-series recap episode that fans have long loathed, Burnett admitted that he too was "delighted" to see it gone. After explaining that as result of the seventh episode two-parter the creation of the previously CBS-mandated recap episode was unnecessary in order to meet the program's network obligations, Burnett confessed that the day after the broadcast of a series recap episode is "always an awful day around my company" due to the significantly lower ratings and the series ratings momentum damage that a Survivor recap episode always suffers. Given such comments, we can't help but wonder if we'll not see a recap episode during the All Star edition as well -- after all, Survivor is likely to need all the momentum it can muster to take on the final days of NBC's Friends.