Survivor (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Not to be confused with Survivors, a British post-apocalyptic series.

Survivor is a reality game show produced in many countries throughout the world. In the show, contestants are isolated in the wilderness and compete for cash and other prizes. The show uses a system of progressive elimination, allowing the contestants to vote off other tribe members until only one final contestant remains and wins the title of "Sole Survivor." The format for Survivor was created in 1992 by British television producer Charlie Parsons.


Survivor, through its seasons and various international versions, has maintained the basic premise of the game despite several new rules and gameplay twists introduced in later versions. In the game, sixteen to twenty contestants, the castaways, are split into tribes and assigned separate camps at the filming's location, typically a tropical setting. As a tribe, the castaways must survive the elements, construct shelter, build fire, look for water, and scrounge for food and other necessities for the entire filming period, around 39 days. In the first half of the game, the tribes face off in challenges, some for rewards of food, shelter, or luxury items, while others are for immunity, preventing the winning tribe from having to go to the next Tribal Council. Tribes that do go to Tribal Council discuss the events of the last few days with the host asking questions, and then must vote out one of their own players, eliminating them from the game.

In the second half of the game, the tribes are merged into a single tribe. Challenges are played at an individual level for individual rewards and immunity. At subsequent Tribal Councils, those eliminated start to form the jury, who sit in on all subsequent Tribal Councils but otherwise do not participate. When only two or three castaways remain, those castaways attend a final Tribal Council, where the jury is given the opportunity to ask them questions. After this, the jury members then vote to decide which of the remaining castaways should be declared Sole Survivor.

The following description of the show is based primarily on the American version of Survivor, though the general format applies to all international versions.

Castaways and tribes

Players for each season are selected through applicants and casting calls, down-selecting to between sixteen and twenty players and additional alternates. U.S. version host Jeff Probst noted that while sixteen castaways makes it easier to split the tribes with respect to age and gender, they have used eighteen and twenty to provide them "wiggle room" in case of player injury or if one should want to quit the game. These players undergo physical and psychological evaluation to make sure they are physically and mentally fit for the survival endurance and will not likely quit during the filming period, replacing those that are questionable with the alternates. In one case, Fiji, on the day before filming was to start after they had dismissed their alternates, one of the castaways opted out of the competition, forcing production to start with nineteen players and adapting the activities of the first few days to accommodate the odd number of players.

Tribes may be pre-determined by production before filming starts. Often this is done to equalize the genders and age ranges within both tribes. Other season have had the tribes separated by age, gender, or racial background. In other cases, the tribes may be created on the spot through schoolyard picks. Most often, only two tribes are featured, but some seasons have begun with three or four tribes. Once assigned a tribe, each castaway is given a buff in their tribe color to aid the viewers in identifying tribal alliance. Tribe are then subsequently given names, inspired by the local region, and directions to their camps.

At their camps, tribes are expected to build shelter against the elements from the local trees and other resources. Tribes are typically given minimal resources, such as a machete, water canteens, cooking pots, and staples of rice and grains, though this will vary from season to season. Sometimes, tribes will be provided a water well near the camp, but require the water to be boiled to make it potable, necessitating the need for the tribe to build fire. The tribes are encouraged to forge off the land for food, including fruits, wild animals, and fish.

In some seasons, a tribal swap will occur where one or more players will shift from one tribe to another. This may occur by random draw, schoolyard picks, or some other mechanism. When these occur, those players that shift tribes are given new buffs for their new tribe and return to that tribe's camp, with any personal possessions from their former camp moved with them. In seasons with more than two tribes, tribes may be merged down to two, or a tribe that has lost many members may be absorbed by the other remaining tribes. Once down to around half the remaining players, all remaining tribes are merged into one, usually allowing the players to select a new tribe name. In Palua, the Ulong tribe was whittled down to one castaway, so that instead of a normal merge, that player was absorbed into Kotor.


During both pre- and post-merge segments of filming, the castaways compete in a series of challenges. Tribes are alerted to these upcoming challenges by a message, often in rhyme, delivered to camp by the production team at a basket or box on a nearby tree; this message has come to be called "treemail", playing off the word "e-mail". The message typically hints at what the challenge might or, and may provide props to demonstrate this, practice equipment for the players, or a sampling of the reward.

Prior to the merge, tribes compete against each other in challenges. These most often are multi-segment obstacle courses that include both physical and mental elements with the tribe that finishes first declared the winner; commonly, these start with tribe members collecting puzzles pieces that are then used to solve a puzzle by other tribe members. Other challenges may be based on winning a number of rounds of head-to-head competitions. Challenges are normally held with equal numbers of all tribes participating and in some cases equal splits of gender. Tribes with more players will be asked to sit out as many players as needed to balance the numbers, with the stipulation that those players cannot sit out in back-to-back reward and immunity challenges. When one tribe has more than twice the other tribe members, then players in the larger tribe cannot participate in back-to-back challenges. Tribes are given time to strategically decide who should sit out and who will perform the various duties on a challenge.

After the merge, challenges are generally performed on an individual basis. These include similar obstacle courses as for team challenges, but will often also include endurance challenges, having players maintain the balance under precarious situations for as long as possible. In some cases, during post-merge challenges, the individuals will be split into separate teams, with only the winning team eligible for reward or immunity.

Challenges can be played for rewards, immunity, or both. Rewards include food, survival equipment like flint, tarps, or fishing gear, luxury items, and short getaways from camp. Before the merge, the entire winning tribe will enjoy these rewards. Post-merge, only one player may win the reward but will be given the opportunity to select one or more other players to bring along with them on it. Individual challenge rewards may also include an advantage that can be used at the subsequent immunity challenge.

Immunity challenges provide the winning tribe or team with immunity from Tribal Council. Immunity is represented in a form of an idol prior to the merge, and a necklace afterwards. Prior to the merge, tribes with immunity do not attend Tribal Council, allowing them to stay intact. In seasons featuring more than two tribes, immunity will be available for all but the last place finishers, forcing this one tribe to Tribal Council. With individual immunity, those castaways still attend Tribal Council with the rest of the merged tribe, but, unless they assign immunity to someone else, are ineligible to be voted for. Winning immunity is only good for one Tribal Council; at the next immunity challenge, the tribe or castaway will be asked to give up the idol or necklace, making immunity "up for grabs".

Though a large variety of challenges have been used across Survivors broadcast, several challenges are frequently reused.

  • A food eating challenge, based on food items that may be local delicacies but consider gross or revolting by the castaways.
  • A trivia or "know your tribe" quiz, where getting answers correct allows the castaway to knock other castaways out of the challenge and prevent them from winning.
  • A "Survivor Auction", used in place of a reward challenge, giving the players money to use to bid on food items (both known and unknown at the time of bidding), other momentary luxuries like a bath, or an advantage in the next immunity challenge.
  • A "Loved ones" challenge, where loved ones (a sponse, parent, sibling, or friend) has been brought to the location to participate in the challenge with their castaway. The winner typically gets to spend more time with their loved one either on a brief trip or back at camp.
  • A "Second Chance" challenge, where elements of previous challenges are reused in a single course.
  • The final immunity challenge often is a long-term endurance challenge, giving the remaining castaways time to make bargains and last minute deals to get into the final Tribal Council. Typically, a "Rites of Passage" ceremony is held before this challenge, where the remaining castaways pay tribute to the eliminated players in the game.

Tribal Council

Tribal Council is a specially-build stage in proximity to the tribe camps; tribes sit across a fire pit from the host, while the jury, if present, sit off to the side. A small voting alcove adjoins the structure. Events at Tribal Council are used as the finale for each episode.

The first time a castaway attends Tribal Council, they are instructed to get a torch and light it in the fire pit, with the statement that "fire represents life". After the tribe is seated, the host will call in the jury (if post-merge), reminding them they are there to watch but not speak. The host will proceed to ask the tribe questions regarding camp life and anything that he had witnessed at the challenges over the last few days. During this, internal strive within the tribe may be highlighted, and castaways in precarious situations may reveal information or bargain with others to keep themselves in the game. Though only a few minutes of these proceedings are shown to the viewing audience, some Tribal Councils have gone on for hours.

Subsequently, the host will ask anyone with the immunity necklace if they want to keep it or transfer it to someone else; whomever wears it cannot be voted for. The host then asks each castaway to make their vote in the alcove. The castaway is given an opportunity to speak to a camera in a message directed to the person they are voting off and the viewers before placing the vote in an urn. When all votes are made, the host collects the urn, and starts reading the votes. When enough votes have been read to eliminate one player, all remaining votes are kept secret, and that player is asked to bring the host their torch and then snuffs it out. The player is then told "the tribe has spoken" and asked to leave the Tribal Council area. The remainder of the tribe is then allowed to return to camp with their torches, though in some seasons, if they have not earned or made fire yet, they will be asked to douse their torches before leaving.

The eliminated player is given the opportunity to speak to a camera on their feelings of being eliminated before they are seclude with other castaways until the end of filming. Those players that will become jury members are sequestered until the end of the final Tribal Council, and are not allowed to discuss their voting or issues with the remaining contestants, with other jury members, or the final players in order to prevent any possible cooperation or collusion from subgroups within the jury.

Ties may occur. Normally, a second vote is held, with only the tied players eligible to be voted for. If this does not break the stalemate, a tie-breaker is used, though the nature of it has changed through the seasons. The first tie-breaker in The Australian Outback reviewed the tied players' votes in previous Tribal Councils, with the player with the most previous votes eliminated. When this occurred again in Africa, both players had equal number of previous votes, and a trivia quiz based on the area was used to determine the winner, the loser being eliminated from the game. Subsequent seasons have used a "purple rock" as a tie-breaker mechanism: in this, each player except those with immunity draw a rock from a bag, and the player with the single purple rock is eliminated. This has only been used once, during Marquesas, at the final four Tribal Council, but later revealed by Probst that this was a mistake in this scenario and should only be used with six or more players involved in the tie-breaker. Though the tie-breaker method has not be used since, tribes have discussed creating stalemates and allowing the purple rock tie-breaker to decide who goes home. In cases with only four or two players left in a tribe, the tie-breaker is decided by a challenge, which to date has always been a challenge to build a small fire high enough to burn through a rope.

The Final Tribal Council occurs with only two or three players left in the game. The move to three players was done to make it more of a challenge to the castaway that won the final immunity, as while the would assure themselves being at the Final Tribal Council, they would not be able to decide alone who would go along with them. At the Final Tribal Council, each remaining castaway is given time to make a statement to the jury. Subsequently, each jury member individually addresses the castaways, asking each a question or commenting on their behavior in the game to sway the other jury members; the castaways are free to response to these as they see fit. The remaining castaways may be given time for a concluding speech. After this, the host has each player go to vote, this time for the person that they feel should be named the Sole Survivor. As with regular elimination votes, the jurors are given an opportunity to speak to the camera to explain their vote. The host then collects the urn, and in most seasons, holds on to it for a live reading of the votes on the season's final show where the Sole Survivor is announced. A tie may occur during this; juries have been odd-numbered for all cases of two-person finales, while no tie has yet to occur when three players are involved. Probst has stated that they have contingency plans for a tie in the future, which is reportedly based on a "white enveloped" though the contents which are unknown.

Some players are eliminated from the game by other means. Castaways may suffer from severe injuries or fatigue; while a medical team is always present and will try to remedy any help, if the medical doctor determines that the player needs to be removed from the game for their own health, they will be removed and taken to a nearby hospital. Other times, players may be declared fit to continue in the game but warned of the dangers of continuing, giving the castaway the option of staying or taking themselves out of the game. Castaways may also be psychologically moved to simply quit the game due to fatigue and emotions, either at Tribal Council where they are let out of the game without any vote, or recovered from camp after being talked to with the host and others. When a player is eliminated through either route, the subsequent Tribal Council may be cancelled, with the other tribes notified of the departed player's removal. During post-merge, players that are removed from the game by medical evacuation are still eligible to be on the jury, though do not participate until deemed healthy by medical examiners. Those that quit the game may still be eligible for the jury or may be replaced by an earlier player that was voted off.

Hidden immunity idols

Hidden immunity idols are small objects that can fit within a pocket, tailored to fit the theme of the season, that are hidden around the tribes' camps or other locations the castaways have access to. These idols can provide immunity to a castaway at Tribal Council, if played, up until typically the third-to-last Tribal Council; for example, it can be played as part of the final five castaways in a season where the final tribal council will consist of three players. The rules for playing the idol have changed during the seasons. In its first use in Guatemala, the idol was played before the vote; other players could not vote for that player. In Panama and Cook Islands, the idol could be played after the votes were read, nullifying the votes for that player; whomever received the next-highest number of votes was then eliminated. In Fiji and all subsequent seasons, the idol must be played after votes are cast but before they are read, with any votes cast for that player considered null. According to Probst, this last version has proven to be a "happy medium" of the previous idol/immunity mechanisms.

The idol, once found by a player, cannot be stolen from them, but other castaways can look through their possessions to see if they have it. The idol can be willingly transferred to another player at any point in the game, including at Tribal Council at the appropriate time that the idol must be played; in such cases, the castaway receiving the idol can play it to protect themselves. Idols, once played, may be returned to the game after being hidden at a new location. A castaway may be blindsided and voted out of the game while in possession of an idol; in such cases, the idol is considered to have left the game, and is not replaced. Castaways have used the idol as a bargaining chip to align played with them and swing pending votes in a specific direction; as such, some players have been inspired to create fake hidden immunity idols left at the spot that the original idol was found at or to carry, using the fake in the same manner to attempt to alter the vote. If a fake idol is played at Tribal Council, the host will note that it is not the real idol and destroy it by throwing it in the fire. Within the U.S. version of the show, production has found the fake idol strategy an interesting twist, and have subtly provided materials, such as beads and paint, through normal props within the game to allow players to make these fake idols.

To find the idol, a series of successive clues are given to castaways via a number of different means: it may be given to the winner of a reward challenge or hidden among the reward prize; it may be announced by the host to all remaining castaways; or it may be a clue that a castaway receives as part of either going to Exile Island or as part of the benefit of temporarily being taken by the other tribe. Castaways are under no obligation to share the idol clues with other players. Clues are still given whether the idol has been found or not, and each new clue will include all the previous clues given for that location; only once the idol is played and replaced in the game are new clues generated for the players. These clues may lead to a location on Exile Island or point back at some point at the tribes' camp. In latter seasons, players have been very aware that hidden idols may be in play from the start of the game and seek out the idol without clues near apparent landmarks. One castaway, Russell Hantz, was able to find the idol six times during his three appearances on the U.S. version of the show without the aid of clues, leading producers to find more difficult locations, creating a so-called "Russell factor" when considering hiding locations.

Exile Island

Exile Island is an island or other stretch of land, far distant from the tribes' camp, where castaways are sent to for one or more days. The decision of who goes to Exile is based on the results of a reward challenge; before the merge, the player sent to Exile was selected from the losing tribe by the winners, while post-merge, the winning player may select this player. That castaway remains at Exile up until the next immunity challenge. In some seasons, once the losing tribe's castaway for Exile has been picked, that player has the ability to pick a player from the winning tribe to join them at Exile.

Being sent to Exile Island is generally disadvantageous. The castaway sent is forced to fend for themselves, generally with only water and a machete being provided. The castaway is also separated from their tribe, causing them to lose out on strategy discussions or working with allied players. At the same time, Exile Island will either offer a clue or be the location of the hidden immunity idol; aligned players have sent their allies to Exile so that they can obtain the clue or idol and strengthen their position, and even in one case, a player selected himself to go to Exile specifically to receive the next clue. In one season, Gabon, the exiled player had the option of selecting the clue to lead them to the idol, or to choose comfort, being provided a sheltered hut with a hammock and fresh fruit to enjoy.

Exile twists

The concept of Exile was first introduced in Survivor: Palau, when a single contestant was made to stay alone on a beach for a day as a result of being the first to drop out of an Immunity Challenge. However, this twist would not be used regularly until Survivor: Panama and was also used in Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia, Gabon and Tocantins. A selected player is exiled to a location (typically a small island) apart from the main tribe camps, typically for at least a day following a reward challenge and returning immediately before the following immunity challenge. The player selected may be either the first loser of a challenge (as was the case in Survivor: Palau), or a person selected by either the winning or losing tribe in the tribal phase, or an individual challenge winner in the individual phase. In Micronesia and Tocantins, one person from each tribe was sent to Exile Island. Unless stated otherwise, players who win the right to decide who goes to Exile Island may also choose to go themselves.

Also, whenever the number of contestants is uneven in formation of tribes (in initial division or switching, but not merging), the single-outed contestant will be treated as "tribeless" and sent to Exile Island immediately after formation (as in Survivor: Panama, Survivor: Fiji, and Survivor: Gabon). In this case, the contestant will return and join the tribe which loses a member at the following Tribal Council.

Once selected, the exiled contestant is immediately taken to the island by boat (or given a map to the "island"). On the island, there are few tools to survive with, typically a water canteen, a machete, a pot, and a limited amount of shelter. The two main disadvantages of being on Exile Island are the lack of food and water, which can weaken a player and make them less effective in challenges, and the isolation from other contestants, which can cause a player to become out of the loop and weaken their position in their tribe. Contestants are often sent to Exile Island for one or both of these strategic reasons.

The person exiled receives a consolation prize of sorts " a clue to the hidden immunity idol, which may or may not be located on the island, an "instant comfort" (as in Survivor: Gabon), or the right to change tribes (as in Survivor: Tocantins). If the exiled contestant is asked to return after the Tribal Council (whether they belong to a tribe or not), they will also be immune from being voted out at the respective Tribal Council.

The concept of Exile Island was also explored in the first season of Survivor South Africa, when eliminated contestants were exiled to "Dead Man's Island" and later given a chance to come back into the game. "Dead Man's Island" was known for its tough conditions and atmosphere of despair, as contestants had to survive there without real purpose until near the end of the game.

Only two seasons have used different Exile twists. In China, tribes who win reward challenges won the right to "kidnap" someone from the losing tribe, and that person would have to stay with them until the next immunity challenge. In Samoa, a reverse version of the kidnapping rule was used, called "spy expedition" (also known as "observing"). The winning tribe would have to send one of their own to accompany the other tribe until the immunity challenge. Both of these twists were retired after the merge.

Redemption Island

Redemption Island is a twist introduced on Survivor: Redemption Island and also used on Survivor: South Pacific. Redemption island is a combination of the outcast twist on Survivor: Pearl Islands and the Exile Island twist introduced on Survivor: Panama. Eliminated contestants will go to Redemption Island instead of immediately going home. There they will fend for themselves as if they were still in the game until the next person is voted out. Whenever there are two people on Redemption Island there is a duel where the winner remains on the island and the losers are eliminated and must remove their buff and throw it into a small fire pit upon exiting.

If there is a double-elimination or any other disruption of the game's pattern, duels are put on hold until the game returns to normal. This results in 3 or 4 people dueling instead of 2. In Survivor: Redemption Island only the loser of the duel was eliminated. This resulted in 8 people still being in the game at the finale (4 in the main game, and 4 in Redemption). Jeff Probst admitted that this was a bit much, and for Survivor: South Pacific the rules were changed so only the winner remained in the game, while all others were eliminated.

At the merge, the person remaining in Redemption is entered back into the game and Redemption Island is reset. Then, once again, when 4 people remain in the main game the person remaining in Redemption is entered back into the game, but this time Redemption Island is taken out of play and there are no more second chances.

Due to the controversy surrounding this twist, it is no longer used. Fans of the twist praise the fact that their favorite players get a second chance and it adds a new layer of strategy to the game. However, critics point out that this twist is inconsistent, as those who make it to the finale do not get a second chance, while those voted out early could actually receive a third chance, as was the case with Ozzy in Survivor: South Pacific.


The player chosen as Sole Survivor receives a cash prize of $1,000,000 (prior to taxes). The Sole Survivor usually also receives a car provided by the show's sponsor. In a few seasons, the final players have also agreed to play for the tribe flag or other representative object from camp.

In addition, the final five or six contestants may have the opportunity to compete for a car. The winner of this challenge has never won the game, leading to the concept of a "Survivor car curse".

Every player receives a prize for participating on Survivor depending on how long he or she lasts in the game. In most seasons, the runner-up receives $100,000, and third place wins $85,000. All other players receive money on a sliding scale, though specific amounts have rarely been made public. Sonja Christopher, the first player voted off in Survivor: Borneo, received $2,500. In Survivor: Fiji, the first season with tied runners-up, the two runners-up received US$100,000 each, and Yau-Man Chan received US$60,000 for his 4th place finish.

All players also receive an additional $10,000 for their appearance on the reunion show.

There have also been additional prizes given out, outside of the usual mechanics of the show:

Variations in the format

Aside from the U.S. version, other franchises introduced variations and twists for the game. Somehow, most of these twists and variations are used in other franchises as well:

  • Expeditie Robinson Belgium/Netherlands
    • During the 2005 season the tribes were initially divided up by age into "Old" and "Young", with the old contestants being forty and older and the young contestants being under the age of thirty. This twist was later used during Survivor: Nicaragua and Robinsonekspedisjonen 2009.
    • During the pre-merge portion of the 2006 season two former contestants returned to the game to lead the tribes. As leader they were allowed to give individual immunity to any member of their tribe when they went to tribal council. Neither of these two contestants were eligible to win and both left shortly before the merge.
    • When there were only three contestants left during the 2006 season all of the contestants that had lost on "Losers Island" voted to eliminate one of the finalists.
    • The 2007 season began with one hundred contestants. Because many of these contestants weren't on the show for more than a couple of episodes many of their surnames are unknown.
    • When it came time to reveal the winner of the 2008 season it was revealed that the jury vote was tied at 3-3. This led to seventy four former contestants voting for a winner.
    • During the 2009 season the two tribes were initially composed of only women while a smaller tribe of men were hidden on a secluded beach. The men eventually entered the main competition in episode four. A similar twist was later used during Robinson 2011.
  • Koh-Lanta (France)
    • In every season of Koh-Lanta, just before the tribe merge, an ambassador is chosen in each tribe. They had the power to give one more vote to any contestant for the first Tribal Council of the merged tribe, until season 8. On season 9 and onwards (including the two All-Stars seasons), they can directly eliminate a contestant. However, if none of the ambassadors agree to vote for/eliminate one contestant, they must draw one pearl in a bag. The one who gets the black pearl loses and gets a vote, or is directly eliminated depending of the season.
    • During season 3 (Bocas del Toro), the oldest man and woman had the possibility to compose their respective tribes, as long as the gender parity was respected.
    • During season 4 (Panama), the two tribes were divided by gender. However, after 8 days, the tribes were mixed. A variation was used during season 10 (Vietnam) were the tribes were divided by gender, but one person per tribe was from the opposite gender.
    • During season 5 (Pacific) and season 6 (Vanuatu), the tribes were divided by age: older or younger than 31 years old.
    • During season 7 (Palawan) and season 8 (Caramoan), there was a challenge before the tribes were composed: the best man and woman got the privilege to compose their tribes, while the last man and woman were directly eliminated. The latter rule was also applied in season 9 (Palau) and in the first All-Stars season.
    • During the second All-Stars season, seven previous contestants were part of a tribe, while the other tribe was composed by famous French sportsmen.
    • In season 11 (Raja Ampat), two new rules were introduced: the hidden immunity idol, known in its appearance in the US version, and a new rule called the "vote noir" (black vote). After a contestant gets voted out at the Tribal Council, he can vote one more time against one of the remaining contestants of his tribe, before quitting the game. This vote counts for the next Tribal Council of the tribe.
    • The third All-Stars season featured sixteen former contestants who, despite their performances, didn't become the Sole Survivor.
    • In season 12 (Malaysia), four contestants out of the starting 20 won't be part of the two starting tribes and will be on a sort of "Exile Island", and they'll need to prove themselves in order to integrate one of the two tribes. Also, for the first time in the history of the program, two contestants will be eliminated at once in a single Tribal Council.
  • Robinson Ekspeditionen Denmark
    • As the fifth season was originally thought to be the last season of Robinson that would air in Denmark, Robinson Ekspeditionen 2002 was the first ever "All-Stars" version of Survivor to air in the world. Since then there have been several All-Stars versions including ones in America, Belgium/Netherlands, France, Israel, and Sweden.
    • During the 2005 season the contestants were divided up into tribes based on where they were from within Denmark.
    • During the 2006 season all of the contestants were well known Danish athletes.
    • In keeping with the theme of the season, during the 2006 season none of the contestants were eliminated through voting but rather through duels.
    • During the 2007 season the tribes were composed of past contestants from Robinson Ekspeditionen and contestants of another show known as Paradise Hotel.
    • During the 2008 season the tribes were composed of fans of Robinson Ekspeditionen and former contestants from Paradise Hotel.
    • During the 2009 season the tribes were initially divided into "Smart" and "Dumb" based on the results of an IQ test the contestants took prior to the start of the competition.
    • During the 2010 season the contestants took part in a challenge that would ultimately divide them into "Masters" and "Slaves" within their own tribes (one tribe was composed of male masters and female slaves while the other was composed of female masters and male slaves).
  • Robinsonid (Estonia), Robinsoni (Latvia), Robinzonai (Lithuania)
    • As a representative for each participating country was necessary for the finale, when there was only one member of any given tribe left they were immune from all remaining eliminations.
    • In all seasons of Baltic Robinson the jury would vote for who they didn't want to win as opposed to who they did. These votes would be added along with those given to the losers of plank (in all seasons) and those of the public (in the first two seasons) or of the finalists (in season 3).
  • Survivor Israel
    • Introduced the "Double-Power Challenge" in Survivor 10: The Caribbean. The double-power challenge is an individual challenge, which is played after the Immunity challenge. Every person going to Tribal Council had to compete, and the winner of the challenge won an additional power at Tribal Council.
    • Introduced the "Veto Armlet" in Survivor 10: Pearl Islands. Aside from the Immunity Challenge, where the winner of the challenge wins the immunity, the Israel version introduced the Armlet Veto, wherein the winner of the Veto Challenge gets the armlet. The Veto Armlets purpose is to cancel the vote of a castaway.
  • Robinsonekspedisjonen Norway
    • In November 2011 it was announced that the 2012 season of Robinsonekspedisjonen will be known as "Robinson: Vinter" (Robinson: Winter) and it will be the first ever season of Robinson or Survivor to ever take place in a cold climate as it will be filmed in Norway.
  • Survivor Philippines
    • Introduced the "Cursed and White Pearls", both roughly the size of a standard billiard ball. During the merge stage, the person voted out, before having his/her torch snuffed out, will receive either one or both of the Pearls and give each Pearl to one of the remaining castaways. The castaway who receives the Cursed Pearl gets one vote in the following Tribal Council. In case the Cursed Pearl is lost, the holder would then receive two votes. In-show, the Cursed Pearl is called the "Black Pearl" (though in the first season, its actual color is really silver). On the other hand, the White Pearl will have one vote subtracted from the count in the receiver's favor in the next Tribal Council, should at least one such vote comes up. This was introduced in the first season of Survivor Philippines.
    • Introduced the "Blood Pearl" in Survivor Philippines: Palau. The Blood Pearl served the same purpose as the Cursed Pearl, only, the holder would receive two votes in the next Tribal Council. In case the Blood Pearl is lost, three votes would be counted against the holder.
    • Introduced the "doubles format" in Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Doubles Showdown, wherein castaways are grouped as couples with preexisting relationships. In this format, the couple is treated as one castaway, wherein both members get immunity after winning Immunity Challenges, both win the reward from the Reward Challenges, and both are voted out in the Tribal Council.
    • Also in Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Doubles Showdown, the "Temptation Reward" was introduced. The winning tribe in a Reward Challenge would choose one or two of their own to be the only one/s partaking in the Temptation Reward. After being shown the Temptation Reward, the chosen one/s were then also presented with the consequence that comes upon accepting the Temptation Reward. Declining from the Temptation Reward is also an option, if those chosen would deem accepting it be too harmful for their life in the game.
  • Expedition Robinson Sweden
    • During the 1998 and 1999 seasons, during the pre-merge portion of the competition when a tribe lost an immunity challenge the opposing tribe would vote to eliminate one of their members.
    • In the 1998 season a "Joker" joined the game midway through. Since then this twist has become very common among Survivor versions around the world.
    • During the 1999 season the contestants were initially divided into four tribes. This twist would later be used in the American version of Survivor during Survivor: Exile Island and Survivor: Cook Islands.
    • During the 1999 season the twist of "The Black Vote" was introduced. During the merge portion of the competition whenever someone was voted out before they left tribal council they would cast one more vote. This vote would then be carried over to the next tribal council and whoever received the vote, assuming they didn't have immunity, would have an extra vote against them.
    • During the 2002 season when a contestant was voted out they were sent to a secret island where they would take part in a duel with another eliminated contestant. The contestant who lost said duel would be eliminated for good while the winner remained on the island. The person still inhabiting the island when there were only three contestants left in the game would re-enter the competition. This twist would later be used in several different versions of the show and has recently been used on Survivor: Redemption Island and Survivor: South Pacific.
    • During the All-Stars version of Expedition Robinson the tribes were initially divided into two tribes, one composed of "Veterans" and the other of "Fans". This type of twist was also used in the American version of Survivor during Survivor: Micronesia.
    • During the 2004 season the twist known as "Team X" was introduced. Shortly after the competition began a new group of contestants entered the game and lived separately and secretly away from the other contestants until a certain point in the game. This twist has since also been used in Norway's 2009 season.
    • During the 2004 and 2005 seasons a former contestant entered the game. This twist has since been used in many different Survivor versions around the world.
    • During the 2005 season the tribes were initially divided up into a "Rich" tribe and a "Poor" tribe. This twist has since been used in the Danish, Norwegian, and American versions, most notably in Survivor: Fiji.
  • Twists with unknown origins
    • During the year 2002 several different versions of Survivor used the twist of gender based tribes as a main twist for their seasons. Due to the fact that at the time the Baltic, Belgian/Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish seasons were all traveling together in order to conserve and pool their resources, there is no way to determine which production team came up with the idea of the twist (though it's unlikely to be the Baltic's or Norway's as neither edition has ever used this twist). The same twist was used a few months later in 2003 during Survivor: Amazon and a couple years later in 2004 during Survivor: Vanuatu.

Game rules

  • Conspiring to split winnings will result in immediate expulsion from the game.
  • Except for the occasional challenges which involve wrestling or limited combat, any physical violence between players will result in immediate expulsion from the game.
  • At Tribal Council, players are not permitted to vote for themselves, nor can they spoil their ballots or decline to cast a vote. Players must also show whom they voted for to the camera inside the voting booth.
  • Contestants must abide by U.S. law as well as local law. Breaking any of these laws will result in immediate removal from the game.
  • If a contestant wants to play the hidden immunity idol, this must be done after the votes have been cast but before they are read.
  • If a contestant plays the hidden immunity idol, any votes cast for that contestant will not count, and the person with the next largest number of votes will be eliminated.
  • Contestants may not skip any tribal councils, nor can they refuse to participate in any immunity or reward challenge, unless the game offers them the opportunity to do so.
  • Tribe members may not raid or visit the campsite of another tribe unless they are doing so as part of an immunity challenge, reward challenge or tribal merger activity with the other tribe. They also may not visit the TV crew compound. Exceptions to this rule have been made, though, as a result of accident (as seen in Survivor: Cook Islands) or challenge victories. In Survivor: Guatemala one tribe intentionally visited the other to invite them over to lounge in their lake pool.
  • If a contestant becomes seriously injured or sick, the player, fellow contestants, the host, or even the crew filming the players may call in a medical team for help. In some cases, the player can be treated at their camp, but the player may also be deemed unable to participate further by the medical team and then be taken from camp to a medical facility, and removed from the game.
  • Contestants deciding to quit the contest for any reason not health - or other-emergency-related may or may not be called back for the final jury, pending the producers' decision. (This rule was added at the end of the 2010 season.)
  • Depending on which country the show takes place in, contestants may be barred from killing certain forms of plant or animal life.

Survivor series

The Survivor format has been adapted for numerous international versions of the show, some named after the original Expedition Robinson.

Legend: {{colorbox}} Still in production   {{colorbox}} No longer in production   {{colorbox}} Unknown  

Region/Country Local title Networks Winners Grand Prize Hosts

Survivor Africa M-Net Season 1, 2006: Tsholofelo Gasenelwe $100,000 Anthony Oseyemi
(Season 1)
Arab World Survivor
LBC Season 1, 2005: Hussein El-Abass SR1,000,000 Tareq Mounir
(Season 1)
' Expedición Robinson Canal 13 Season 1, 2000: Sebastián Martino
Season 2, 2001: María Victoria Fernández

$100,000 Julián Weich
(Season 1 " 2)
' Australian Survivor Nine Network Season 1, 2002: Robert Dickson A$500,000 Lincoln Howes
(Season 1)
Celebrity Survivor Seven Network Season 1, 2006: Guy Leech A$100,000
(For charity)
Ian Dickson
(Season 1)
Expedition Robinson ORF
Season 1, 2000: Melanie DEM100,000
' Extreme Azerbaijan
(Ekstrim Az?rbaycan)
Space TV Season 1, 2011: Unknown Sports car Emin ?hm?dov
(Season 1)

TV3 Estonia
TV3 Latvia
TV3 Lithuania
Season 1, 2000: Zane Mukane
Season 2, 2001: M?ris ?veiduks
Season 3, 2002: Rimas Valeikis

Mazda 626
(Season 1)

50,000 LT
(Season 2 " 3)
Emil Rutiku
(Season 1-3)

Pauls Timrots
(Season 1-3)

(Season 1-3)
D?ung?u zvaigznes
Season 1, 2004: Dagm?ra Legante "?10,000 Tenu Karks

Expeditie Robinson VT4
(Season 1 " 5)

(Season 6 "

(Season 1 " 5)

(Season 6 " 7)

(Season 6 "
Season 1, 2000: Karin Lindenhovius
Season 2, 2001: Richard Mackowiak
Season 3, 2002: Derek Blok
Season 4, 2003: Jutta Borms
Season 5, 2004: Frank de Meulder
Season 6, 2005: Marnix Allegaert
Season 7, 2006: Olga Urashova
Season 8, 2007: Vinncent Arrendell
Season 9, 2008: Yin Oei Sian
Season 10, 2009: Marcel Vandezande
Season 11, 2010: Regina Romeijn
Season 12, 2011: Tanja Dexters
Season 13, 2012: Fatima Moreira de Melo
Season 14, 2013: Upcoming Season

(Season 3 " present)
(Season 1 " 2)
(Season 1 " 9)
Désiré Naessens
(Season 1)
Roos Van Acker
(Season 2 " 5)
Lotte Verlackt
(Season 6 " 7)
Evi Hanssen
(Season 7 " present)
Eddy Zoey
(Season 10 " 12)
Dennis Weening
(Season 13 " present)
Expeditie Robinson:
Season 1, 2006: Ryan van Esch
' No Limite Globo Season 1, 2000: Elaine de Melo
Season 2, 2001: Léo Rassi
Season 3, 2001: Rodrigo Trigueiro
Season 4, 2009: Luciana de Araújo

R$ 500,000 Zeca Camargo
(Season 1 " Present)
' Survivor BG
(????????? "?")
BTV Season 1, 2006: Neli Ivanova
Season 2, 2007: Georgi Kostadinov
Season 3, 2008: Nikolay Martinov
Season 4, 2009: Georgi Kehaiov

250,000 BGN Kamen
(Season 1)
(Season 2 " 4)
Evtim Miloshev
(Season 4)

' Into The Shangri-La
CCTV Season 1, 2001: Members of Sun Village A chance to
fulfill their dreams
' Expedición Robinson
(Celebrity Format)
Canal 13 Season 1, 2006: Marcela Roberts $50,000,000 Sergio Lagos
(Season 1)
Karla Constant
(Season 1)

' Expedición Robinson Caracol TV Season 1, 2001: Rolando Patarroyo
Season 2, 2002: Cristóbal Echevarría

(Season 1)

(Season 2)

Margarita Francisco
(Season 1 " 2)
La Isla
de los Famo S.O.S.

(Celebrity Format)
RCN TV Season 1, 2004: María Cecilia Sánchez
Season 2, 2005: Leonel Álvarez
Season 3, 2006: Lucas Jaramillo
Season 4, 2007: José Javier Ramírez

COL$300,000,000 Guillermo Prieto
(Season 1 " 4)
Katerine Porto
(Season 1)

' Survivor HRT
(Season 1)
Season 1, 2005: Vazmenko Pervanu "?100,000
(Season 1)

Antonija Bla"?e
(Season 2)
Milan Kalini"?
(Season 2)
Andrija Milo?evi"?
(Season 2)
Marijana Batini"?
(Season 2)
Survivor Croatia VIP RTL Televizija
(Season 2)
Season 2, 2012: Vladimir "Vlada" Vuksanovi"? 50,000"?
(Season 2)

' Trose?ník TV Prima Season 1, 2006: Ingrid Golasová 5,000,000 CZK Marek Va?ut
(Season 1)
' Robinson
TV3 Season 1, 1998: Regina Pedersen
Season 2, 1999: Dan Marstrand
Season 3, 2000: Sonny Pedersen
Season 4, 2001: Malene Hasselblad
Season 5, 2002: Henrik Ørum
Season 6, 2003: Frank Quistgard
Season 7, 2004: Mette Frandsen
Season 8, 2005: Mogens Brandstrup
Season 9, 2006: Diego Tur
Season 10, 2007: Rikke Gøransson
Season 11, 2008: Daniela Hansen
Season 12, 2009: Villy Eenberg
Season 13, 2010: Søren Engelbret
Season 14, 2011: Hugo Kleister


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