Anticipation is building for the upcoming 34th season of Survivor, which will feature an array of former contestants returning to compete in the new season’s “Game Changers” format.
ET Canada’s Erin Cebula visited the Fiji set of the long-running reality hit and spoke with host Jeff Probst about some of the new twists viewers can expect to see when the “Game Changers” season debuts next week.
“We are doing one big change and that is in case of a tie vote at Tribal Council, there will not be a recount so that means we would go directly to the tie-breaker, which is that you can all talk but then you will now have to make a unanimous decision,” Probst explains.
“The reason that came up was because it started to occur to me that the way our game is structured, you can actually get a peek into the future and see if someone has an idol. If you have enough players it doesn’t cost you anything. It should cost you something — so now it will cost you something.”
Will that result in more tie votes? Probst doesn’t think so. “I just think that it will make each vote much more nerve-wracking, because now you’re guessing and you better guess right. The smart players will realize, ‘I’m in the minority alliance and I think I’m in trouble, I can actually take one of my votes and put it on one of my own alliance members,’” he says.
As Probst explains, one big reason behind the longevity of Survivor is the brilliance of its format, which doesn’t require the show to be completely reinvented to shake things up — merely tweaked.
“I fell into the perfect show 17 years ago, it’s the study of human nature,” says Probst. “It’s this great game that you can sit around in editing when you can just think, ‘Hmm, what else would work, what else would make it difficult, what else would I hate to see happen or what else would I love to see happen?’ Ideas just occur to you and the great thing about Survivor is that you only need a little tweak. Like the reboot, that’s enough to send this season into a bit of a spin. You don’t need to re-invent it, you just need a little tweak.”
“You have always said you are always open to ideas from your teammates and that there are no bad ideas on Survivor because they can always grow into something that can always change the game and push the game forward,” notes Cebula.
“One hundred per cent,” Probst agrees. “I think the secret sauce of our success — and this is going to sound corny — but we have sociological safe environment for ideas. Nobody feels threatened to share an idea that they know is terrible but it might be great so yes, say it. It’s amazing how many times that kernel of an idea leads to a full piece of popcorn and you know it’s great.”
The new season of Survivor debuts with a two-hour premiere on Wednesday, Mar. 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.