Survivor is basically an institution. For 20 years now, the Jeff Probst-led reality competition is one of the OGs in the reality game, and has made several of its contestants bonafide stars. Its two-decade run means that one of the toughest shows on TV predates smartphones, has rolled on through four presidencies, and managed to get on the air despite all kinds of natural and man-made calamities over the years — only to meet a screeching halt in 2020 because of COVID-19.
Back in March, CBS announced that Seasons Seasons 41 and 42 would be postponed at least two months because of the health risks and precautions needing to be put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Season 41 was supposed to begin shooting March 24 in Fiji, but in a letter, Probst wrote that “due to the growing short-term uncertainty surrounding the global spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding desire for the continued well-being of our amazing crew, we have decided to push back our start date.” The plan at the time was for Survivor to make the 2020-21 schedule but of course, none of us had any idea back in March that COVID-19 would continue to disrupt schedules and plans well into the latter half of the year.
So it came as no surprise when, in July, CBS revealed that Survivor wouldn’t make it to the fall lineup at all. In its place, The Amazing Race will now air Wednesdays at 8 p.m., moving up an hour. Seal Team will now air at 9 p.m., and SWAT, originally scheduled for midseason, will now air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. But what does that mean for Survivor’s return, and when might we see it again?
The short answer for now is no one knows. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Probst said, “We don’t have a plan yet.” Unlike shows such as Love Island and Shark Tank, which have decided to film in Las Vegas, Survivor wouldn’t make sense in an urban environment; the whole point, after all, is to be away from the comforts of modern civilization as we know it. And while it might seem safe to go to Fiji — which has zero reported COVID-19 deaths as of this writing — the risks of flying in a crew, cast, and other essential production people from America are too great. So unless Survivor decides to film in a remote part of the U.S. with everyone wearing masks, this unfortunately, means the show is on indefinite pause until the virus abates significantly. TV Guide will continue to monitor and update this story as it develops.
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