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'Survivor: One World': new cast and new twists revealed!

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Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

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A little person, a gay Republican, and not one but two men obsessed with Tarzan are among the 18 new contestants vying for a million dollars when Survivor: One World premieres Feb. 15 on CBS. It is a season filled not only with entirely new contestants, but several format changes as well.

The biggest change will be that both tribes will live together at the same camp. The show experimented with this format briefly during a fake merge on Survivor: Thailand (and also had 20 contestants live together at the start of Survivor: Palau before splitting them into two tribes) but this will be the first time two separate tribes have cohabitated for an extended period of time. The season will also mark a return to the battle of the sexes format of Survivor: The Amazon and Survivor: Vanuatu with one tribe (Manono) being all men and the other tribe (Salani) being all women.  “We wondered what would happen if we forced them to live together with no rules,” says host Jeff Probst. “You can build one camp, two camps, not have any camps. Men can sleep over with the women, women can sleep over with the men, or you can never talk at all. You can do whatever you want. But when it comes to the challenges, it is men versus women. And that gave us tons of new stuff to play with.”

But that is not the only change to the format. After two seasons, Redemption Island is out, which means that more reward challenges are back in. But the absence of Redemption Island does not mean the twist is completely dead and buried for future installments. “We never want to get locked into anything,” says Probst. “We did the same thing with Exile Island. We left it and then we came back to it and we changed it when we came back. I don’t think Redemption Island is done, necessarily.”

Among the other new wrinkles is the introduction of something Probst calls “Do It Yourself Challenges,” a few of which will be sprinkled throughout the season. (A similar experiment took place on Survivor: Samoa when confused contestants arrived at a challenge only to find some crates and no Probst.) This time, these Probst-less competitions will take place back at camp. Tribes will receive materials and instructions informing them of the rules so that they can then conduct their own challenge. “So they figure out how they’re going to run it, who’s going to participate, and then they run it,” Probst explains. “There’s no judge there. There’s no person to moderate it. You guys figure it out. We were hoping somebody might step up and decide to become the annoying host and say things like, ‘Pick up the pace! You dropped a coconut!’ And sure enough, that’s what happens.” But the impact felt from these Do It Yourself Challenges will not stop there. “You have the question of, what do you do with all the materials from the challenge?” says Probst. “In one case, we do a challenge with a gigantic rope and when you’re done, you have this massive rope and now you can utilize it in your camp somehow.”

The way hidden immunity idols are played will also be different in season 24. This time, there will be two idols hidden at the camp — one for each tribe — but finding your tribe’s idol does not guarantee your safety. Instead, as Probst explains, “When you find the idol, you can’t use it for yourself. You have to give it to someone from the other tribe.” The trick will be picking the right person to give it to, and perhaps getting concessions in return — not to mention lobbying for the other team’s idol once someone finds it.

As for the contestants, early attention will surely be on Leif Manson, Survivor’s first little person. “It’s great because he’s a fan of the show,” says Probst. “He wants to be out there and he’s well aware that this is a show in which any difference can get you voted out, and he comes with a very clear physical difference — he’s half the size of anybody else.”  Of course, no Survivor is complete without a villain, and Probst says this season’s baddie comes in the form of gay Republican Colton Cumbie. “He doesn’t know it, but he is a full-on villain. He thinks he’s the most charming guy ever. He’s a devil and I don’t even think he’s disguised.” And in the truly bizarre category, Survivor: One World features one contestant (plastic surgeon Greg Smith) who insists on being called Tarzan, and another (Sports Illustrated swimsuit-model photographer Troy Robertson) who goes by the nickname of Troyzan. (Sadly, none of the women are named Jane.)

For exclusive footage of each contestant, check out the video player below. (The full list of Survivor: One World contestants is below the video player.) Also make sure to view our photo gallery with expanded info on the new cast. Finally, for Survivor news, views, and reviews all season long, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

The new cast of Survivor: One World:

Nina Acosta

Retired LAPD Officer

Clovis, Calif. ; Age: 51

Jay Byars

Model

Gaffney, S.C.; Age: 25

Christina Cha

Career Consultant

West Hollywood, Calif.; Age: 29

Monica Culpepper

Ex-NFL Player’s Wife

Tampa, Fla.; Age: 41

Colton Cumbie

College Student

Monroeville, Ala.; Age: 21

Kat Edorsson

Timeshare Rep

Orlando, Fla.; Age: 22

Michael Jefferson

Banker

Seattle, Wash.; Age: 30

Leif Manson

Phlebotomist

San Diego, Calif.; Age: 27

Chelsea Meissner

Medical Sales

Charleston, S.C.; Age: 26

Kourtney Moon

Motorcycle Repair

Austin, Texas; Age: 29

Jonas Otsuji

Sushi Chef

Lehi, Utah; Age: 37

Bill Posley

Stand-Up Comedian

Venice, Calif.; Age: 28

Matt Quinlan

Attorney

San Francisco, Calif.; Age: 33

Alicia Rosa

Special Ed Teacher

Chicago, Ill.; Age: 25

Troy Robertson

Swimsuit Photographer

Miami, Fla.; Age: 50

Greg Smith

Plastic Surgeon

Houston, Texas; Age: 64

Kim Spradlin

Bridal Shop Owner

San Antonio, Texas; Age: 29

Sabrina Thompson

High School Teacher

Brooklyn, N.Y.; Age: 33