Season 29 of Survivor is in the books. Which means it is now time to look ahead to season 30. At the end of tonight’s San Juan del Sur finale, Jeff Probst revealed the title and theme of the next installment to kick off with a special 90-minute premiere on Feb. 25. And now we’ve some got some exclusive background info and additional intel from the host to whet your appetite (as well as the fancy new logo above).
Titled Survivor: Worlds Apart, the season will feature three tribes of all new players representing the cross section of American society. “It’s White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar,’ explains Probst. “White Collars are the people who typically in life are educated, might work in an office, wear a suit—they make the rules. Blue Collar—the heart of America. They typically work outdoors. They might wear a uniform. They work with their hands. They follow the rules. And the No Collars are the people who break the rules. They don’t go by convention. They don’t care about the status quo.”
The twist brings to mind last spring’s Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty battle of Survivor: Cagayan, which turned out to be one of the show’s best seasons ever. According to Probst, this one—which was filmed in Nicaragua last summer—could top it. “Person for person and pound for pound, I will say that this is the best group of people I think we’ve ever had,” says Probst. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t duds in the cast, but if you just had to take one entire group of people, I love this group. And I don’t often come up front anymore and say I really like a season because I know that that’s very biased and it’s my own opinion. But just my own Jeff Probst opinion—I have not seen a second of footage cut yet. Just based on my experience, this was one of my favorite seasons of all time.”
Like the Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty season, the producers cast their players first and them fit them into the theme, rather than vice versa. Doing it the other way was a mistake they learned on this past season’s Blood vs. Water theme. “We learned a valuable lesson with Blood vs. Water 2,” Probst explains. “And that lesson was, we got so excited with Blood vs. Water the first time that we wanted to do it again. So we put it on the books and said, ‘Let’s do it! And now let’s go cast it.’ And that was a mistake, which in hindsight sounds so simple. How could you ever make that mistake? But we did. We got excited. And we got ahead of ourselves. And it put us in a situation where we were casting to a theme rather than just finding the best people and then figuring out what the theme is. So we learned from that and then went back out for this season and found the best people we could find.”
As for how they came up with this season’s theme, it came to the host while his parents were visiting. “I was sitting in my living room with all the cards [of the contestants] laid out on my kitchen table,” say Probst. “My mom and dad were visiting and I’m looking at all the contestants thinking, how can we break these people up? And there was clearly a group of educated, white collar types. And there was clearly a group of blue collar types. But white collar vs. blue collar is not interesting enough. That’s kind of the mixture in our show all the time. But I kept looking at this other group and there was a guy who worked down on the beach, and a woman on a sailboat, and an artist, jeweler, musician, actor, athlete. And I kept starting at them, and all of a sudden it just hit me—the term “No Collar.” And those are the people that break the rules. And once that came out, I felt like we had the theme, which was: make the rules, follow the rules, break the rules. One says, “I represent the status quo, we’re going to do it my way, I’m in charge.” The next says, “I got the rules, let me get out there and get ‘em done for you.” And the next says, “F— your rules! Here’s what I’m doing.”
But that’s not all. Probst also teases that the White/Blue/No Collar designations will not be the only new twist in Survivor: Worlds Apart. “We have a new advantage in the game,” he says. “Something we’ve toyed with for a long time and decided to do it this year, and it plays out great. I’ll leave it at that for now.”
Also make sure to read our full Survivor: San Juan del Sur finale recap. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.