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Allowing fans to vote for the cast for Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance is not the only big twist for next season. We’ve got another exclusive scoop for you regarding season 31 (which will premiere Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS), and this time it involves the use of hidden immunity idols.
There are actually two big twists with the idols this season, the first of which is that every idol will look different. This could lead to more confusion among the contestants as to which idols are real and which are fake. Host Jeff Probst explained the idea behind it while speaking to EW on location for filming in May. “The first thing we’re doing with the idols is we’re making idols look different, so every idol will be unique,” says Probst. “One idol will look really fancy and the next idol will look like a 5-year-old made it. So when you get an idol, you’re going to have to convince somebody it’s real because they’re going to think it isn’t. But that also opens a door to make a fake idol … and they won’t know which is up and which is down. You can play all angles on this.”
But that is just the first wrinkle to the immunity idols, and this reporter could not be more excited about the second. While the look of the idols will be different, so will the location of where you can find them. For the first time ever, idols will hidden in the middle of challenges. Probst explains: “To get an idol you’re going to have to do something that you, Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly, have been pitching for years — along with us — which is hiding the idol in the middle of a challenge. So here’s how it will work: Day 1, they start building their shelter, you know people are going to start looking for an idol. They’re going to find it in a tree or under a trunk — whatever. But it will be a clue and the clue will say, ‘Good news, the idol is within reach. You just have to be daring enough to grab it.’ And we’re going to have a drawing [of the challenge]. You will know exactly where it is. There is no search. The only question is, can you do it in front of your tribe in the middle of a challenge and get away with it? I love that.”
So do I. As noted by Probst, I have long lobbied for idols to be hidden at challenges. It will add a completely new element into the game in which players at the very least will have to figure out how to retrieve one without anyone noticing, and could also force them to choose whether to sacrifice personal performance in a group contest for the individual advantage of an immunity idol.
You can watch Probst himself explain it all in the video above, and for more Survivor intel, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Also feel free to weigh in yourself: What do you think about the new hidden immunity idol twists?
From now until our huge fall TV preview hits newsstands Sept. 10, EW is bringing you 50 scoops in 50 days. Follow the hashtag #50Scoops50Days on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest, and check EW.com/50Scoops50Days for all the news and surprises.