We were able to exclusively reveal that hidden immunity idols will all look different on this season of Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance (premiering Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS), and that idols will be hidden at challenges as well.
But there is one other twist happening tonight which could also throw contestants for a loop. Host Jeff Probst explained when we sat down with him on location. “There’s one other thing that we’re doing in the first episode, which is we’re going to run the first challenge, Quest for Fire, at night — the same way we did 15 years ago. It will be at dusk so we’ll have the fires glowing.”
But then comes the twist. “And then we’ll go straight to Tribal,” says Probst. “So out of the gate they’re going to figure, ‘We’ll go back to camp, we’ll strategize, we’ll figure out who were going to vote out.’ And I’m going to say, ‘And losers, you have a date with me at Tribal Council and we’re going right now.’ And we’re literally going to head over there. We’ll separate them into three boats so they can’t talk, go to Tribal, and I’m hoping that what that does is it sets the tone for anything can happen. And it just might. And even if it doesn’t, they’ll be expecting it to happen. And then when they see the idol and the guy says, ‘I swear this is an idol,’ and the other guys says, ‘Yeah, a piece of tin with a hole punched through it,’ and he’s voted out, they’re going to go ‘Oh my God, what happened to Survivor?’ We want you to play, so have fun.”
So there could be quite a bit of last-second scrambling at Wednesday’s Tribal Council. We’ll see if it pays off. I also asked Probst if they would be back doing water challenges this year. “Yes, we will definitely be in the water,” he says. “You know, the thing that you definitely have to appreciate about Survivor and water challenges is — look at that ocean behind me. Now imagine some of our water challenges where you run over a series of lily pads and you go up a big A-frame and over the other side and you jump through another thing and then you climb and then you shoot a thing — all of those pieces have to be tethered, anchored to the bottom of the ocean floor. They can’t move. They have to be stable enough for a big guy like Dan or Will to run up and slide down. It takes a lot of time. We just simply, logistically cannot do every challenge in the water. We don’t have enough bays. We don’t have enough people. So we do one as often as we can, and then we do something on land that’s a little easier to build. And even those take weeks to erect.”
But the challenges this season will intentionally feel familiar — to both fans and the contestants themselves.“Survivor is a giant endeavor, which is why for our challenges, the idea this season is to have as many challenges directly relate to players as possible, So when Kelly walks up to the first challenge, Wiglesworth is going to see Quest for Fire as the first challenge and she’s going to say, ‘This was the very first challenge Survivor ever did 15 years ago. I was there and we lost, and Sonja got voted out. This is my first second chance to change that history.’”
But wait, since the fans were voting in the cast, how did producers even know which challenges would be matching up with which contestants? They used the time-honored skill of … guesswork. “Because our challenges take so long to make, we had to start building them before the vote was even done. The vote just finished a few days ago; we’ve been building challenges for weeks. So it’s a give and take.”
To see Probst talk about tonight’s twist, click on the video at the top of the post. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
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