Survivor loves experimenting with separating contestants in unique ways — Cook Islands race war edition, anyone? — and that trend will continue in the fall with the show’s 33rd season, Millennials vs Gen X.
But if you are an adult viewer and figured you would naturally be rooting for the tribe closest to your age demographic, you may want to think again. Host Jeff Probst certainly did, and he told us about his surprising reaction when we spoke out on location in Fiji recently for the filming of season 34 (which will air in early 2017, after Millennials vs Gen X).
“I think people are going to dig this season,” says Probst of Millennials vs Gen X. “I really think you’re going to like a lot of these players. The key will come down to who you relate to. I’m a Gen Xer and I found myself drawn to the Millennials. I was embarrassed that the Gen Xers were so uptight, a lot of them. And the Millennials would says things like ‘Technology, and we want autonomy, and we want to work the hours we want to work,’ and the Gen Xers would say, ‘You guys are too entitled, you’re too much technology based,’ and the Millennials would say, ‘No, you’re just from an old system and you don’t see. We’re not the future, we’re the now. And if you’d stop writing longhand and get a computer, you might figure it out.’”
As a result Probst found himself relating more to the younger contestants. “I would sit at Tribal with the Gen X tribe and think, I don’t want to be a part of his group. You’re stuck. I really think, especially if you’re over 30, you’re going to watch the season and go, I like that energy of the Millennials, because they’re saying ‘Yes!’ They’re saying ‘I’m open.’”
The host adds that the disparity in approach from the Tribes will be made clear early on thanks to a big Survivor first. “We have something happen in the second day of the first episode that has never happened before,” says Probst. “And the Gen Xers react to it with a little bit of concern and fear. And the Millennials are like they’re at a rock concert going ‘Bring it! We’ll take it!’ And that really struck me as, yes, I want to be like you.”
Speaking of new things to look forward to, Probst teases that there will be a fresh wrinkle when it comes to the hidden immunity idols. “We’re going to continue to evolve idols in Millennials vs Gen X, It’s super cool what we’re doing with the idols. I think the audience is going to get a chuckle out of it and they’re going to go, ‘Wow, that’s another great idea. How did they do that?’ And then the idea for next year I think is going to be pretty cool. I cant say what it is, but yes, we will continue to use the idols as a way to make people work harder to get advantages in the game.”
Any guesses as to what the new idol twist can be? And what about that other Survivor first? Weigh in with your theories below. To hear our entire interview with Jeff Probst from Fiji tune in to EW Morning Live on Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) this Thursday, June 16, and for more Survivor coverage, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.