'Survivor': Jeff Probst explains the game-changing 'Redemption Island' twist
Out with the old, in with the new! At the conclusion of the Survivor: Nicaragua live reunion show, the first promo was revealed for season 22 of the reality franchise: Survivor: Redemption Island, which will premiere on Wednesday, February 16, 2011. EW.com was on location back in August for filming in Nicaragua and spoke to Jeff Probst about the new twist.
“How it works is very simple,” explained Probst. “When you’re voted out at Tribal Council, you don’t go home. You’re not out of the game. You go to Redemption Island and you live alone. And at a certain point in the game another person will join you. You will compete in a duel. The winner stays. The loser goes home. So you’re continuing to live out there on your own with very basic supplies. But you’re still in the game. And at a certain point you’ll be allowed to reenter the game and have a shot at the money.” In other words, people that are voted out will compete against each other for a chance to later rejoin the game.
The concept of being voted out and then reentering the game is something of a sore spot for Survivor fans, after voted out “Outcasts” Lillian “Lil” Morris and Burton Roberts came back into the game in Survivor: Pearl Islands, with Lil making it all the way to the final two. Probst insists this time will be different. For starters, the voted out contestants will not be eating lots of food with a roof over the heads, but will still be stuck out in the elements like everyone else. For another thing, this time everything will be out in the open. “We did a haphazard version of Redemption Island a few years ago called the Outcasts,” said Probst just minutes after fiming the opening of the show, “and it didn’t work and it didn’t please the audience and there was one fundamental flaw: We didn’t tell people up front it was going to happen. I just told everybody [at the opening] it’s going to happen. Make no mistake: When you’re voted out, you’re not going home, and somebody that you vote out could come back and bite you in the ass. So I have no problem with people coming back into the game because everybody knows up front. A rule can’t be unfair if you know going in. It’s an equal opportunity.”
In another format switch, since each episode will include a Redemption Island duel, you can expect there to be just one combined reward/immunity challenge per episode for the players that have yet to be voted out. “This is the most excited I’ve been in a long time when it comes to a twist. I really hope Redemption Island adds a new layer that we can use for years to come,” said Probst. “We have no idea what’s gong to happen. It’s a big risk. It could fail miserably. I don’t think it’s going to.”
For more Survivor news and views, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.