When you compete on Survivor, you are not only playing against other contestants, you are also playing against Mother Nature, and lately, Mother Nature has been winning.
Last season on Survivor: Kaoh Rong, the harsh Cambodian conditions led to three different medical evacuations, and host Jeff Probst now reveals exclusively to EW that the entire cast from the upcoming Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X had to be temporarily pulled from the game due to a cyclone in Fiji, where production was filming. Tropical Cyclone Zena hit on April 6 — on day two of the game — forcing production to scramble to ensure the contestants’ safety.
The host teased a big weather-related event in a recent EW interview, telling us, “Weather does play a part in the show, and you will see the part it plays, and it’s a first. And it was scary.” Now, however, we have a clearer picture — no pun intended — of what exactly went down.
“For 32 seasons of Survivor, we’ve been very lucky to have escaped some severe storms,” Probst says. “This time, the storm caught us. It was only day two and in a matter of hours, a nice afternoon turned into a severe rainstorm that kept growing in intensity by the hour. We were monitoring the weather minute by minute back at base camp. When the national Fijian weather service upgraded it to a cyclone, we had to evacuate both tribes from their beaches and get them to safety. We have never had to evacuate tribes in 32 seasons of Survivor.”
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There have been some close calls however. The tsunami that ravaged Samoa in 2009 hit just a few weeks after production wrapped on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, completely decimating parts of the island, including “Ponderosa” where contestants stay after being voted out of the game. But this marks the first time production has had to intervene and remove the cast from the beaches for their own safety.
Probst says the way the two tribes reacted to this crisis plays into their generational differences. “It was very interesting how the two groups responded to the news. The Gen X tribe was responsible and very concerned about their well being. The Millennials were less concerned about their safety and more excited that they were making Survivor history.” That history will be made during the 90-minute Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X premiere, Sept. 21 on CBS.
Check out some more exclusive photos of the storm and Jeff Probst explaining the situation to the contestants below, as well as a video interview with the host. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
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