Exclusive: Survivor delaying production on next season due to coronavirus
Survivor is currently airing its biggest season ever with the all-champions edition of Winners at War. But the season that follows it up has already hit its first snag. Season 41 of Survivor was scheduled to begin filming March 24 in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. However, EW has learned that host and executive producer Jeff Probst informed crew members in a letter Wednesday that production was being postponed until at least May due to the coronavirus.
The pushing back of filming on season 41 means that season 42 — which was scheduled to begin filming May 24 — will be postponed as well. However, if there are no further delays — and that is a big if — then air dates for the two seasons (with season 41 premiering in September and season 42 airing in February 2021) would not be impacted.
While Fiji has yet to record a confirmed case of COVID-19, Survivor has a very international crew that hails from many different countries, putting crew members, locals (many of whom are hired by the show), and the contestants themselves at risk had the show continued on in the present health climate.
Below is the letter from Probst to the crew in its entirety:
Hey Survivor crew,
Due to the growing short-term uncertainty surrounding the global spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding desire for the continued well-being of our amazing crew, we have decided to push back our start date for Survivor season 41.
Though Fiji has no reported cases and is beautifully remote, our crew numbers over 400 and are flying in from over 20 different countries, creating a need for more time to fully analyze and create our new production safety plan.
This situation is unprecedented and we are learning more information every day. It is out of concern for the well-being of all of you that we have taken this step.
Our intention is to begin production after the S40 live show. Therefore, subject to new information, our new planned start date for production would be on or about May 19th, 2020. Our intention is to still to shoot both seasons 41 and 42.
We know many of you will have questions and we will start a communication chain to keep everybody up to date.
We are the most experienced international television team in the world and for 20 years we have calmly and successfully managed a variety of production issues. We will navigate this one the same way.
Thank you for understanding our need for this extra time to create our plan.
The news of Survivor’s delay follows CBS recently suspending production midway through filming an upcoming edition of The Amazing Race after only three episodes of the reality competition series had been shot. Meanwhile, Winners at War (which was filmed in May and June of 2019) carries on, with a very emotional scene in Wednesday’s episode where Yul Kwon breaks down while talking about the struggle of friend and fellow Survivor player Jonathan Penner, whose wife, Stacy, is suffering from ALS.
Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"