Survivor: Winners at War to air virtual reunion during May 13 finale
Survivor: Winners at War has the largest cash prize in the show's history. But the $2 million check will have to be delivered virtually during the show's three-hour May 13 finale and reunion. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the live reading of the votes and reunion show that follows in front of a studio audience cannot take place. Instead, all 20 of the cast members will connect virtually and appear throughout the finale, as well as after the reading of the votes for a modified reunion show. The reunion will follow a two-hour penultimate episode that will air on May 6.
A release from CBS says that, "During the finale, Jeff will also virtually connect by video with all 20 players to discuss the highlights of the season." It also likely means that Probst will likely have to read the final votes while the final three vying for the money will be shown on split-screens from their various remote locations.
A source close to the situation tells EW that plans are still be worked out, but that the format of the three-hour finale/reunion will likely mirror how the show has played out over the past few years, with there being occasional breaks from action on the island as Probst interviews players as they are eliminated, and then there being a chunk of time after the winner is announced for a reunion show in which other cast members are interviewed — only this time all those interviews will take place electronically.
CBS has already delayed filming on season 41 of the franchise due to coronavirus. Season 41 of Survivor was scheduled to begin filming March 24 in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. In a letter to the crew, Jeff Probst wrote that "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." That revised start date is now in peril as well, and there are questions as to whether Survivor will have time to film installments for both the fall and spring 2021.
However, CBS will keep the Wednesday night reality train at least temporarily on the tracks after Survivor: Winners at War is over with the 32nd edition of The Amazing Race, which will premiere with a two-hour episode on May 20. The season — which has been in the can for a long time — will begin at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, with destinations including Trinidad and Tobago, France, Germany, Kazakhstan and Brazil, among others. (A subsequent season of The Amazing Race was three weeks into filming before being shut down due to COVID 19.)
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!"