There's long running reality TV shows, and there's CBS' Survivor. Essentially the reality competition series that started it all, Survivor shown no signs of slowing, despite being on the air since way back in 2000. With Season 34 premiering in just a few short weeks, Survivor's massive fandom is gearing up to watch 20 of their favorite castaways return for another chance at a million dollars. But the new season, titled Survivor: Game Changers, also features some contestants who have been on the series 2 or even 3 times before. So how many times are they allowed to compete and attempt to finally win? Host and producer Jeff Probst has an interesting idea.
While in the midst of filming Survivor: Game Changers, Jeff Probst spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the upcoming season. When asked if there is a limit to how many times a contestant can go on the show, he had a surprising answer. Probst said,
No, I really don't think so. I think that would be foolish to say, 'Yeah, five is the number.' Because there is that idea of diminishing returns, but there's also the idea of, maybe this is the time! It's like playing a lottery. Maybe I'll win this week! 'Jim, you've been playing for 27 years, you spent a lottery trying to win the lottery.' I know, but what if? It's always a question of what if.
Well, never say never. It appears that Survivor castaways are welcome to compete in the show as many times as they'd like, assuming they provide entertaining television and retain popularity with the show's rabid fans.
Jeff Probst's idea of repeat players is surely due to the somewhat bizarre cast of Game Changers. Season 34 contains a ton of players who have already been on the show at least twice; there are even two four time players in the form of favorites Cirie Fields and Ozzy Lusth. Additionally, there are a whopping 5 castaways who are entering their third game, including Sandra Diaz-Twine who is the only contestant to have won the game twice. So there are some very familiar faces once again gracing the silver screen on Wednesday nights.
But there is definitely a flip side to casting somewhat stale characters back onto Survivor: the gameplay. At this point, the fandom is eager to see contestants strategize, stab each other in the back, and do it all while providing witty confessionals. And with expectations so high, seasons which contain only newcomers can sometimes be a bore as they figure it all out. It's the returning player seasons that have truly elevated gameplay, and hopefully there are also some grudges and hard feelings from seasons past which will come up in game.
So if your favorite Survivor: Game Changers player gets voted off the island early, don't fret. Because they can just keep trying until they win. Kinda like fan favorite Boston Rob's fourth (and flawless) game that finally won him the million dollars.
Survivor: Game Changers will debut March 8th on CBS with a two-hour premiere.