The Survivor hidden immunity idol was first introduced in Survivor: Guatemala in 2005, and it has changed the game a lot in close to 15 years. Now it seems like half the cast finds idols -- sometimes seeming to just trip over them -- and it's tough to keep track of who has how many in play.
So here we are in Survivor: Edge of Extinction, aka Season 38, and a fan asked host/showrunner Jeff Probst if it would be possible to get some kind of icon next to a player's name to remind us if they have any idols. Probst showed that Survivor is willing to take tips from fans by first replying to acknowledge the idea...
... and then replying again about a week later to reveal that Survivor would be using the idea in future episodes:
Very cool! Since Jeff Probst is a producer on the show, he can make these quick decisions. It's just a matter of editing the episode to include more text -- in addition to, or instead of, the usual bios that tell us which tribe a player is on and what they do for a living.
It looks like the idol icon identifiers went into play right away, starting with the March 27 episode. Kelly Wentworth was listed as having one immunity idol, when previously they just showed her current tribe and past seasons:
Survivor: Edge of Extinction's Lauren O'Connell also has an idol, and Rick Devens just picked up an idol as the Edge of Extinction returnee. (He gave one half of the idol to returnee David Wright.) Aubry Bracco had an idol, but she failed to use it before being voted out. Jeff Probst noted to EW that, even if Aubry managed to get back in the game, she could not use her old idol or the advantage she never used. They are void.
At this point, I'm less concerned about hidden immunity idol protocol than I am in figuring out who is on my screen. I feel like I still don't even know half the cast of Survivor 38. Mostly that's from Manu failing so hard that we've only been following them at Tribal, with just glimpses of a few players from Kama.
Now that the tribes have merged into Vata, I hope we get to know some of the lesser-seen players instead of just focusing on the returnees and a handful of others -- like Wardog, Lauren, and Victoria. At least Wendy is now out of the game since she and Keith quit, so we don't have to hear more about the chickens and such. (I am happy for the chickens, though.)