Will Survivor Season 40 Be An All-Winners Battle Royale?

Survivor Cochran Jeff Probst CBS

Previously on [pause] Survivor, Jeff Probst gave conflicting information on the possibility of an all-winners season. Now reports suggest Season 40, filming this summer to air in 2020, may be the long-awaited champions battle royale.

Survivor films two seasons back-to-back each spring and summer, airing the first in the fall and the second from late winter to spring. Season 39 is now filming for its premiere in 2019-2020, and that leaves Season 40 to air this time next year.

Season 40 will kick off 2020, which marks 20 years since Survivor first premiered in May 2000. According to Inside Survivor, to mark the milestone, the show is inviting back a cast of former winners to compete in Season 40. That season will start filming next month, and casting spoilers will probably start coming out around then, if this is true.

It's not new to hear talk of an all-winners season, and last summer there were already rumors that Season 40 might mark the champions battle. Apparently it's finally happening? As far as we know, CBS hasn't even officially renewed the show for Season 40 yet (although it does seem like a safe bet) so all of this should be taken with a grain of salt until it's confirmed.

Survivor host/producer Jeff Probst said two very different things about an all-winners season last year alone. Here's what he told Us Weekly in March:

An all-winners season is definitely a possibility. To date, we don’t have enough winners that we think are compelling and that are willing to come back and play again. We haven’t gotten there yet. [...] I love it. It’s a dream to have 20 or 18 winners come back. And even though we’ve had 35 seasons, some people don’t want to play again. They’ve tasted the elixir and don’t want to risk it. And there are some winners who don’t feel right to us for an all-winners season and that’s our judgment. That’s how we feel.

He seemed to change his tune a bit by September for this interview with Us Weekly:

We can’t do all winners. As a producer, I would never suggest it. I would say it’s not a good idea. ... We have 10 great winners that you’d want to see play again. We don’t have 20. We don’t have 18. Some of the winners don’t want to play again. Some of the greats are like, ‘No, we’re done.’ ... CBS wants to do it. They’re pitching me all the time. And I’m going, ‘I’ll sit down with you and show you the list!’ We don’t have it. And if I sat down and we wasted our time and I walked you through all our winners, you would say, ‘Oh, you’re right. You don’t have a season.’ We have a tribe of winners, that’s it.

On that note, Jeff Probst said they could do a season that's winners versus another group. These days, Survivor often brings back past players -- including winners -- to compete against newbies.

But the rumor for Season 40 was supposedly about an ALL winners season. Survivor has never done that before. Other reality shows, like Project Runway just did it for All-Stars, have done all-winners competitions. Everyone wants to be The Best Of The Best.

I disagree that they only have 10 great winners we'd want to see again. That may be Jeff Probst's take, but he'd probably be happy just seeing an entire cast with Cochran, Boston Rob, and maybe Parvati. His favorites are pretty clear.

Here's the list of winners to date, which will include the Season 38 winner after the spring 2019 Edge of Extinction season is over:

1 - Survivor: Borneo: Richard Hatch2 - Survivor: The Australian Outback: Tina Wesson3 - Survivor: Africa: Ethan Zohn4 - Survivor: Marquesas: Vecepia Towery5 - Survivor: Thailand: Brian Heidik6 - Survivor: The Amazon: Jenna Morasca7 - Survivor: Pearl Islands: Sandra Diaz-Twine8 - Survivor: All-Stars: Amber Brkich9 - Survivor: Vanuatu: Chris Daugherty10 - Survivor: Palau: Tom Westman11 - Survivor: Guatemala: Danni Boatwright12 - Survivor: Panama: Aras Baskauskas13 - Survivor: Cook Islands: Yul Kwon14 - Survivor: Fiji: Earl Cole15 - Survivor: China: Todd Herzog16 - Survivor: Micronesia: Parvati Shallow17 - Survivor: Gabon: Bob Crowley18 - Survivor: Tocantins: J.T. Thomas Jr.19 - Survivor: Samoa: Natalie White20 - Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains: Sandra Diaz-Twine21 - Survivor: Nicaragua: Jud "Fabio" Birza22 - Survivor: Redemption Island: Rob Mariano23 - Survivor: South Pacific: Sophie Clarke24 - Survivor: One World: Kim Spradlin25 - Survivor: Philippines: Denise Stapley26 - Survivor: Caramoan: John Cochran27 - Survivor: Blood vs. Water: Tyson Apostol28 - Survivor: Cagayan: Tony Vlachos29 - Survivor: San Juan del Sur: Natalie Anderson30 - Survivor: Worlds Apart: Mike Holloway31 - Survivor: Cambodia: Jeremy Collins32 - Survivor: Kaôh R?ng: Michele Fitzgerald33 - Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X: Adam Klein34 - Survivor: Game Changers: Sarah Lacina35 - Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers: Ben Driebergen36 - Survivor: Ghost Island: Wendell Holland37 - Survivor: David vs. Goliath: Nick Wilson38 - Survivor: Edge of Extinction: ????

I wouldn't be shocked if whoever wins Survivor: Edge of Extinction continued right into Survivor: Champions, or whatever they'd call it if Season 40 does go that route.

Survivor started with 16 castaways, but the number has changed over the years and sometimes they like to have 20. I do think half of the past winners would be worth watching, but how many would want to come back? Some of the players have already returned and lost again (Sandra Diaz-Twine won twice and lost once) but most of them now have perfect records. Would they risk losing that, knowing a second win still wouldn't put them past Sandra?

For my money, I'd like a season with Richard, Sandra, Amber, Rob, Tom, Yul, Parvati, Sophie, Kim, Tony, Earl, both Natalies, Tyson, Wendell, Mike, Adam, Vecepia, and Fabio, plus maybe whoever wins this season. Some of them (Rob, Parv) would be immediate targets, but others (Vecepia, Fabio) would be underestimated underdogs, and underdogs tend to do well on returning player seasons. But really, I'd watch any of them. It's almost better if they aren't Boston Rob level champions, because it would level the playing field of expectations.

As we wait for updates on Season 40, keep watching Survivor Season 38, Edge of Extinction, Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. on CBS. Many shows are winding down to their season finales right about now, but more shows will be coming soon to entertain us through the summer months.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.