After going through the longest hiatus between seasons in the 20 years it’s been on the air, Survivor finally premiered Season 41 during fall TV premiere week, and the show came with plenty of changes. Fans of the reality competition series have oft seen the game change, but the newest season seems to be ushering in a new era of Survivor. Following the premiere, host Jeff Probst addressed some of the changes that fans saw in the premiere that may be long-term, speaking to how things may continue into the next season.
The second Jeff Probst appeared on-screen to greet fans with an “I’ve missed you,” it was clear that some major changes were going to be happening within the game. While viewers are certainly used to Probst speaking plainly on the show, to see him break the fourth wall to speak directly to fans in such a deliberate way is also completely new — and considering the lengthy hiatus, totally refreshing for longtime Survivor fans.
This friendly greeting wasn’t the only thing Jeff Probst had for fans before the contestants even stepped foot on the island, as he hid an idol right in front of viewers. This is the first time that people at home had prior knowledge of the placement of an idol before contestants went looking for one, giving fans a certain amount of omniscience in the game. Apparently this isn’t just going to be a Season 41 trait, though, as Probst tells EW that the plan for this new era of Survivor is to continue bringing the fans further into the game than ever before. Here it is in the host’s own words:
So far, the extent of Jeff Probst bringing the fans “inside the game” has also included a few shots of the crew. Typically we don’t ever see the people behind the camera and fans are separated from that aspect of the game completely, although the contestants obviously are not. By seeing a few wide shots that include the large crew around the contestants, viewers get a little better understanding of what it’s like for the Survivors balancing gameplay with being surrounded by people who were previously invisible to fans.
Jeff Probst made a statement during the premiere that basically cemented this new era of game we see taking off in Season 41, saying they might as well take the “4” away from the “41” and start back over at Season 1. As Survivor consistently changes up the game, this bold claim is evidence that things are going to shake up even more in the coming episodes and future seasons.
The new season has already incorporated a number of twists on the game, which is bound to lead to some more great moments in Survivor history. Survivor Season 41 continues every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET. While you can catch it on CBS if you have cable, it also streams live on the CBS app, Paramount+.
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