Our nightmare has officially become reality. Survivor will not be airing Season 41 this fall. This seemed pretty obvious for some time, but CBS made it official tonight with their release of the fall schedule. Amazing Race will air in its place. In the statement they said, "Producers for Survivor, CBS' perennial Wednesday 8:00 PM series, are continuing to work with officials in Fiji on the appropriate time to start production on its next edition, with health and safety matters the top priority for everyone involved."
Season 41 was supposed to film in March, but it was delayed due to the COVID pandemic. They haven't been able to get it done since then leading to an official delay. Hopefully, we will have Season 41 air in the spring, but it's tricky. It takes a long time to make a Survivor season. The game itself lasts 39 days, add a week or so for pre/postgame media and what not. Then it takes a while to edit all that footage into a cohesive 13 or 14 episode story. Typically, you have a season film in March/April and then air in the fall, and the other season filming in May/June and airing the following spring.
Theoretically, Survivor should be one of the easier shows to film in a quarantined world, since they are literally quarantined together on a remote island. You could test everyone, isolate them in a bubble, and then fly out to Fiji. But it's not that easy. It's not just Jeff and the 18-20 contestants. According to Survivor Wiki, the production team is actually as many as 300-400 people. You have producers, camera people, challenge production, medical staff, etc. so it all adds up. And the biggest thing is that Fiji is doing great with the Coronavirus right now. They have had a total of 26 confirmed cases and zero deaths. While Survivor is a huge boost to their local economy, it's understandable that they don't want to take in hundreds of people from the country with the most COVID cases on Earth.
So what can Survivor do?
1. They can just wait it out. They can hope cases go down and the pandemic gets better to the point where they can feel safe flying out to Fiji and filming a season that can be ready for the spring.
2. They can test everyone, isolate them in a bubble, and fly out a reduced production team and make the show happen soon, assuming they can come to an agreement with Fiji officials on the guidelines.
3. Buy an island and make Survivor Island like Dana White did? Not sure how feasible this is, but it's something. Survivor doesn't really rely on the unique locations for their seasons much now anyway, as they've been staying in Fiji for the past several years.
4. Do it in America. This could be a fun option. It would be unlike any Survivor season ever. Just find a huge, empty plot of land in like Montana or some shit and film the full season there. You'd have to do the same thing as Option 2 where you test everyone and isolate them in a bubble before filming, but at least here you don't have to worry about bringing the disease to a foreign country. Just do it on our backyard where we're filled with Corona anyway.
Ultimately, I think Option 2 is the most likely scenario. Hopefully they can figure things out soon, but health and safety is obviously most important.
This will be first time in my cognizant life that there is no new Survivor season to watch in the fall. I don't know what I will do with myself. I'll think of something we can do as a replacement by the time the fall rolls around. We can watch an old season together. Or I can write a fake one myself. Or I can figure how to do a real Survivor: Barstool of some sort although that might be extremely complicated. We'll figure something out. Stay strong everyone.