CBS Scratches ‘Survivor’ Season 41 Off Of Fall Schedule, Jeff Probst Dishes

As if the ongoing pandemic wasn’t making life bad enough, COVID-19 has landed a blow against CBS and Survivor fans. With the massive success of Survivor’s Season 40 lingering in fans’ minds, fans were hoping that the latest season had already been filmed, or that there might be some way to make it happen safely as COVID-19 rages on. Unfortunately, it seems that’s not the case. Meanwhile, Jeff Probst dishes on the future of the show.

CBS calls it quits on ‘Survivor’ 41

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Previously, there had been some hope for Survivor fans that they’d get to see Season 41 in the fall. Previously, CBS had claimed that they were working with the folks in Fiji to find an “appropriate time” to film. 

Unfortunately, it seems that’s no longer the case. As reported by CBS News, CBS made the decision to pull Survivor 41 from the upcoming fall lineup altogether. Probst sent a statement to the Survivor crew outlining why they’ve decided to call it quits on filming for now. 

Probst wrote, “Though Fiji has no reported cases and is beautifully remote, our crew numbers over 400 and are flying in from over 20 different countries, creating a need for more time to fully analyze and create our new production safety plan. The situation is unprecedented and we are learning more information every day. It is out of concern for the well-being of all of you that we have taken this step.” 

“We are the most experienced international television team in the world and for 20 years we have calmly and successfully managed a variety of production issues. We will navigate this one the same way,” added Probst.

CBS added, “The health and safety of the castaways and production members is our top priority.”

Jeff Probst on what the future of ‘Survivor’ looks like 

 Jeff Probst and Natalie Anderson of Survivor
Jeff Probst and Natalie Anderson of Survivor | CBS via Getty Images

During a chat with Entertainment Tonight, Jeff Probst dished on what the future of Survivor might look like given both the pandemic. 

Probst explained, “Our job is to use this format to explore new ways to examine how we’re behaving as people and how we’re relating to each other. There are all kinds of things happening in the world right now — certainly they impact the physical aspects of production, but they’re also going to change the tone and subject matter of a lot of shows. I think Survivor is going to be one of those shows.”

As for the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, Probst added, “The entire culture is in a beautiful upheaval, and our job is to respond to it to make sure that Survivor continues to reflect our culture and our behaviour and how we’re interacting with each other. Everything that’s happening is going to inform the future of Survivor.”

Black cast calls out CBS

Jeff Probst of the hit CBS show Survivor
Jeff Probst of the hit CBS show Survivor | CBS via Getty Images

While Jeff Probst may be looking forward to the changes the Black Lives Matter movement may bring to Survivor, Black contestants have been busy calling out CBS for how the network portrays them on the show. 

Ramona Gray Amaro was the first Black woman to appear on Survivor, and she’s been calling out CBS for their edit. Amaro says the footage manipulated in a way that made her appear lazy, when in reality she was suffering from dehydration. 

Amaro told NPR, “I became the lazy person, which is the furthest thing from the truth. That really upset me and it took me a long time to get over it. … To realize, we signed our life away. They can do whatever they want to do. We can’t swim … we butt heads, we’re athletic, but maybe not smart and strategic. I’m just saying, ‘Do right by us.’”

J’Tia Hart, also a Black Survivor alum, added, “What they don’t do a great job with, is telling positive stories and connecting with the multifacets of being African American. I have a degree in nuclear engineering from a top engineering school. I’m a mother. I work in national security. I am very well-rounded. And I just got boiled down to a simple trope of a lazy, unintelligent person.”

Rob Cesternino recently hosted a podcast episode with twelve Black Survivor alumni. During the podcast, the guests discussed the challenging reality of being Black on a show like Survivor. The discussion can be found here