Survivor hasn’t filmed since the COVID-19 pandemic started in earnest. While CBS and Jeff Probst did the right thing by putting the health and safety of cast and crew first, fans of the show are starting to get antsy. Other reality shows have found ways to film, but Survivor’s current setup with Fiji is presenting roadblocks. However, there are signs that the show could transition to filming in the Dominican Republic if things don’t change in Fiji. What’s more, there could be three seasons in 2021 instead of the usual two.
Jeff Probst writes letter to cast and crew
When the COVID-19 pandemic started hitting in earnest, Jeff Probst and CBS decided it was time to call it quits on Survivor in 2020. Probst released a statement to the cast and crew in which he made it clear that health and safety were their first priority.
“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,” wrote Probst.
“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,” the Survivor host added.
“The health and safety of the castaways and production members is our top priority,” CBS commented.
Why ‘Survivor’ films in Fiji
While Survivor is aiming to keep everyone safe, fans are starting to get a little antsy about the seasons of the show they’re missing out on. Even Russell Hantz, infamous Survivor victor and villain, called out Probst for the delay.
“[H]ey @JeffProbst If they can do [The Bachelorette] where half the time they’re exchanging saliva, [t]hey surely can do Survivor! Let’s get it figured out! everyone else is… @survivorcbs,” he tweeted.
However, much of the difficulty stems from the fact that Survivor currently films almost exclusively in Fiji. Probst has previously explained that Fiji is ideal for the show due to its remote location and untouched beaches.
More importantly, Fiji offers a 45% rebate on all expenses spent on filming at the location — an incredible perk for CBS.
Could ‘Survivor’ move to the Dominican Republic?
Filming in Fiji has also meant a delay, however. Fiji remains closed to travel, and Survivor has a massive crew hailing from all over the globe. Naturally, the country would rather play it safe and keep its populace healthy.
However, as reported by Inside Survivor, sources close to production suggest that CBS has “looked into/considered” filming in the Caribbean. More specifically, filming would be likely to take place in the Dominican Republic.
International seasons of Survivor, like Survivor Mexico, have been filmed in the Dominican Republic before, so the precedent is there. The country is open to international travel and does not currently require COVID-19 testing on entry.
It remains to be seen if Survivor will be moved to the Dominican Republic, but fans are certainly hungry for more of the greatest game ever played.