One of Jeff Probst’s Favorite Castaways is Coming Back for Season 40 of ‘Survivor’

It’s been 19 years since Survivor first aired on CBS, and since then host Jeff Probst has seen countless castaways dig deep to fight for the title of sole survivor. After so many seasons, Probst has made it clear that the show is still innovating. Every season brings us a new shipment of castaways, new challenges, and new twists. Season 40 is largely no exception.

But, if the rumors are true, there is one hiccup — we won’t be seeing new castaways. We’ll be seeing returners. And amongst those returners, one of Probst’s all-time favorite castaways.

The season 40 twist

Sandra Diaz-Twine, Parvati Shallow and Russell Hantz
Sandra Diaz-Twine, Parvati Shallow and Russell Hantz | Jim Spellman/WireImage

We’ve heard about the Island of the Idols in Season 39, so what’s in the cards for season 40? In what’s a bit of a surprise, fan-site Inside Survivor has revealed that Season 40 will be an all-winners season. The surprise here is that Jeff Probst has said in the past that he absolutely does not want to do this sort of season.

In an interview with Us Weekly, Probst once said, “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,” he says. “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.’”

Probst went on to add, “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.”

Something must have changed because the cast list for Season 40 is certainly star-studded. And one of Probst’s all-time favorites is returning to boot: Parvati Shallow.

Who is Parvati Shallow?

Tony Vlachos and Parvati Shallow
Tony Vlachos and Parvati Shallow | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

By now, Parvati Shallow has established herself as one of the iconic Survivor players. Shallow was invited to play in three seasons, Survivor: Cook Islands, Micronesia, and Heroes vs. Villains. Shallow won the title of sole survivor on Survivor: Micronesia and was on the final three of Heroes vs. Villains alongside Russell Hantz and Sandra Diaz-Twine.

Shallow was at first known for being a flirt, often utilizing some of the more easily taken in male castaways to get what she needed. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a smart and viable strategy. However, castaways and viewers alike soon learned that Shallow was an icnredibly savvy player in many other ways. With the ability to read the social dynamics of alliances and make decisive and bold moves, Shallow has become an iconic Survivor castaway with a keen mind for high-level strategic moves.

What does Jeff Probst think?

Candice Woodcock, Parvati Shallow and Rebecca Borman
Candice Woodcock, Parvati Shallow and Rebecca Borman | Bill Inoshita/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Shallow hasn’t just captured the heart of her other castaways, it seems she’s also managed to impress Probst. Whenever asked about the top castaways, Shallow always makes the list, and very frequently she’s at the top, or near it.

Probst told Parade that Shallow has grown immensely as a player. “What’s interesting about Parvati is watching her grow. She started as somebody who only had ‘flirt’ as a tool. By the time she won the game, she evolved into a young woman who knew she could use her looks to a certain degree, but now had to focus on how to relate to people and get them to trust her. One they trusted her, she pulled out the final piece of the puzzle: The ability to blindside.”

Probst also told TV Insider, “I love Parvati because of the bold way she uses her greatest strength, which is despite the fact that I know she’s going to flirt with me and make me think I am the only man in the room, she knows I will still fall for it. That is the power of a woman. And when you add to that Parvati’s really keen strategic sense, as well as being her own physical threat to win, that makes her a pretty damn powerful player in a game like Survivor, which is a game like life.”

But Shallow has her work cut out for her. She’ll be a castaway among a rumored 19 other past winners. That’s no easy competition.