‘Survivor: Edge of Extinction’: How Long Are the Contestants On the Island?

Every year on Survivor a handful of contestants are selected to compete for the $1 million prize. To win, the contestants must outplay, outsmart, and outwit their fellow players. Finishing up its 38th season, the show has been on longer than any other reality show in television history. But what exactly does it take to make it to the end?

View this post on Instagram

#Survivor is on NOW!

A post shared by CBS Survivor (@officialsurvivor_cbs) on

This year’s players have the option to extend their stay on the island

In prior seasons, once you are voted out, your time on the island is done. From the time your torch is snuffed, you will either head home or join the jury to help make the decision on who will win it all.

This year, things are a little different. When contestants are voted out, they are given the opportunity to reenter the game. Once they reach the end of the path after being voted out, they are given two options: take the boat ride home or head to the edge of extinction island for a chance to reenter the game. While previous seasons have featured similar twists, this year’s twist will leave the contestant on the edge of extinction with minimal supplies, isolation, and the question, “how bad do you want it?”

Not every contestant has what it takes

View this post on Instagram

The game takes a critical turn tomorrow #Survivor

A post shared by CBS Survivor (@officialsurvivor_cbs) on

Sure, it’s easy to sit at home in your living room and think “I would do great on Survivor.” But the reality is, the competition is a lot harder than it appears. Previous seasons have seen med-evacs, players longing for home, and even a handful of contestants choosing to walk away from the show.

Over the show’s 38 seasons, 12 contestants decided that Survivor was more than they could bear. Season 7 saw the first player walk away from the show: On day 19, Osten Taylor decided that the physical strain was more than he could take. He chose to lay down his torch and say goodbye to the show. The next season, Survivor: All-Star saw two contestants walk away.

This year, things are different. Once you reach the edge of extinction you will find a white flag. Raising this flag means that you can no longer take it and you have chosen to leave the show. Survivor: Edge of Extinction has seen two people raise the flag thus far.

How long does a season on ‘Survivor’ last?

View this post on Instagram

Tonight is the night Lauren has been waiting for! #Survivor

A post shared by CBS Survivor (@officialsurvivor_cbs) on

This year, contestants will be on the island for 39 days, which is the standard for most American seasons. The only season to last longer than 39 days was Survivor: Australian Outback, which lasted 42 days. In addition to roughing it with their teammates during the show’s taping, the contestants also have a “pre-game” of sorts where they are on the island preparing for the game to begin. In all, contestants that make it to the end will spend close to six weeks on location.

Will ‘Survivor’ go on forever?

You have to wonder how long a show like Survivor can sustain its success. The answer seems to be a pretty long time. After nearly 20 years, the reality show shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, producers are already discussing plans for season 40.

The show’s crew couldn’t have ever imagined that 38 seasons and 20 years later the show would be going as strong as it is. In fact, most people thought that the show would be a fad and only last a few seasons. But here it is, consistently a strong performer for CBS.

Host Jeff Probst revealed that he considered walking away from it all after season 12. His contract was expiring, and he considered whether it was the right time to move on. As we know, Probst chose to stay with the show and as the years have gone on, Probst has gained more and more creative control over the show and is the only face associated with Survivor.

Can the show last another 10 years? We can only wait and seat. For now, we can’t wait to see what twists they have in store for the big 4-0.