‘Survivor’: Jeff Probst Tells Crew Next Season Is on Hold Due to ‘Uncertainty’ About Coronavirus

Survivor contestants face crazy challenges in their quest to reach victory on the long-running reality series. But there’s one challenge that’s this show isn’t willing to gamble with: coronavirus. Amid global spread of COVID-19, the show is delaying production on two upcoming seasons. Host and executive producer Jeff Probst let the crew know the news in a March 11 letter, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Jeff Probst says he’s concerned about the ‘well-being’ of the crew 

Jeff Probst
Jeff Probst | CBS via Getty Images)

Season 41 of Survivor was supposed to begin production on March 24 in Fiji. But Probst said that given the fast-moving coronavirus situation, they’ve decided to not take any chances and temporarily push back filming.  

“Due to the growing short-term uncertainty surrounding the global spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding desire for the continued well-being of our amazing crew, we have decided to push back our start date for Survivor season 41,” Probst wrote in a letter obtained by EW. 

The next season of the show was supposed to film in Fiji. The island country has not yet had any confirmed cased of coronavirus. But Survivor’s crew consists of people from 20 different countries, and it’s possible one of them could be infected with the virus. 

Probst wrote that the current plan was to begin season 41 production in May. That delay will push back production on season 42. But the air dates for both upcoming seasons haven’t changed. However, that could change if there are further postponements, EW noted. 

‘The Amazing Race’ already halted production 

Survivor isn’t the first reality show forced to adapt to the coronavirus. Production on The Amazing Race was suspended in late February as the number of cases around the world increased. Though no one associated with the show was sick, all crew and contestants were sent home after filming just three episodes. And on March 10, Big Brother announced it was canceling casting calls for season 22. All three shows air on CBS.  

Meanwhile, many TV shows that normally have a studio audience, from Jeopardy! to The Wendy Williams Show to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, are taping in front of empty seats. On March 11, the CW show Riverdale announced it had stopped filming season 4 after a crew member was exposed to a person infected with COVID-19. The new Fox series NeXt was also impacted after a crew member tested positive for coronavirus. The show, which was filmed in Chicago, wrapped production last week. 

Many entertainment industry events canceled

The coronavirus has also lead to the cancellation or postponement of a string of entertainment-industry festivals events. South by Southwest, Coachella, Stagecoach, PaleyFest LA 2020, L.A. Times Festival of Books, the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and the gaming convention E3 are all not moving forward as originally scheduled. 

The global release of the new James Bond film No Time to Die has also been pushed from April to November, and a number of music acts including Green Day, Pearl Jam, and BTS have canceled concerts over concerns about the virus. On the sports front, NCAA’s annual March Madness tournament will continue as planned, but games will be played without fans in the stands. 

As of March 11, there were 118,000 coronavirus cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have died from the disease, according to the World Health Organization. 

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