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The Survivor producers had to make many changes to the game in season 41 to accommodate the unfortunate circumstances of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Instead of the usual 39-day season, the 41st installment was only 26 days. The shortened season forced the show to introduce multiple twists to create a more intense game. But will the restrictions of Survivor Season 41 carry over to the reunion show?

'Survivor' Season 41 castaways Xander Hastings, Ricard Foye, Erika Casupanan, Deshawn Radden, Heather Aldret, and Danny McCray gather at Tribal Council. All of them will be a part of the 'Survivor' Season 41 reunion show.
Xander Hastings, Ricard Foye, Erika Casupanan, Deshawn Radden, Heather Aldret, and Danny McCray | Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

‘Survivor’ Season 41 will read the jury’s votes at the Final Tribal Council

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jeff Probst teased what the Survivor Season 41 finale and the reunion show will look like.

“After the last jury member voted, I looked over at the final three and then over to the jury and said, ‘I’ll go get the votes,'” Probst said. “I knew that as I walked away, they were all naturally assuming we were going to do the finale back in Los Angeles months from now. Just like always.”

He continued, “I got back to my little booth in the jungle where I check the votes, and the first thing I did was look at the votes to see who had won! It was a cool moment because normally, I don’t look at the final votes at all. So I savored it, appreciating that Survivor 41 had a winner and that I was about to walk back out and declare a winner in front of the players for the first time in over 20 years. I put the votes in order and then headed back to the players.”

“I could barely contain my smile as I sat the urn down and said, ‘Guess what…?!’ Their reactions were fantastic. Huge smiles. Everybody was excited,” Probst revealed. “And then, without any fanfare, I read the votes. It was so quiet. We’re used to the live finale where thousands of fans and family members are screaming with each vote read. Not this time. It was very fun and very dramatic in large part due to its simplicity.”

The last time Survivor read the votes during the Final Tribal Council was back in season 1. But, as Jeff promised in the Survivor Season 41 premiere, aspects of the show are different, including the reading of the jury votes and the reunion show.

The ‘Survivor’ Season 41 reunion will directly follow the crowning of the winner

The Survivor Season 41 contestants are in for a wild ride during the Final Tribal Council because directly after Jeff crowns the winner, all of them will partake in the reunion show.

“Immediately following the reading of the votes, we blew their minds again by announcing we were going to do something brand new called the Survivor After Show,” Probst revealed. “And for the next hour, we ate pizza, drank champagne, and had a fun, candid conversation with the final three and the jury about the entire season. They were still in game mode, so the conversation was raw and pure. I really enjoyed it, and I think fans will too.”

Usually, the Survivor reunion show takes place during a live taping back in the United States. But, thanks to COVID-19, for season 41, Survivor filmed its reunion in Fiji.

When Will ‘Survivor’ Season 42 Premiere?

The finale airs Dec. 15

While speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the new format for the reunion show in Survivor Season 41, Jeff Probst teased what fans can expect in the finale.

“We have five players left and five completely different games being played. There is still a fair amount of game in these last few days along with some big decisions to be made,” he said. “I’m not sure you can win the game in the last few days, but I do think you can lose it.”

Probst added, “Players sometimes get tentative, change what they’re doing or overthink things. That is what keeps it so interesting. You can’t just casually stroll into the final three. Someone has to step up and claim it.”

The three-hour Survivor Season 41 finale, including the reunion, will air on Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.