When Does ‘Survivor’ Season 39 Start?

If there’s anything you can trust in, it’s new seasons of Survivor. After roughly twenty years, the CBS powerhouse continues to go strong with Jeff Probst at the helm. Now, fans are gearing up for Seasons 39 and 40, both of which have been confirmed, and their themes revealed. And Season 39 is going to be a doozy — two major Survivor contestants will be making a return to the show, but not in a way fans might expect.  

As summer comes to a gradual close, fans are getting anxious for the next season. So, when does Survivor: Island of the Idols premiere? Luckily for fans, it’s not too far around the corner. 

Boston Rob and Sandra Diaz-Twine return

Andrea Boehlke and Sandra Diaz-Twine
Andrea Boehlke and Sandra Diaz-Twine | Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images

Survivor fans will be thrilled to hear that both Boston Rob and Sandra Diaz-Twine will be returning for Season 39 of the lauded CBS show. For those who aren’t in the know already, Sandra Diaz-Twine is often referred to as “Queen Sandra.” She’s the only castaway in the history of Survivor to win the show not once, but twice. Considered one of the masters of the game, Diaz-Twine has won a swathe of supporters among the Survivor fans and alumni alike. 

Rob Mariano, or Boston Rob, is another Survivor powerhouse. Though he doesn’t hold the same distinction as Diaz-Twine, Mariano has made four appearances on the show already. Mariano appeared on Survivor: Marquesas, All-Stars, Heroes vs. Villains, and Redemption Island

Mariano is well-known for cutthroat and occasionally devious gameplay — he’s a contender when it comes to social games and physical challenges alike. With these two fan-favorites back on the show, surely something is brewing. However, they won’t be playing the way you might expect. 

What is the Island of the Idols?

"Boston" Rob Mariano and Jeff Probst
“Boston” Rob Mariano and Jeff Probst | CBS via Getty Images

While it would be thrilling to see Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine going head-to-head on Season 39 of Survivor, the famous castaways have a different role for Island of the Idols. These two Survivor powerhouses will be standing in as advisors during Season 39 — a role that’s only been seen once before on Survivor: Game Changers

Mariano and Diaz-Twine will be camping out on an island during this season, with two large statues of the idols present on the island as well. The island will also contain possible immunity idols. 

“Throughout the season, players will be sent to the Island of the Idols via various methods, and while there they have a chance to gain advice and advantages from the pair of past champions. Think of it as sort of like Ghost Island, except instead of being populated by cursed props of Survivor past, Boston Rob and Queen Sandra haunt the hallowed grounds,” explains Martin Holmes of Inside Survivor.  

Mariano told Hollywood Reporter, “The main premise is they’re coming over here. It’s called the Island of the Idols. Think of it like a Survivor boot camp or training camp, where they can come over and they can learn any kind of skill that they need. Any lesson, they can come and learn it over here. We can do anything, you know? We’ve been here over 200 days between the two of us. We can make a fire like that. We can teach them how to fish. We have everything that they would need to learn how to do any skill that it takes to survive out here.”

Coming your way soon

 Jeff Probst and Sandra Diaz-Twine
Jeff Probst and Sandra Diaz-Twine| Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images

Luckily for fans, Survivor: Island of the Idols isn’t too far off. CBS has already confirmed an official premiere date of September 25 for the first episode of the season. It has also been revealed that the premiere episode will be a special 90-minute affair. 

Though Diaz-Twine and Mariano will be returning to the show, the other 20 castaways will be totally new participants, meaning they’ll be blank slates for Mariano and Diaz-Twine to work with. Perhaps we’ll see one castaway become a mini-Queen or mini-Boston Rob if they win enough time with the two idols.