Australian Survivor Returns In 2018 With Champions v Contenders

Australian Survivor is coming back with a brand new theme.

Channel Ten has confirmed that Australian Survivor will be returning in 2018. The announcement was made at the network’s upfront held last Thursday in Sydney. It will mark Ten’s third season of the hit reality-show which they revived in 2016 after a ten-year hiatus.

Branded Champions v Contenders, next year’s series will pit “champions of public life” against “everyday Aussies” in a battle for $500,000. It’s Australian Survivor’s first move into themed seasons – something now a regular feature of its US counterpart – and perhaps a sign of the influence of CBS, the global entertainment giant which recently acquired Channel Ten.

As reported by, the 2018 series “will see champions from fields such as sport, entertainment and all walks of public life take on everyday Australians in the ultimate game of survival.” Jonathan LaPaglia will also return as host, but it is not yet known if the series will remain in Samoa, the location of the first two seasons.

While the news of a third season is a cause for celebration for Australian Survivor fans, the theme is sure to bring some trepidation. The mention of “champions from sport and entertainment” immediately brings to mind D-list celebrities, something which plagued Australian Survivor in 2006 on the Seven Network’s “celebrity” edition. The series tanked in the ratings and was not picked up for a second season.

However, a closer look at the casting page for Season 3 provides a more positive outlook. “Are you an Australian champion in your chosen field wanting to be Australia’s Sole Survivor?” the application asks. A “champion in your chosen field” could mean many things and is obviously not limited to celebrities.

As pointed out by Season 1 contestant Matt Tarrant, the cast of the first two seasons could be separated into “champions” and “contenders” based on this description. For example, as a magician, Matt would fall into the “champions” tribe under the entertainment bracket, alongside former sport stars, like cricketer Lee Carseldine and rugby player Barry Lea. Season 2 castaway, Sarah Tilleke, a model and former reality-star, would also likely find a home on the “champions” tribe under this ruling.

In terms of “everyday Aussies,” the tribe would most likely be made up of those with, what Matt calls, “normal” jobs. Luke Toki from Season 2, a Mining Technician, and Aimee Stanton, a plumber, would find themselves considered “contenders” had their season included such a theme. As we’ve seen with many US seasons, the themes are generally broad in scope, and production will find a way to make a person fit. Hopefully the casting for Australian Survivor will remain the same, and the Champions v Contenders theme is merely a marketing tagline.

Despite the show’s declining ratings – the Season 2 finale drew in 787,000 viewers, down from 1.082m viewers who tuned into the conclusion of Season 1 – the second season of Australian Survivor was widely popular online amongst the Survivor fanbase, both in Australia and abroad. Its excellent casting, improved challenges, and compelling gameplay made for an all-time classic season. So putting all worries about the theme aside, the renewal is excellent news for the Survivor franchise.

You can now for apply for Australian Survivor: Champions v Contenders.

What do you think of the Champions v Contenders theme? Are you excited that Australian Survivor is coming back? Let us know in the comments.

Header Photo: Channel Ten

Martin is a 30-year-old writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing, and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and ET Canada, previously Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull.