The announcement was made by Jeff Probst exclusively on ET Canada on Wednesday, where he told host Sangita Patel that fans across the border can finally apply to have their torches snuffed.
“This is a big deal because Canada is like our brother and our sister in terms of viewership,” he explained. “Canadians have been so good to Survivor and for years said, ‘when can we play?’ and we finally figured it out, how to make it happen and we are actively seeking Canadians to play Survivor. We are looking for you, apply, go to CBS.com, you’ll figure it out if you want to be on this show but it’s the real deal. We’re ready.”
Since Survivor debuted in 2000, the show has only accepted applications from United States citizens, despite the series airing in Canada and other countries around the world. In a Q&A session back in 2011, Probst was asked why citizens from aboard are ineligible to participate in the US version of the show.
“This is a very common question, and so many of you from all over the world asked the same question!” the long-time host said. “The issue surrounds the ‘rights’ to the Survivor format. Mark Burnett/CBS only have the rights to do an American version of Survivor. This means you have to be an American citizen.” (via RealityBlurred)
The inability to apply has been a source of frustration for Canadian fans who are extremely passionate in their love for Survivor, many of them having lobbied for a Canadian version of the show for years. However, that frustration is now over, as the neighbours from the North are being welcomed to the jungle.
“I think Canadians will do great and honestly because they understand the game,” Probst told ET Canada. “Survivor is a game in addition to having to survive the elements – which Canadians know how to do – you have to know how to play this game and it’s exciting for us, if I’m being quite candid because we have a whole new country to find people from. It’s hard to get on Survivor. We’re super picky, we’re looking for really compelling people and interesting stories and I’ve seen so many people over the years apply and then I find out, ‘Oh man, they’re Canadian and we can’t do it.’ Those days are gone.”
The Emmy Award-winning host also offered some advice for potential Canadian applicants. “Authenticity is the only thing you have to have and I know that sounds like a vague answer, but what I am saying is you don’t have to be a filmmaker. We don’t care. You don’t have to jump off buildings unless that’s what you do. Tell us about your life. What’s a day in your life look like and why do you want to do Survivor? Maybe the answer is ‘Because I want to get away from the kids.’”
“We just want to get a sense of who you are so we can begin to figure out how you would fit on the show,” he continued. “That’s all we’re doing is we’re meeting people and saying, ‘Okay how would they fit?’…. Just be yourself, and that’s really it.”
Casting is currently underway for Season 39 and Canadians are encouraged to apply at SurvivorCastingCanada@cbs.com.
What do you think of this huge news? A good move for Survivor? Could we potentially see a US vs. Canada theme in the near future? Sound off in the comments!