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Survivor: Island of the Idols Reunion Show To Be Pre-Taped


No live reunion this season!

Photo: CBS

The end is nigh for Survivor: Island of the Idols, but this year’s three-hour finale will be a little different, as the reunion show will be pre-taped, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Survivor usually airs a live reunion from CBS Television City in Los Angeles, where the winner is announced, and the cast gets together to discuss the events of the season. However, this season, the reunion program will be recorded “live-to-tape” from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. PT, four hours earlier than normal, and then be broadcast on TV later in the night.

According to EW‘s Dalton Ross, the change has been made due to the “sensitive nature of the material this season, as well as security concerns for the contestants and to make sure the players feel as comfortable and safe as possible while discussing what happened out on the island.” This alludes to the complaints of sexual harassment from contestant Kellee Kim toward Dan Spilo, who inappropriately touched Kim and other female contestants during the game, as viewers saw earlier in the season.

During the merge episode, Kim aired her concerns about Spilo in confessional. Later, an on-screen title card claimed that producers held a meeting with the contestants about inappropriate behavior, as well as issuing a Spilo with a formal warning.

At the end of tonight’s episode (Dec. 12), host Jeff Probst entered camp to inform the remaining contestants that Spilo had been removed from the game. This was followed by a title card that read: “Dan was removed from the game after the report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involved a player.”

UPDATE 12/14/19: According to a source who is attending the season finale, the audience is scheduled to be in the studio from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m, only two hours compared to the usual three. Either this is a mistake sent to audience members or it could suggest there will be no live audience for the reunion portion of the show. Update: Another audience member attending as a seat-filler was told taping is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Survivor: Island of the Idols finale and reunion will air Dec. 18 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET on CBS.


Martin is a 31-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 Vulture, previously ET Canada and 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.



  • UKDanJames

    Knew this would happen – because they’re terrified that Kellee or other contestants would criticise the way the show handled the Dan stuff. Absolute cowards

  • Kim from Texas

    Will Dan be at the reunion?

    • Kim from Texas

      People is now reporting that Dan will not be at the reunion show. (This is what I expected)

  • Mano Tihin

    what a disaster this season turned out to be – sooo disappointing !!

  • Andy

    I don’t like this at all! They show the footage of what happen on the island (except the so-called “final incident” that got Dan kicked off) with a very lackluster explanation (which may of many not have ACTUALLY happen as there is no proof/evidence of it as there is/was with Keellee Kim although I’m on the fence of if what they showed was “inappropriate” or “sexual” (they are making this a sexual harassment thing but unless I missed something I thought he just brushed her hair & she didn’t like it but just because someone doesn’t like something doesn’t make it “inappropriate” or much more extreme “sexual”). Yet they are pre-taping it for “safety & security” reasons? I highly doubt that….I think it’s really because they want to control the story & don’t want anyone to support Dan (which I’ve seen/read many of them do). Also, have you or have you not seen what Survivor alum Jeff Varner thinks about this? Yet there were no “safety & security concerns” about his transgender situation with Zeke to pre-tape that reunion? Given that, Varner was (personally) involved in a similar controversial situation I think I would agree more with his opinion than I would the opinions of the producers (Probst & CBS) that are controlling the story…..they just don’t want the truth to come out so doing it pre-taped they can edit it to what they want (although they say they are going to show it “as it happens” but I find that hard to believe! I think with all of the dumb moves they have made recently (IMO) Survivor is a sinking ship & they are doing it to themselves….

  • Emma Thorne

    Actually they are doing this because the players are not supporting Kellee or production

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