Survivor production delayed when devastating storms destroyed the new Tribal Council set.
In February, the country of Fiji was hit by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston, which caused catastrophic damage on many islands and killed 44 people. It was the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in Fiji, with sustained wind gusts of 145 mph. The news was of particular relevance to Survivor, as production for the thirty-third season, Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X, was scheduled to begin filming mid-March on the Mamanuca Islands.
Production was delayed by two weeks, with filming starting on April 4. It was assumed that the effects of Cyclone Winston were the reason for the delay, although it was unclear to what extent, if any, those effects had on the Survivor set. Now, thanks to former Survivor winner, and designated Jeff Probst carpooler, John Cochran, we have more details on the situation.
In an interview with the Jenna and Julien podcast last week, Cochran, who has a close friendship with Jeff Probst and is, therefore, privy to information, told the hosts that the storms were so bad in Fiji that they destroyed the newly built tribal council set. “There was like a cyclone, or big tsunami thing just before they went out there, and all the tribal council was destroyed, challenges were destroyed – they had to scramble in two weeks to rebuild everything,” Cochran explained.
The news comes after last year’s cycle of seasons, filmed in Cambodia, was described as the most brutal and punishing location shoot in the history of the show. Survivor: Kaôh Rōng was hit with a series of medical evacuations, both in-game and outside of the game, due to the heat and infections. The rainfall in Survivor: Cambodia got so bad that producers were worried that players might quit at one point, and therefore manufactured a reward to rebuild the tribe’s shelter.
The weather in Fiji not only had an impact pre-season but is set to play a role in the season itself this September. Speaking to Dalton Ross at EW.com, Probst teased that, “the elements do come into play, and in a way they never have before.” It’s unclear right now what this is referring to, but weeks after Cyclone Winston hit, Fiji suffered major flooding throughout the country, with a reported estimate of 200 millimeters of rain within 24 hours. The flooding not only caused damage to homes and buildings but resulted in a number of power outages. Given the amount of cameras and technical equipment involved with filming a Survivor season, this could have been a very interesting and chaotic situation.
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X premieres this fall on CBS with 20 brand new castaways.