While Survivor continues to wait to begin filming on its next season, Fiji sets in place safety guidelines for both local and overseas productions
Earlier this year, Survivor‘s usual production schedule in Fiji was upended due to the coronavirus pandemic. With many countries on lockdown and facing heavy travel restrictions, plus the concern for the health and safety of the cast and crew, a decision was made to postpone filming of season 41 from March 24 to May 19.
“Due to the growing short-term uncertainty surrounding the global spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding desire for the continued well-being of our amazing crew, we have decided to push back our start date for Survivor season 41,” Probst wrote in a letter sent to production staff back in March.
However, since then, the spread of the virus has grown exponentially, forcing Survivor to abandon the proposed May date and shut down production in Fiji “indefinitely.” All crew and personnel who were already in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands working on pre-production were sent back home in early April.
Things have been at a standstill since then, but CBS and SEG (Survivor‘s production company) are committed to airing the season this Fall in the show’s regular timeslot, with the hope to still shoot in Fiji, which has been Survivor‘s homebase for the past four years.
“We are very proud of this schedule and these shows and we’re excited to get them on the air as soon as safely possible,” CBS Entertainment President Kelly Khal told The Hollywood Reporter in regards to the CBS Fall schedule that was released last month. “We’re confident — at the very least, hopeful — that production will resume in the summer and we’re hopeful most of these shows will be on this fall.”
As of writing, the Survivor cast and crew still remain at home, but Fiji Film has developed a number of safety guidelines to be followed when local and overseas productions start back up. However, these protocols, as well as any filming in the country, are still awaiting approval from the Fijian government.
“We are monitoring the situation in Fiji, we are currently in discussion with external stakeholders and that is the government, and hopefully we can get to allow production to come back to the country,” Fiji Film’s Acting Chief Executive Jone Tikoca told FBC News.
Tikoca also confirmed that “four major productions” were scheduled to film in Fiji this year, and, as we know, Survivor was one of those productions. Since Millennials vs. Gen-X in 2016, Survivor has filmed two seasons per year in Fiji, usually across the months of March-July.
Not only is Fiji an ideal location for Survivor in terms of environment and scenery, but the country also offers a massive tax rebate of 45 percent for international film productions, which Jeff Probst revealed in an interview with The Producer’s Guide podcast in 2018.
However, those tax rebates are currently frozen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The processing of applications and pending payments under the Film Fiji tax rebate on hold until the COVID-19 pandemic passes,” says the KPMG website.
Inside Survivor will continue to monitor the situation. For more frequent updates and discussion of rumors, you are welcome to join the new Inside Survivor Patreon, which has access to the Inside Survivor Discord server and other bonus perks!