Jeff Probst Says Survivor Has Been Working On A Plan To Film In 2021, Is Feeling ‘Optimistic’

A glimmer of hope.

Photo: CBS

In a normal year, Survivor would be airing its latest season right now; however, production has been shut down since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning no new Survivor for the foreseeable future. But the show is preparing to get back up and running in 2021, and Jeff Probst is “feeling optimistic” about it. 

Speaking to a fan in a recent Cameo video, the Emmy Award-winning host explained that he and the Survivor crew tried to film this year, but it just wasn’t possible. “We tried, we tried, we tried, oh did we try,” Probst says. “I thought we were going the second time, I was certain we were going to shoot, but it just is impossible.”

Production was initially postponed back in March until mid-May before eventually been shut down indefinitely in early April after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic. There was still hope of filming later in the year, with CBS even including Survivor on its fall 2020-2021 line-up. That plan was later scrapped as Fiji’s borders remained closed to non-citizens. 

“We have 400 crew members from 20 different countries,” Probst continues in the Cameo video. “The border restrictions alone were an issue, then the medical care in Fiji, you know, we just couldn’t risk it.”

CBS ended up pulling Survivor from the fall schedule back in July as it became clear there was no chance of having a season ready in that time-frame. There was some hope of filming in September for a Spring premiere, though those plans also fell through. But production has been working on ways to get things running again in 2021.

“We were working on a way to get back out there in 2021,” Probst explains. “And I feel optimistic that not only will we shoot but that it’s going to be really good.”

Inside Survivor recently reported that Survivor aims to begin shooting again in Spring 2021, with CBS even pushing to film three seasons next year, though that is yet to be confirmed. The hope is that Fiji will relax restrictions early next year, though, as we mentioned two weeks ago, countries such as the Dominican Republic have been looked into as potential back-up locations.


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Survivor has been recasting over the past few months for seasons 41 and 42, which Probst touches on in the Cameo. “We have some amazing people ready to play,” he says. “We’ve spent all our time thinking about where we can take the show and casting the show, and there’s just some incredibly cool people out there, a lot of really great young people out there.”

CBS recently set new diversity guidelines for its unscripted reality programming, including Survivor, promising casts of at least 50% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People of Color). This has been a key focus in recent recasting. Probst also encouraged teenagers to apply during the Winners At War reunion show, and Inside Survivor can confirm that at least some teens, as young as 16, have been contacted by casting. 

“I think [the casting] is going to take the show kind of to that Survivor 2.0; it’s the next iteration,” Probst continues. “And all this beautiful cultural upheaval will become part of the show now. I think it’s going to be great. It will feel and look the same, but different, which is exactly what we want in every season.

Stay tuned to Inside Survivor for more information in the coming weeks.

Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance 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 Digital Spy, 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. Martin is the owner and editor-in-chief of Insider Survivor.

18 responses to “Jeff Probst Says Survivor Has Been Working On A Plan To Film In 2021, Is Feeling ‘Optimistic’”

  1. “A lot of great young people out there!” Eeek. Jeff, please not the Teenagers thing again!
    The fact that Jeff said in that other cameo video that he wants a tribe of MINORS shows that the Dan-Kellee gate scandal he’s already forgotten about. Any responsible producer would not look at putting minors on the show right after a sexual harassment scandal.
    Jeff, if your goal was to have a season of minors (as you said in the other cameo video), you should have given your 400+ crew better safe environment training. If something were to happen to a teenage girl out there and she got sexually harassed, the show would be done. It would get dropped.
    I am also disappointed to hear he still has his head in the clouds with optimism that Fiji will open its borders. This vaccine isn’t going to make Fiji immediately reopen their borders lol. The Dominican Republic would be fantastic. Hopefully, that’s what happens, and they go to the Caribbean.

    • It makes absolutely no sense that they have a sexual harassment scandal on the show & their answer to that is to put 16-year old kids on (where sex is pretty much all they think about)! Great idea….

  2. Yes frankly Americans should realize that it is time to stop focusing on Fiji and filming in other places, Fiji is still closed and some other countries in Oceania as well. Other foreign version had the good idea to change location, whether it was France which filmed a few weeks ago in French Polynesia on the island of Tahaa, this place is open, the Americans could even go there by following the protocol set up by the French production, the swedish filmed in their country in a remote region, the south africans filmed in a remote region of their country, australians will do the same thing. The Mexicans toured the Dominican Republic and the country has been open for months. Americans need to wake up and think about having several possible filming locations. Moreover, the French production was happy to taunt the Americans because they did not have the audacity to shoot.

  3. Actually looking forward to seeing Survivor film somewhere else other than Fijii. I know they have a great relationship between the country and show, but I think a location change would do the series good. Also a bit worried about the whole “great young people” comment. I love the seasons with the older contestants (where most were in their 30s+); I dont want to see a season with half the cast in their late teens or early 20s.

    • I always liked the pre-Fiji era. I think the location & the culture of the local area made the show that much more interesting. But with staying in Fiji, they have to rely on [stupid] “gimmicks” for themes that don’t mean anything when they have a tribe swap.

  4. I am probably going to catch crap for thins but that’s nothing new so whatever but this is nonsense! There has been a lot of back & forth about if/when Survivor is going to film that I don’t even know what to believe anymore. I understand that “Survivor Production Delayed Due To Coronavirus” [March 23] & that is/was to be expected but CBS being “”Hopeful” Survivor Will Be Back This Fall With Season 41” [May 19] was promising as “Survivor Looks Set To Resume Production In Fiji Soon” [June 21] but then we get bad news in that “season 41 will not begin production until AT LEAST September” but “even that remains up in the air” [July 1], then “Survivor Season 41 Pulled From CBS Fall Schedule” [July 14] & “Season 41, Filming Postponed Until 2021’ [Sept 9]….but then we get a smidgen of good news that they are “Considering Other Options To Restart Survivor Production” [Sept 16] & then, reportedly, they are “looking into the Caribbean as a potential back-up location, specifically, the Dominican Republic” [Nov 23]. However, now Jeff is “feeling optimistic” [Dec 11] but I think we all want something more defiant then being “optimistic” but that is [just] “an attitude reflecting a belief or hope that the outcome of some specific endeavor, or outcomes in general, will be positive, favorable & desirable” which means he wants to & hopes to be filming (soon) but don’t we all? Personally, I don’t like the back & forth they are planning/doing this-or-that to its off/questionable to the plan is, etc.

    I have though for a while that the controversies & scandals in the recent seasons was (going to be) hurting their ratings & the Covid shutdown would be the straw that broke the camel’s back & downfall of the show. But with what appears to be the current status that seems to be an accurate prediction. I hate to be the guy that says “I told you so” but I would me more then happy to say “I was wrong” if I was proven wrong but the way thinks are going I doubt that would happen….so I gladly say – as I have said before – I challenge you to prove me wrong!

    • Not sure if you’ve noticed, but there is a pandemic going on, hence the back and forth and plans falling through and things changing on a daily basis.

      Also, Survivor just made it onto Netflix for the first time and has been introduced to a whole new era of fans. I would expect Season 41 to be the highest rated season in quite some time.

      • OK, likely story. Sadly, I had a full response but something happen & I got disconnected losing everything I had written – which is going to take too long to rewrite! Somehow I think you do something to block me because it happens too often….

    • Well, well, well. If it isn’t another pessimistic and poorly written (work on your grammar, buddy) reply from “Andy”. I’d be shocked but if you weren’t rambling and complaining in the comment section of every single recent Inside Survivor post… I’d consider maybe getting some hobbies.

      • Is this some kind of joke on something? You (whoever you are) want to complain about me not having any hobbies but who’s the 1 that had nothing better to do but attract/insult people? That is very brave coming from someone that is too much of a coward to post their name!

  5. Survivor has turned into a whole different show which isnt about characther building anymore but instead annoying idol hunting and forced strategies why they wanna bring 16 years old into the show? lmaooooo and idc about pandemic happening if they want to film they would they are just lazy thats it

    • There are places that COULD film, they (just) don’t want to film anywhere other then Fiji! If they were (really) “considering options” to film elsewhere there isn’t any reason why something isn’t (already) in the works! They are just waiting/hoping Fiji opens up!

      • and that’s a big mistake, because if Fiji doesn’t reopen it will still be stuck, they have to get it right and abandon Fiji. Fiji made them lose their minds. Other versions we directly look for backup places: the Australians will perhaps film in their countries, the South Africans too, the Swedish version will film in a remote region of their country, the Mexicans filmed in the Dominican Republic, moreover the place is open to foreigners, the French version Koh lanta after filming 5 seasons in Fiji, they had to film in Asia and as they could not they filmed in French Polynesia on the island of Tahaa with great success without any case of covid, the Americans would have to realize that they have to think of other places as they did before when he could not shoot in a country they were looking for others. In my opinion, the places that could easily accommodate them are The Dominican Republic and French Polynesia, the island of Tahaa with its motus is totally different from the Marquesas landscapes and they would love it so much that it is beautiful and the Polynesians are very warm and generous .

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