Survivor is back in Fiji and set to begin filming its forty-first season this week, but we may not be getting as much Survivor as we’re used to.
According to Inside Survivor sources, season 41 (and possibly season 42 and beyond) will not be the traditional 39 days and will instead be shortened in length. While we don’t yet have confirmation on an exact number, we’re told it could be cut at least 10 days shorter than usual.
UPDATE 05/23/21: We have now confirmed the season will be 26 days long.
The reason for this change is currently unclear, though we can, of course, speculate. Budgetary and/or scheduling reasons are the first that come to mind—cast and crew having to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Fiji due to COVID-19 certainly eats into a considerable chunk of production time.
That said, it still comes as a shocking development given that “39 days” is baked into the very conceit of Survivor; it’s as synonymous with the show as “the tribe has spoken.” Other than The Australian Outback, which was 42 days, every other season has lasted 39 days.
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The shortened season length will obviously change the show’s flow and pacing, at least in terms of production. Survivor previously operated on a 3-day filming cycle, which usually included a Reward challenge, an Immunity challenge, and a Tribal Council.
If, for example, the show is losing 10 days, production could potentially move to a 2-day cycle going forward. This could mean more combined Reward/Immunity challenges and perhaps more double boots—as far as Inside Survivor is aware, the number of castaways hasn’t been lowered.
This change also begs the question, how many episodes will we get? Will it still be the traditional 14? In fact, will Survivor itself even tell us about the shorter length, or will they use the magic of editing to pretend that it’s still a 39 day season? Only time will tell.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor for more info in the coming weeks or subscribe to our Patreon for all the latest rumors and speculation.