Survivor 44 To Introduce New Idol Cage Twist

Season 44 set to rattle some cages.

Photo: CBS

While certain twists, such as the Shot in the Dark and “earn the merge,” are sticking around for Survivor‘s upcoming seasons, there will be at least one new twist revolving around hidden immunity idols.

According to Inside Survivor sources, Survivor 44, which recently wrapped up filming in Fiji, will feature an “idol cage” twist. Each tribe camp will have a bird cage with an idol locked inside and a note on how to find the key to open it. Unfortunately, the cages are in plain sight, so it will require stealth for a castaway to obtain the idol without being caught.

For those brave enough to open the cage, they will find inside a bag containing two idols — a real one and a fake one. The player must take the real idol and leave behind the fake, making it appear that the bag/cage hasn’t been tampered with. What happens if someone else finds the fake is not yet known.


This new twist continues Survivor‘s recent theme of “risk vs. reward,” aiming to make the players work for advantages. Viewers saw this across seasons 41 and 42 with the introduction of Beware Advantages and the Ship Wheel island. As far as Inside Survivor knows, the Beware Advantages and the island Summits are still a part of the upcoming seasons, albeit with slight changes.

As previously reported, seasons 43 and 44 will keep the same 26-day, three-tribe format, with the winner being revealed on location and the reunion special taking place after the Final Tribal Council.

A version of this article was first posted on the Inside Survivor Patreon.

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.

28 responses to “Survivor 44 To Introduce New Idol Cage Twist”

  1. Im all for this. No longer wasting time with people looking around the same enivornment as always and finding stuff in tree trunks and ground

  2. Shortened version sucks as does always being in Fiji, im sick of Fiji , here’s a real challenge, have survivor in the middle of a corn field in Iowa, absolutely nothing there…

    • Jeff: Wanna know what you’re playing for?

      Tribesmates: [most of them are lost in the corn]

      Jeff: Terrific. [unveils a platter of Casey’s Pizza]

  3. I do think the one redeeming thing about exile Island era survivor was that idols had clues to them which made some of that risk/reward into account. Or having to give clues to the other tribe, and trying to decide who you might want to work with later, or analyze tribe dynamics.

  4. I remember in earlier seasons that automobiles were given away. I think these types of rewards should be reintroduced to the game.

  5. I like 39 days better, 26 days the girls underarm hair barely has time to grow out! I’d like them to bring back the auctions, they were always entertaining and showed who really were able to eat “anything”. Also in the days when they went to places other than Fiji they were able to have rewards the went to local villages with needed goods/food and learn about the local people and I miss that. Those types of visits always helped expand the horizons of the survivors that went on the visits.

  6. Why did they decide to go to 26 days instead of the 39? I’ve been rewatching the earlier episodes and haven’t had a chance to watch the seasons 40 and beyond.

  7. I don’t like this birdcage idol idea at all. Obviously it’s an idea that will only work for 1 or 2 seasons and then contestants will know that there are fake idols in the cage.

  8. Why not hide fake idols along with the real ones and survivors will not know which they have until they try to use them.

  9. I agree …Times have changed and I miss the old shows, They made survivor Great. Too many new twist and the people playing now seem so mean to each other. I miss when people play with heart and care about each other but still had good game play, like Boston Rob And O.M.G..their are so many good old School players. Still watch but it doesn’t GLUE me to my seat anymore..I couldn’t wait for it to come on..NOW I WATCH THE Old shows now Over and over.. of days gone by. Sorry JEFF YOU’VE CHANGED TOO. NOT IN A BAD WAY BUT, The whole show FEELS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT…. SAD ✅ RIGHT

  10. Do not like shorter version..there is no time to develop favorites. The only thing I like is the elimination of some of the new stuff. Love the auction and family visit. Im an avid fan.. watched all seasons 3 times last year. Never even watched season 41. And what about the music that used to define the show? That is basic marketing.

  11. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID, STUPID. After the last 2 seasons I didn’t think it could get any worse. I was wrong.

  12. I also like the 39 days format. Not so tough any more when they are provide a well full of water to begin the show. Way to much time on talking about everyone’s strategies. To much dialog and whispering at tribal council. It takes almost 20 minutes.

  13. This show is old and worn out and turning into a big race baiting hangover. Please stick to the game and leave out politics. We need more Russells, John Fairplay, and the guy who thought a piece of wood was his blackberry. Lately the castmates have had no personality.

  14. I am just not a fan of a few of the new ideas, including the birdcage idols. It seem strategy is going out the window in favour of who is the most lucky.

  15. I totally agree .I don’t care for any of the new twists either. Real idols and fake idols in the same cage? It was different when the contestants made them.But now you’re planting them. It’s just not right.
    Another thing is the whisperings at tribal council.
    Way to much of that crap going on..really boring from my side of the TV set.

  16. Hate, hate, hate, everything about the 26 day challenge. Not the least of which we get robbed of 13 days of Survivor. I watched the 1st one disappointed about the shortened season, but figured it was a one time thing having just come back from the Covid hiatus. But now going on the third season, looks like it’s here to stay. For me, all the changes are awful! So sad when shows try to rework things that are tried, true & iconic to supposedly make it better & it just ends up ruining everything. For those who love the change…enjoy it! 🙂 For me, sadly I will be passing on it & tuning in to something else. 🙁

  17. I think the only tribal council that went longer than like, 12 minutes in 42 was the Jenny boot, which almost went to rock draw so… you’re wrong about that.

    As for 41, there were attempts for live tribals, but none floated

    As for WAW, there were 3 in 4 episodes. That was 39 days.

  18. Let’s hope the ratings go down a lot from now on so Jeff probst can think oh maybe we need to go back to 39 days to get the ratings back up again

  19. I like the 39 days also I wish they would go back two people at the end instead of three. I always feel so sorry for the third person who never gets any votes.

  20. So here is the deal with myself…since Season 1…I have been watching Survivor every Wednesday. It was a religion in this house. When my daughters were old enough to watch and understand…they too were sitting right there with me and their mom. We couldn’t wait for the next season of SURVIVOR to start. We loved watching the tease for the next season…and we were counting down the months and days! Seeing Jeff come in and starting off the next season…hearing the music…watching the intro…MAN!!!! Nothing was like it. Even though we could DVR…didnt matter…we had to watch it as it premiered because we wanted to be the first to know. We didnt want to risk spoilers.

    Then something happened. I don’t know what it was. I just remember the start of Season 42…or maybe 41…anyway…he asked the group if they were offended by him saying, “Come on in guys!” I was like “WHAT?!?!? That’s your calling Jeff! Don’t stop.”

    And then they started changing everything. Always concerned about somehow “offending” someone. Now shorter seasons. Needless to say….as a family…we just are not excited. We do not watch it at all. Don’t even DVR it. I don’t know what happened to this beloved show, but something did and now it just doesnt have what it used to. For that…I am sad. I truly miss it. It was a staple…and now it is gone. 🙁

    • I don’t get it???? Why can’t you do the same 39 days? You took away some of the other traditions in the game. Please bring back the days..

  21. The whole comment section is just complaining LOL. GROW UP. Survivor is evolving, 26 days with a 1/4 bag rice is just as hard as 39 days with a full bag. Instead of complaint and saying how bad it’s gotten why not try to look at the good things that they’ve tried doing with the show, and the people who put their life into it like Jeff. You think he wants to create a horrible show? No. Maybe they’ll go back to old school with less twists and overall more old school elements who knows

  22. Why is everyone complaining about the shorter season like they get less Survivor? Same number of challenges, same number of trials, same number of episodes. The social game just plays out faster for the players. Big moves happen more often because they have fewer days to build their resume.

    Not liking certain twists and stuff or missing old parts of the game I get. That’s been true for every twist that has come and gone. Also they stay in Fiji now to cut costs on the show to keep it on air for 40+ seasons. It’s not the ratings juggernaut it was early on and that’s the sacrifice they make to keep it airing.

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