Back in July, Inside Survivor revealed that the winner of Season 40 will receive a massive $2 million—the biggest prize fund in Survivor’s near 20-year history. But it’s not just the Sole Survivor who will be getting a cash bonus for competing on the highly-anticipated all-winners season.
According to Dalton Ross at Entertainment Weekly, this season, Survivor is bumping up the pay scale for each of the 20 returning champions. “Not only will the winner get double the prize, but each of the players on Winners At War have been guaranteed at least $25,000,” reveals Ross. “They also will receive the standard $10,000 for appearing at the finale/reunion show.” This means that the first person eliminated is assured at least $35,000, though that could increase if that person returns to the game via the Edge of Extinction twist.
The pay bump doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as it was likely a necessary incentive to convince many of these past winners to return. Remember, in 2018, host and showrunner Jeff Probst shot down the idea of an all-winners season, saying, “Some of the winners don’t want to play again. Some of the greats are like, ‘No, we’re done.'”
It’s also not the first time Survivor has offered higher payouts to returning players. As Ross states in his article, this trend started in the first All-Stars season back in 2004, where first boot Tina Wesson received $25,000 for playing, rather than the standard $2,500 for first vote-off. Inside Survivor sources can also reveal that in recent seasons, returning castaways have received guaranteed payouts upwards of $30,000 regardless of placement.
Survivor: Winners At War premieres at 8 pm, February 12, on CBS.