The end is nigh for Survivor: Island of the Idols, but this year’s three-hour finale will be a little different, as the reunion show will be pre-taped, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Survivor usually airs a live reunion from CBS Television City in Los Angeles, where the winner is announced, and the cast gets together to discuss the events of the season. However, this season, the reunion program will be recorded “live-to-tape” from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. PT, four hours earlier than normal, and then be broadcast on TV later in the night.
According to EW‘s Dalton Ross, the change has been made due to the “sensitive nature of the material this season, as well as security concerns for the contestants and to make sure the players feel as comfortable and safe as possible while discussing what happened out on the island.” This alludes to the complaints of sexual harassment from contestant Kellee Kim toward Dan Spilo, who inappropriately touched Kim and other female contestants during the game, as viewers saw earlier in the season.
During the merge episode, Kim aired her concerns about Spilo in confessional. Later, an on-screen title card claimed that producers held a meeting with the contestants about inappropriate behavior, as well as issuing a Spilo with a formal warning.
At the end of tonight’s episode (Dec. 12), host Jeff Probst entered camp to inform the remaining contestants that Spilo had been removed from the game. This was followed by a title card that read: “Dan was removed from the game after the report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involved a player.”
UPDATE 12/14/19: According to a source who is attending the season finale, the audience is scheduled to be in the studio from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m, only two hours compared to the usual three. Either this is a mistake sent to audience members or it could suggest there will be no live audience for the reunion portion of the show. Update: Another audience member attending as a seat-filler was told taping is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Survivor: Island of the Idols finale and reunion will air Dec. 18 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET on CBS.