Survivor Producer Says 90-Minute Episodes Will ‘Remind Fans of Older Seasons’

The exec producer teases elements superfans will love.

We’re less than three weeks away from the premiere of Survivor 45, which, for the first time ever, will feature an entire season’s worth of 90-minute episodes, allowing fans a better chance to get to know the new crop of castaways.

Speaking with former four-time Survivor player Tyson Apostol on The Ringer’s The Pod Has Spoken podcast, executive producer Matt Van Wagenen provided some hints on what viewers can expect from the expanded episodes, promising an old-school feel with elements that will please Survivor superfans.

“I feel like you’ll see some stuff that will probably remind you of older seasons. There’s some elements that I think the superfans are really going to love,” he explained. “But I also think there is a real opportunity for the character moments.”

He continued, “We’re about four or five episodes in on our process, and this 90 minutes has felt great. We haven’t had any problem filling that because there’s just so many fun character moments that allow us to get to know the people a little bit better. For me, at first, I thought it might be a bit of a challenge but if anything it’s been a pleasure putting 90-minute episodes together.”

CBS officially confirmed Survivor would be expanding to 90 minutes back in May, alongside the new season of The Amazing Race, which is also receiving the 90-minute treatment.

Host and executive producer Jeff Probst had previously opened up about wanting longer episodes, telling Entertainment Weekly, “I actually think 90 minutes is a great length for a Survivor episode. It means basically 63 minutes of total running time, and that’s similar to what you would find on a streaming service.”

Survivor 45 will see 18 castaways vying for the $1 million prize and the title of Sole Survivor. The season kicks off on Wednesday, September 27, at 8 pm ET on CBS.

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.

6 responses to “Survivor Producer Says 90-Minute Episodes Will ‘Remind Fans of Older Seasons’”

  1. I would love an old school feel, especially on the gameplay side. But the cast is anything but old school. A copy paste new era cast. But who knows we will be surprised.

  2. I am going to keep an open mind to this one. I rarely believe what producers say, because they tend to “over-sell” (of course). But, I have really NOT enjoyed the last four seasons of Survivor.

    Each season (since 40) has been so repetative, with cardboard cut-out “characters” just to represent ethnic types. They have lost the focus on the tribe dynamic PERSONALITIES. I want to watch how they each form relationships, and what happens to those relationships, regardless of their individual sob-stories.

    I want this season to deliver on the inner-tribe dynamics. I want an historic rivalry, like Shambo/Laura. I want crazy conflict like Shane/Courtney. I want story-arcs of friendship and betrayal. I want story-arcs of true friendships and solid commitment (would have liked to see the Heather/Erika arc).

    I just hope they don’t fill the added time with individual sob-stories!

    • Dave, I couldn’t agree more. I have not been enjoying the new era seasons either. Mostly due to the casting choices (leaving great people out due to diversity quota) but also the lack of new scenery, lack of gameplay, and all the copy pasting going on with challenges and the sob stories. I wish they got rid of the boring journey in the beginning of the season. Who even enjoys the advantages there?

      Casting wise, 1 or 2 good people per season isn’t enough. Caroline, Shan and Cody are great finds but I wish there would be a lot more. I really don’t think the new casting director is right for this job. Or he gets awful direction from Jeff Probst. Bring more personality driven challenges back like the auction, individual memory based challenges without the physical or group effort.

      And I wish they would bring back the jury questions at final tribal. Removing this was a huge mistake because we never got a single epic moment. Several people don’t even ask anything in the awful “3 part forum”

      I do miss the silly rivalries like we saw with Marty and Jane or with Philip and Corinne, and unlikely friendships like the Brochachos. It feels like there isn’t even time for this anymore because someone needs to tell his personal coming out story again. And they’ll say in 2023 we focus on positivity and inclusiveness but in real life you still experience hatred, jealousy, villains. Give us back our villains

  3. I truly hope this is true. The cast in anything but old school. I hope the gameplay is.

    I hope the auction is back and individual jury questions for the final 3.

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