Survivor Season 39 Theme And Title Revealed

What is Survivor doing next?

Photo: CJ Isherwood via Compfight cc

Survivor is once again diving into its bag of island-related twists for the upcoming thirty-ninth season.

Inside Survivor can reveal that the rumored theme for season 39 is Island of the Idols, the title of which was first posted by user SurvivorFan37 on Survivor Sucks. As previously announced, the twist will see former winners Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine acting as “advisers” for the twenty new castaways.

Similar to the Edge of Extinction, the Island of the Idols title serves as a double-meaning, referring to both hidden immunity idols (and advantages) as well as the involvement of Rob and Sandra, two bonafide “Survivor Idols,” who will reside on the titular island.

Throughout the season, players will be sent to the Island of the Idols via various methods, and while there they have a chance to gain advice and advantages from the pair of past champions. Think of it as sort of like Ghost Island, except instead of being populated by cursed props of Survivor past, Boston Rob and Queen Sandra haunt the hallowed grounds.

Rob and Sandra are NOT active players within the game, meaning they are not eligible to win the prize money, and their involvement in the season will remain a secret to the cast, at least for a while. Obviously, those sent to the Island will learn of the veterans’ presence, but as far as Inside Survivor has learned, the players are encouraged to keep Rob and Sandra a secret upon returning to camp.

Survivor previously tried a similar twist in Game Changers, when Caramoan winner John Cochran made a one-off appearance during Debbie Wanner’s Exile reward. The two-time Survivor player offered Debbie guidance and an array of advantages during his short visit. Island of the Idols basically takes this concept and stretches it into a season-long theme.

There is no Redemption Island or Edge of Extinction element to the Island. It’s not a place where eliminated castaways await for another chance to get back in the game. Once a player has their torch snuffed this season, they are out for good.

UPDATE 05/16/19: CBS confirmed the Island of the Idols theme at the live reunion special of Survivor: Edge of Extinction.


Photo: CBS

Season 39 recently wrapped up filming in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands and is scheduled to air this fall on CBS. Stay tuned to Inside Survivor for more information.

Martin is a 31-year-old 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 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.

  • Kim from Texas

    The best part of this news is confirmation that Survivor has been renewed for Season 39/40. While not particular surprising, I am excited about confirmation!

  • Kim from Texas

    The problem with an extra Island is that it takes screen time away from getting to know players. Of course, I would like to continue dreaming about Survivor being increased to 90 minutes long (including commercials) with the extra 30 minutes filled with a comedy. The best thing about David vs. Goliath is that we were able to get to know the players.

  • Come On In Here
  • Shanna Pugh-Champnoise

    Even tho this season isnt over yet I still cant wait for the next!

  • Rosty

    So Rob and Sandra will be buried under a weird shaped tree?

  • Andy Pfeiffer

    Ugh. When will they realize we want less idols/advantages and more character development? What made David vs. Goliath so great is that the cast’s personalities and stories overshadowed all the production interferences that make Survivor so repetitive and confusing these days (2:3 swap, 13-person merge, bland individual challenges, etc.). It sounds to me like this is going to be even worse and we’ll get to know the castaways less, much like Edge of Extinction interfered with the ability to edit the show properly.

    What’s strange is that I am grappling with this feeling of divorce for a show I’ve watched for 19 years. It feels like Survivor is cheating on me.

    • mahone

      not true many of us want more idols as it keeps other players on their toes & makes less people floaters

      • Andy Pfeiffer

        You’re alone in that regard. We have more than enough idols as it is .The paranoia of them is plenty to keep players on their toes.

  • Felipe Pn

    I’m so embarrassed

  • Karel Zich

    my least fave thing about this is still those 2 obviously not being on S40 – if Sandra is, I don’t think it’s a good move since it would be Sandra overload. plus, I hope we don’t get another advantage-don. otherwise I am not necessarily against this – might be kinda cool/fresh/interesting (and these 2 are legit survivor legends).

    • TrentC

      Do we know for sure that Rob and Sandra won’t be on 40? They do need 16-20 winners and both will already be out there..

      • Karel Zich

        I guess we don’t but my take on this is that Rob is definitely not coming back for S40, but he was open for some other participation, so they made up this plan B twist – with Sandra I feel like it’s 50:50, I don’t think she would wanna miss an all-winner season, but would they put her in 2 seasons in a row? imo overkill, but we’ll see.

        • Gato_wiska

          I think they put her and BR here so they will be instant alliance in s40

  • mahone

    I love advantages & Idols and especially love it when people like Wentworth who think they are all that & leave with one in their pocket.

  • Hart

    Not sure I’m going to like the Ghost Island 2 twist, but the mentoring idea sound interesting. And very happy to be done with Edge of Extinction and returning faces in the game itself.

  • Chris Bacani

    I’d rather have 18-20 people tossed on a remote island in a new location instead of these gimmicks season after season in Fiji. It’s gotten stale real quick. PLEASE.

  • Christian Scott

    Do you know if the contestant going on the “Island of Idols” will speak to both Rob and Sandra or will it be a choice of who you get advice from?

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