The winner of Survivor season 40, which will include a cast of 20 former champions, will be awarded an unprecedented $2 million, according to Inside Survivor sources, the biggest prize fund in the show’s near 20-year history.
Since the first season in Borneo, Survivor has given away $1 million to the winner and $100,000 to the runner-up. Payouts for the rest of the players depends on their placement. According to former castaway Jonny Fairplay, the first person eliminated from the show receives $2,500, while jury members get around $40,000.
In 2003, rumors circulated that Survivor would feature a $2 million grand prize for the first All-Stars season, though that didn’t materialize. Instead, the show held a special America’s Tribal Council a few days after the finale which awarded an additional $1 million prize to the All-Stars contestant who received the most votes from the viewers. Rupert Boneham won the check with over 26% of the votes cast.
One contestant has already bagged themselves $2 million from Survivor, and that’s two-time winner Sandra Diaz-Twine, who is a member of the season 40 cast. Sandra won her first season in 2003, in the Pearl Islands, and won again upon her return in 2010, in Heroes vs. Villains.
It’s unclear right now whether the season 40 placement earnings will be increased across the board, though it wouldn’t come as a surprise. The double-sized prize fund was likely an incentive to convince many of the past champions to return. Remember, it was only last summer when Jeff Probst told Us Weekly that, “We can’t do all winners… We have 10 great winners that you’d want to see play again. We don’t have 20. We don’t have 18. Some of the winners don’t want to play again. Some of the greats are like, ‘No, we’re done.’”
The all-winners season, which will also feature the return of the Edge of Extinction, recently wrapped up filming in Fiji. The season is scheduled to premiere on CBS in early 2020.