Rumored Survivor Season 40 Theme

Survivor is cooking up an epic battle for its milestone 40th season.

For almost 20 years, Survivor has stood tall at the top of the reality-tv food chain, in that time, the show has filmed 38 seasons (and is currently shooting its 39th) across five continents, in 18 different countries. It’s the ultimate test of endurance, social politics, and strategic gameplay, and of the nearly 600 contestants to play this crazy game, only 37 of them can lay claim to the title of Sole Survivor.

Now, for Survivor’s milestone fortieth season, Inside Survivor has learned that the show is inviting back a cast of former winners for what promises to be an epic battle for supremacy. That’s right, fans have dreamed and speculated for years, and now finally, it appears Survivor is about to celebrate its 20th year with a season comprised entirely of past champions.

An “all winners” (will likely have a different title) season is an interesting development given Jeff Probst’s feelings on the concept. Last September, in an interview with Us Weekly, the host and executive producer said “We can’t do all winners… As a producer, I would never suggest it. I would say it’s not a good idea.”

The Emmy-winner went on to say, “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.’” However, he admitted that the network execs at CBS were really high on the idea.

“[CBS is] pitching me all the time,” he continued. “And I’m going, ‘I’ll sit down with you and show you the list!’ We don’t have it. And if I sat down and we wasted our time and I walked you through all our winners, you would say, ‘Oh, you’re right. You don’t have a season.’ We have a tribe of winners, that’s it.”

Obviously it looks like something changed since then and the CBS higher-ups managed to get their way – I will detail the entire, chaotic casting process for this season in a later post. This champion-filled season isn’t scheduled to film until next month and so all casting rumors will remain on lock in the meantime.

What do you think about this clash of champions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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.


81 responses to “Rumored Survivor Season 40 Theme”

  1. omg!!! yes!!!!! i really thought this was pure fan fiction and impossible fot the production to pull off. i am extremely excited.

  2. Just hope this or next season will have a female winner. Find it hard to find 9 female winners who will play again or are interesting enough.

    • Why do then need to all be interesting? Many people become cannon fodder anyways. Michelle can’t be busy. Call her up!

    • Tina, Sandra, Michele, Natalie A., Kim, Denise, Sophie, Danni, Vecepia, and whoever wins this season seems good to me.

        • I think Vecepia is a shoo-in (if she wants it) as the only African American Female winner. I also think her time away (She last played 18 years ago) and history with Boston Rob make her at least mildly interesting.

      • Right now, I have Queen Sandra, Danni, Parvati (who said she’d do this theme and it wouldn’t be complete without her), Sophie, Kim, Denise, Natalie A, Sarah, and 38’s winner (if female) as my 9 female picks.

        Probst hates Michele. Vee is probably not interested.

  3. People read this and immediately cry ALL WINNERS SEASON!!!!!

    But to me this pretty much confirms we’ll be getting a Winners vs Legends season. Jeff has a lot of say on the show, and he told us flat out that while an all winners season isn’t possible at this point, a half winners season is. The show only has 14 (possibly 15 after this season) female winners, and I doubt 10 of them will want to come back AND get through casting.

    • “Inside Survivor has learned that the show is inviting back a cast of former winners” – what is dubious about this? 😛

    • “That’s right, fans have dreamed and speculated for years, and now finally, Survivor is about to celebrate its 20th year with a season comprised entirely of past champions.”

      ENTIRELY of past champions. Redmond is saying it’s all-winners.

    • And what else are people supposed to think, given that the article clearly states that the season is “comprised entirely of past champions”? Other people who claim to have insider information have been saying the same thing over the past few days. And while things can still change at last minute or everyone could be wrong, right now the theme looks very real and there’s not much reason to doubt it.

      They don’t need 10 female winners. 9 or even 8 would be enough and still allow for a gender balanced season. An All Winners season could plausibly make an exception to the current norm and bring back the 16 person cast format, possibly even with the final 2. At least this way, everyone could get a proper edit deserving of a former winner. It’s also possible that they’re testing out the Edge of Extinction twist in S38 with the prospect of reusing it in a tweaked form for S40. That would allow them to keep early boots on the show and work around potential medevac(s). Plus every past winner would be able to get on the jury and thus mitigate some of the humiliation and damage suffered on their reputation if they get voted out early. Not saying that I personally want things to play out this way, but from the production’s and network’s perspective, it makes perfect sense to incorporate a variant of the Edge of Extinction twist in this kind of season.

  4. Idk…it sounds decent on paper but I doubt many of those pre-S20 winners are actually going to come back – unpopular (Vecepia, Heidek, Chris D., Natalie W.), busy (Yul, Earl, Tom W.,), or health reasons (Ethan, Todd).

    • I never thought of Chris Daugherty as being unpopular. Personally, I always wondered why he was never asked back before now.

    • Usually “unpopular” ones are the ones who dominates returnee seasons. Rob and Amber are not “Allstar Material” when they make it in “Allstar” Wentworth was an invisible premerge boot on her first season.

    • Yup. On paper and in dreams, it does sound decent.
      The passage of time may not bode well for the older “oldsters” on the list: age, agility, strength, mental agility/awareness and thinking on a dime, not as sharp as they were during their winning-champion season.
      Reading the names you listed, I only recognize 3 or 4 (maybe a photo would bring back my mental agility, hee hee). Off the top of my head I could name more popular, some unpopular survivors, that I could make.
      Also, like someone else wrote, don’t know if I would want to put my “win” up for the challenge to be voted out the first or even first half of the season.

  5. You know, it’s possible that a Legends (or Winners vs. Contenders ) season comprised of the strongest winners and best players who never won would offer a more entertaining and varied cast (think Heroes vs. Villains) than a season full of past champions. But an All Winners theme must be still viewed as the most prestigious of them all and pulling it off as the highest achievement. You can’t go bigger than that, even if it’s not a guarantee of a great season. This is why it’s the perfect theme to celebrate 20 years and 40 seasons of Survivor that, on paper, surpasses HvV as the previous biggest season. If they waited longer with this, we might not be able to see some of the legendary old school winners on the cast or it might not happen at all. So I’m glad that we’re finally getting this much talked-about season. Now is the right time.

  6. don’t really wanna see an all winners season, BUT if it means bringing back past winners like Yul Kwan, Chris Daugherty, Vecepia Towery, Briank Heidik, Todd Herzog and Earl Cole then I am on board

  7. Can’t see Heidik, Probst doesn’t want him back. Danni Boatwright has only said she’d come back for an all winners season. Why would Kim Spradlin want to ruin her legacy, she dominated her season? And, for the love of God, no more Boston Rob.

    • I’d be totally fine with seeing Rob one last time. Kim actually said she would consider returning for All-Winners – I am so glad, Sandra also technically had no reason to come back to Game Changers and we’re so lucky she did.

  8. Purely fan-wishing, but it’d be great if they included winners from international editions. The Australian Survivor winners, in particular, would add some amazing characters and unpredictability to the cast.

    • I dunno, man, I absolutely want a season America vs Australia in a couple years (Australia needs a couple more seasons to get a wider pool) but I feel like it would be a mish-mash to put international winners in Season 40. I think S40 should be purely US.

  9. I’ve already done so many fictional seasons simulating this haha! I hope Natalie A comes back. I could see her and her fellow Jersey girl Michele running the game to the end. Also – redemption for Tony!

  10. Love it, as long as Rupert’s “fan favorite” doesn’t count. No one is getting booted because they won a mil.

  11. All Winners? No thank you. Think of all the great players we would be missing out on for season 40 that I would love back (ex. Spencer, Jerri, Chrissy, Christian) who wouldn’t be cast because they didn’t win. I would like to see a Champions vs Challengers (best to never win) season though. This way we can have winners back but they won’t be targeted because they are winners.

    • Champions vs challengerS would be a great season I like that idea I think Malcom Joe Anglim Michael season 37 Jt Thomas for the champion Kara season 37 michal season 36 Danielle season 37 Ozzy jay season 33 Talyor season 33

    • I would have hated that honestly, would rather have Coach win. But I find it interesting that with the new fire making rule at F4, he likely would have won.

  12. How about 10 winners vs 10 first to be voted out? But, if they bring back Boston Rob, I will not watch–cannot stand him.

  13. I agree there is not enough of a cast of even 16. And the ones that would come back would be the same ones that have already played a second or 3rd time. We’d see Sandra, JT. Rob and Parv and Amber won’t come back. And keep in mind they’d need an even number of male and female

  14. Does this mean that CBS has officially renewed Survivor for two more seasons? Seems like things might be really chaotic at CBS since they haven’t selected a new CEO. You implied that they aren’t going to start the filming of survivor for another month. (Of course, the show could film the seasons without being officially renewed. Even if CBS were crazy enough to cancel survivor, it seems like a channel like Discovery would pick it up)

  15. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, and honestly I have come to the opinion that while a lot of former winners say that they wouldn’t return, unless CBS won’t have them back I don’t rule out anyone returning for this season.

    I accept that a lot of those former players “with nothing to gain” like Parvati, Boston Rob, Kim Spradlin, Cochrane, etc., wouldn’t come back in a normal scenario (normal prize money, etc.), but if CBS wants to put on an epic season they can probably make it happen. If CBS is willing to give a bunch of those B- celebrities $250K appearance pay days for 5 weeks of Celebrity Big Brother, they’d probably throw that money at Boston Rob or Parvati or both.

    I know that those players feel like they’ve got nothing to prove (and that’s a fair way to feel), but while I don’t think either are starving, that’s not a small amount of money to show up and play Survivor for a month and some change. Especially if they still get it even if they’re first boot.

    I’m not saying I am expecting those two to be on this season, but I am not convinced they are in the “no way, not going to be there” category. Fingers crossed. If they are doing “former winners” I want the best of the best.

  16. An all-winners season would mean we’d be stuck with Sandra and Boston Rob. I really have no desire to see either of them again. I’d love to see a season of first boots.

  17. Granted, it was a while back, but when Vee went on RHAP, she said she would play again providing CBS doesn’t wait too long to give her a call because of age reasons. Paraphrasing, but it was definitely something along those lines.

  18. Interesting indeed, that Probst was apparently overruled. Is CBS brass tiring of him and the direction the show is taking? Or is this simply a one-off with a suit standing firm, unable to back off a questionable idea? If nothing else, they know how to market the show.

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