Earlier this year, Survivor filmed two seasons in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, which finished airing this past Wednesday night, and Survivor: Game Changers, the all-returnee season which premieres March 2017. But could Survivor be returning to Fijian shores so soon?
It’s no secret that production loved the location, with host and executive producer Jeff Probst, in particular, praising the many positives Fiji has to offer. In a live Facebook Q&A last month, Probst said that Fiji “is the ideal Survivor location” and that “if [he] could go there for the rest of [his] Survivor career, [he] would sign that deal right now.”
Well, maybe that deal was signed?
While this is yet to be 100% confirmed, it appears that production will be returning to Fiji next year to shoot seasons 35 and 36 of the long-running reality-game-show. According to various travel and tourism websites, the Mana Island Resort (which housed the production staff during filming earlier this year), is once again closed to the public between March-July 2017.
Back in August, TravelDaily.com.au sent out a newsletter to subscribers which included a snippet (see above) about Mana Island Resort and Spa being taken over by “a particular Production Company” between March 29 – July 6, 2017. While they couldn’t definitively say it was for Survivor, the March to July dates add up to the usual Survivor schedule. Filming for seasons 33 and 34 took place between the dates of April 4 and July 14, 2016 [filming was supposed to start in March but was delayed due to a tropical cyclone].
Soon after, other travel websites began reporting the same news. TourismFiji.com stated that the Mana Resort would be closed from March 29 to July 15, 2017, “due to the full use of the resort by a Production Company.” OurPacific.co.nz also confirmed these dates, adding that “the resort will not be available for stays by individual holidaymakers.”
The official Mana Island Resort & Spa website have not confirmed this news themselves, but a quick look at their booking calendar for those dates do indeed show that the resort is fully sold out.
If this news is accurate, and all signs point in that direction, it would make seasons 35 and 36 the fourth and fifth seasons, respectively, to be filmed in Fiji. Back in 2006, production set up on Vanua Levu to film the fourteenth season of the show, Survivor: Fiji, which aired on CBS in 2007. When they returned earlier this year to shoot seasons 33 and 34, the crew took up residence in the Mamanuca Islands. Survivor has reused locations in separate filming cycles before (Nicaragua for seasons 21/22 and 29/30 | Samoa for seasons 19/20 and 23/24), but this would be the first time since the Philippines (25-28) where production have filmed in the same country for consecutive cycles.
The question is, why Fiji again?
Well, a lot of the reasons are explained by Probst in the live Facebook Q&A. The logistics play a huge factor; Probst stated that Fiji “is super close to LA,” meaning the cast and crew can take a direct flight from LAX, and he also said it’s “super close to Australia where a lot of our crew is from.” Not only that, but there is “a big, good island that we can all live on,” referring to the aforementioned Mana Island Resort. It was well documented how harsh and unpleasant the conditions were in Cambodia last year (for seasons 31/32), so the ease and comfort Fiji provides is, of course, an excellent alternative.
Perhaps the most important benefit is the government. When filming in any location, production must receive permission from the local government; that can often be an arduous task, and it’s why many dream locations haven’t materialized in the past. But Probst said Fiji has a “great government to work with which is really important for us.” The report about Mana Island from TravelDaily.com.au also stated that the resort buy-out “was supported by the Fijian Government.”
Again, this information is not 100% confirmed, and it could possibly be for another production, Australian Survivor, for example, will be shooting a second season next year. However, the fact Survivor stayed at this same resort earlier this year, around the same months, is certainly suspicious. Inside Survivor will continue to look for further verification. Stay tuned to the website over the coming months.
UPDATE 02/05/17: Inside Survivor has received further confirmation that seasons 35 and 36 will film in Fiji.
What do you think about Survivor staying in Fiji? Does it mean more “theme” based titles next year? Should Survivor be trying to freshen up the locations? Or does it make sense to stay in one location? Let us know in the comments.
To me the location isn’t as important as the cast. Put a great cast in a crummy location, and you still have a great season. Put a crummy cast in a great location and you will have ho-hum season, so for me it’s cast,cast, cast. Not the other way around. Don’t get me wrong I love the water challenges, which Fiji has so I’m OK with staying in Fiji.
Any island will do. Fiji is no different than any other location as far as fans are concerned. The ocean is still wet. The trees are still green. If it makes it easier for the crew and production go for it.
What local governments didn’t allow survivor?
To be fair, Survivor has been using stupid themes for years now, new location or not. I doubt that would change even if it was a new country each season unfortunately.
Filming will likely start end of March for S35. Then June for S36.
What I used to love about Survivor were the fresh and exotic locations the show used to take us on, a tradition that has all but died now that production’s increase in numbers and how the budget is more strung out. I understand that it’s easier for them to have the same locale for back to back seasons (which I truly don’t mind) but there should be no reason that the same vicinity should be used no more than twice, much less four in a row (Phillippines, Samoa, and now Mamanuca Islands)
Hmmm… Survivor: Nickelback… Has a ring to it!
I agree in theory but we did have a good stretch of season with Season 25-28
[…] a decade in Nicaragua (or so it seems), we finally got a change in locale – Fiji. With almost 20 seasons in between now and the first time Survivor was there, did Fiji live up to […]
Makes sense if its most comfortable for everyone involved they don’t need keep changing locations once contestants are on a island with next to nothing that’s main premises of the show.
There are a number of easy to get to islands in and around Monuriki ( Where Seasons 33/34 were filmed) so I can see why production want the show back in Fiji. The island the survivors were on is just 15 mins or so flight time from the international airport in Nadi and yet Monuriki ( which is also the same island Ton Hanks Castaway was filmed on) is totally uninhabited. There’s a huge resort not far from the uninhabited island so it’s perfect for the crew and there are several sand bars , other un-inhabbited tiny islands and the likes where the contestants were taken to to play challenges in season’s 33 and 34.
The logistics for the show are huge …. there were 10 containers of equipment left in Fiji after the series last year so I think this was in the pipeline long ago. Likewise the Fiji government are very supportive of the show .I would imagine they tipped some money into the pot. Pilots and local airlines flying in the area received instructions from the Fiji civil aviation authority to take a wide berth of the island last year – behind the scenes the islands aren’t far from the mainland and there are lots of resorts in the vicinity ( 5 minutes or so by heli from the island the survivors lived on) so it’s all very convinient.
The show puts a massive amount into the local economy . My own business had the pleasure of working with some of the specialist crew last year and we got to know a number of the people who worked on the show during their time off between filming the two seasons . The people we dealt with from the production company and some of the specialist crew were an absolute delight to work with and as a Survivor fan it was great being on the periphery hearing the stories etc. It’s a massive production effort involving hundreds of people that put the show together . Just seeing all the equipment the specialist aerial and marine team we dealt with had ..boats helicopter , film gear and so on blew me away . As locals we are delighted to have the Survivor team back in 2017
I kinda wish they had more intruging twists and titles instead of themes (maybe like Survivor Anarchy and Mamanuca) and they also need to visit more places (Laos, Thailand, Japan, Egypt, Kenya, Tahiti, South Africa, Brazil, Iceland)
Great place and they are treated well by the locals, business people and the government which is a big deal. The country is beautiful.
I want to see Survivor “First OUT” – I really don’t care about the location – its a social game.
Dying to know if cao boi is returning?!
[…] 35 and 36 will film between April – July on the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji, the same location that housed production for last year’s Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X and […]
It is a beautiful location, but I miss the epic rewards from the earlier seasons, such as Sean and Pappy at the feast. I hope they try to make Tonga happen again sometime, but I doubt it.
The only thing wrong is that they are starting to title seasons based upon theme – it wasnt survivor: Brains v brawns v beauty, it was Survivor: Cagayan. whats wrong with Survivor: Mamanuca