Any Survivor fan will be aware of the sheer number of changes the show has undergone in recent seasons; Not only has there been a massive influx of twists and perks, including some quite controversial ones, but the final two seasons have been cut to 26 days instead of the usual 39 due to the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine regulations.
Many fans – and former players – have spoken out against the game’s new length, and until now it has been unclear how permanent this change is. However, given some recent statements from host Jeff Probst, it’s clear that CBS and the “Survivor” crew have made their decision.
According to Survivor host and executive producer Jeff Probst, the new 26-day shooting schedule for Survivor is permanent. When asked in a September interview with EW whether the new 26-day format would be used in season 43 and beyond, Probst replied, “Yes, the 26-day season will remain.” He added, “This is our new game and we are very excited about the future.”
Of course, this announcement also comes in the light of Probst’s revelation that the controversial “hourglass” twist is being scrapped. Although the latter change will be more noticeable to television viewers, many members of the Survivor community are unhappy with the shortened shooting schedule and will certainly be unhappy to hear that it’s permanent.
A notable voice against the move is Survivor legend Ozzy Lusth, who told GoldDerby in May, “I don’t like that it’s 26 days.” He echoed the opinion of many former contestants that they had a tougher and longer road ahead had to go, so should the new players too, adding: “I think it should go back to 39 and just stick with it.”
Of course, the shortened schedule can also lead to faster – and therefore more difficult – gameplay. As Maryanne Oketch, one of only two winners in a 26-day program, said in a TVLine exit interview in May:
Of course, it’s worth noting that many viewers may not have even noticed the change — as with ’41’ and ’42,’ the episode and season lengths will remain the same for future seasons.
Former candidates aren’t the only ones opposed to the now-permanent change. Summarizing the sentiments of many viewers, one Reddit fan noted in light of Probst’s announcement, “The longer the game, the more strategy we get to see. The shorter the game, the more luck and producer influence starts to take over.”
Of course, while many viewers may be annoyed by the change, they should also keep in mind that the shorter the game, the more focused editing can be on the hours they have to work with. So maybe it’s not all bad in the end.
However, what it means for players on the island is another question. Of course, fewer days lead to a completely different game with a completely different character dynamic. For example, merging around day 14/16 instead of around day 21 can make participants feel less connected to their fellow tribesmen and alter their gameplay as a result. As one fan put it:
Still, Erika Casupanan and Maryanne Oketch – the only two winners so far in a 26-day game – can hardly be considered gamebots. Whether this trend will continue in ’43’ and beyond – or whether we’ll see a winner more accurately stylized as ‘Gamebot’ remains to be seen.
“Survivor 43” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.