In what seemed almost inevitable after news that The Amazing Race was suspending production due to concerns over the growing coronavirus outbreak, CBS has announced that production on Season 41 of the long-running reality competition series Survivor – set to begin filming on March 24 in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji – has been postponed until at least May.
With series like these that overlap production, that means filming on season 42 – set for May 24 – will also be postponed. EW exclusive reporting also revealed that if (???) there are no further delays, both seasons should still be able to make their respective premiere months.
As of this writing, Fiji does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 on record – but the network made the decision based on the show's international crew that could end up putting production members, locals, and the contestants' health at serious risk.
Here's a look at the letter sent out to the production team by host and executive producer Jeff Probst, obtained exclusively by EW's Dalton Ross:
Hey Survivor crew,
Due to the growing short-term uncertainty surrounding the global spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding desire for the continued well-being of our amazing crew, we have decided to push back our start date for Survivor season 41.
Though Fiji has no reported cases and is beautifully remote, our crew numbers over 400 and are flying in from over 20 different countries, creating a need for more time to fully analyze and create our new production safety plan.
This situation is unprecedented and we are learning more information every day. It is out of concern for the well-being of all of you that we have taken this step.
Our intention is to begin production after the S40 live show. Therefore, subject to new information, our new planned start date for production would be on or about May 19th, 2020. Our intention is to still to shoot both seasons 41 and 42.
We know many of you will have questions and we will start a communication chain to keep everybody up to date.
We are the most experienced international television team in the world and for 20 years we have calmly and successfully managed a variety of production issues. We will navigate this one the same way.
Thank you for understanding our need for this extra time to create our plan.
The Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 40th season, themed "Winners at War." This edition features 20 legendary winners of SURVIVOR who will return to compete against each other. The 20th anniversary edition of the groundbreaking series, unites the most memorable, heroic and celebrated champions from the past two decades in the biggest battle in the show's history, as the series' best strategists of all time fight to earn the title of Sole Survivor again.
These returning masterminds will compete in epic challenges, face the return of Edge of Extinction, which gives voted-out players a second shot to win, and tackle a brand new layer of the game with the introduction of fire tokens. Fire tokens will serve as currency on the island and add more complexity to the already intense battle. The new twist allows players to use the tokens to buy advantages to help players stay in the game or get themselves back in the game. Additionally, the winner of this historic season will be awarded $2 million, the largest prize in reality show history.
CBS' Survivor is hosted and executive produced by Probst, with Mark Burnett and Matt VanWagenen also executive producing. S.E.G. Holdco., LLC. produces.