As we just crossed the 15-year anniversary of Survivor’s Season 1 Finale Episode – where over 50 million people watched Richard Hatch become the game’s first Sole Survivor, winning over runner-up Kelly Wiglesworth – we find ourselves just over a month away from the premiere of (gasp!) Season 31. And wouldn’t you know it, if you decide to tune in (and why wouldn’t you?) you will once again find Kelly Wiglesworth a part of the game. That’s because – as I’m sure you already know – the upcoming season is called “Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance,” and is made up entirely of former contestants who are now getting a second shot at Survivor fame, as voted on by fans. Much has changed since the beginning of the show over 15 years ago, and as Jeff Probst explained it in breaking news yesterday (in the video below), that is not about to stop.
As revealed by Survivor guru – the man, the myth, the legend – EW.com’s Dalton Ross yesterday, the game will under-go a few more twists when it comes to hidden Immunity Idols this season. First, each Idol will look different and will have a different design, which is a subtle but brilliant change. As explained to Dalton in EW.com:
“The first thing we’re doing with the idols is we’re making idols look different, so every idol will be unique,” says Probst. “One idol will look really fancy and the next idol will look like a 5-year-old made it. So when you get an idol, you’re going to have to convince somebody it’s real because they’re going to think it isn’t. But that also opens a door to make a fake idol … and they won’t know which is up and which is down. You can play all angles on this.”
This will definitely add a new wrinkle into the game and opens the door for even more deception and trickery…which is always a welcome pleasure. But that’s not the only twist. Probst also announced that the hidden Immunity Idols this season will be hidden – or perhaps more accurately described – placed, in the middle of challenges. Here again is Probst, as quoted in the EW.com article:
“To get an idol you’re going to have to do something that you, Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly, have been pitching for years — along with us — which is hiding the idol in the middle of a challenge. So here’s how it will work: Day 1, they start building their shelter, you know people are going to start looking for an idol. They’re going to find it in a tree or under a trunk — whatever. But it will be a clue and the clue will say, ‘Good news, the idol is within reach. You just have to be daring enough to grab it.’ And we’re going to have a drawing [of the challenge]. You will know exactly where it is. There is no search. The only question is, can you do it in front of your tribe in the middle of a challenge and get away with it? I love that.”
This is very exciting news for those of us who love the strategic elements of the game. Now don’t get me wrong, the challenges are usually fun and exciting to watch, but there is not often any strategy playing out during the challenges, unless someone is trying to throw a challenge. With this new twist, you can no longer go and refill your drink or popcorn during the physical challenges, thinking you’ll get the gist of what happens in ear-shot from the other room. Surely, there will be much strategy on showcase as players determine where Idols are located, and how exactly to grab them in plain sight of everyone else in the game.
The potential down-side? Gone might be the days of the truly “hidden” Immunity Idol blindsides, where someone pulls one out as a complete shock and surprise to everyone else at Tribal Council. With the new twist, it may be incredibly difficult for players to possess a hidden Idol without at least some other – or everyone else – knowing about it. However we will want to see how this all plays out…hopefully the producers are aware of how fun a truly secret Idol can be, so maybe certain challenges will allow for players to sneakily acquire them. We shall see.
You will not want to miss the new Second Chance season, which premieres on Wednesday, September 23rd on CBS.