The cast for season 41 of Survivor was all set to fly out to Fiji in March of 2020 when the world shut down, shutting down CBS’ gold standard of reality TV with it. After a yearlong delay, as well as a new network initiative that all reality casts be at least 50 percent people of color, the 18 players that finally boarded the plane a year later comprised a much different group than the one originally poised to do battle.
Jeff Probst says at least as far as casting goes, the 12-month production delay was a blessing in disguise. “One of the few positives of the delayed shooting schedule is it allowed us to continue our casting process,” says the host. “And in that time, we found some really amazing people! I was so excited to start shooting Survivor 41 because there are so many great stories from this group of players. I can’t wait for fans to meet them and invest in them the same way we do.”
Probst adds that viewers will be meeting cast members in a different way than they’re used to. “There are so many truly interesting and inspiring stories with this group of players that we are going to be taking the occasional deep dive into a player’s backstory,” he say. “So from time to time within an episode, you’ll learn things like where a player comes from, how they were raised, or hardships they may have overcome. We want fans to know as much as they can about the players they are rooting for and investing in.”
Whether these backstories will be merely explained by the player out on the island or actually include footage from back home remains to be seen, but Probst has talked a lot about season 41 representing an entire new era for the show, so it seems like anything and everything is on the table. Regardless, the host is quick to express how excited he is about his latest cast. “I think this group of players will feel current, fresh, and really likable. We want Survivor to be fun for both the players and the fans, and we really leaned into that in terms of the players we chose.”
And if you were waiting for Probst to point out a few players to keep an eye on, as he has done in the past, you’ll be waiting a loooooooong time. “I know I used to highlight certain players,” says the host. “But it really never felt good to me because it meant leaving other players out. So I’m done with that! I like this group a lot, and I root for all of them. Throughout shooting, I really endeavored to make sure they understood that I was their biggest fan, even when I was snuffing their torch.”