A recreation of the logo for the first U.S. Survivor season, Survivor: Borneo.
|Also known as||Expion Robinson|
|Created by||Charlie Parsons|
|Developed by||Planet 24|
|Country of origin||Sweden|
|Distributor||Castaway Television Productions Ltd|
|Original network||Sveriges Television (SVT)|
|First shown in||Sweden|
|Original release||13 September 1997 –|
Survivor is a reality competition television franchise produced in many countries throughout the world.
The show features a group of contestants who are marooned in an isolated location, where they must provide food, water, fire, and shelter for themselves. The contestants compete in challenges for rewards and immunity from elimination. The contestants are progressively eliminated from the game as they are voted out by their fellow contestants until only one remains and is awarded the grand prize and is named the "Sole Survivor."
The format for Survivor was created in 1992 by the British television producer Charlie Parsons for a United Kingdom TV production company called Planet 24, but the Swedish version, which debuted in 1997, was the first Survivor series to actually make it to television. There are currently 38 American seasons.
Survivor, through its seasons and various international versions, has maintained the basic premise of the game despite several new rules and gameplay twists introduced in later seasons. In the game, the contestants, known as castaways, are split into tribes and assigned separate camps at the filming's location, typically a tropical setting. As a tribe, the castaways must survive the elements, construct shelter, build fire, look for water, and scrounge for food and other necessities for the entire length of the game, which is generally 39 days in the American version, but has ranged from 20 days (as in the French special seasons) to 134 days (as in some seasons of the Turkish ion). In the first half of the game, the tribes face off in challenges, some for rewards of food, shelter, or luxury items, while others are for immunity, preventing the winning tribe from having to go to the next Tribal Council. At Tribal Council, the tribes discuss the events of the last few days with the host asking questions, and then vote out one of their own players, eliminating them from the game.
In the second half of the game, the tribes are merged into a single tribe, and challenges are played at an individual level for individual rewards and immunity. At subsequent Tribal Councils, those eliminated start to form the jury, who sit in on all subsequent Tribal Councils but otherwise do not participate. When only two or three castaways remain, those castaways attend the Final Tribal Council, where the jury is given the opportunity to ask them questions. After this, the jury members then vote to decide which of the remaining castaways should be declared the Sole Survivor and be awarded the grand prize.
Episodes typically cover the events that occurred over two to three days since the start of the game or previous Tribal Council, including Challenges and events that occur at the tribes' camps. Each episode typically ends with the Tribal Council and subsequent elimination of the voted-out player.
The following description of the show is based primarily on the U.S. version of Survivor, though the general format applies to all international versions.
Players for each season are selected through applicants and casting calls, down-selecting to between 16 and 20 players and additional alternates. U.S. version host Jeff Probst noted that while 16 castaways assists in splitting the tribes with respect to age and sex, they have used 18 or 20 to provide them "wiggle room" in case of player injury or if one should want to quit the game. These players undergo physical and psychological evaluation to make sure they are physically and mentally fit for the survival endurance and will not likely quit during the filming period, replacing those that are questionable with the alternates. In one case, Fiji, on the day before filming was to start after they had dismissed their alternates, one of the castaways opted out of the competition, forcing production to start with 19 players and adapting the activities of the first few days to accommodate the odd number of players.
Tribes may be predetermined by production before filming starts. Often this is done to equalize the sexes and age ranges within both tribes. Other seasons have had the tribes separated by age, gender, or race. In other cases, the tribes may be created by the castaways through schoolyard picks. Most often, only two tribes are featured, but some seasons have begun with three or four tribes. Once assigned a tribe, each castaway is given a buff in their tribe color to aid the viewers in identifying tribal allocation. Tribes are then subsequently given names, often inspired by the local region and culture, and directions to their camps.
At their camps, tribes are expected to build a shelter against the elements from the local trees and other resources. Tribes are typically given minimal resources, such as a machete, water canteens, cooking pots, and staples of rice and grains, though this will vary from season to season. Sometimes, tribes will be provided with a water well near the camp, but require the water to be boiled to make it potable, necessitating the need for the tribe to build a fire. The tribes are encouraged to forage off the land for food, including fruits, wild animals, and fish.
In some seasons, tribe swaps will occur where one or more players will shift from one tribe to another. These new tribal designations are often determined by random draw or schoolyard pick. When these occur, those players that shift tribes are given new buffs for their new tribe and return to that tribe's camp, with any personal possessions from their former camp moved with them. In seasons with more than two tribes, tribe swaps will often reduce the number of tribes to two. In Survivor: Cambodia, a tribe swap increased the number of tribes from two to three; a second tribe swap later in the season reduced the number of tribes back to two.
Tribes that have lost too many members may be absorbed by the other remaining tribes, as seen with the Ulong tribe in Survivor: Palau and the Matsing tribe of Survivor: Philippines; in the former case, the lone remaining Ulong member joined the opposing Koror tribe and the tribes were treated as if they were merged, whereas in the later case the two remaining Matsing members were randomly assigned to the two remaining tribes. Alternatively, in Survivor: All-Stars, the tribe that placed third in a designated challenge was disbanded, with the members reallocated to the other two tribes by schoolyard pick.
At a point in/or around the middle of the game, the remaining tribes are merged into one. All of the players then live in a single camp, and are given new buffs and instructed to select a new tribe name and paint a tribe flag. The merge is often signified with a feast. Though the merge often occurs when approximately 10 to 12 players remain, the tribes have been merged with as many as 13 players (as in Survivor: Cambodia) and as few as eight (as in Survivor: Thailand). Merge colors are different, but black has been used by far the most at 12 times, followed by green six times, red, yellow, orange, and blue three times each, purple twice, and brown and magenta once each.
During both pre- and post-merge parts of the game, the castaways compete in a series of challenges. Tribes are alerted to these upcoming challenges by a message, often in rhyme, delivered to camp by the production team at a basket or box on a nearby tree; this message has come to be called "treemail", playing off the word "e-mail". The message typically hints at what the challenge might be. The message may also provide props to demonstrate this, practice equipment for the players, or a sampling of the reward. Challenges can last from a few minutes to a couple of hours. The longest Survivor challenge was 11 hours and 55 minutes in the final immunity challenge in Survivor: Palau.
Prior to the merge, tribes compete against each other in challenges. These most often are multi-segment obstacle courses that include both physical and mental elements with the tribe that finishes first declared the winner; commonly, these start with tribe members collecting puzzles pieces that are then used to solve a puzzle by other tribe members. Other challenges may be based on winning a number of rounds of head-to-head competitions. Challenges are normally held with equal numbers of all tribes participating and in some cases equal splits of gender. Tribes with more players will be asked to sit out as many players as needed to balance the numbers, with the stipulation that those players cannot sit out in back-to-back reward and immunity challenges. When one tribe has more than twice the other tribe members, then players in the larger tribe cannot participate in back-to-back challenges. Tribes are given time to strategically decide who should sit out and who will perform the various duties on a challenge.
After the merge, challenges are generally performed on an individual basis. These include similar obstacle courses as for team challenges, but will often also include endurance challenges, having players maintain the balance under precarious situations for as long as possible, with the last player remaining winning the challenge. In some cases, during post-merge challenges, the individuals will be split into separate teams, with only the winning team eligible for reward or immunity.
Challenges can be played for rewards, immunity, or both. Rewards include food, survival equipment like flint, tarps, or fishing gear, luxury items, and short getaways from camp. Before the merge, the entire winning tribe will enjoy these rewards. Post-merge, only one player may win the reward but will be given the opportunity to select one or more other players to bring along with them on it. Individual challenge rewards may also include an advantage that can be used at the subsequent immunity challenge, such as advancing directly into the final round of the challenge without having to participate in the first round.
Immunity challenges provide the winning tribe or team with immunity from Tribal Council. Immunity is usually represented in a form of an idol prior to the merge, and a necklace afterwards. Prior to the merge, tribes with immunity do not attend Tribal Council, allowing them to stay intact. In seasons featuring more than two tribes, immunity will be available for all but the last place finishers, forcing this one tribe to Tribal Council. With individual immunity, those castaways still attend Tribal Council with the rest of the merged tribe, but, unless they assign immunity to someone else, are ineligible to be voted for. Winning immunity is only good for one Tribal Council; at the next immunity challenge, the tribe or castaway will be asked to give up the idol or necklace, making immunity "up for grabs". There have been a few cases in which individual immunity challenges have taken place prior to the merge whereupon usually, one castaway in each tribe will be given immunity, after which both tribes will attend Tribal Council, one after the other. This is used to quickly dwindle the number of remaining castaways.
Though a wide variety of challenges have been used across the Survivor's broadcast, several challenges are frequently reused:
Tribal Council is a specially built stage located near the tribe camps. Tribes sit across a fire pit from the host, while the jury members, if present, sit off to the side. A small alcove adjoins the structure for the players to cast their votes. Tribal Council almost always serves as each episode's finale.
The first time each player attends Tribal Council, he or she takes a torch and lights it from the fire pit while the host reminds them "fire represents life in this game". During the jury phase of the game, the host will call in the jury after the tribe is seated and remind jurors they are there to gather information but not speak or otherwise participate. The host will then proceed to ask the tribe questions about what has transpired since their last visit to Tribal Council (or the beginning of the game). The host asks these questions in hopes of bringing tribal dynamics to light, and players in precarious situations may reveal information or bargain with others to keep themselves in the game. Though the viewing audience typically sees only a few minutes of each Tribal Council, some have gone on for hours.
The host ends the formal discussion by declaring it is time to vote. During the second half of the game, the host then gives the immunity challenge winner(s) the choice to keep their immunity necklace for themselves or give it to another player and reminds players they cannot cast a vote for the player(s) who finally end up wearing the necklace(s). The host then directs the players to vote in the alcove one-by-one. After writing their vote, each player has the opportunity to address the camera before placing their vote in the ballot urn. Once all players have cast their votes, the host collects the urn, tallies the votes and returns to the fire pit with the urn. Beginning from Survivor: Fiji, the host then offers players the opportunity to play an immunity idol prior to announcing the votes. If a player produces an idol, he or she must declare which player the idol protects (if not themselves). The host then confirms if the idol is legitimate, and if it is, the host declares that any vote for the protected player will not count. The host then reminds the tribe that once the votes are read, the decision is final, and the eliminated player must leave the Tribal Council area immediately.
When enough votes have been read to eliminate one player, all remaining votes are kept secret (in almost all cases, the leftover votes are also for the eliminated player). That player is instructed to bring the host their torch, who snuffs it out and tells the player that "the tribe has spoken" (or in rare cases, a fitting variation thereof) and told "it's time for you to go." As the eliminated players walks off, the host makes a final observation before telling the remainder of the tribe to "grab your torches and head back to camp" and wishes them a good night. Occasionally, tribes who have not made fire on their own or earned it in a challenge will have to douse their torches or leave the torches at Tribal Council.
The eliminated player has a final confessional to express their feelings about being eliminated before they are sequestered with other eliminated players until the end of filming. Later eliminated players join the jury who will decide the winner and are sequestered until the end of the final Tribal Council. They are not allowed to discuss their jury vote or experiences with remaining players, other jury members, or the finalists, in order to prevent any possible cooperation or collusion from subgroups within the jury.
Ties may occur. Normally, a second vote is held, with only the tied players eligible to be voted for. If this second vote does not break the stalemate, a tiebreaker is used, the nature of which has changed throughout the seasons. In Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: Africa, ties were resolved by eliminating the player with the higher number of previous votes cast against them. If the players had the same number of previous votes cast against them, as seen in Africa, the tie was resolved by a sudden-death challenge (in this case a trivia quiz about nature), with the loser eliminated. In subsequent seasons, the non-tied voters are given several minutes to deliberate and must come to a unanimous agreement about which tied castaway to eliminate. If they are successful, their chosen castaway is eliminated; if not, all non-immune deliberators draw concealed rocks from a bag and the castaway who draws the odd-colored rock is eliminated. This is done to punish the deliberators for not resolving the tie, and to encourage castaways to change their votes to avoid a tie. The rock draw tiebreaker has occurred three times: in Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: Blood vs. Water and in Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. In the case of Survivor: Marquesas, the rock draw occurred with four players remaining, and the tied castaways were both involved in the deliberation and eligible for the rock draw; host Jeff Probst later revealed that this was a mistake and that this tiebreaker should only be used when six or more players are involved. Following Survivor: Marquesas, all tiebreakers with four players remaining have been resolved by a fire making duel, in which the first tied castaway to build a small fire high enough to burn through a rope remained in the game. The fire making tiebreaker was also used in Survivor: Palau at a Tribal Council where the losing tribe had only two members remaining.
The Final Tribal Council occurs when there are only two—or, in later seasons, three—players left in the game. The change to three finalists was made so that the endgame would present more of a challenge to the castaway who wins the final immunity challenge: while that person has clinched their spot at the Final Tribal Council, they are not able to decide alone which of the other remaining castaways they will compete against for the jury's votes.
At the Final Tribal Council, each remaining castaway is given time to make a statement to the jury. Then each jury member, in turn, addresses them, asking each a question or commenting on their behaviour in the game in an effort to sway the other jury members; the castaways are free to respond to these as they see fit. The remaining castaways may be given time for a concluding speech. In the U.S. the process shifted towards a moderated discussion from Survivor: Game Changers onwards highlighting the three components of the show ("Outwit", "Outplay" and "Outlast"). After this, the host has each jury member, in turn, go to vote in the alcove, this time for the person that they feel should be named the Sole Survivor. As with regular elimination votes, the jurors are given an opportunity to speak to the camera to explain their vote. The host then collects the urn, and in most seasons, leaves the votes unread until a live finale months later, at the conclusion of the season's broadcast, where the Sole Survivor is announced.
At the finale of Survivor: Micronesia, the only season to date with two finalists and an even-numbered jury (with eight jurors), host Jeff Probst reportedly had a white envelope that was involved in the tiebreaker, but the exact nature of this tiebreaker has not been made known. This contingency plan was also in place for three-way ties involving three finalists and nine jurors. In the case of a tie between two of three finalists, Probst has revealed that the first ballot would be read on-location, and the jurors would re-vote between the two remaining finalists; the resolving ballot would then be held until the live finale, and the reveal would proceed as normal. However, at the reunion of Survivor: Game Changers, Probst revealed that in the event of a two-way tie in the Final Three, the person who finishes third will cast the deciding vote. During the finale of Survivor: Ghost Island as both Wendell Holland and Domenick Abbate each received 5 votes from the jury, Laurel Johnson, the third-place finisher, became the 11th and final member of the jury to cast the deciding vote between Abbate and Holland.
Some players have been eliminated from the game by other means than being voted out. Castaways who suffer severe injuries or exhaustion are evaluated by the medical team which is always on call. The medical team may provide treatment and give the player the option to continue in the game, warning them of the health risks involved. However, if the medical doctor determines that the player is at risk of permanent injury or death and needs to be removed from the game for their own health, they will be removed and taken to a nearby hospital. In Survivor: Cambodia, the producers were notified that one of the remaining castaways' children had been hospitalized, and the castaway was pulled from the game to return home and be with their family. Survivor: Kaoh Rong has had the most evacuations to date, with three.
Occasionally, castaways who are not in need of medical treatment have decided to quit the game, without waiting to be voted out, due to physical or emotional exhaustion—either by making an announcement at a Tribal Council, in which case they are let out of the game without any vote, or by being recovered from camp after making their intentions clear to producers and being interviewed by the host. When a player leaves the game without being voted off, the other tribes are notified of the departed player's removal, and the next Tribal Council may be cancelled. After the players merge into one tribe, any who have been removed from the game by medical evacuation are still eligible to participate as jury members once the medical examiners deem them healthy enough to do so. Those that have quit the game voluntarily may also still be eligible for the jury and, if their reasons for leaving are considered sufficient, they may also still be allowed to make a farewell speech to the camera.
Hidden immunity idols are pocket-sized ornaments—typically necklaces—made to fit the theme of the season, that are hidden around the tribes' camps or other locations that the castaways have access to. When played at Tribal Council, the hidden immunity idol makes the castaway who plays it immune from elimination at that Tribal Council. Idols are typically usable until the Tribal Council with five players remaining, and do not need to be declared to other castaways when found. The idol, once found by a player, cannot be stolen from them, but other castaways can look through their possessions to see if they have it. Idols can, however, be transferred to other players at any point, or be played on another player at Tribal Council. Once an idol "leaves the game", either by being played or by the holder leaving the game with their idol, a replacement idol may be hidden.
First seen in Survivor: Guatemala, several seasons have used different iterations of the idol:
The third type of idol is seen as a "happy medium" relative to the two previous versions, and forces both the voters and the idol holder to make a more complicated strategic decision: the voters may have to vote without knowing whether the person they are voting for has a hidden immunity idol or without knowing whether that person will choose to play it, and the person with the idol must decide whether to play it without knowing whether enough votes have been cast to vote them out of the game. This type of idol may be "wasted" if a player uses it and does not receive the highest number of votes, and other times idol holders may choose not to use the idol, intending to save it to use at a later time, but will be eliminated with their idol unplayed. Though this third idol continues to be used, two seasons have used the two latter forms of idols concurrently: in Cagayan, clues were given to the third type of idol, but an idol with the second power was hidden with no clues; this idol could not be transferred. In Kaôh Rōng, all hidden idols were of the third type, but two idols could be combined into a single idol of the second type, referred to as a "super idol".
Strategically, castaways have used the idol as a bargaining chip to align other players with them and swing pending votes in a specific direction; as a result, some players have been inspired to create fake hidden immunity idols, either leaving them the spot that the original idol was found, or carrying them around as a bluff to attempt to alter people's voting strategies in advance of Tribal Council. If a fake idol is played at Tribal Council, the host notes that it is not the real idol and throws it in the fire. In the U.S. version of the show, the producers have encouraged players to make fake idols by providing decorative materials—such as beads, string, and paint—through props within the game. In Cambodia, all idols were deliberately made to look different from each other to further encourage castaways to make fake idols.
To help castaways find the idol, a series of clues are given to them in succession in a number of different ways. A clue may be given to the winner of a reward challenge, hidden among the reward prizes, announced by the host to all remaining castaways, or provided to a castaway who has been sent to Exile Island or temporarily sent to live with the other tribe. Castaways are under no obligation to share the idol clues with other players. Clues continue to be provided even after a player has secretly found the idol. Each successive clue includes all the previous clues given for that location. Only once a new idol is hidden are new clues provided to the players. In later seasons, players have been very aware that hidden idols may be in play from the start of the game and some have started to look for them near apparent landmarks before any clues have been provided. One castaway, Russell Hantz, was able to find two idols during Survivor: Samoa without the aid of clues. In light of this so-called "Russell factor," producers subsequently began hiding the idols in more difficult-to-find locations, and, in a subsequent season, clues contained visual rebuses rather than text.
Exile Island is a remote location away from the tribal camps, where one or two castaways are sent to live in isolation from the rest of their tribe. Exile Island was first introduced in Survivor: Palau when a single contestant was made to stay alone on a beach for a day as a result of being the first to drop out of an Immunity Challenge. This twist would not be used regularly until Survivor: Panama; it was also used in Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia, Gabon, Tocantins, and San Juan del Sur. The first contestant to send him/herself to Exile Island was Yau-Man Chan.
A selected player is exiled to a location (typically a small island) apart from the main tribe camps. Typically, the castaway is exiled after the reward challenge, leaving the challenge location for Exile Island, and usually returns immediately before the following immunity challenge. The exiled castaway is chosen as a result of the reward challenge: in the tribal phase, a member of the losing tribe is exiled (usually exiled by the winning tribe), while in the individual phase, the reward challenge winner holds the sole right to choose. Unless stated otherwise, players who win the right to decide who goes to Exile Island may also choose to go themselves. In Micronesia, Tocantins, and San Juan del Sur, one person from each tribe was sent to Exile Island. In several seasons with Exile Island, there are tribe swaps with an uneven number of castaways remaining, as in Panama, Fiji, Gabon, David vs. Goliath; the leftover contestant will be treated as "tribeless" and exiled immediately after formation. In this case, the contestant is immune until following the next Tribal Council, joining the tribe that loses the next immunity challenge.
Once selected, the exiled contestant is immediately sent there. They are given minimal survival tools, typically a water canteen, a machete, a pot, and a limited amount of shelter. The two main disadvantages of being on Exile Island are the lack of food and water, which can weaken a player and make them less effective in challenges, and the isolation from other contestants, which can cause a player to become out of the loop and weaken their position in their tribe. Contestants are often sent to Exile Island for one or both of these strategic reasons.
In certain seasons, exiled castaways receive a consolation prize: in all seasons with Exile Island, the exiled castaway receives a clue to the hidden immunity idol (or the idol nullifier on David vs Goliath.), which may or may not be located on the island. On Survivor: Gabon, the exiled castaway was given the option to give up their idol clue for "instant comfort," and in Survivor: Tocantins, the exiled castaway had the right to change tribes. Occasionally, the exiled castaway is instructed to return after the next Tribal Council, earning them automatic immunity.
Two seasons of the U.S. version have used different variations on the Exile twists. In China, tribes who win reward challenges earned the right to "kidnap" a member of the losing tribe, and that person would have to stay with them until the next immunity challenge. The kidnapped person would be given a clue to the hidden immunity idol which he or she must give to one member of the winning tribe. In Samoa, a reverse version of the kidnapping rule was used, called "spy expion" (also known as "observing"). The winning tribe would have to send one of their own to accompany the other tribe until the immunity challenge. Both of these twists were retired after the merge. In Kaôh Rōng, the three tribes were shuffled into two tribes with 13 players remaining; the leftover castaway Julia Solowski was exiled to the now-defunct third camp and joined the tribe that lost the next immunity challenge the day after their Tribal Council. In Game Changers, the tribes switched with 15 players where Debbie was exiled for not being put on a tribe. Unlike other visits to Exile Island, Debbie was sent to a luxury yacht.
The 36th season of the U.S. version introduced the titular Ghost Island, which was similar to Exile Island but it featured mementos and props from previous seasons of Survivor, including several misplayed advantages. Banished castaways were given the opportunity to acquire these advantages in a game of chance where they could either win the advantage or lose their vote at their next Tribal Council.
Redemption Island is a twist used in Survivor: Redemption Island, Survivor: South Pacific and Survivor: Blood vs. Water, in which voted out contestants remain in the game, exiled from the other castaways, competing in challenges for a chance to return to the game. It was first used in several international ions, including the Swedish version, the Israeli version as "The Island of the Dead", Philippine version's second season as "Isla Purgatoryo" (Purgatory Island), the Serbian version's second season as "Ghost Island" and the Romanian version's first season as "Exile Island".
After being voted out, contestants are exiled to Redemption Island, where they will fend for themselves like the castaways in the game proper until the next person is voted out. The day following Tribal Council, there is a duel in which the winner remains on the island and the losers are eliminated for good; upon elimination, the duel losers must remove their buff and throw it into a small fire pit. There are two places where the winner of the duel returns to the game: at the merge, where Redemption Island is cleared and reset; and when there are four players remaining in the main game, at which point Redemption Island is retired.
Double elimination cycles, or any other disruption of the game's pattern, leads to three or four duelists instead of two. In Survivor: Redemption Island only the loser of the duel was eliminated, resulting in four players competing in the final duel due to two double elimination cycles, with two Tribal Councils and no duels in between. For Survivor: South Pacific, the rules were changed so only the winner remained in the game while all others were eliminated. In Survivor: Blood vs. Water, there were three competitors at every duel, with only one player eliminated at each duel except for ones in which a sole winner returned to the main game.
Redemption Island in Blood vs. Water featured additional alterations to fit with the game's primary twist of featuring pairs of loved ones. Prior to any duel, the castaways with loved ones on Redemption Island are given the choice to replace their loved one on Redemption Island, with their loved one returning to the main game and taking their place in the tribe. In addition, the first-place winner of the duel must give a clue to a hidden immunity idol to any castaway in the main game.
Other seasons have featured alternate twists in which voted out players can return to the game. In 2003, Survivor: Pearl Islands featured the Outcast twist, in which the six eliminated castaways competed as the Outcast tribe against the two remaining tribes; as the Outcast tribe won the challenge, they earned the right to vote two of their own back into the game, while the other two tribes had to vote players out; following this, the tribes merged. In the seventh season of the Israeli version, voted out players remained in the game as "zombies", challenging their former tribemates to stay in the game and vote in their stead at Tribal Council; similar to Redemption Island, zombies returned to the game at the merge and near the end of the game.
The Sole Survivor receives a cash prize of $1,000,000 prior to taxes and sometimes also receives a car provided by the show's sponsor. Every player receives a prize for participating on Survivor depending on how long he or she lasts in the game. In most seasons, the runner-up receives $100,000, and third place wins $85,000. All other players receive money on a sliding scale, though specific amounts have rarely been made public. Sonja Christopher, the first player voted off of Survivor: Borneo, received $2,500. In Survivor: Fiji, the first season with tied runners-up, the two runners-up received US$100,000 each, and Yau-Man Chan received US$60,000 for his fourth-place finish. All players also receive an additional $10,000 for their appearance on the reunion show.
Most seasons between The Australian Outback and Fiji have featured a late-season reward challenge where the winner receives a car. This reward was infamous for what was later dubbed the "car curse," referring to the fact that no player who ever won the car went on to win the game during his or her original season.
Other additional prizes are given out post-game, usually at the live reunion that immediately follows the coronation of the winner.
Aside from the U. S. version, other franchises introduced variations and twists for the game. Most of these twists and variations are used in other franchises as well:
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The Survivor format has been adapted for numerous international versions of the show, some named after the original Expion Robinson.
|Survivor Africa||M-Net||Season 1, 2006: Tsholofelo Gasenelwe||Anthony Oseyemi|
|Canal 13||Julián Weich|
|Australia||Australian Survivor||Nine Network||Season 1, 2002: Rob Dickson||Lincoln Howes|
|Network Ten||Jonathan LaPaglia|
|Australian Celebrity Survivor||Seven Network||Season 2, 2006: Guy Leech||Ian "Dicko" Dickson|
|Expion Robinson|| ORF
|Season 1, 2000: Melanie Lauer1||Unknown|
|Space TV||Season 1, 2011: Kemal Cenk İçten||Emin Əhmədov|
|Robinsonid / Robinsoni / Robinzonai
| TV3 Estonia
|Džunglistaar / Džungļu zvaigznes / Džunglistaar, Džungļu zvaigznes, Džiungles|Džiungles
|Season 1, 2004: Dagmāra Legante||Tõnu Kark|
|VIER||Bartel Van Riet|
Season 8, 2007: Vinncent Arrendell
|Expie Robinson: Strijd der Titanen
Expion Robinson: Battle of the Titans
|Season 1, 2006: Ryan van Esch||Ernst-Paul Hasselbach|
On the Limit
Into the Shangri-La
|CCTV||Season 1, 2001: Members of Sun Village||Unknown|
|Chile||Expedición Robinson: La Isla VIP
Expion Robinson: The VIP Island
|Canal 13||Season 1, 2006: Marcela Roberts||Sergio Lagos |
Season 1, 2001: Rolando Patarroyo
|La Isla de los Famos.o.s.
The Island of the Famous
Season 1, 2004: María Cecilia Sánchez
Guillermo Prieto (1–4)
|Croatia||Survivor: Odisejev Otok
Survivor: Odyssey Island
|HRT||Season 1, 2005: Vazmenko Pervanu||Unknown|
|TV Prima||Season 1, 2006: Ingrid Golasová||Marek Vašut|
|TV Nova||Ondřej Novotný|
Season 1, 1998: Regina Pedersen
|Teleamazonas||Season 1, 2003: Tito Grefa||Marisa Sánchez|
Jarmo Mäkinen (1)
|MTV3||Season 1, 2013: Jarkko Kortesoja||Heikki Paasonen|
|Nelonen||Season 2, 2018: Sampo Kaulanen
Season 3, 2019: Miska Haakana
Season 1, 2001: Gilles Nicolet
|Koh-Lanta: All-Stars||Denis Brogniart|
The Last Hero
|Rustavi 2||Season 1, 2007–08: Tamar Chanturashvili||Unknown|
|Germany||Survivor1||RTL 2||Season 2, 2001: Alexander Kolo||Unknown|
|ProSieben||Season 3, 2007: Volker Kreuzner||Sascha Kalupke|
|VOX||Season 4, 2019: Upcoming season||TBA|
|Survivor||Mega TV||Grigoris Arnaoutoglou|
Giorgos Lianos (6)
Eleonora Meleti (Survivor Panorama, 5)
Doretta Papadimitriou (Survivor Panorama, 6)5
The Edge of the World
|Mega TV||Season 4, 2010: Vaggelis Gerasimou||Giannis Aivazis|
|Survivor: Greece vs. Turkey3||Season 3, 2006: Derya Durmuşlar||Konstantinos Markoulakis|
|Season 7, 2019: Current Season||Sakis Tanimanidis|
Bagia Antonopoulou (Survivor Panorama)
|Hungary||Survivor – A sziget
Survivor - The Island
|India||Survivor India – The Ultimate Battle||Star Plus||Season 1, 2012 : Raj Rani||Sameer Kochhar|
|Channel 10||Guy Zu-Aretz|
|Channel 10||Season 6, 2012: Itay Segev|
|Reshet 13||Season 9, 2019: Current season|
|Italy||Survivor Italia||Italia 1||Season 1, 2001: Milica Miletic||
|L'Isola dei Famosi
The Island of the Famous
Season 1, 2003: Walter Nudo
Simona Ventura (Studio, 1–8)
|LBC||Season 1, 2004: Hussein El-Abass||Tareq Mounir|
|Mexico||La Isla: El Reality
The Island: The Reality
Season 1, 2012: María Reneé
|Reto 4 Elementos
4 Elements Challenge
Season 1, 2018: Gabriel Pontones "El Rasta"
Season 14, 2013: Edith Bosch
|New Zealand||Survivor NZ||TVNZ 2||Matt Chisholm|
Season 1, 1999: Christer Falch
Season 14, 2015: Maiken Sæther Olsen
|Season 1, 2006: Muhammad Ziad||Unknown|
|Philippines||Survivor Philippines||GMA Network||Paolo Bediones|
|Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Showdown||Richard Gutierrez|
|TVN||Season 1, 2004: Katarzyna Drzyżdżyk||Hubert Urbański|
Island of Survival
|Polsat||Season 2, 2017: Katarzyna Cebula
|Portugal||Survivor||TVI||Season 1, 2001: Pedro Besugo||Unknown|
|Pro TV||Season 1, 2016: Lucian "Zapp" Lupu
The Last Hero
Season 1, 2001: Sergey Odintsov
|TV-3||Season 8, 2019: Anfisa Chernykh
Season 9, 2020: Upcoming season
|Yana Troyanova (8-present)|
|Expion Robinson: VIP2|| TV3 Denmark
|Season 1, 2005: Tilde Fröling||Mikkel Beha Erichsen|
|Prva Srpska Televizija||Andrija Milošević (1–4)|
Marijana Batinić (4)
|Survivor Srbija: VIP
Survivor Serbia: VIP
|Markíza||Season 1, 2016: Filip Ferianec||Marián Mitaš|
|TV 3||Season 1, 2009–10: See Survivor Srbija 2||Ula Furlan|
|POP TV||Season 2, 2016: Alen Perklič||Miran Stanovnik|
|South Africa||Survivor South Africa||M-Net||
Season 1, 2006: Vanessa Marawa
|Spain||Supervivientes: Expedicion Robinson
Survivors: Expion Robinson
Juan Manuel López (1–2)
|La Isla de los Famos.o.s.
The Island of the Famous
Paula Vázquez (3–6)
Season 7, 2006: Carmen Russo
Season 1, 1997: Martin Melin
Season 10, 2009: Ellenor Pierre
|Sjuan||Season 15, 2015: Dan Spinelli Scala & Jennifer Egelryd||Linda Lindorff|
Season 1, 1999: Andreas Widmer
|Turkey||Survivor: Büyük Macera
Survivor: Great Adventure
|Kanal D||Season 1, 2005: Uğur Pektaş||Ahmet Utlu|
|Survivor: Greece vs. Turkey||Show TV||Season 2, 2006: Derya Durmuşlar||Acun Ilıcalı (2)|
|TV8||Season 13, 2019: Current season||Acun Ilıcalı|
|Survivor||Show TV||Acun Ilıcalı (3–4)|
Hanzade Ofluoğlu (4)
|Survivor: Ünlüler vs. Gönüllüler
Survivor: Celebrities vs. Volunteers
Burcu Esmersoy (6)
|Star TV||Acun Ilıcalı|
|Survivor All Star||Season 9, 2015: Turabi Çamkıran|
The Last Hero
Season 1, 2011: Andrey Kovalski
Mark Austin (1)
| United States
Season 1, 2000: Richard Hatch
|Venezuela||Robinson: La Gran Aventura
Robinson: The Great Adventure
|Country||Season name||Launch date||Finale date||Days||Survivors||Grand prize|
|Australia||Australian Survivor||August 2019||November 2019||TBD||24||TBD|
|Belgium||Expie Robinson||September 2019||December 2019||TBD||17||€25,000|
|Denmark||Robinson Ekspionen||August 2019||November 2019||TBA||27||500,000 DKK|
|Finland||Selviytyjät Suomi||February 2020||May 2020||TBA||16||€30,000|
|France||Koh-Lanta||15 March 2019||14 June 2019||41||21||€100,000|
|Greece||Survivor: Greece vs. Turkey||2 February 2019||2019||TBA||13||€100.000|
|Hungary||Survivor – A sziget||
|Israel||Survivor (Israeli TV series)||9 March 2019||2019||46||18||₪1,000,000|
|Italy||L'isola dei Famosi||January 2020||April 2020||?||?||€100,000|
|Netherlands||Expie Robinson||September 2019||December 2019||32||TBA||€25,000|
|South Africa||Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets||16 May 2019||2019||39||21||R1,000,000|
|Spain||Survivor Spain||25 April 2019||June 2019||92||18||€200,000|
|Sweden||Expion Robinson||17 March 2019||26 May 2019||TBA||20||500,000 SEK|
|Turkey||Survivor: Greece vs. Turkey||2 February 2019||July 2019||TBA||12||₺ 500,000|
|United States||Survivor: Island of the Idols||September 2019||December 2019||39||TBA||$1,000,000|
One of the more novel merchandising items has been the interactive Survivor: The Ride thrill ride at California's Great America in Santa Clara, California. The ride includes a rotating platform on which riders are divided into one of four "tribes." As the ride moves along an undulating track, riders can be sprayed by water guns hidden in oversized tribal masks while drums and other familiar Survivor musical accents play in the background. Other theming includes Survivor memorabilia throughout the queue line and other merchandise for sale in nearby gift shops. The ride has since been rethemed as Tiki Twirl.
During the first Survivor seasons many online games based on forums were created. More specific Survivor online games appeared later.
In late 2013, a former contestant of the American version of the show, Erik Reichenbach, launched a Kickstarter campaign for a Survivor-styled online mobile app called "Islands of Chaos". The app pits players from all over the world in a battle of challenges and strategy to be the last one standing. If the campaign is successful, the plan is to release the game free of charge on a range of platforms including on Apple and Android devices.
Beginning on July 8, 2007, a parody of Survivor called Total Drama Island appeared on the television network Cartoon Network. This animated show included 22 summer campers who signed up to stay at a five-star resort, which actually turned out to be a cruddy summer camp on an island somewhere in Muskoka, Ontario. The host, Chris McLean, is modeled after Survivor host Jeff Probst. The campers are taken to the island on boats to meet their fellow competitors, being heartbroken at the sight of their wasted summer. The campers were separated into two teams: The "Screaming Gophers" and the "Killer Bass". Every three days there would be a challenge for the campers to face, from jumping off a 1,000-foot (300 m) high cliff into a lake to survival skills. The losing team of each challenge would go to the Bonfire Ceremony the night of the challenge, and vote someone off the team, like Survivor. Each team member still in the game would receive a marshmallow, leaving one team member without one. The member who does not receive a marshmallow (the symbol of life on the island) would have to walk the Dock of Shame and board the Boat of Losers to leave the island, and "Never ever ever ever ever" return (which turned out to be a lie in the episode "No Pain, No Game"). After 12 members of the island were voted off, the teams were merged. Two competitors were brought back into the game for another chance at the grand prize, C$100,000. When only three members are left, there is a sudden-death challenge. The person who does not accept a dare is immediately taken off the island. For the final challenge, the 20 campers voted off the island are brought back to root for one of the two survivors. The winner receives a check for the C$100,000 and the final marshmallow. The show then ends with Chris thrown off the Dock of Shame. The show aired in 188 countries and also appeared on the channels of Cartoon Network and Jetix. The show became a critical and commercial success and it spun off into a series.
United Kingdom Season #1 (2001)
United Kingdom Season #2: Survivor: Panama (2002)
United States Season #1: Survivor: Pulau Tiga, Borneo (2000)
United States Season #2: Survivor: The Australian Outback (2001)
United States Season #6: Survivor: Amazon (2003)
United States Season #9: Survivor: Vanuatu -Islands of Fire (2004)
Various Seasons, esp. United States 1–6
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