Any “Survivor” fan will be aware of the sheer number of changes the show has undergone in recent seasons; not only have there been a massive influx of twists and advantages, including some pretty controversial ones, but the last two seasons have seen shortened to 26 days rather than the usual 39, on account of the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine regulations.
Many fans – and former players – have spoken out against the new length of the game, and up until now, it’s been unclear as to how permanent this change is. However, in light of some recent statements made by host Jeff Probst, it’s clear that CBS and the “Survivor” crew have made their decision.
The 26-Day Schedule Is ‘Here to Stay,’ Says Probst
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 will be used in seasons 43 and beyond, Probst responded “Yes, the 26-day season is here to stay.” He added, “this is our new game, and we are very excited about the future.”
Of course, this announcement also comes in light of Probst’s revelation that the controversial “Hourglass” twist will be scrapped. Although the latter change will be more noticeable for viewers on television, many members of the “Survivor” community are unhappy with the shortened shooting schedule, and will surely be unhappy to hear it is permanent.
One notable voice against this move is “Survivor” legend Ozzy Lusth, who told GoldDerby in May: “I don’t like that it’s 26 days.” Reflecting many former contestants’ sentiments that they had to go through a tougher and longer journey, so the new players should too, he added, “I think it should go back to 39 and just stick with that.”
Of course, the shortened schedule can also make for faster – and as a result harder – gameplay. As Maryanne Oketch, one of only two winners in a 26-day schedule, said in a TVLine exit interview in May:
What’s so much harder in the shorter season is you need to be able to process things quickly. If you’re hurt by someone, it’s only a two-day cycle. That means you have two days to either get over it or you might play emotionally and get that person out, even if it’s not in your best interests.
Many Fans Are Not Happy About the Change
Former contestants are not the only ones opposed to the now-permanent change. Summarizing many viewers’ sentiments, one fan on Reddit remarked 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 start to take over.”
Of course, although many viewers may be upset about the change, they should also keep in mind that the shorter the game, the more concentrated the edit can be on the hours they do have to work with. So in the end, it may not be all bad.
However, what it means for the players on the island is a different question. Of course, fewer days arguably leads to an entirely different game, with entirely different character dynamics. Merging on day 14/16 instead of around day 21, for instance, may lead contestants to feeling less connected to their fellow tribemates, and as a result may change their gameplay. As one fan put it:
People say this doesn’t change anything, but the less days played the less time players have to develop strong connections with each other, [which] leads to much more gamebotty play and takes away a lot of the human element …. which made early seasons so awesome.
Nonetheless, Erika Casupanan and Maryanne Oketch – the only two winners there have been so far in a 26-day game – can hardly be considered gamebots. Whether this trend will continue into “43” and beyond – or whether we will see a winner more accurately stylized as a “gamebot,” is yet to be seen.
“Survivor 43” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.