The country of Fiji has spoken.
Despite many U.S.-based productions heading back to work following March’s coronavirus-prompted production shutdown, Survivor may not resume filming until spring of 2021, according to a report by Inside Survivor.
The show, which films in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, had hoped to begin filming Season 41 this fall, but due to the Fijian government’s new COVID-19 safety measures, the country’s borders remain closed to non-citizens.
Production is now said to be returning to its regular schedule, with a possible plan to film seasons 41 and 42 back-to-back between April and July of 2021. This would likely delay new episodes of the CBS reality staple until this time next year, which would result in the longest wait between seasons in franchise history. But even an April start date is, of course, contingent on the state of the pandemic and the Fijian government.
“[It’s] going to be a little more complicated because we literally have to navigate some international waters,” CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl previously told our sister site Deadline.
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In July, Survivor was officially bumped from CBS’ fall schedule, as the network stated producers “are continuing to work with officials in Fiji on the appropriate time to start production on its next edition, with health and safety matters the top priority for everyone involved.”
Love Island, another CBS reality series which also films in Fiji, changed course and is currently shooting its new season Stateside in a Las Vegas “bubble.” But Survivor EP and host Jeff Probst recently shot down the idea of attempting production in the U.S., likely because the show’s infrastructure is very much set up in Fiji. (Not only does the show receive a healthy tax rebate for filming there, but four months of pre-production for Season 41 had already begun back in January, so set pieces, including props and equipment, are already in place.) Additionally, the show’s production team includes crew from all over the world, and, as is the case with Australia, some countries are still enforcing strict international travel bans.
Though Fiji’s tax rebates are currently frozen, Probst did say that the country wants production to continue once it is safe to do so. “They have figured out how to handle [the pandemic], and they just want to ensure that when we come shoot there, we don’t change that,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re working together with them, but they’ve been very production-friendly in terms of wanting it to happen.”