Season 36 of CBS’s Survivor titled “Ghost Island” premieres tonight, and (18 years strong) host Jeff Probst promises it’ll be a doozy of a season. This year’s big twisty turny theme of “Ghost Island” is a play on the ongoing Exile Island thing, where a voted-off tribe member is sent to an island.
In a recent interview with US Weekly, Probst explained the season’s title:
Us Weekly: Tell me how the idea for Ghost Island came about.
Jeff Probst: We had the name Ghost Island for years and thought it was a fun idea, but we didn’t really have any creative that was working. We kept trying. Each year, it just didn’t come together. This year, I stumbled upon the idea of ghosts and spirits and hauntings and what it led us to was this: Ghost Island is where all the bad decisions from past players have been living and they are coming back to haunt a new group of players. So we went out and found all of the old, authentic, real immunity idols and advantages. We got some by contacting former players. We contacted memorabilia collectors and said, “Hey, are you the one that has the idol that JT misplayed? Could we borrow that for a season?” So what we have is an island filled with all of these actual Survivor relics, so when someone digs up an advantage of any kind, it will have a note that says, “This was misplayed in Survivor: China 10 years ago.” The question becomes, “Is it haunted”? And if so, can you reverse the curse? And the funny part about it is that it’s a corny idea that really worked. Once you say to somebody, “This has bad mojo, by the way.” It gets in their head. “This was misplayed and now I have to play it correctly.” They start to second guess what they are going to do because they don’t want to make the same mistake.
Also, there won’t be the normal opening this time either, and you can see the vid for the rest of the seasons’ opening here:
Things that happened in Survivor s36e1:
- We meet the contestants
- The season is taking place in Fiji
- Jeff tells the contestants that this year they’ll have the chance to reverse bad previous decisions
- Everything in this game will rest with your ability to make the right choice at the right time
- Orange Malolo tribe has to pick a team captain, Brendan
- Purple Naviti tribe picks Chris
- They have to pick someone to do a physical part of a challenge, Michael is picked for Malolo physical portion and Laurel for the puzzle.
- Naviti picks Sebastian for physical, Desiree for puzzle.
- Obstacle course and digging for 3 keys, then puzzle solver has to complete a slide puzzle.
- Reward is rice, pot, machete and fishing kit (for both tribes) as well as a shelter building kit for the winners.
- Jeff then reveals that if one of the teams forfeits the challenge, they’ll keep their fishing kit. If no one forfeits, then the winners also get flint and a basket of eggs.
- Naviti ends up forfeiting during the puzzle portion, and so Malolo takes the win
- Several of the contestants start telling their stories to the confessional cameras, one of which a young man who’s actually 18.
- Both tribes head to their beaches and begin to start building their shelters.
- Some alliances are already forming, and it makes some of the alpha males uncomfortable
- After the first commercial break, the idol talk begins, and Malolo tribe member Jacob heads off into the jungle to look for an idol
- Jacob returns and his team says they’re going ‘yam hunting’
- Wendell (freelance furniture builder) over on the Naviti team is making huge strides in fishtrap making
- Second challenge is an immunity challenge; obstacle course and a cube puzzle
- This year’s tribe immunity idol is a large wooden multi-faced tiki
- Jeff reveals the losing team will be sending someone to Ghost Island
- Naviti learns PDQ that working together is the key to doing better with this challenge, pulling a sledge filled with large block pieces
- Naviti wins the challege
- Malolo has to pick their person to send to Ghost Island, who can NOT be voted out during trial. They chose Jacob.
- Ghost Island is like the coolest Survivor museum. Some of the original idols, original torch snuffers, and some games of chance.
- Jacob smashes an urn and in it is a clue. He follows to the clue to a game of chance, where he could win immunity in exchange for his vote.
- He finds the legacy advantage from “Game Changers”, which he can “will to another person on the other tribe”. He choses Morgan from Naviti to “reverse the curse.”
- The Malolo tribe is looking at voting out either Donathan or Gonzales, Donathan because he’s a weaker player and Gonzales because she’s seen as such a threat
- First tribal council time!
- After some back and forth where Gonzales reveals she’s a good at puzzles, but you’re not sure if she’s just trying to make herself seem more useful and therefor worth keeping
- It backfires, and Gonzales gets five votes, enough to be the first person voted off
- Dominic on Naviti tribe decides to go out in the middle of night and finds an idol
- It’s Andreas’ idol, one that she had in her pocket when she was voted out
- Jacob’s gift to Morgan reaches her, and she reads the clue, which gives her immunity when there are 13 people, or when there are 6 people.
- Jacob makes his own idol necklace, which he’s going to pass off to his tribe as real in order to stick around
- Jacob returns to his tribe, and starts telling them about Ghost Island. He describes the urns, and shows them the fake idol
- Judging from the faces of his tribe- they’re not buying it
- The rest of the tribe is going to proceed as if Jacob’s idol is fake
- Dominic shows Chris his idol, but doesn’t tell him the catch
- Challenge #3 is a water challenge with submerged buoys to be released
- There is a reward this challenge- compfort items including a hammock, chairs, pillows, and a washboard. The winners of this challenge will also be able to pick who from the losing team goes to Ghost Island
- This is a horrible challenge to watch, Donathan refuses to even try to swim down and release the buoys, but manages to do it on the first try
- Naviti takes the win, and choses to send Donathan to Ghost Island
- Donathan smashes an urn on Ghost Island, and his paper says “no game for him”
- Stephanie tries to get in good with Jacob, seeing how ‘hardcore’ of a fan he is, and if he’ll be a good ally
- Jacob is an idiot, and he reveals to Stephanie that his ‘idol’ is fake, and he tells her about the legacy advantage he gave to Morgan
- Stephanie tells Jeanna about Jacob as an ally, but not about his idol news.
- Tribal council #2 begins
- Jeff asks Malolo what happened during the challenge, and how Jacob’s time on Ghost Island has come into play back at camp
- Jacob gets voted out, so obviously no one bought a thing he said. Shame, seemed like a nice guy.
Join us next week for Survivor s36e2.