The American competitive reality television series Survivor: Winners at War is in its 40th season. The season was filmed in Fiji for the eighth consecutive season in May and June 2019. The season featured twenty returning winners from previous Survivor seasons competing for a US$2 million prize pool in honour of the show’s twentieth anniversary.
What the Survivor Season 40 is All About?
Twenty previous winners were split into two ten-member tribes: Sele and Dakal. Players with strong outside ties, such as Natalie (associated with Jeremy) and Amber, were targeted first (married to Rob). Early on, the “old-school” competitors struggled; despite a tribe shift, every winner from the first half of Survivor’s history was removed before the merge.
They were all dispatched to the Edge of Extinction to engage in challenges for the chance to win fire tokens and sell benefits to remaining players. Sandra was the only one who raised the white flag and refused to stay on the Edge in exchange for a chance to earn her way back into the game.
In the first battle-back challenge on Day 19, Tyson returned to the game, and the tribes merged. Tyson teamed up with Tony, Jeremy, and Ben to keep the big targets (the “lions”) together in order to eliminate the lesser-known players (the “hyenas”). Tony was concerned about Sarah and Sophie’s burgeoning friendship, thinking that they would become a power couple. Sophie’s blindside was attacked by Tony, who led the charge.
However, Tony and Sarah’s (called “Cops R’ Us”) alliance mended its ways, and free agents Ben and Nick took control of the bulk of the votes after the merger, with Nick being blindsided before the Edge of Extinction challenge.
The Making of Survivor Season 40
On December 18, 2019, the season’s theme and players were revealed during the finale of Survivor: Island of the Idols, confirming that the season would feature 20 champions from previous Survivor seasons. Since The X Factor, the winner would get $2,000,000, the greatest monetary prize in American reality television history.
During the finale of Survivor: Island of the Idols on December 18, 2019, the season’s theme and contestants were unveiled, confirming that the season would include 20 champions from past Survivor seasons. The winner would get $2,000,000, the largest monetary reward in American reality television history, since The X Factor.
During a 2018 interview with Us Weekly, presenter and executive producer Jeff Probst said it was doubtful that an all-winners season would happen, adding, “We have ten fantastic winners that you’d like to see again. We don’t have 20 of them. We don’t have any 18-year-olds. Some of the champions have expressed an unwillingness to play again. ‘No, we’re done,’ say some of the greats.” In 2019, CBS president Kelly Kahl, a longtime supporter of Survivor, proposed the idea to Probst as a way to commemorate the show’s 20th anniversary, and nearly all of the past winners who were approached accepted the invitations.
Rob and Amber Mariano, who met while competing on Survivor: All-Stars, and Survivor: Micronesia winner Parvati Shallow, who had first denied the invitation because she had recently given birth, were among those who accepted who the production crew had believed unlikely to return. The fact that those three accepted the offers provided the incentive for Probst to continue with the season. Rob and Sandra Diaz-Twine were questioned about returning for this season after they agreed to return as mentors for Survivor: Island of the Idols the previous season.
Critics liked the all-winners cast and memorable scenes in Winners at War, although they panned the reappearance of the Edge of Extinction twist and the editing. While most fans praised the season, a part of them were dissatisfied with all of the “old-school players” being removed early in the game, according to a poll done by Gold Derby.