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Jeff Probst Says ‘Returning Player Season’ of Survivor Won’t Be Limited to ‘New Era’ Contestants (Exclusive)

Jeff Probst Says Survivor Returning Players Won t Be Limited to New Era
Jeff Probst. Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Jeff Probst doesn’t want to limit his options when the Survivor team is considering who to ask back for a returning player’s season.

“If we ever did a returning player season, I don’t think anyone’s out of the running,” Probst, 62, exclusively told Us Weekly on Saturday, April 27, at the Survivor Q&A event at the Ovation Hollywood complex in Los Angeles. “We don’t really see the new era as the only place that we would choose players from.”

The longtime host shared that “for right now” the reality series is going to include new players, especially for seasons 47 to 49.

“We’re focusing on new players because as evidenced by this season, we still think there’s a lot of interesting game to be discovered by somebody who’s never played,” Probst told Us. “And then when the time is right, I’m sure there’ll be another returning player season.”

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Shortly after the interview, Probst declared that Survivor 50 would be the perfect time to bring in some familiar faces back to the game. During the panel, Probst asked the audience, which was filled with diehard Survivor fans, if they should continue with the mindset of bringing new players into the game for the milestone season. The crowd roared out, “No!” When Probst asked the fans if they wanted to see past players compete again, the group enthusiastically cheered.

“In the spirit of, sometimes letting the game be in the hands of the fans, I feel like — and there are a couple of people from CBS right now going, ‘Oh my God, what is happening?’ — I feel like we should just commit and make this the moment where we decide that Survivor 50 will be returning players,” Probst told the crowd. “I don’t know what is going to happen after this, but I’m pretty sure we’re committed.”

Jeff Probst Says Survivor Returning Players Won t Be Limited to New Era
Courtesy of Jeff Probst /Instagram

Later that evening, Probst took to social media to announce the decision to the world.

“About 10 seconds ago, we just decided that thanks to all the fans that were in attendance at the FYC event here in Hollywood that Survivor 50 will be returning players,” he said via an Instagram video on Saturday.

Survivor 50 won’t begin filming until May 2025 and will premiere the following year. A theme has yet to be announced.

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Since Survivor returned to following the global pandemic lockdown, the show has not done a theme. The last theme was Winners At War for season 40, which featured 20 former champions facing off. After having a milestone season, Probst shared that the Survivor team wanted to prioritize having contestants figure out the reworked game. (Following the pandemic, Survivor transitioned from 39 days of gameplay to 26.)

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“We felt when we got to Survivor 40 that maybe we should back off of themes for a little bit and just let people play this new game and start to figure it out,” Probst told Us on Saturday. “And I think we’ve been patient and now in 46 you’re seeing how this game can be played because the players are figuring out the nooks and crannies.”

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