You can picture Jeff Probst declaring it from inside a helicopter flying above some South Pacific body of water: 20 years. 40 seasons. 590 contestants. One Survivor.
No doubt the reality show that premiered in summer 2000 as a breezy experiment to see how 16 strangers could outwit, outplay and outlast each other on a deserted island holds a unique place in pop culture. It’s the series that introduced alliances and blindsides and “the tribe has spoken” into our vernacular and given us fascinating gamers to root for (and against). Now it’s celebrating a milestone anniversary with an installment that fans have been clamoring for — and, given what happened between Kellee Kim and Dan Spilo in the fraught Survivor 39: Island of the Idols, it can’t come soon enough.
Survivor: Winners at War features 20 prior champs in a first-ever all-winners edition. All the favorites are included — from “Boston” Rob Mariano and his wife, Amber, to Tyson Apostol and Jeremy Collins to Parvati Shallow and Sandra Diaz-Twine.
Ethan Zohn, who won Survivor: Africa in 2001, is the most senior; Wendell Holland, who triumphed in Survivor: Ghost Island in 2018, is the newest. Whoever takes the crown won’t just be the winner of all winners, they’ll take home $2 million, the biggest prize in game show history.
A few days before the competition kicked off last May in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, all 20 contestants individually sat down with Us Weekly exclusively to discuss their Survivor pasts, present and future. And, yes, they all firmly believe they’re going to repeat. Let the ultimate Survivor war begin!
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Scroll through the gallery below for all the exclusive interviews.