Survivor China debuts tonight

Survivor kicks off its 15th season, which is set in China, tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

The 16-member cast includes a WWE wrestler, a school lunch lady, and a grave digger, plus men named Chicken and Frosti (who’s 20, younger than the show’s rules allow).

In the last of Jeff Probst’s behind-the-scenes footage he shows us the Tribal Council set, which, for something that’s fake, is built with a level of detail probably not seen outside of Walt Disney World. Production designer Jesse tells us that this temple set is “the biggest” and “the realest-looking,” and took 75 to 80 people seven weeks to construct. Jeff tells us that “everything matters to them,” even though we as viewers “never see all of the little touches.” They used five tons of concrete, 20 tons of steel, and 30 tons of wood. Probst also shows us the control room, the only one the show has, and the new torch-snuffer, which looks like a dragon.

Survivor China [CBS]
Survivor China – Tribal Build [YouTube]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.