For its 18th season, Survivor is heading back to Brazil, but to a place very different from the one that hosted Survivor Amazon. Survivor Tocantins (pronounced “toe-can-cheens”) is, as the subtitle suggests, set in the Brazilian highlands, north of Brasilia in the state of Tocantins along the Rio Novo River, where a crew member drowned before production began.
The new location will be officially announced at the end of the live reunion, but Jeff Probst pulled the trigger early. On his radio show Friday, Ryan Seacrest asked Probst [MP3] where he’s been, and Jeff said, “Brazil. That’s for the next season. That’s the show we can’t talk about yet, but we were out there.”
In addition, because of the crew member death; the location’s proximity to people and roads; local media reports; and a Brazilian crew member who apparently didn’t read his contract carefully and posted location photos and even a sketch of the logo online on Orkut (they’ve been deleted but are reproduced on Survivor Sucks), the location hasn’t exactly been a secret.
As many of you guessed, I traveled there in late October for the first few days of production, and while the location is beautiful–and, in some places, stunning–it was also miserable, with temperatures well over 100 even in the shade. By comparison, Gabon in the summer was cooler and more pleasant than Florida. The one rainstorm we had was like a tropical storm, not a thunderstorm. In other words, the environment will, I’m guessing, play a much more significant role next season.
The geography is kind of like high desert, although there are some trees, so kind of like savanna. Around the river, though, it’s much more jungle-like. The Brazilian location is remote but less so than Gabon, as power lines run along the road that base camp sits on, and there’s a small village nearby. Both tribes will live on the same river, and not too far from one another, although they’ll never know that.
CBS will probably announce the cast mid-January, when I’ll have a new round of interviews and analysis, and the new season debuts Feb. 12.