Survivor behind-the-scenes: building Tribal Council, constructing the first challenge

One of the things that’s easy to forget or take for granted is how much detail and attention goes into everything you see on Survivor. But it takes a lot of work and effort from a lot of people to pay attention to things that might never be seen on TV, or will only be seen for a brief moment. In two new behind-the-scenes videos narrated by Jeff Probst, we see the construction of Survivor Redemption Island‘s Tribal Council and its first challenge.

The first behind-the-scenes video shows everything from the Tribal Council blueprints pre-construction to producers scouting the routes that contestants (and the Dream Team) will take walking in and out. On my first set visit in Gabon, Tribal Council surprised me the most, because it’s literally a set, from the lights that simulate fire light to the actual fire, fueled by tanks of natural gas, and one that’s built to conceal all the cameras necessary to film the action. The 18 construction workers who build it are just part of the 100 people who do everything from the set design to rehearsing and lighting the places where the contestants will actually sit.

The second video basically reveals what’s presumably the first immunity challenge, and shows the Dream Team rehearsing it. Probst also practices how he’ll describe the challenge. It starts with a brief interview with my friend Mark Burnett and challenge genius John Kirhoffer (read more on how challenges are constructed and Kirhoffer’s role).

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.