Survivor 27: returnees versus their families

A season with returning Survivor cast members playing with–and against–their family members appears to be a strong possibility for season 27, which will film this summer and air next fall. Call it, say, Survivor: Favorites versus Families.

While the show went through its normal casting process this winter, past contestants have been approached about returning for a season that would also involve having family members play, too.

An anonymous tipster wrote that a contestant told them that the new season “will involve a tribe of returning players and a tribe of the returning players’ families.” I’ve confirmed that other cast members have had similar conversations, but have no other details right now.

If they were on opposite tribes, that would the make for an interesting dynamic pre- and post-merge, although of course come with automatic alliances once the tribes merge or shuffle, even though they’d ultimately be competing against one another. If the family members were paired with their returnees on the same tribe, that would be very Amazing Race, which has cast pairs of people who know each other, including families, throughout its run–and, of course, did a whole season with family-only teams.

There have been many memorable post-merge appearances by family members during Survivor‘s loved-ones episode, an episode that Jeff Probst really loves, and this would be an extension of that, if not necessarily a logical one.

Ultimately, whether or not this would work comes down to casting, both for the returnees and their family members, who’d have to be compelling people who actually want to play the game. It also makes my satirical, stupid April 1 story somewhat accurate, at least for this next season.

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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, 37, 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.