Survivor: “a lot more water challenges” in Nicaragua, pairs split on opposite tribes

Survivor San Juan Del Sur, the show’s second Blood vs. Water season, will again keep family members on opposite tribes, according to Jeff Probst. During casting for season 29, potential cast members were told that they might be split from their loved ones, or they might start the game playing together.

Meanwhile, the show is returning to Nicaragua to film in many of the very same places it filmed four years ago. Water challenges there were relegated to a makeshift pool eventual winner Fabio peed in, which will be sharp contrast from the incredible water challenges that the show had these past four seasons in the Philippines.

He told EW that “between our art department and our challenge department, they’ve got it under control. We’re going to have a lot more water challenges and be in the water more — and really that’s the only concern we had about Nicaragua, is that it was a little dry last time.”

As to splitting pairs of family members apart, Probst said that Redemption Island is returning “because so much of our drama came from that explosive energy at Redemption Island,” Probst said, referring to a family member discovering that their loved one was voted off by the other tribe.

He noted that there’s a particular challenge related to having all-new players and splitting up pairs: “Since it is all new people you need to find a way to bond them quickly so that the audience knows, ‘Oh, okay, that’s the father and that’s the son,” and says that they “just have to do a very good job in how we tell those stories, when you cut from one person on one beach, then cut to their significant other on the other beach. And you just slowly start pairing them together. I’m not really concerned about it.”

Meanwhile, the teaser for next season, which only really confirmed the location and twist, focused heavily on positive reaction from the media to last fall’s twist. And Probst says that doing another two seasons of all-new players is because of fan feedback: “We really listened to people saying, ‘Oh my gosh, we love new players again.’ This is so fresh and it feels so good.”

Of course, many people have been saying that for many years, especially when the show was overdosing on returnees (Brandon Hantz, ahem). But it doesn’t taken many people to validate the whims of producers: As I noted last month, as few as 17 people impacted the show’s future when Probst took a Twitter poll.

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.