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Survivor makes a major change to its final four, reports say

Survivor Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers will make a major change to the game’s final days, according to several reports: The final three won’t be determined by a Tribal Council vote, but instead by the winner of an immunity challenge, who will choose one of the other final four. The remaining two players will battle in a fire-making challenge for the last remaining final three spot.

That means the last time the tribe will vote will be the final five. Presumably, the Tribal Council with four players remaining would include both the challenge winner choosing their opponent and the fire-making challenge.

News of this broke earlier this month. The original report came in a comment by an Instagram user, @thatrealitygame, whose account is set to private. It said, in part:

“Survivor will now have the Final 4 Immunity Challenge not only earn you an automatic spot in the Final 3, it will give you the right to chose [sic] any of the other 3 to bring with you to the Final 3 Tribal Council! The two who were not picked will face off head to head in a fire making Challenge as they will be competing for the final spot!”

As Inside Survivor reported, a Reddit user confirmed this, and Martin Holmes says he’s confirmed it, too.

One piece of information that has not been reported: When do the players learn of this change? It could affect how they play the game all season, especially late in the game, unless the final four get just get blindsided by the change and have to adapt.

Assuming it unfolds like this, I like this change (at least on paper): It resurrects one of the things from early Survivor we’ve lost with CBS’ love for a final three, which is a challenge winner getting the power to choose their final opponent.

Perhaps more significantly, letting the other two battle for a  creates the possibility that a threat won’t be voted out by weaker players, making the final Tribal Council more competitive. Too many final threes have been easy wins by one person, with the other two receiving few, if any, votes, which makes the outcome inevitable.

Even if the win is deserved, that’s less-compelling television than two strong contestants really fighting for jury votes.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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