"Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X" premiered last night (September 21), and for whatever reason, the producers keep filming during rainy seasons. This time, they filmed in Fiji during "cyclone season," which was revealed to be a terrible idea by Day 2 when they were forced to evacuate the entire 20-player cast even before the first challenge.
Host Jeff Probst told the two age-divided tribes about the storm coming when they hit the island, but the CBS show did not give them enough time to build shelters before the storm. That first night was brutal for both tribes. Brutal is common on "Survivor," but what's not common is to see the tribes get special mail on Day 2, including a tarp and the warning that the storm is going to get stronger. Then, in an even bigger surprise, Probst returned to each beach to say the storm forecast just got worse and "We're evacuating." It was a shock, and since "Survivor" is not into coddling, you knew it was serious.
All 20 castaways were evacuated, and when the Gen X-ers returned to their beach, they saw a giant tree had crashed into their makeshift shelter. They know they would've been hurt had they stayed on the island, so they were grateful for the evacuation. Maybe they should've been irritated that the show put the in harm's way during a cyclone in the first place.
Entertainment Weekly talked to Jeff Probst about the cyclone after the September 21 premiere, and he revealed where exactly the survivors went and what they could/could not do there:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let's get right to the cyclone. You've never had to evacuate an entire cast before, so take us behind the scenes of your meetings as this storm was approaching in terms of figuring out what to do and how to do it?
JEFF PROBST: It started the morning of day 1. Our safety expert, Greg Blandy, had been monitoring a storm that was gathering steam and heading toward our island. But given the change in weather over the past several years, this isn't a completely unusual situation. We often have storms circling us but they almost always end up passing us. So we took note, and I just asked him to keep us updated.
That night, he informed us that it was still heading toward us, so we got our team together and formed our plan should we need to evacuate. The next morning, Greg showed me a map with the storm pointed directly at our island. We made the call to evacuate. At that point, many different departments get involved, led by one of our key producers, Jimmy Quigley. He executed a seamless evacuation plan that kept everybody safe and resulted in great reality, which you saw last night. As scary as those moments are they are also great reminders of how well our team executes in times of emergency.
What did you do with the contestants when they left the beach? Where did you take them and how did you make sure the game did not continue while the cameras were off?
We made the decision to bring them to base camp so that we would all be together. We put each tribe in a separate room with absolutely nothing in it. No food, no blankets, no pillows, nothing. They were monitored by producers the entire night. And, to their credit, they did not talk or try to form alliances. They honored the good faith agreement we had made. The next morning, we returned them to the beaches and the game resumed.
Read more from Probst on other decisions made in the 90-minute premiere, including more on the new Legacy Advantage that Jessica found.
"Survivor" Season 33 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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