Survivor Returns For Season 41 With A New Cast & A Fresh Format

Good things come to those who wait, and Lord knows we’ve all been waiting a looooooong time for a return of “Survivor.” Well that wait will finally be over when “Survivor” returns for its 41st Season (yes, that’s how long it’s been on), which is set to kick off with a two-hour premiere on Wednesday, September 22nd, on CBS.

Having been off the air since May of 2020 when “Winners at War” ended, Jeff Probst and the producers of CBS have had a long time to think about how to breathe new life into Survivor, longest-running Reality Competition Show of all-time. What they’ve come up with are some fairly big changes not only to how the game is played, but also how the show will be presented (more on that in a bit). Don’t worry too much, because at its core “Survivor” is still about outwitting, outplaying and outlasting the competition, and if anything, Probst and company have earned the trust of their die-hard fans enough to earn some leniency when it comes to shaking up the game that we all know and love.

Before we meet the new cast (which was announced formally today), let’s hit on some of these important new show highlights and twists. First off, the major difference is that “Survivor 41” will run for 26 days, instead of the usual 39 (earlier seasons of the show were not always 39 days long, but this has held for many, many years). This will also be the first year that the show will include the season number in its title…it will simply be known as “Survivor 41” and not location or theme-specific (the show was still shot on location in Fiji, with all crew and cast going through an extensive quarantine period prior to production). Jeff Probst is promising that it is not only a great cast and season (as he does nearly every other season), but that the intensity and physical difficulty will be increased to compensate for the shorter in-game season. CBS is calling it a “bold new era” for the show.

According to TVLine, “Probst will also break the fourth wall, addressing the audience directly throughout the season to let us in on some of the twists well before the players are made aware.” This should take his joint job of hosting and producing the show to a new level.  The press release also tells us that, “For the first time, Host Jeff Probst will take viewers inside the action…and introducing a Second Screen “Game Within the Game” Interactive Experience designed for junior fans.” It’s a bit too early to see how these format changes will sit with long-time fans who don’t really want their favorite show tampered with or altered in any significant way…we shall see!

The other major change is concerning the cast itself: As part of a new inclusion initiative at CBS, at least 50% of the cast will be made up of people of color, or indigenous people. This all-new cast of 18 fresh faces will initially be split into three tribes of six, and will have to figure out a newer, faster-paced game unlike any we’ve ever seen before. It’s still an even split of men and women and like many of the more recent seasons, it still skews young: Just five of the 18 cast members this season are over the age of 40, with cast member Heather Aldret being the oldest at age 52.

“I cannot remember a time when I’ve been this excited to launch a new season of Survivor,” Jeff Probst says in the official release. “Survivor 41 features a really likable group of savvy Survivor players, and they are in for the most intense, most difficult and most dangerous season we’ve ever done. We know we have the most loyal fans of any show on television, and we are pumped to bring them a new, exciting season of Survivor!”

So with that, here is the new cast of “Survivor 41,” in no particular order:

Genie Chen

Age: 46

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

Current Residence: Portland, Ore.

Occupation: Grocery Clerk

Jairus Robinson

Age: 20

Hometown: Oklahoma City, Okla.

Current Residence: Oklahoma City, Okla.

Occupation: College Student

Sydney Segal

Age: 26

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

Current Residence: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Occupation: Law Student

Danny McCray

Age: 33

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Current Residence: Frisco, Texas

Occupation: Ex-NFL Player

Liana Wallace

Age: 20

Hometown: Evanston, Ill.

Current Residence: Washington D.C.

Occupation: College Student

Ricard Foyé

Age: 31

Hometown: Lynnwood, Wa.

Current Residence: Sedro-Woolley, Wa.

Occupation: Flight Attendant

Erika Casupanan

Age: 32

Hometown: Niagara Falls, Ontario

Current Residence: Toronto, Ontario

Occupation: Communications Manager

Xander Hastings

Age: 21

Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.

Current Residence: Chicago, Ill.

Occupation: App Developer

Sara Wilson

Age: 24

Hometown: Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Current Residence: Boston, Mass.

Occupation: Healthcare Consultant

Eric Abraham

Age: 51

Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.

Current Residence: San Antonio, Texas

Occupation: Cyber Security Analyst

Naseer Muttalif

Age: 37

Hometown: Sri Lanka

Current Residence: Morgan Hill, Calif.

Occupation: Sales Manager

Shantel Smith

Age: 34

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Current Residence: Washington D.C.

Occupation: Pastor

Brad Reese

Age: 50

Hometown: Shawnee, Wyo.

Current Residence: Shawnee, Wyo.

Occupation: Rancher

Tiffany Seely

Age: 47

Hometown: Forest Hills, Queens, N.Y.

Current Residence: Plainview, N.Y.

Occupation: Teacher

Heather Aldret

Age: 52

Hometown: Charleston, S.C.

Current Residence: Charleston, S.C.

Occupation: Stay at Home Mom

David Voce

Age: 35

Hometown: Highland, Calif.

Current Residence: Chicago, Ill.

Occupation: Neurosurgeon

Evvie Jagoda

Age: 28

Hometown: Westchester, N.Y.

Current Residence: Arlington, Mass.

Occupation: PHD Student

Deshawn Radden

Age: 26

Hometown: San Bernadino, Calif.

Current Residence: Miami, Fla.

Occupation: Medical Student

This Season: I’m honored, privileged and excited to be able to continue covering the show I love, Survivor! Join me this season each week for my Episode Recaps of each show following the Wednesday night airing of Survivor (the Recaps should usually be up on Thursday), and we may have another season of exclusive exit interviews each week as well, with the voted-out cast member (TBD). These Recaps on Reality Tea are also the only place on the internet where you will find exclusive, original artwork each and every week from none other than Survivor legend and two-time contestant, Erik Reichenbach, whose work is also available for purchase at Dabudoodles.com.

Once again the two-hour premiere of “Survivor 41” airs on CBS on Wednesday, Sept. 22nd at 8pm (ET), and can be streamed live or found on Paramount+.

TELL US – WILL YOU BE WATCHING SURVIVOR 41? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SHORTENED GAME AND NEW TWISTS? AND DO ANY CAST MEMBERS STICK OUT TO YOU?

[Photo Credits: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment 2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved]