As the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim victims across the world, COVID-19 is affecting not just film productions, release dates, festivals, and in-studio television audiences, but reality TV shows as well. Even Survivor, one of the genre’s most popular entries, is not immune. A new report says production on the next two seasons has been delayed, with host and executive producer Jeff Probst writing a letter to the crew to inform them about the delays. Read the letter below.
Survivor typically airs two seasons per year. Entertainment Weekly brings word that season 41 of Survivor, which was scheduled to begin filming on March 24 in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji, has been pushed back to at least May. Not only that, but season 42, which was originally supposed to get underway on May 24, has been pushed back as well.
But there’s a potential silver lining for hardcore Survivor fans who are still watching the show twenty years in: “if there are no further delays — and that is a big if — then air dates for the two seasons with season 41 premiering in September and season 42 airing in February 2021 would not be impacted.” I’m not sure how likely that is, given that the virus continues to be rapidly spreading, but I guess it can’t hurt to hold out a little hope.
Here’s the full letter from Jeff Probst explaining why things are coming to a temporary halt:
Hey Survivor crew,
Due to the growing short-term uncertainty surrounding the global spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding desire for the continued well-being of our amazing crew, we have decided to push back our start date for Survivor season 41.
Though Fiji has no reported cases and is beautifully remote, our crew numbers over 400 and are flying in from over 20 different countries, creating a need for more time to fully analyze and create our new production safety plan.
This situation is unprecedented and we are learning more information every day. It is out of concern for the well-being of all of you that we have taken this step.
Our intention is to begin production after the S40 live show. Therefore, subject to new information, our new planned start date for production would be on or about May 19th, 2020. Our intention is to still to shoot both seasons 41 and 42.
We know many of you will have questions and we will start a communication chain to keep everybody up to date.
We are the most experienced international television team in the world and for 20 years we have calmly and successfully managed a variety of production issues. We will navigate this one the same way.
Thank you for understanding our need for this extra time to create our plan.
CBS is launching a month-long sequence of Sunday movie nights in May, featuring five contemporary classic movies to keep viewers entertained while they stay indoors. The network announced that the weekly programing event will kick off on May 3 and will feature two “Indiana Jones” films, “Forrest Gump,” the first “Mission: Impossible,” and “Titanic.” The titles all hail from Paramount Pictures' library, which is also part of the ViacomCBS family.
“It's a five-week programming event with epic films, iconic stars and brilliant stories that viewers love...and love to watch together,” Noriko Kelley, an executive vice president at CBS Entertainment, said in a statement.
As for newer projects, CBS made headlines yesterday when the company announced that it would air a special pandemic episode of “All Rise.” The Simone Missick-led legal drama's upcoming episode will be shot using various social media platforms and online technologies and the production will abide by social distancing guidelines.
ViacomCBS is one of numerous entertainment companies that have been broadly impacted by current events and are starting to experiment with different forms and schedules for their offerings. The company has halted production on shows ranging from “The Amazing Race” to “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and other companies and studios have followed suit for their own projects. CBS' May film programming will replace the original episodes of “Love Island” that were scheduled for May 24 and May 31; the status of the reality series is up in the air to the ongoing pandemic.
CBS previously ran a “CBS Sunday Movie” franchise that ended in the 2004-2005 television season.
IndieWire is keeping track of all film and television industry-related events and projects that have been impacted by the pandemic. IndieWire is also documenting all of the positive news to come out of the outbreak and also has a list of resources available to entertainment industry workers in need of aid.
The schedule for CBS' upcoming May Sunday movie night programming is as follows:
May 3: “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 10: “Forrest Gump” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 17: “Mission: Impossible” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 24: “Titanic” 7-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 31: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT