Season 33 of the US version of the show – Millennials Vs Gen-X – kicks off later this month, and while doing the rounds of publicity, host and executive producer Jeff Probst revealed the potentially life-threatening event that caused the entire production to shut down.
Shooting had just begun on day two of the game in Fiji on April 6 when word reached them that tropical Cyclone Zena was headed their way – fast.
With little time to think, production leapt into action, ensuring the contestants and crew were all safely out of harm’s way.
‘Weather does play a part in the show, and you will see the part it plays, and it’s a first,’ Jeff tells EW. ‘And it was scary.
‘For 32 seasons of Survivor, we’ve been very lucky to have escaped some severe storms,’ he continues. ‘This time, the storm caught us. It was only day two and in a matter of hours, a nice afternoon turned into a severe rainstorm that kept growing in intensity by the hour.
‘We were monitoring the weather minute by minute back at base camp. When the national Fijian weather service upgraded it to a cyclone, we had to evacuate both tribes from their beaches and get them to safety. We have never had to evacuate tribes in 32 seasons of Survivor.’
Indeed, despite some close calls in the past, this marked the first ever time the show has ceased production due to a weather emergency.
‘It was very interesting how the two groups responded to the news,’ Jeff says. ‘The Gen-X tribe was responsible and very concerned about their wellbeing. The Millennials were less concerned about their safety and more excited that they were making Survivor history!’