Are you ready for your mind to be blown? This Wednesday night marks the beginning of the 25th season of Survivor. Yes, the 25th season. In TV time, 25 seasons in this case only equates to 12 years, but still. For 25 seasons host Jeff Probst and his dueling tribes have headed to remote (or vaguely remote) corners of the earth to compete for the grand prize: 15 minutes of fame and $1 million. The program has gone to Fiji, Thailand, Samoa, Brazil ... the list goes on. All destinations are beachy and beautiful; and over the years the contestants have come to be beachy and beautiful themselves.
Survivor was a pioneer on the reality show competition stage. It preceded The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser, and American Idol. The program has raked in tens of millions of viewers for years; in season one of the show, the finale episode saw 51 million viewers. Yes, things have declined since then, (10 million tuned in for the May finale) but the program is certainly still making waves.
I admit, I miss the days of slightly pudgy Survivor anti-heroes like Richard Hatch taking home the pot of gold. The newer seasons give us a more glamorized version of the program with hot young hook ups and the Real World love triangles. But, for the travelers among us, Survivor is still a way to escape for an hour, and take in a whole lot of beautiful scenery.
This season, the castaways will be stranded in the Philippines. Aside from the beauty of the terrain, the other news on the horizon is that the contestants will be split into three tribes, each tribe equipped with one returning player: either Jonathan Penner (Survivor Cook Islands and Survivor Micronesia), Mike Skupin (Survivor Australian Outback), or Russell Shaw (Survivor Samoa). The tie that binds those three men together? They were all evacuated for medical reasons and are coming back for vengeance.
There will also be two pseudo-celebs on the island: Lisa Welchel aka Blair from The Facts of Life and former San Francisco Giant Jeff Kent.
The show has gotten sexier and a little sleazier but 25 seasons in we can still count on it for Jeff Probst wearing chokers and some beautiful scenery.
The tribe has spoken.
The season premiere will air Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.