At the conclusion of Wednesday’s Survivor: David vs. Goliath finale/reunion show, Jeff Probst showed a teaser for next season of the reality franchise, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, which will premiere Feb. 20 on CBS.
So what exactly is the Edge of Extinction? Probst is not ready to reveal too much, but he did tell us this: “The inspiration for next season came from our desire to see if we can take the show even deeper. One thing that has become apparent over the last several years is that the yearning for adventure in our lives is a real thing. Survivor already provides an amazing format for game play. So, what would happen if we added another challenge to the experience? A question that simply asks… How badly do you want this?”
The teaser revealed that four former players will be returning for another shot at the million dollars. Entertainment Weekly was on location for filming back in June and spoke to the entire cast before the game started. Here are the four returning players and what they had to say about why they decided to head back onto the island.
Robert Voets/CBS/Getty Images; Monty Brinton/CBS/Getty Images; Timothy Kuratek/CBS/Getty Images (2)
Survivor: Kaoh Rong (Runner-up)
Survivor: Game Changers (5th place)
“Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I love Survivor. I felt like Survivor: Game Changers was not the second chance that I wanted to have. I was very much blindfolded from the beginning. Sandra had a bounty on my head from day one, and I could never get on the right side of the numbers. It was just trying to sense what was happening, just beneath the surface, the whole game, for me, and I’m ready to play the Survivor game I want to play, a little wiser.”
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X (4th place)
“Women, they give birth. Then they get amnesia, and they forget how hard labor was. It gets them to do it again. But I remember every horrible detail about my first Survivor experience. There are a lot of reasons to say no to this, especially also given the fact that I think there’s just going to be a giant target on my back coming into this game.”
Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water (14th place)
Survivor: Cambodia — Second Chance (4th place)
“I’m out of my mind. Enough time has passed, I just feel ready. I feel like you can’t always let opportunities pass you by. And, still no kids. I’m married now, but it’s just like you never know in the next few years what might be in my life and this just seemed like the perfect time. So, ready to try again.”
Survivor: Worlds Apart (10th place)
Survivor: Cambodia — Second Chance (8th place)
“I felt it in my heart, prayed about it, all the other people in my life that I told that I was contemplating doing this said that they saw good things, they felt good energy, good vibes. Most importantly, I felt like I had unfinished business. I feel really good about the situation I’m in, the mental state I’m in, my physical state. This game it pushes you, it challenges you in ways you never even thought possible. I have one more challenge to prove, and that’s that I am the Sole Survivor.”
In addition to the four returning players, the teaser for Survivor: Edge of Extinction also revealed two of the new contestants competing for the million-dollar-prize: Rick Devens, who is a 33-year-old morning news anchor on WGXA in Macon, Georgia, and Wendy Diaz, a 25-year-old swap meet vendor from Los Angeles.
Coming off a season with an almost universally-loved cast, Probst thinks this next group of contestants will receive high marks as well. “I love this next group of players,” says the host. “We were looking for specific types of stories and we found them. I think the audience is going to enjoy the ride. We’re continuing to live up to our promise to our fans. As long as you keep watching, we’ll keep trying new things.”
On that last point, Probst is cagey but teases that there could be yet another big twist to Survivor in season 38. “Edge of Extinction will add another dimension to the game. I’m very excited for fans to see it!”
They will have their chance on Feb. 20.
Jeff Probst leads adventurous in the ultimate (and original) reality series.