. It debuted in 2000. Sure, it proved to be a huge hit, and
The story is as follows: a fixed number of men and women are stuck in a wilderness setting (typically, but not always, a
), where they're divided into at least two tribes (mostly random, but sometimes by
). They then must build a shelter and make fire so they can safely eat food and drink water. Oftentimes they get to take in a luxury item from home, or they'll have to win it. Each week, the tribes compete in a series of challenges, where they win rewards and Immunity, which allows them to avoid Tribal Council. The losers (who attend Tribal Council) then have to decide which of them will be
. When a sufficient amount of time has passed, the tribes are merged into one and nearly all the challenges, rewards, and immunities become individual, rather than tribe-based. After 39 days, 2-3 people are left for the Final Tribal Council, where the recently eliminated contestants from the merged tribe form the Jury and vote to decide who wins the $1,000,000 prize.
A number of podcast's dedicated to contestant interviews, remembering past seasons nostalgically, and discussing strategy exist online, including
— Pulau Tiga, Sabah, Malaysia (Summer 2000). Originally simply called "Survivor"
. First season of the US series. 16 castaways are split between Pagong
before merging into Rattana
(the initial tribes are named after local beaches, and the latter after rattan, a species of palm abundant in Borneo). It is also the only season where the winner was announced on-site. Among the season's memorable personalities, Richard Hatch had the most lasting impact, setting the tone of the game forever by getting the Tagi tribe to organize their votes against the Pagongs. Won by Richard Hatch
of Middletown, Rhode Island.
02: The Australian Outback
— Goshen Station, Queensland, Australia (Winter 2001). 16 castaways are split between Kucha
before merging into Barramundi
(all named after Aboriginal words for "kangaroo", "alligator" and an endemic species of fish, respectively). Lasting 42 days (the only season to do so), this season is infamous for the first forced evacuee: Michael Skupin, who burnt his hands on a bonfire. It's also well-known for Colby Donaldson
's individual immunity challenge streak and the Foe Yay
between him and Jerri Manthey
. First season to use previous votes as the method of breaking ties. Won by Tina Wesson
of Knoxville, Tennessee.
— Shaba National Reserve, Eastern Province, Kenya (Fall 2001). 16 castaways are split between Boran
before merging into Moto Maji
(the first two are named after actual tribes
living in the area, the third after a Swahili word for "fire and water"; tribe colors are interestingly patterned after the Ethiopian variant of the Pan-African colors
). First season to feature a tribe swap. Won by Ethan Zohn
of Lexington, Massachusetts.
— Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia (Spring 2002). 16 castaways are split between Rotu
before merging into Soliantu
(the first two are named after Marquesan words for "wind" and "rain", respectively, and the latter a word made up by two castaways to mean "sacred allegiance to the sun
"). This season first saw a transferable Immunity Necklace, but also an infamous tiebreaker that evicted anyone
who picked a purple rock — in this case, Paschal English. The original season of Rob Mariano, aka "Boston Rob"
. Won by Vecepia Towery
of Portland, Oregon.
— Ko Tarutao, Satun Province, Thailand (Fall 2002). 16 castaways are split between Chuay Gahn
and Sook Jai
, handpicked by the eldest male and female castaways, before merging into Chuay Jai
(the first two are named after Thai words for "helping one another" and "happy heart", respectively, and the third is a portmanteau of both names). The season was the first to offer castaways a chance to switch tribes at will, and featured an auction and a merger fake-out through cohabitation. However, the host, Jeff Probst, also called it his least-liked season, having to deal with lots of jerkasses
throughout its run. Won by Brian Heidik
of Quartz Hill, California.
06: The Amazon
— Rio Negro, Amazonas, Brazil (Winter 2003). 16 castaways are split by gender, for the first time in the series, between all-female Jaburu
and all-male Tambaqui
before merging into Jacaré
(the first two are named after a local stork and fish, respectively, and the third after a Portuguese word for "alligator"). On day 13, both tribes switch some members. Won by Jenna Morasca
of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.
07: Pearl Islands
— Pearl Islands, Panamá Province, Panama (Summer 2003). 16 castaways are split between Drake
before merging into Balboa
(the first two are named after British privateers Sir Francis Drake
and Henry Morgan
, respectively, and the third after a snake one castaway found). In tune to this season's theme of piracy (being set on a historic pirate den, and whose tribes' namesakes were branded by the Spanish as pirates), challenge winners can pillage the losing team's camp and, on one challenge, "kidnap" someone until the next challenge. The first six expelled players formed a third pre-merger tribe - the Outcasts
- which defeated Drake and Morgan, forcing them both to expel one of their own while the Outcasts voted two back into the game
. The jury also played in one challenge and won, depriving Balboa individual immunity. This was also the original season of two of the show's most memorable players
: Rupert Boneham and Jon Dalton aka "Jonny Fairplay". Won by Sandra Diaz-Twine
of Fort Lewis, Washington.
— Pearl Islands (Winter 2004). The first Reunion Show
. 18 castaways from earlier seasons are split between Chapera
, Mogo Mogo
before merging into Chaboga Mogo
(the first three are named after isles in the area, and the fourth a portmanteau of the names). Being the first three-tribe season, the Immunity Idol was split into two. The season also reused last season's "kidnapping" system, and saw Saboga dissolve after losing one challenge, as well as another fake merge through tribe mix-up. The main storyline this season was the budding romance
between Amber Brkich (from ''Australia'') and "Boston" Rob Mariano (from ''Marquesas'')
, culminating in them becoming the game's winner and runner-up, respectively, and becoming engaged in the finale.
09: Vanuatu - Islands of Fire
— Efate, Sheva Province, Vanuatu (Fall 2004). 18 castaways are gender-split between all-male Lopevi
and all-female Yasur
before merging into Alinta
(the first two are named after volcanoes, and the third a made-up word for "people of fire"). For the first time, an individual immunity challenge was held before the merge, resulting in both tribes voting one member out in that episode. Like The Amazon
, this season also employed tribe swaps. Won by Chris Daugherty
of South Vienna, Ohio.
— Koror, Palau (Winter 2005). 20 castaways are split between Ulong
(named after a dive site and the the national capital, respectively). On day 2 alone, two were removed after they were not picked by the tribes. Last season's double tribal council system was also imposed. One challenge penalized the first to quit with being marooned on a lonely beach. It is also the only season so far where there was no tribe merger; thanks to the Epic Fail
of Ulong, by the time a merge would have happened there was only one Ulong left
so she was just moved into Koror, starting the series' individual elimination stage. Won by Tom Westman
of Sayville, New York.
11: Guatemala - The Maya Empire
— Yaxhá-Nakúm-Naranjo National Park, Petén, Guatemala (Fall 2005). 18 castaways are split between Yaxhá
before merging into Xhakúm
(the first two are named after archaeological sites on the area and Mesoamerican words for "blue-green water" and "house of the pot", respectively, and the latter a portmanteau of both names). Two former contestants (both from the previous season) return for this season, and features a tribe swap and a double tribal council. This season also first saw the Hidden Immunity Idol, first played post-merger, which gives the person who finds it individual immunity. Won by Danni Boatwright
of Tonganoxie, Kansas.
12: Panama — Pearl Islands (Winter 2006). Also known unofficially as Exile Island
. 16 castaways are split between four tribes, for the first time in the series, by age and gender: Casaya
(older women), La Mina
(older men), Bayoneta
(younger women) and Viveros
(younger men) before merging into Gitanos
(the first four are named after isles in the area, and the fifth a Spanish word for "gypsies"). The younger tribes would soon be disbanded and distributed among the older tribes. Using Season 10's "Exile Island" system, winners of reward challenges may choose to expel one from the losing tribe to a lonely island, where he/she is clued in to a hidden Immunity Idol. Won by Aras Baskauskas
of Santa Monica, California.
13: Cook Islands
— Aitutaki, Cook Islands (Fall 2006). 20 castaways are split by ethnicity — a Ratings Stunt
that naturally caused some controversy — between Aitutaki
(Africans), Puka Puka
(Asians) and Rarotonga
(Caucasians) before merging into Aitutonga
(the first four are named after isles in the area, and the fifth a portmanteau of the two surviving tribes). The season reuses the Exile Island system, and features a tribe shuffle which dissolved Manihiki and Puka Puka, after which castaways were occasionally offered a chance to switch tribes (accepted by two castaways for the first time in the series), as well as one double tribal council. First season with three castaways to face the final jury. Won by Yul Kwon
of San Mateo, California.
— Macuata Province, Fiji (Winter 2007). 19 castaways (the only odd-number starting lineup in the series, due to one player dropping out at the last minute) are split between Moto
before merging into Bula Bula
(all three are named after Fijian words for "spear", "kill" and "hello hello"
, respectively). The first challenge alone rewarded Moto with a camp filled with many luxury items, while all Ravu had was a pot and a machete — a disparity Probst himself would later admit to have been detrimental to Ravu's later outings. The season also reuses the tribe swap. Won by Earl Cole
of Santa Monica, California, in what was considered a Curb-Stomp Battle
— Zhelin Reservoir, Jiangxi, China (Fall 2007). 16 castaways are split between Fei Long
and Zhan Hu
before merging into Hae Da Fung
(all three are named after Mandarin words for "Flying Dragon", "Fighting Tiger" and "Black Fighting Wind", respectively, the first two playing on the Tiger Versus Dragon
trope and whose colors are more than likely patterned after those of the Chinese flag). The series was the first US show ever to be filmed within China. Like Pearl Islands
, the season had a specific theme, this time being the famous Chinese text The Art of War
. Besides reusing the "kidnapping" system, the "kidnapped" member of a losing tribe would also be forced to give a message in a bottle to someone from the winning tribe cluing him/her in to the Hidden Immunity Idol. Won by Todd Herzog
of Salt Lake City, Utah.
16: Micronesia - Fans vs Favorites
— Koror (Winter 2008). 20 castaways are split between Airai
(composed of ten Ascended Fans
) and Malakal
(composed of ten returning castaways
) before merging into Dabu
(the first two are named after locations in the area, and the third a made-up name by a castaway). The series featured individual Immunity Idols for each tribe which ensured one's immunity during his/her tribe's first tribal council. The Exile Island system is played again, except this time one from each tribe wold compete for a Hidden Immunity Idol. The season is also notable for an even-numbered jury (eight) and the return of the two-person finalists. Jonathan Penner (returning from Cook Islands
) had to be evacuated due to a knee injury that turned into an infection. Probst would call it his second-favorite season, after Borneo
. Won by Parvati Shallow
(from Cook Islands
) of Vero Beach, Florida.
17: Gabon - Earth's Last Eden
— Wonga-Wongue Presidential Reserve, Estuaire Province, Gabon (Fall 2008). The first season to air on HD. 18 castaways are split between Fang
, drafted by the oldest male and female castaways, before merging into Nobag
(the first two are named after actual tribes
living in the area, and the third is "Gabon" reversed
). The season retains last season's one-shot Immunity Idols, Exile Island (with the exile having to choose between luxury throughout his/her stay and immunity upon return), two tribe swaps, Hidden Immunity Idols for each tribe, and a double tribal council. Won by Robert "Bob" Crowley
of Augusta, Maine.
18: Tocantins - The Brazilian Highlands
— Jalapão, Tocantins, Brazil (Winter 2009). 16 castaways are split between Jalapao
before merging into Forza
(the first two are named after locations in the area, the third a corruption of "força", Portuguese word for "strength"). A first-impression vote by castaways "eliminated" two who would be a liability and thus "cannot make it into the journey", only to realize that by "journey" Probst meant a four-hour trek, and those two "liabilities" were airlifted directly to their camps
. The one-time Immunity Idols also make a return, as well as Exile Island, except this time the member of a losing tribe chosen by the winners can also bring one of their own
. This is generally the season where the show started embracing the Creator's Pet
, this time being Ben "Coach" Wade
. Won by James "J.T." Thomas, Jr.
of Samson, Alabama, in another Curb-Stomp Battle
, 7-0, and without any vote cast against him throughout his stay
— Upolu, Samoa (Fall 2009). 20 castaways are split between Foa Foa
before merging into Aiga
(all three are named after Samoan words for "trumpet shell", "ocean wave" and "extended family
", respectively). After some reward challenges, a member of the winning tribe will go to the losing tribe's camp, where he/she will tip one of them to a Hidden Immunity Idol. Double tribal councils were also held. In one of the most harrowing scenes in the series, Russell Swan nearly died in the middle of a challenge from dehydration and had to be evacuated. The game was dominated, gameplay-wise and screentime-wise, by Russell Hantz
; but was ultimately won by Natalie White
of Van Buren, Arkansas.
— San Juan del Sur, Rivas, Nicaragua (Fall 2010). 20 castaways are split by age between Espada
(40 and older) and La Flor
(30 and younger) before merging into Libertad
(Spanish words for "sword", "flower" and "freedom", respectively). Besides Hidden Immunity Idols, teamwork-based challenges due to the age disparity, tribe swaps and double tribal councils, this season introduces the Medallion of Power, a one-shot item which gives winners advantages in challenges, then passed on to the opposing tribe. Won by Jud "Fabio" Birza
of Saint Louis, Missouri.
22: Redemption Island
— San Juan del Sur (Winter 2011). 18 castaways are split between Ometepe
before merging into Murlonio
(the first two are named after islands in Lake Nicaragua, the third after a stuffed toy of one of the castaways). The series introduces the eponymous "Redemption Island", where a recently-evicted castaway is left to fend for himself/herself in a lonely island. When another castaway is voted out, both would compete in a "duel" where the loser leaves the game for good, while the winner would stay on until some point when he/she is called back. The season was played up as a rivalry between returning castaways "Boston" Rob Mariano (Marquesas
, and Heroes vs. Villains
) and Russell Hantz (Samoa
and Heroes vs. Villains
), but Russell's tribe ditched him at the earliest opportunity and Rob basically went unopposed for the rest of the season, taking the win without much of a fight
23: South Pacific
— Upolu (Fall 2011). 18 castaways are split between Upolu
, each led by a returning castaway, before merging into Te Tuna
(the first two are named after islands, the third after a Samoan legend about the birth of the coconut tree). Like the previous season, Redemption Island was also in play, as well as two Hidden Immunity Idols. Won by Sophie Clarke
of Willsboro, New York.
24: One World
— Upolu (Winter 2012). 18 castaways are split by gender between all-female Salani
and all-male Manono
before merging into Tikiano
(the first two are named after islands in the area, and the third after a Samoan word for "year of the god"). In an unusual twist, both tribes shared a single camp for the majority of the season. The season also saw a "do-it-yourself" competition between tribes, as well as Hidden Immunity Idols and tribe swaps. Won by Kim Spradlin
of San Antonio, Texas.
— Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Philippines
(Fall 2012). 18 players are split between Kalabaw
before merging into Dangrayne
(the first three are named after Tagalog words for "water buffalo", "rooster" and "monkey", respectively, using the colors of the Philippine flag, and the fourth because there was a lot of rain in the Philippines
). The three tribes were "led" by three returning castaways evacuated from their last outings due to injury or stress
: Jonathan Penner (Cook Islands
), Michael Skupin (Australia
), and Russell Swan (Samoa
), respectively. Won by Denise Stapley
of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after surviving through every single tribal council in the season.
26: Caramoan - Fans vs Favorites
— Caramoan (Winter 2013). Repeating the setup of Micronesia
, 20 players are divided between Bikal
(Fans) and Gota
(Favorites) before merging into Enil Edam
(the first two named after a barangay
(village) and a resort in the municipality itself, respectively, and the third suggested by Malcom Freberg in honor of his mother, Madeline
). It unfortunately hosted one of the series' more infamous moments, where Brandon Hantz (from South Pacific
and nephew of Russell) had a tense emotional breakdown that just barely avoided turning violent. Won by John Cochran
(from South Pacific
) of Washington D.C. in a Curb-Stomp Battle
of 8-0-0. He also received no votes cast against him his entire run
27: Blood vs. Water
— Palaui Island, Santa Ana, Cagayan, Philippines (Fall 2013). The 20 castaways this season are arranged in pairs, one returning castaway and one of their family members, with the returnees being the Galang
tribe and the family being Tadhana
(Filipino for "respect" and "destiny" respectively) before merging into Kasama
(Filipino for "together" or "as one"
). Redemption Island also returns, with the new twist that a loved one can choose to take their partner's place on Redemption Island. Won by Tyson Apostol
and Heroes vs. Villains
) of Provo, Utah.
— Palaui Island (Spring 2014). Features 18 players (all newcomers) evenly divided based on their principal attributes — Aparri
(Brains) and Solana
(Beauty), named after a town at the mouth of the mighty Cagayan River, the largest island in the Philippines (on which both Manila, the capital, and Cagayan province are located), and a town at the southern end of Cagayan province, respectively. The tribes then merged into Solarrion
, a portmanteau of the former tribes. This season saw the introduction of a super-secret idol that could be played after
votes were read. Won by Tony Vlachos
of Jersey City, New Jersey.
29: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water
— San Juan del Sur (Fall 2014). Repeated the "Blood vs. Water" format, but with 18 all-new castaways. This season also brought back the Exile Island twist after a five-year absence. The castaways were divided into the Coyopa
tribes (named after the Mayan god of thunder and one of the Hero Twins of Mayan mythology, respectively) before merging into Huyopa
, a portmanteau of the former tribes. Won by veteran The Amazing Race
contestant Natalie Anderson of Edgewater, New Jersey after her identical twin sister Nadiya was voted out first
30: Worlds Apart— San Juan del Sur (Spring 2015). 18 new castaways, divided into three tribes by socioeconomic status: Escama (blue collar), Masaya (white collar), and Nagarote (no collar).
Based on a format created by Charlie Parson. The first produced show based on the format was the Swedish reality game show
. The original concept was said during
. Or the
best known for "Eye of the Tiger".