Why is the Survivor: Edge of Extinction cast reveal so late?


Usually, the Survivor community gets to know the cast of the upcoming season a month prior. With Edge of Extinction three weeks away, we still have questions.

A bit of insider baseball here at Surviving Tribal; we’ve been preparing for the beginning of the Survivor: Edge of Extinction preseason press for a little bit of time. Once the official cast is released, we planned to start with daily cast assessments (starting with the four returnees), followed by some features and other prediction pieces. Plus, we still don’t officially know what this season’s big twist is.

With no cast reveal last Wednesday, we had prepared to dive deep into the cast today. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen either, as the Edge of Extinction cast reveal is officially the latest a season’s cast has been revealed in HD Survivor history.

I’ve compiled a collection of dates in the HD era of Survivor for when the cast was revealed and when the season premiered episode 1. Here are the results I gathered:

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As you can see, never in the HD era has there been a cast reveal leadup to a season’s premiere shorter than three weeks. Additionally, using the Internet Archive search tool, there hasn’t been a cast reveal of fewer than three weeks dating back to Marquesas

Three weeks head’s up in the HD era has only happened in Samoa and South Pacific (season 19 and 22) before David vs. Goliath last season, and sometimes there’s even a five-week lead time.  Additionally, it’s been eight-straight seasons (excluding Cambodia) that a cast reveal has been posted at noon ET on a Wednesday. If this is to continue, it would mean revealing the Edge of Extinction cast on February 6; two weeks before the premiere.

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There are a number of reasons why the Survivor: Edge of Extinction cast reveal has been delayed. First and foremost, CBS public relations and marketing is focused on Super Bowl 53, which airs this Sunday. Second, CBS’ reality division is focusing more on Celebrity Big Brother while also juggling the Super Bowl, which is a lot of work.

There are also the tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists at heart that point to the fact that after this season was filmed, casting director Lynne Spillman’s contract was not re-signed. This paired with the fact that we still don’t officially know what the Edge of Extinction theme is about, it makes it seem like the season is going to be a disaster, and they’re burying bad news by delaying that information as long as possible.

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Whatever the case may be, it means that our Survivor coverage, as well as other fan sites, podcasts and press outlets, will have a severely reduced leadup to the season premiere. We’ll do our best to provide as many thoughts ahead of the season’s February 20 premiere, but that might be difficult if there are fewer days for cast assessments than there are days to the premiere.