Survivor Island of the Idols: Why did it take so long to get a Canadian on?

Jeff Probst sits down with ET Canada and tries to explain why it has taken 39 seasons of Survivor to finally get a Canadian on the show.

After over five hundred Survivor castaways, Tom Laidlaw is the first Canadian born person to make it on Survivor. With there being no Canadian version of the show, and since ET Canada has been covering US Survivor for a quite a few years now, many have wondered why it has taken this long to get Canadians out on the island.

There must have been some complex and firm law about it, right? ET Canada got a chance to sit down with Jeff and ask him about that question. You can watch that ET Canada video here. When the host was asked what took so long, Jeff gave a roundabout answer.

When the show began, they wanted to get Canadians on but were told that the licensing fee was only for the US. Since it wasn’t for Canada too, they intially thought they couldn’t get Canadians on the show. So it was assumed for years that Survivor could only feature Americans. Noticing the fan base in Canada, production wanted to see what they could do to reach that market.

So according to Jeff, he called about it and asked what they needed to do to get Canadians on the show. It turned out that they said Survivor could have Canadians, and as soon as they were given that go ahead, they were quick to act and opened applications up to their neighbor to the North.

I do think there is more to that story that Jeff isn’t telling us, but I definitely could see them presuming that they couldn’t get Canadians on the island without understanding why or asking for clarification. Whatever the process was, it finally gives Canadians their first opportunity to play Survivor.

Next: Survivor: Jeff Probst and casting team offers audition tips

Although there’s only one Canadian in Island of the Idols, this won’t be a one-time thing. Season 40 is rumored to be an all-returnee season, so we probably won’t see any Canadians there, but casting has begun for seasons 41 and 42 and Canadians are encouraged to apply! It will be fun to watch the different dynamic Canadians bring to the show moving forward.