Survivor 40th season retrospective airing one week before Winners at War


“Survivor at 40: Greatest Moments and Players” will cover the early and modern history of CBS’ greatest reality competition program on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

When Survivor first aired on Thursday, May 31, 2000, the future of 21st-century television would change forever. The reality competition show became an instant success, with more than 51 million people tuning in to see Richard Hatch crowned the first Sole Survivor and recipient of a million-dollar check.

The sudden celebrification of the main stars created household names out of unknowns, spawning more than 550 castaways to follow and hundreds of reality TV shows in a plethora of subcategories. More importantly, the show has produced 38 Sole Survivor since then, and with the 40th season coming up, CBS wants to do something special for their top show in the ratings in 2019 so far.

CBS has sent out a press release, announcing a one-hour special focusing on the greatest moments, legendary players, and great winners throughout the show’s almost 20-year history. Survivor at 40: Greatest Moments and Players will air on Wednesday, February 5, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, coming one week ahead of the two-hour premiere of Winners at War a week later.

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Some of the moments that will air in the special include Parvati’s Black Widow alliance and the Erik immunity necklace move (poor Erik), Rob and Amber’s journey through love, Ben Driebergen’s historic (for the worse) fire-making challenge task, Ciera voting out her mom, that time Survivor valued big moves over the game’s integrity when Cirie Fields was voted out because she didn’t have an idol, and interviews with several fan-favorite contestants.

CBS pulling off a special like this is both appreciated and seemingly necessary, especially with some of the old-school winners coming back to fight for $2 million in Winners at War a week later. I am genuinely surprised that the show values some of its big movez era moments and wants to highlight some of the poor decisions, in my mind, they’ve had when it comes to shaping modern seasons.

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However, it does show just how important the show is to the network, which speaks to the longevity of the program going forward. Survivor seems to be in a safe spot as long as Jeff Probst continues to host, executive produce, and cast the show going forward.