Survivor: Winners at War season finale announced for May 13, will feature a virtual reunion

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

Much like remote offices holding Zoom meetings across the world, the Survivor: Winners at War season finale will have a virtual reunion instead of being live.

Though it may have seemed like we just got to the merge and have half of the cast of Survivor: Winners at War left in the game, our favorite weekly outlet of normalcy in a rapidly un-normal world is slowly coming to an end. One player will become the second person to become a two-time champion of this game in just about over a month’s time.

CBS has sent out a press release confirming that the Survivor: Winners at War season finale will air on Wednesday, May 13, from 8:00-11:00 p.m. ET, bringing the show to an end. However, to make up for the number of players that are remaining, there will be a two-hour penultimate episode airing one week prior on Wednesday, May 6, from 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET.

That’s right; we will have five hours of Survivor greatness over the span of two weeks, which is quite unlike the show to do with a race from the late-game phase to the endgame. Another aspect of unusualness is the fact that, due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus and its disease, COVID-19, the show will be holding a virtual reunion with “all 20 players.”

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If you are a CBS reality TV fan, with the uncertainty of Big Brother returning to its summer spot, Survivor fans can look forward to another alternative. The Amazing Race, filmed entirely before the global pandemic began, will premiere a week later in the island competition’s spot of Wednesday at 8 p.m., albeit with a two-hour premiere on May 20.

The inclusion of a virtual reunion is not an unexpected one given the state of the world, and having a cast appear on broadcast television to keep the appearances of normalcy is not new. Just this weekend, Saturday Night Live hosting its first at-home episode that felt more like a well-produced YouTube sketch comedy show where they had the limitations of their own cellphones to record footage.

How will a Survivor reunion hold up remains to be seen, as getting 20 people plus Jeff Probst onto a Zoom call or other teleconferencing technology all at the same time sounds like an audio packet-dropping nightmare. I’d presume that, since the cast likely knows the full outcome of the season, that the virtual reunion will be pre-recorded and edited to ensure quality.

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Let’s hope that doesn’t become the trend going forward, just like it was on Island of the Idols.