It’s not an easy game — but someone’s got to play it! Survivor first debuted in 2000, quickly becoming a fan-favorite and ratings juggernaut for CBS.
The reality series, which awards one sole Survivor the $1 million each season after lasting 39 days outside, has come a long way over the years. Host Jeff Probst, who has been at the show’s helm since the premiere, has been open to changes as well, with formatting, twists and new locations constantly being added in. Additionally, the show isn’t without its controversies.
In 2019, the series faced the #MeToo movement head-on when castaway Kellee Kim accused Dan Spilo of inappropriate touching. He was first warned and later sent home.
“It’s an unprecedented and unfortunate situation that is still very raw for a lot of the players and fans. We are all trying to learn from it,” Probst, 58, told Entertainment Weekly. “We will definitely be using the lessons learned from the Dan situation as a guide in how to handle similar situations in future seasons. We have already started discussing ideas for how to change things in the future.”
The following year, the host admitted that he had a gender bias in the earlier seasons after Sarah Lacina explained during an episode that male players’ game moves are applauded while women’s are looked at as “fake and phony and a bitch.”
The producer owned up to his own faults in the situation as well.
“I am certain if I look back at all of the comments I have made over 20 years, I would find the exact same bias in me — who I call by last names. Guys have different relationships with each other, and I might not know how to have that relationship with a woman,” Probst said during the Winners at War episode. “I’ll definitely own the fact that I don’t think I saw it when Survivor started, and I don’t think I even knew I was supposed to look for it. But I’m very much aware of it now, and I’m grateful that we can open up and investigate, even though it comes with a crisis or it comes with hardship or it comes with some tears. Whatever it is, it’s out there and it’s being talked about.”
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The show has crowned 39 winners over its 41 seasons — with two incredible castaways winning twice. Scroll down to see where the winners are today: