“Survivor: Redemption Island” executive producer Mark Burnett spoke with the press recently about the upcoming season and the evolution of the show in general. He also touches on Russell’s supposed spoiler leaking – but he doesn’t know much.
On why they brought in the “Redemption Island” twist:
“There’s a core value system to ‘Survivor’ … you can probably cheat and lie and steal your way a long way along, but you really can’t win and ‘Survivor’ shows you that. The only way you win ‘Survivor’ is the very people that you had a hand in getting rid of give you the gift of a million dollars … really ‘Survivor’ is a morality play. I’ve always believed that Tribal Council is metaphorically about death and rebirth, [now with Redemption Island, they get a second chance.]”
“With Redemption Island, it continues to completely be a social game because now, once the first episode starts, and people are told Redemption Island exists, people start to realize the consequences of blind sides and the consequences of how you treat others … it really adds a layer to the social game. Our fans are really scientists of the game and really understand the game … that really understand the principles and core values of ‘Survivor.'”
On the return of Boston Rob and Russell Hantz:
“I think the two of them probably have an advantage. When they arrive, it’s a surprise to the tribes. Jeff tells all of them, including Russell and Rob, there’s a twist this year, it’s called Redemption Island. You can see their faces, especially Russell and Rob, calculating what that means.”
On Russell’s alleged spoiler-leaking:
“I found out the same time you found out, I read it online. I had no idea about it. Don’t know if it’s actually true because as of this minute, I still have not had a conversation with CBS or anyone about it.”
On a possible all-celebrity “Survivor”:
“Has it ever come up in meetings? Sure. But the game really works and certainly we have our own ‘Survivor’ celebrities … are there celebrities who we know personally who have been ‘Survivor’ fans and half-jokingly say they want to do that? Yes. Would I think about an all-celebrity version? For charity, if CBS wanted to, a shortened version, I would think about it.”
“Survivor: Redemption Island” premieres on Wednesday, Feb. 16 on CBS.