‘Survivor 41’: Shortened Game Was a Hit with Players and Producers Alike

by Jacklyn Krol
"One Thing Left To Do... Win" -- After a dangerous season filled with new twists, only five castaways remain and must battle is out for the title of Sole Survivor and the $1 Million prize, on the two-hour season finale of SURVIVOR followed by an after show hosted by Jeff Probst, on Wednesday, Dec. 15 (8:00- 11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.* Pictured L to R: Naseer Muttalif, Evvie Jagoda, Deshawn Radden, Ricard Foye, Shantel Smith, Erika Casupanan, Tiffany Seely, Danny McCray, Xander Hastings, Liana Wallace, and Heather Aldret. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment 2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Did Survivor 41 shortened game format go over well? Apparently, it was approved by both the players and producers.

Survivor 41 host Jeff Probst spoke to TV Line about the switch up in direction for the show. The show took place in roughly half the time with just 26 days. Some fans even admitted that it delivered with less time on the island.

“The 26 days came as a result of having to shoot two seasons back-to-back with no break,” he told the outlet. “We knew we couldn’t do two 39-day seasons, so we spent a lot of time working to make sure that we could do a full season in 26 days and that the experience would still be satisfying to the players.”

As for now, the jury is out on if future seasons will take place during the shorter time period.

“It’s still too early to decide if we would ever go back to 39 days, but I will say that we do believe in the 26-day schedule,” he added. “And as you’ll hear during the Survivor After Show, the players fully agree that 26 days still gave them absolutely everything they wanted from their Survivor adventure.”

Another major change to this season was how the finale took place. Typically, it is a live show that is with a real audience. It’s quite the production and climactic. This year, it was just the jury, contestants, and host in an intimate setting. For Probst, it wasn’t his favorite way of doing things.

“It’s a good question and one we debated as well,” Probst said. “What are the pros and cons of reading the votes on location with just the players and the jury vs. a big finale with a live audience? Here’s what we learned: there are pros and cons to both!”

For Probst personally and maybe even the contestants, the live audience was the crucial piece that was missing.

“I definitely miss the big energy of the live audience and seeing all the family members of our players. That kind of excitement is very unique because it’s more of an event. But what was really cool about revealing the winner in the jungle was the intimacy,” he concluded.

‘Survivor 41’ How Ricard and Shan Formed a Friendship

Survivor 41 viewers didn’t get to see a lot of the time that the contestants spent on the island. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ricard revealed that he and Shan really bonded. Viewers watched the bromance between Ricard and Xander but the true relationship was with Shan. He was even shocked that CBS didn’t end up using the footage of the pair bonding. At first, Ricard did not want to tell people that he was hard of hearing. He soon realized that people would consider it odd that he would stare at people’s mouths, reading lips.

“I knew I was going to come off as creepy with my staring when reading lips and I needed to tell people. And after I did, Shan took me on the beach, and we had been there maybe three or four hours,” he explained. “She told me that she was living with an autoimmune disease and that she had just gone through chemo.”

They related to one another through their medical experiences. He confessed to her that he had lumps removed and that he could understand where she was coming from. However, at the end of the day they both remained alphas. And although it did break them apart, he still has respect for her.

“We were so in sync in every capacity, even when we fought. I also wish they showed that we instantly made up,” he said. …But I wish they had shown how deep of a connection we really had because we weren’t just allies — we were absolute best friends out there.”