Fire up the Tiki torch and pass the Doritos. The 25th edition of Survivor begins tonight (CBS, Global, 8 p.m.). The 90-minute opener will reveal three tribes, returning players and celebrities. Each tribe gets one returning player: Jonathan Penner (Cook Islands and Micronesia), Russell Swan (Samoa) and Mike Skupin (all the way back to Australia). All three were injured their first time out. Amazing to see Skupin, who fell into the fire and had to be evacuated, return 24 games later. He’s always been an odd omission from the All-Star editions–he was on-track to go deep in that early Outback edition. The celebs are Lisa Whelchel, the former Facts of Life teen, and ex-San Francisco Giants’ star Jeff Kent.
Whelchel: the original Blair
This summer at CBS’s TCA press tour party, host Jeff Probst admitted that last spring’s Survivor One World had been “a bit of a let down.”
He’s pumped, however, about the two new editions coming this season, which were shot back-to-back in the Philippines last spring.
“I’m being 100% candid when I say that, after this year is done, and you’re still watching, you’ll go, ‘Oh, I want more for sure,” says Probst. “Twenty-Five brings back the kind of people you want to see play in terms of new players and 26 defines Survivor in a way I think Mark [Burnett] always thought it was, which was, on any given day, anything can happen.”