XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.
Gordon Holmes: Alright, explain how this Blue Collar vs. White Collar vs. No Collar concept works.
Jeff Probst: The truth is; we had our cast together, but we didn’t have a theme. And everyone’s trying to think of a theme, and I just had the cards spread out on a table, and I kept coming back to Brains, Brawn, and Beauty. We had the perfect blend for that, but we didn’t want to do that again. So, kind of what you do is you just pair them together and you’re like, “We’ll these two could go together, and what about her? And this guy over here…”
Holmes: Because I feel like I’ve heard White Collar vs. Blue Collar tossed around a few times.
Probst: We never wanted to do White Collar vs. Blue Collar because it’s too flat. That’s very basic. That’s what “Survivor” is, we do it every season. But over here I had these cards that we couldn’t figure out what to do with and I said, “We’ve got these gypsies and beach people,” and then it just hit me. These are the No Collars, which wasn’t a term that I’d heard before but made sense to me. Our “Survivor” crew, we’re No Collars. Most of these people have spent the last 15 years on islands in the middle of nowhere doing a TV show. Then I thought of my boss, Mark Burnett. He’s a No Collar. Then I thought; White Collars make the rules, Blue Collars follow or enforce the rules, and No Collars break the rules.
Holmes: And you’ll get full credit when “No Collar” ends up in the dictionary.
Probst: I should get full credit. For me it was a discovery like discovering that the world was round. That’s how good I felt. I was jumping around my house going, “I got it!”
Holmes: This is the 30th season, I think people were expecting a big returning player showdown. Instead, we’ve got 18 new faces. How was the call made to just let the show stand on its own merits?
Probst: We didn’t start with the “let it work.” I wish we were that smart. We actually started about two years ago saying, “If we get to 30, let’s think about the big, blowout season.” We did pitch a few things to Mark and CBS that were fun and different. But even as we pitched them they felt predictable and tired. Nobody was getting excited. It was Mark Burnett who said, “Do we need to do an all-star season?” So, that gave us permission to get rid of the all-star strategy. Maybe it will be our last, who knows? Maybe when we get to 40 we’ll be asking the same question. But I’ll tell you this; not doing all-stars was the best decision because it would have deprived us of 18 of the most interesting people we’ve had on the show in a long time.
'Survivor: Worlds Apart': Jeff Probst gives exclusive intel on NEXT season
Titled Survivor: Worlds Apart, the season will feature three tribes of all new players representing the cross section of American society. “It’s White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar,’ explains Probst. “White Collars are the people who typically in life are educated, might work in an office, wear a suit—they make the rules. Blue Collar—the heart of America. They typically work outdoors. They might wear a uniform. They work with their hands. They follow the rules. And the No Collars are the people who break the rules. They don’t go by convention. They don’t care about the status quo.”
The twist brings to mind last spring’s Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty battle of Survivor: Cagayan, which turned out to be one of the show’s best seasons ever. According to Probst, this one—which was filmed in Nicaragua last summer—could top it. “Person for person and pound for pound, I will say that this is the best group of people I think we’ve ever had,” says Probst. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t duds in the cast, but if you just had to take one entire group of people, I love this group. And I don’t often come up front anymore and say I really like a season because I know that that’s very biased and it’s my own opinion. But just my own Jeff Probst opinion—I have not seen a second of footage cut yet. Just based on my experience, this was one of my favorite seasons of all time.”
Like the Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty season, the producers cast their players first and them fit them into the theme, rather than vice versa. Doing it the other way was a mistake they learned on this past season’s Blood vs. Water theme. “We learned a valuable lesson with Blood vs. Water 2,” Probst explains. “And that lesson was, we got so excited with Blood vs. Water the first time that we wanted to do it again. So we put it on the books and said, ‘Let’s do it! And now let’s go cast it.’ And that was a mistake, which in hindsight sounds so simple. How could you ever make that mistake? But we did. We got excited. And we got ahead of ourselves. And it put us in a situation where we were casting to a theme rather than just finding the best people and then figuring out what the theme is. So we learned from that and then went back out for this season and found the best people we could find.”
As for how they came up with this season’s theme, it came to the host while his parents were visiting. “I was sitting in my living room with all the cards [of the contestants] laid out on my kitchen table,” say Probst. “My mom and dad were visiting and I’m looking at all the contestants thinking, how can we break these people up? And there was clearly a group of educated, white collar types. And there was clearly a group of blue collar types. But white collar vs. blue collar is not interesting enough. That’s kind of the mixture in our show all the time. But I kept looking at this other group and there was a guy who worked down on the beach, and a woman on a sailboat, and an artist, jeweler, musician, actor, athlete. And I kept starting at them, and all of a sudden it just hit me—the term “No Collar.” And those are the people that break the rules. And once that came out, I felt like we had the theme, which was: make the rules, follow the rules, break the rules. One says, “I represent the status quo, we’re going to do it my way, I’m in charge.” The next says, “I got the rules, let me get out there and get ‘em done for you.” And the next says, “F— your rules! Here’s what I’m doing.”
But that’s not all. Probst also teases that the White/Blue/No Collar designations will not be the only new twist in Survivor: Worlds Apart. “We have a new advantage in the game,” he says. “Something we’ve toyed with for a long time and decided to do it this year, and it plays out great. I’ll leave it at that for now.”
FWIW, all the press photos in image number sequence.
Challenge flags Note different number grouping from above. Same photographer/different camera or time.
No Collar camp?
White Collar camp?
Via Goldd in Futures:
Going back through the Tease, it kind of looks as if each tribe will get their own distinct torch design. These tin can designs are for the No Collar tribe, while perhaps the White Collar tribe might get some torches that look a little more professionally made. If you see the torches the stand in castaways are holding in this picture, you can see that the first torch on the left is different to the second and third torches, while the fourth torch is different to both.
Wez, right down to the feathers, LOL