“Survivor” Season 40, subtitled “Winners at War,” premiered with a two-hour episode on Wednesday, February 12. For the first time ever, CBS’s granddaddy of all reality TV shows welcomed back 20 players who’d previously won the competition for a shot at becoming the ultimate Sole Survivor. This time around, instead of winning a $1 million check, host Jeff Probst announced they’d all be playing for a record-breaking $2 million prize.
Superfans have been clamoring for an all-winners installment for years, and their dreams came true when it was officially announced following the Season 39 finale of “Island of the Idols.” The controversial Edge of Extinction was back in play for Season 40, aka the deserted island where voted-out players live in isolation and wait for their chance to return to the game proper. Another twist this year was the introduction of fire tokens, which castaways used to buy things like food, comfort and idols.
In the two-hour season premiere, Probst divided the former “Survivor” winners into two tribes:
The red Dakal tribe consisted of Tyson Apostol (“Blood vs. Water”), Sophie Clarke (“South Pacific”), Sandra Diaz-Twine (“Pearl Islands” & “Heroes vs. Villains”), Wendell Holland (“Ghost Island”), Yul Kwon (“Cook Islands”), Sarah Lacina (“Game Changers”), Amber Mariano (“All-Stars”), Kim Spradlin-Wolfe (“One World”), Tony Vlachos (“Cagayan”) and Nick Wilson (“David vs. Goliath”).
The blue Sele tribe members were Natalie Anderson (“San Juan del Sur”), Jeremy Collins (“Cambodia”), Danni Boatwright (“Guatemala”), Ben Driebergen (“Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”), Michele Fitzgerald (“Kaoh Rong”), Adam Klein (“Millennials vs. Gen X”), Rob Mariano (“Redemption Island”), Parvati Shallow (“Micronesia”), Denise Stapley (“Philippines”) and Ethan Zohn (“Africa”).