Survivor 101

All About The Hit Reality Show Survivor

Survivor host Jeff Probst.

Network: CBS
Time Slot: Wednesday, 8-9 pm ET
First Aired: May 31, 2000
Hosted By: Jeff Probst

How Survivor Works

Survivor has been around for a long time and has a lot of twists to its regular format. Below are guidelines to how Survivor most often works.

Sixteen competitors are broken into two teams, called tribes. Each team of eight is taken to separate locations within the same area, usually an island. Tribes must build shelter, build fire, and find their water source.

Twice every three days, the tribes meet for challenges. Some challenges are physical and some are mental, many are both. There are two types of challenges. Reward Challenges gain the winning tribe a reward, which may include food; equipment for fishing or for their shelter; or a visit, letter, or video from loved ones.

Immunity Challenges

Immunity Challenges keep the winning tribe safe. The losing tribe must hike to Tribal Council where they meet with the host and answer questions about what has been going on around camp. Each member of the tribe than casts a secret vote to oust a fellow tribe mate. Once everyone has voted, the host tallies the votes, then shares them with the tribe. The person with the most votes must leave the Tribal Council area immediately. The rest of the tribe makes the hike back to camp.

Tribal Council

About halfway through the season, the two tribes merge into one. The entire tribe makes the hike to each Tribal Council. Reward and Immunity Challenges become individual. Usually, the winner of the reward challenge is allowed one or two people to share the reward with. The winner of the Immunity Challenge can keep his or her immunity at Tribal Council or may give their immunity to someone else.

When nine people are left in the game, the people who are voted off at each Tribal Council begin to make up the jury. They leave the camp, but they return to listen in on each Tribal Council. When only two players remain, they come to Tribal Council to face the seven-member jury. The final two state their reasons why they should win. The jury is then allowed to ask them questions. The final two make closing comments and then the jury votes for who should win the title of Sole Survivor.

The contestants are then allowed to leave the island. The votes are sealed and revealed during a live show, where the Sole Survivor is awarded $1 million.

Survivor Locations

  • Season 1: Borneo
  • Season 2: The Australian Outback
  • Season 3: Africa
  • Season 4: Marquesas
  • Season 5: Thailand
  • Season 6: The Amazon
  • Season 7: Pearl Islands
  • Season 8: Pearl Islands (All-Stars)
  • Season 9: Vanuatu
  • Season 10: Palau
  • Season 11: Guatemala -- The Mayan Ruins
  • Season 12: Panama
  • Season 13: Cook Islands
  • Season 14: Fiji
  • Season 15: China
  • Season 16: Micronesia (Fans vs. Favorites)
  • Season 17: Gabon
  • Season 18: Tocantins
  • Season 19: Samoa
  • Season 20: Samoa (Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Season 21: Nicaragua
  • Season 22: Nicaragua (Redemption Island)
  • Season 23: Samoa
  • Season 24: Samoa (One World)
  • Season 25: Caramoan Island, Philippines
  • Season 26: Caramoan Island, Philippines
  • Season 27: Cagayan, Phillippines (Blood vs. Water)
  • Season 28: Cagayan, Phillippines
  • Season 29: Nicaragua
  • Season 30: Nicaragua (World's Apart)
  • Season 31: Cambodia
  • Season 32: Kaôh Rōng
  • Season 33: Millennials vs. Gen X
  • Season 34: Survivor: Game Changers
  • Season 35: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers
  • Season 36: Ghost Island
  • Season 37: David vs. Goliath