LOS ANGELES (CBSMiami) – On Wednesday night, Survivor is back to where it belongs, on the water.
“Water has always been a big part of Survivor, that was the original idea. What if you were shipwrecked on an island, what would you do, where would you go and that just brings back so many things,” explained Survivor Host Jeff Probst.
Survivor Philippines is also bringing back 3 people who were medically evacuated out of other Survivors season’s and has given them a second chance.
“The returnees bring a lot to the show I believe. They are your stars and there’s something fun for a show that’s been on as long as we have you need to bring back your stars and watch them play again. They also bring something else to the mix in terms of experience,” said Probst.
One of them is Michael Skupin, who received severe burns after passing out from a smoke inhalation in the Australian Outback.
“It’s an amazing story about faith and healing,” said Michael Skupin. “If I was never a believer in the power of prayer I became one in the intensive care ward in Australia.”
Also on the show is newcomer Lisa Whelchel, a former teen star from the 80s sitcom “Facts of Life” who has never missed a Survivor episode. At first she thought she wanted to be on the show because she was such a fan but there was something more.
“I spent my life being a good girl wanting everyone to like me and being sweet, nice and a good Christian but there was another side of me that wanted to cut someone’s throat or snuff out their fire to win this. I was given permission to act like that in the context of this game,” explained Whelchel.
For the first time, Survivor castaways will be divided into three tribes all named after animals in the region: Kalabaw (“water buffalo”), Tandang (“rooster”) and Matsing (“monkey”).
The three tribes will battle for first and second place in order to be granted immunity while the third-place team will go to Tribal Council and face elimination.
As the castaways look back on their experiences on the island, they quickly realize hindsight is 20/20.
“As you’re doing it, as miserable as it is, you look back on it as potentially the most life changing adventure of your life,” said Skupkin.
“It’s kind a like childbirth,” said Whelchel. “You need perspective before you decide if you’re ever going to do this again.”
“Survivor: Philippines” premieres with a 90-minute episode on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. on CBS.