Reality AF: Our Fantasy Casting Call for Survivor Season 50

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Reality AF: Our Fantasy Casting Call for Survivor Season 50

I know what you’re thinking. It’s much too early to talk about casting the 50th season of Survivor. Seasons 47, 48, and 49 haven’t aired yet, filming for 50 is a year away and it won’t even air until the spring of 2026. 

That said, once Survivor executive producer/host Jeff Probst announced that the show’s 50th edition would feature only returning players, the mind can’t help but wander. Who will make the cut? What will be the theme? Will my all time favorite player (but not someone who I consider one of the 10 best players in Survivor history), Boston Rob, compete for a sixth time? After all, he does turn 50 when filming occurs in 2025. Coincidence? I think not. 

As Season 46 ends, speculating on what is sure to be one of the series’ biggest seasons is too hard to resist. With that in mind, it’s time to do my best impression of CBS casting director Jesse Tannenbaum and predict the cast and theme for Season 50 of…(Jeff Probst-length pause)…Survivor

Survivor 50: New Era All-Stars

The way I see it, there are two themes Survivor 50 could embrace, with a New Era All-Stars version the most likely. If you listen to the only official Survivor podcast, On Fire with Jeff Probst, you know full well that Probst is fully invested in the New Era concept. In fact, if you turned On Fire into a drinking game and had to toss back a shot every time you heard the term “New Era,” you’d pass out drunk in 10 minutes. 

Because the New Era of Survivor is exactly that, I don’t think Probst would be looking for players who appeared before season 41. While there are plenty of Survivors I’d love to see compete one more time (more on that later), one of the most important aspects of the New Era the Survivor host consistently points out is how dramatically the game has changed. He’s even said on his podcast how some players from the past wouldn’t get on the show today. 

Selecting cast members from Seasons 41-49 from a pool of around 160 players would give Probst some good options. Here’s who I’d cast:

Season 41: Xander and Shan

Season 42: Jonathan and Maryanne

Season 43: Jesse and Noelle

Season 44: Carolyn and Yam Yam

Season 45: Dee and Julie 

Season 46: Charlie and Maria

Although the last big returning-player season, Winners at War, had a 20 person cast, this theme would only garner the usual 18. The talent pool is thinner when the roster is taken from nine seasons instead of 39. With an average of two all-stars per season, two players each from 47, 48, and 49 are still TBD. Here’s how I’d group the tribes, which I’ve named after Fijian islands.

Nevadra (all winners tribe): Dee, Yam Yam, Maryanne, Charlie or Maria, two winners from 47, 48, or 49. 

Lakeba: Xander, Noelle, Charlie or Maria, three players from 47-49

Malolo: Shan, Jonathan, Jesse, Julie, Carolyn, one player from season 47-49

A tribe of all winners makes sense, as they’d be easily outnumbered targets if split up on different tribes. It’s also a good idea to separate people from the same season, as that would make for easy alliances—at least initially. 

Why this lineup: Yam Yam, Carolyn, and Jonathan were no brainers. I don’t think Survivor 43 winner Gabler, who was 51 when he won and is a heart valve specialist, would come back for another run seven seasons later. Another winner, Erika from Season 41, is remembered more for her controversial win than her gameplay. Although friends, a Julie vs Dee rematch is too tempting to pass up. And yes, I’m assuming that either Charlie or Maria is winning Season 46. 

Survivor 50: Legacy vs New Era

If Jeff Probst decides he wants to really blow things out for Season 50, the best way to do that would be to blend Survivor’s past with its present. This means not only bringing back some classics (family visits, gross food eating challenges, quizzes that revealed what you thought about your tribe mates, Probst riding a jet ski to the reunion show), but also returning to a 39-day season. The key focal point, of course, would be having Legacy players versus New Era players with a 20 player roster.

Hopefully producers don’t make the same mistake from Winners at War and keep the different generations in separate tribes. I also can’t see this as a winners-only season, as many of the older winners played in 40, have aged out, or both. Here’s who I’d cast:

Eori (Legacy players): Rob Cesternino, Dom, Cydney, Cirie, Fishbach, Spencer, Aubry, Malcolm, Devens, Chrissy

Bau (New Era players): Xander, Carolyn, Charlie or Maria (whoever doesn’t win), Jonathan, Jesse, Shan, Noelle, and three non-winners from Seasons 47-49.

Why this lineup: Dom came as close to winning as you can get, Cirie is arguably the greatest player to never win, and the rest of the Legacy players are fan favorites. Tiffany (S46) was strongly considered as was Danny (S41), so they’d certainly be alternates. Julie was taken out because she’s less compelling if not competing against Dee. Since none of the players on this roster have won, the gameplay should be intense. 

Two other themes that might be fun if Probst loses his mind

Survivor 50: Canada vs United States

It’s time for a new border war! Survivor started allowing Canadians on the show in its 39th season. By Season 49, there should be more than enough Canucks to choose from for a proper battle with US players. It’s poutine vs gravy fries. It’s their strange regional dialects vs our strange regional dialects. It’s inherent politeness vs inherent overconfidence. Who ya got?!

Survivor 50: Battle of the Decades

In a twist on Millennials vs Gen X, the three tribes from Season 50 consist of a returning group of twentysomethings, thirtysomethings and fortysomethings. Since the show rarely casts anyone in their 50s, they don’t get to participate since there’s not enough New Era players in that age group to make a tribe. Sorry, Mike Turner! 

Terry Terrones is a Television Critics Association and Critics Choice Association member, licensed drone pilot, and aspiring hand model. When he’s not applying to be on Survivor for the 100th time, you can find him hiking in the mountains of Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter @terryterrones.

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

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