M-Net re-assessing 'Survivor SA' timelines and location amidst coronavirus pandemic

Nico Panagio. (Photo supplied: M-Net)
Nico Panagio. (Photo supplied: M-Net)

Survivor South Africa has become the first local TV production directly impacted by the growing coronavirus pandemic, with M-Net "re-assessing the timelines and location for the next season."

The decision comes after the latest American season pushed out their production schedule by two months.

M-Net's eight-season of the local spin-off entitled Survivor SA: Immunity Island has completed the casting process, with filming on the undisclosed island destination scheduled to start in September.

But production may very well be postponed due to the growing number of coronavirus cases across the world

Castaways who are part of the jury will be on the island for up to 50 days, with the in-play show running over 39 days.

"The safety, health and well-being of our Survivor South Africa contestants and crew are extremely important to us. M-Net and the production company Afrokaans are re-assessing the timelines and location for the next season and will make a decision soon," Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity, tells Channel24.

MultiChoice and M-Net are going ahead with this Saturday's 7th Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards taking place in Lagos, Nigeria as well as the 2020 DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards taking place at The Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg.

Collectively thousands of people from across sub-Sahara Africa will attend the two award show ceremonies which will both be broadcast live on the Africa Magic and Mzansi Magic channels on DStv.

The National Film and Video Foundation's (NFVF) 14th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) has also received the green light for 27 and 28 March at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

AMERICAN SURVIVOR POSTPONED

On Wednesday CBS and the American version of Survivor decided to delay production of the latest 41st season of the reality competition which was supposed to start filming on 24 March due to the spread of Covid-19 globally.

The filming of the 42nd season has also been affected. 

"Due to concerns and uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19 globally, CBS and the producers of Survivor have taken the precautionary measure to delay production on the 41st season, which was set to begin filming later this month in Fiji," CBS says in a statement.

"Pending worldwide events, the plan is to return to production on 19 May. The health and safety of the castaways and production members is our top priority."

Survivor host Jeff Probst, who is also an executive producer on the show, said: "Though Fiji has no reported cases and is beautifully remote, our crew numbers over 400 and are flying in from over 20 different countries, creating a need for more time to fully analyze and create our new production safety plan".

"Due to the growing short-term uncertainty surrounding the global spread of Covid-19 and the corresponding desire for the continued well-being of our amazing crew, we have decided to push back our start date for Survivor season 41."  

"This situation is unprecedented, and we are learning more information every day. It is out of concern for the well-being of all of you that we have taken this step. Our intention is to begin production after the season 41 live show."

"Therefore, subject to new information, our new planned start date for production would be on or about 19 May 2020. Our intention is to still to shoot both seasons 41 and 42. We know many of you will have questions and we will start a communication chain to keep everybody up to date."

"We are the most experienced international television team in the world and for 20 years we have calmly and successfully managed a variety of production issues. We will navigate this one the same way. Thank you for understanding our need for this extra time to create our plan. Jeff."