The name is ominous and can lead viewers to believe that there is something sinister to the filming location of Survivor’s 36th season. Promos for the show played up the concept of Ghost Island as if the island were known for its haunted past. The reality is, however, that Survivor: Ghost Island is filmed on a tropical archipelago who’s most terrifying aspect is that it, at one point long, long ago, was volcanic.
Known as the Mamanuca Islands, Ghost Island is the fifth season of the show to be filmed in Fiji. According to a write-up by Variety about the new season, producers of the show “have no desire to the move the show… out of the confines of Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands.” The islands are what you’d expect from a tropical getaway in the Pacific, complete with rolling plains of emerald green, palm trees, and immediate access to the ocean. Of course, participants won’t get to enjoy much of the Mamanuca Islands’ beauty.
As for the name, “Ghost Island?” It’s mostly a gimmick that, in a roundabout way, explains the catch to the 36th season. Ghost Island replaces Exile Island as the place disgraced participants go to when banished from their team. On the secluded island, which sits off the coast of Fiji, they’ll find provisions needed to survive along with relics and mementos from seasons past. Above the makeshift bed, they’ll have to construct hovers a mobile made of 35 torch snuffers from prior seasons. The island will also feature memorabilia scattered about the island accompanied by missed advantages that the banished player can try to acquire.
If it sounds quirky and corny, series creator Jeff Probst agrees. During Variety’s visit to the set of Ghost Island, Probst admitted that “It’s a corny, over-the-top idea,” but that doesn’t mean he isn’t in love with it. “I love that we’re playing on the fact that there’s a place where all bad decisions live and can haunt you.”
While fans of the supernatural and ghost stories may be disappointed, Ghost Island is shaping up to be one of the show’s most outlandish seasons. Catch the first episode tonight on CBS at 8 pm EST.