Australian Survivor format so strong, “it’s always going to generate high drama.”

Australian Survivor format so strong, “it’s always going to generate high drama.”

Not since 2017 has Australian Survivor drawn upon a cast of largely unknowns.

After hit seasons with celebrities and well-known sporting faces in All Stars, Brains v Brawn, Champions v Contenders, Blood v Water and Heroes v Villains, get set for all-new Tribes.

And host Jonathan LaPaglia couldn’t be happier.

“I see online that people are like ‘Yeah, great, we’re enjoying it. But we really want to see some new players, some regular people like us playing the game.’ So that’s what we’ve given them this year,” he tells TV Tonight.

LaPaglia believes Survivor is such a strong brand it doesn’t have to rely on celebrities to find its audience.

“I get it. There’s so much competition, so you’re trying to grab eyeballs, right? It’s much easier to promote someone that people know than someone they don’t know. The thing about Survivor is the format and the game itself is so good and so sophisticated, that if you cast it well enough, it’s always going to generate high drama,” he suggests.

“You’re either in or you’re out”

“They’re trying to get people to initially watch but the truth is, I don’t think Survivor is for the casual viewer, it’s for someone that really loves the game. You’re either in or you’re out.

“So I don’t think the viewer necessarily needs to see a bunch of celebrities. They just want to see good gameplay.”

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This season returns to Samoa for a Titans v Rebels battle.

“The Titans tribe is players who are at the top of their field. The overachievers, the ones who, I guess you could argue, make the rules” he explains.

“The Rebels kind of forge their own path and they break the rules. They’re the Rule Breakers. That’s the loose definition, I guess.”

“I was surprised how quickly everyone got to it, and really started playing the game aggressively.”

Aside from one player who has a TikTok following -for competitive eating- most of this year’s players will be unknowns. But they have their gameface on from the get go, LaPaglia insists.

“Normally with a bunch of new players, it takes a while for them to find their feet and warm up. But I was surprised how quickly everyone got to it, and really started playing the game aggressively. So there are a lot of big moves early in the game and consequently, a lot of big blindsides. It’s a game that’s always moving and is pretty aggressive at times. So I think it’s going to be fun to watch.

“We have some really fun relationships that develop this season. Feras and Raymond are these really unlikely bedfellows. They come from completely different worlds, completely different personalities, but they quickly developed this friendship. They’re they’re so fun to watch.

“Caroline and Mark are a bit older, they’re kind of the voice of reason. Alex and Kelly are the ultimate frenemies and it’s hilarious watching those two.

“I just can’t understand why he wasn’t brought on before”

“Eden is like a nerdy super fan. He revealed to me that he’s been trying to get on the show since Season One and he’s so good, I just can’t understand why he wasn’t brought on before that. I was kind of baffled by that. But he’s really great,” he continues.

“Valeria is hilarious. She’s this Russian model with a silver tongue. Viola is a competitive power lifter but she ends up being pretty savvy when it comes to the game. Jaden might be Australia’s strongest man, but he is hilarious.”

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LaPaglia, currently filming Top Gear Australia for Paramount+ and set to return to Binge drama Strife, is also looking forward to watching the show after its post-production.

“I haven’t seen any of it yet. But everyone who has seems to be quite high on it,” he explains.

“I love watching it because it’s the first time I’ve seen the politics at the beach. Every day we get ongoing updates all day long about what’s going on at the beach, but it’s just producers reporting back. So often something gets lost in translation. What they think is going on at the beach often is not quite what’s going on at the beach.

“That’s not wha they told us!”

“So when I see the final product, I’m both fascinated and sometimes surprised. I’m like, ‘That’s not what they told us!’ So for me, that’s the best part of the show as a viewer because I’ve heard about it but I haven’t seen it.”

During filming LaPaglia is so focussed on challenges and tribal.

“We’re running from pillar to post every day. There’s just no time to look at footage so you really are relying on these real time updates. Literally as things are happening they’re sending that information through to us. So all day long, we’re getting this scrolling narrative.

“All that information is really key for Tribal. Once I finished one challenge I’m preparing for the next Tribal. There’s so much prep that goes into all of this stuff. It’s impossible just to turn up cold. You’re constantly prepping.

“Once I’ve finished one, I’m onto the next.”

Australian Survivor returns 7:30pm Monday January 29 on 10.