‘Survivor’ Season 35: Jeff Probst Breaks Down ‘Heroes v Healers v Hustlers’ Concept

Survivor Season 35 is set to air this fall, and host Jeff Probst is teasing the upcoming concept and how the new players reacted to it.

The next season of Survivor is called Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, featuring 18 new castaways split into those three corresponding tribes. The Heroes group is comprised of those who put themselves in harm’s way for the common good, from military veterans to lifeguards. The Healers tribe includes those who save others, like doctors and therapists, and the Hustlers work hard for the money, including personal assistants and bellhops.

Probst spoke with Entertainment Weekly about Survivor‘s 35th season, discussing why they landed on this theme and how it relates to the show’s core concepts.

“Survivor is a game about social politics so we continue to look for new ways to divide people based on human behavior. This season is unique in that they are divided based on how they are perceived by others. Heroes are used to being heralded, healers receive gratitude, and hustlers earn respect. The question this season is, how do those imposed labels impact how they see themselves and how will they play Survivor?”

As Probst observed, all of these attributes are generally admired, so there’s no negative stigma attached to them as some felt about the “Beauty” tribe or the “Villains” tribe in seasons past. Of course, there were some castaways this season who felt that they belonged in all three categories, Probst said.

Survivor 34 reunion
Jeff Probst at the 'Survivor: Game Changers' reunion [Image by Monty Brinton/CBS]

“During the casting process, we always tell players they can tell the truth or lie about anything or everything,” Probst continued. “But they are always aware that there might be a theme that reveals something about their profession or age or background. So when I said ‘Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers,’ I’m sure there were a few people quickly reconsidering what they were going to say about their background.”

All of the castaways from Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers have already been revealed by Martin Holmes at Inside Survivor. As fans of the show know, Holmes regularly gets the heads-up on casting info for the show. Six of these 18 players were teased during the Season 35 preview featured at the end of the Survivor: Game Changers reunion, including marine Ben Driebergen, personal assistant Ali Elliott, lifeguard Ashley Nolan, bellhop Ryan Ulrich, physical therapist Desi Williams, and urologist Mike Zahalsky.

Many of these players were raring to go before the season began, as suggested by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Josh Wigler, who was out on location for the first three days. Lifeguard Ashley indicated that she’s a go-getter who’s ready to throw herself into whatever may come.

“I’ve met lifeguards that come out and only do one season, and then they quit because they realize, ‘I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want to have to do this.’ They sit there the whole time, intimidated. ‘I hope this doesn’t happen. I wouldn’t know what to do if this happened,'” she explained. “And I’m just like, bring it on. I want to be the person that’s in the action.”

Then there’s bellhop Ryan, who is already thinking about the social part of the game even more than strategy or physicality.

“It’s a social game, obviously, and everything emanates from that social game. A lot of people, if you just watched the show, and even if you listen to the podcasts, I think you fall into this lull that everything is about strategy,” he said. “And obviously it’s a huge part of the game, but I always thought the most important moments take place off-camera — and in those moments, you’re talking about Game of Thrones, you’re taking about sports, entertainment, movies. That’s where you build connections with people. Then once you have a little bit of a relationship here, then I think you can parlay that into something of strategy.”

Survivor host Jeff Probst
'Survivor' host Jeff Probst [Image by CBS Entertainment]

Survivor‘s 35th season will once again take place in Fiji, the location used for Season 14’s Survivor: Fiji, Season 33’s Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, and Season 34’s Survivor: Game Changers. As Probst told Entertainment Weekly, the beauty of the location is what keeps them coming back season after season.

“It is the most beautiful place we’ve ever been,” he said. “They’re great to work with, the islands are amazing, the water is crystal clear and the accommodations are excellent.”

Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers will air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS this fall.

[Featured Image by Timothy Kuratek/CBS]