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16+ Behind-The-Scenes Secrets About 'Survivor'

Survivor has been running for almost 40 seasons, making it one of the longest running reality TV shows of all time!

So naturally, there have been loads of behind-the-scenes spiciness over the years that we're about to unveil!

1. Votes are revealed strategically.

YouTube | Mike Slime

Jeff isn't just randomly pulling votes out. There's a reason why the most suspenseful vote comes right before a commercial break.

After the contestants place their votes, Jeff and the rest of the production team sit down and arrange the order for a more dramatic effect.

Makes SENSE!

2. Those that get voted off the show early go on vacation together.

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It turns out they don't just get on the next flight home. They take advantage of the fact they're already somewhere tropical.

Honestly, this is just good sense.

3. Jury members stay at a resort.

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Ever wonder how jury members always come back looking fresh AF?

Well, it's because they're sent to a luxury resort called Ponderosa, where they're fed and pampered.

4. All of the contestants are paid.

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We all know last person standing receives a million dollar prize. However, did you know second place receives $100,000, and third place gets $85,000?

But it doesn't stop there!

Everyone else gets $10,000 just for showing up.

BRB, signing up right now.

5. Contestants have smuggled things onto the show before.

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While nobody is allowed to bring any personal items or tools into the game, a few contestants have tried to sneak a few things in before.

One contestant wore fishhook earrings, another sewed flint into her shirt, and another managed to sneak a pack of matches in.

6. When contestants arrive, they are given a few essentials.

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These include feminine products, sunscreen, insect repellent, and vital medication.

7. Toothbrushes, combs, and razors are prohibited.

So, really just the essentials.

8. Many contestants are recruited.

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Every year, Survivor receives an overwhelming number of applicants, as you can probably imagine.

But the producers are looking for very specific and diverse personality types to make the show interesting.

Even after they make it past the application stage, they are asked to audition. Then, the recruiters hand pick the most colorful personalities to bring on board.

9. Female contestants are given birth control.

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Although all of the contestants are unclean, hairy, and have bad breath— when you're trapped on an island for that long, your primal instincts could kick in at any moment.

So to ensure that no unwanted pregnancies occur, Survivor supplies all of the women with free birth control, in case they wanna get frisky!

10. Contestants are allowed to bring one hand-held item with them.

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So, aside from the clothes on their backs, they are allowed to bring one item with them, so long as it can fit in their hands.

11. There is always a team of medical staff seconds away.

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They aren't exactly hiding in the bushes. But the show takes the safety of the contestants very seriously, so if anything goes awry, emergency medical staff will be on-site within moments.

12. The entire behind-the-scenes crew has their own private camp nearby.


Ever wonder where Jeff Probst and the rest of the crew go while they're not doing challenges or having council meetings?

They're posted up at a comfortable campsite, with access to unlimited food and drinks.

13. The producers aren't allowed to speak to the contestants.

All those times that the contestants are doing a private confessional, they're speaking to a cameraman.

A crew member will typically decide which contestant they take aside to do a confessional, whenever there is drama brewing.

14. The wardrobe is chosen by the producers.

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Contestants are asked to bring two outfits with them that represent their respective careers. The producers then choose the outfit that seems to make the contestant look the most in character as possible.

This explains why former contestant, Cochran, was always wearing sweater vests, even though he said he had never actually worn one in real life before.

15. "Survivor" has their own internship program.

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The people chosen to be apart of the internship program are known as The Dream Team.

They're a group of, usually, college students, who get to spend the summer being paid to test Survivor challenges.

16. Before contestants arrive on the beach, they have no idea where they're going.

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Survivor makes it a point not to reveal the shooting location to contestants before they actually get on the show, so that they can't go there ahead of time and plant tools or scout the area to be a few steps ahead of everyone else.

Even up until they arrive to the beach on a boat, they are driven in blackout vehicles, so that they don't know where they're being taken.

17. The ocean is their toilet.

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While watching the show for all these seasons, you've probably wondered to yourself where the bathrooms are on this basically deserted island.

The answer? IN THE OCEAN!

Yep. That's right. Contestants do all of their defecating in the sea.

18. There is an evacuation plan.

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In 33 seasons, they've only ever had one evacuation, and it was during the Millennials vs. Gen X season when a cyclone hit Fiji.

19. Contestants are examined by the medical team before and after every challenge.

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To ensure that contestants are in well enough shape to participate in each challenge, they first have to get the okay from the medical team.

Then, after challenges, to continue business as usual, they have to be re-examined to make sure they didn't injure themselves during the challenge.

20. The cast is driven to their challenges.

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Challenges are usually set up quite aways from where the contestants do their free roaming.

That being said, they aren't asked to hike through the forest for miles to get to the challenge location—again, they're driven in blackout vehicles, so they don't know where it is exactly.

21. There are challenge rehearsals.

YouTube | SurvivorOnCBS

It's unlikely that Jeff gives a simple 10-second explanation on how the challenge works and off they go.

They are brought to the challenge ahead of time, and the production crew takes the contestants through very detailed instructions.

The cameramen also get to test out shooting certain angles at this time, so that they don't miss any of the action during the real thing.

22. Tribal council takes several hours.

YouTube | Just Only Survivor

To the viewers, it looks like the whole thing takes about 15 minutes at most.

But in reality, Jeff will be asking the contestants probing questions for about three hours.

Only the most interesting moments will be put on the air, while all the awkward silences and less exciting moments will all have been for nothing.

23. Challenges also take hours.

YouTube | SurvivorOnCBS

Again, the challenges aren't conveniently timed to last no longer than 20 minutes. They often go on for hours.

Then the production crew decides which clips are worthy and which ones are not.

24. Jeff almost left "Survivor" for good.

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He full-on resigned from the show permanently back in 2008. After 17 seasons, he spoke out about how unfulfilling it was to just be a host.

But just months later, he changed his mind. Now, he's not just a host. He's an executive producer as well.

25. The contestants have body doubles.

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Contestants aren't always performing their own stunts. For certain arial shots that may have been missed the first time around, production calls in a team of stunt doubles to recreate certain shots.

Reality TV is *never* as it seems.

What fact surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below!