How 10 is turning Australian Survivor on its head with Blood v Water

Survivor blood v water

• The show’s EP talks new location, new rules, and Survivor royalty

One of 10‘s flagship franchises, Australian Survivor, will return on January 31st with a new format Blood v Water

Blood v Water has been used twice in the US to much popularity and will see the game of Australian Survivor turned on its head when the contestants initially compete in pairs with their loved ones. 

Mediaweek spoke with the show’s executive producer, Tim Ali, about what fans can expect from this new format, the new location, and the fact that the show will be featuring Survivor royalty.

“We’re really trying to bring all the best themes to the Australian show,” said Ali. “What really excites me about Blood v Water is that everyone can relate to this gameplay and that initiates so many conversations for the audience at home. No matter who you’re watching it with. You’re constantly putting yourself in the contestant’s shoes and asking, oh, what would you do?”


Tim Ali

When asked about what makes the show so relatable, Ali credited Endemol Shine Australia for doing a great job with the casting for this series.

“We’ve got brothers, cousins, sisters, in-laws, mother-daughter, father-daughter, and a married couple. No matter where you’re watching around Australia, there’s no doubt it’s just going to spark so much conversation throughout households. Even the production team as it played out in front of our eyes, we were looking at each other and saying what would you do? Who would you play with?”

The Location

The series was filmed once again in Queensland where Ali said the cast and crew were welcomed with open arms by the Gudjala people. One of the biggest lessons that Ali learnt from last season was about the location, with him admitting that they may have underestimated just how brutal the show could be in the outback.

“We definitely went in a bit more prepared for that. Even though the conditions were very, very different. Queensland certainly switched on an awesome landscape for us again, and it’s the only state where you can have such different conditions in two different locations. We’re only six hours down the road and it was a completely different feel in terms of the landscape and the conditions.”

Ali described the location for this series as much tropical than it was for Brain v Brawn with much more water and less dust.

“This season feels a lot more tropical. There’s a lot more of a water element to the show. It has that real far north Queensland tropical feel. It has lagoons, swamps, natural flowing rivers and waterfalls. We had rain and electrical storms and all those kind of things. It was a really big shift from the kind of the really dry and dusty outback that we got in Brain v Brawn.”

Australian Survivor: Playing the Game

When asked about the fast pace style of Brains v Brawn that saw multiple idols, surprise twists, and several second chances, Ali said that the game will be played differently with this new format.

“It was definitely a style that we used in Brains v Brawn. With this theme being Blood v Water, there are so many more intricacies around that theme. And around having the players enter the game in pairs. We were a bit more strategic in how we laid the idols out and the clues and the twists in the game because we really wanted to make this about a theme and really play into the huge difference of this series which is obviously playing in pairs.”

While the players will enter in pairs, Ali also pointed out that the end of the game remains the same, in that everyone has to eventually look out for themselves.

“These contestants are going into the game with someone that you 100% trust which is the big positive. The negative to that is that they also know all your flaws, how to push your buttons and how to manipulate you. It becomes highly complicated when you’re trying to manoeuvre through and making your own friendships and moving your way through your social games. It makes it really tough because, at the end of the day, the key thing is there can only be one Sole Survivor.

Survivor Royalty

The headline act of this season of Australian Survivor is Sandra Diaz-Twine, who is the only ever two-time winner of the US series. She is now going for a historic third title of Sole Survivor as she competes with her daughter. Ali said that this was a huge get for the show, but that Diaz-Twine was quick to find out how different the Australian version of the show is.

“Going in we were all super excited about it. After wrapping the show I’m still super excited about it. And after seeing the episodes, I am even more excited about it. I’ve had super fans coming out of the woodwork messaging me personally just saying I can’t believe you have Sandra, this is massive.

Sandra and Nina

“The biggest mistake that US contestants can make when coming over here to play is actually thinking they know the game and thinking they can put all their knowledge of the US game into the Australian game. They can certainly do that but it is a very different style here. And it’s something that Sandra actually identifies and articulates very well really early on. So I’ll leave that for the fans to see and find out.”

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