For the second time in Survivor‘s 32-season history, the show is returning to the familiar format that pits a trio of tribes against each other divided along the lines of brains, brawn and beauty. The first time we saw this twist came in Season 28’s Survivor: Cagayan. The concept was incredibly well-received by viewers and critics alike, sparking one of the most enjoyable seasons the show has ever seen with an excellent cast.
When Survivor: Kaoh Rong airs its first episode in February, it will be nearly a full year since the competition was filmed in Cambodia, which is the same location of Survivor: Second Chance. The most interesting thing to note is Kaoh Rong marks the first time CBS has ever aired an edition out of order. Yes, Kaoh Rong was filmed and wrapped before the Second Chance cast was even announced in May.
Host Jeff Probst says Kaoh Rong is “the most punishing season in Survivor history.” Early spoilers indicate there are at least three medical evacuations.
Among the castaways competing for the $1 million prize are two notable names. The first is reality star Caleb Reynolds, who was on Big Brother 16 in the summer of 2016. He finished that season in fourth place. Caleb was among the few all-new castaways showcased during the brief season tease at the end of the Survivor: Second Chance finale. His time on Big Brother was not referenced. Instead, he was listed as an Army veteran.
“I may not have all the brains, but I do have some good looks,” Caleb said in the season preview. “I am a man’s man, but at the same time, country boys like to dress up, too. It’s time for a country boy to show his true colors up in here.”
Caleb is now the second Big Brother contestant selected for Survivor after Hayden Moss joined Season 27 (Survivor: Blood vs. Water).
Kaoh Rong will also feature Scot Pollard, who spent years in the NBA. From 1997-2008, he played for several teams, including the Pistons, Kings, Pacers, Cavs and Celtics.
“I used to play in the NBA for 11 years,” he said in the season preview. “I ran around and pushed people, and I did it better than most people. My friends call me caveman, let alone my enemies. It’s time for a caveman to win.”
We were also given a brief glimpse of four other castaways. Here’s what each of them said in the preview.
Debbie: “I’ve been an electronics expert, a captain, a bartender, a photonics manufacturing supervisor. I’m a chemist, caretaker to none and, between jobs, Red Lobster as a server.”
Liz: “I achieve a lot. I have a dregree from MIT. I got a perfect score on my SATs. I think everybody recognizes I’m actually unusually intelligent.”
Cydney: “People do find my muscles intimidating. I’m just, like, a woman actually taking care of her body, not just eating double cheeseburgers all day.”
Tai: “I’m a gardener. I love all living creatures. I do want to make history. I want to be the gay, Asian guy 51-year-old to win Survivor.”
Survivor: Kaoh Rong will be unleashed with a 90-minute premiere on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 at 8 p.m. EST. To help get you in the mood, watch the 108-second tease below.
Survivor: Kaoh Rong preview