You're reading it here first.
The live finale and reunion show of Survivor South Africa: Champions is set to take place this Sunday on M-Net (DStv 101) at 17:30 at only TV with Thinus has the insider secrets you want to know.
The Survivor SA: Champions finale, the end of the 5th season of the reality show, will literally be like no other before it.
Where the live finales of all the previous seasons took place at M-Net's studios in Randburg inside what is now the SuperSport studio, the finale will be happening for the first time ever in a brand-new location: Sasani Studios.
For that, furious construction has started on a special set to recreate the atmosphere of the South China Seas where the Survivor SA: Champions contestants battled the elements - and each other.
"The set construction started on 14 May at 09:00 and should be completed by late Friday night, ready for the first rehearsal of the finale which will start at 09:00 on Saturday," Eileen Sandrock, the CEO of Sasani Studios tells TV with Thinus.
"The Survivor SA: Champions finale is being held in a brand-new studio at Sasani, and this will be the first live show to be hosted in Sasani's new Stage 8".
The construction of Sasani's Studios' new 2 330m2 studio complex, Studio 8, started in October last year and Eileen Sandrock and her team says they're thrilled that Stage 8 was chosen for the live finale of this flagship M-Net show.
TV with Thinus can spill that there will be a live studio audience as well - a very small invited audience of 60 people that include the family members of the castaways and captains Corne Krige and Mark Fish, members of the media and sponsors.
"The reunion show has been designed to be an intimate, yet gripping television event, during which the Survivors can reflect on their time on the island," a source reveals.
"The studio audience is smaller than before, as we want to focus on the completion of the emotional journey of the castaways, which sometimes gets lost in a huge studio affair," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.
Some of the original props and items viewers saw during the course of Survivor SA: Champions on M-Net will pop up again.
"It's never possible to bring the entire Tribal Council set back to South Africa," Anton Burggraaf the head of entertainment television from production company Endemol South Africa tells TV with Thinus, "but we will be using many of the original props from the Tribal Council and the island".
"We are also recreating some of the elements from Tribal Council, like the crates for seating and the fire pit. We have gone for a more intimate feel this year, so while we are incorporating some jungle elements in the foliage and the South China Sea feel in the set textures, there will also be large screens with island footage as backdrops".
After those harsh words, fights and take-downs at Tribal Council during the show, its anyone's guess what the various contestants are going to have to say to each other during the finale and reunion.
"Contractually, the contestants are not allowed to see one another without being chaperoned by M-Net representatives before the live reunion show," says Lani Lombard.
"The top three met for the first time since the island today (Friday) when they did radio interviews at Heart 104.9 fm and Smile 90.4 fm. They will also be at the Valley of the Stars event at the Tyger Valley Centre tonight, where they will answer questions about the show and sign autographs".
"All these activities are supervised by M-Net. The castaways from the different regions are arriving in Johannesburg tomorrow (Saturday) and on Sunday they will all arrive at Sasani a couple of hours before the show starts," Lani Lombard tells me.
Another big question is about those votes and the names the contestants wrote down which is now being kept until the big reveal on Sunday.
"The votes have been under lock and key since they were couriered from the island," says Anton Burggraaf.
"The sealed envelope was opened in the presence of auditors and verified, and returned to the voting box and the box is now locked in a safe place".
"An encryption code known by only two people, was shared only a few weeks ago to a closed edit for the final vote sequence. Anyone working in the edit and final mix process has signed a confidentiality agreement. Currently only 7 people have seen these votes," says Anton Burggraaf.
"The box will be collected from the sage by the event security personnel and kept under their guard until required on set during the live show. The winner was known to only three people on the island, and four people subsequently in post production".
"No-one from M-Net or publicity know who the winner is," says Anton Burggraaf. "Nobody from Endemol SA or its suppliers besides these seven - sworn to secrecy - know who the winner is before that winner's name will be announced live on Sunday evening during the show on M-Net".
"Maintaining the secrecy around the winner is always the most interesting thing," says Anton Burggraaf, "but it is also reassuring that there is an unwritten production etiquette that it is in everyone's best interest that only a handful of people know - because it is their job to know, to write scripts, direct content and edit the shots".
"In fact no-one - except the public who don't know this etiquette - ever asks who the winner is,it is simply bad form!" shares Anton Burggraaf.
Don't miss the Survivor SA: Champions live finale and reunion show this Sunday on M-Net (DStv 101) at 17:30.