Sunday, December 20, 2020

M-Net’s Survivor SA: Immunity Island switches to South Africa's Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape with 20 castaways, set for broadcast from 3 June 2021.

by Thinus Ferreira

Next year Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island with 20 castaways will play out on beaches along South Africa's Wild Coast in the country's second-largest province with M-Net (DStv 101) that revealed that producers switched the location of the 8th season to the Eastern Cape province.

On Sunday TVwithThinus reliable learnt that filming of Survivor SA: Immunity Island started on 6 November 2020 with the show that will be broadcast from Thursday 3 June 2021 on M-Net.

M-Net this past week confirmed that secret filming of the season had wrapped on Tuesday after just over a month spent in the Eastern Cape'sWild Coast - a region of untamed wilderness that stretches from East London in the south to the border of KwaZulu-Natal in the north.

In March, due to the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic that impacted both international flights, tourism and accommodation - as well as all TV and film production within South Africa that had to shut down - M-Net and the production company Afrokaans were forced to first indefinitely postpone the 8th local season of the show earlier this year.

Castaways who were selected from online entries and made the shortlist to be part of Survivor SA: Immunity Island were originally told that they needed to be away for up to 50 days for the 8th season, with the in-play show that had been mapped to run for 39 days again.

The 8th season of the show was supposed to be broadcast on M-Net from September this year.

Once the national hard lockdown period in South Africa ended a few months ago, Afrokaans and M-Net restrategised to try and make a go of still filming Survivor SA: Immunity Island in 2020 but now for broadcast from Thursday 3 June 2021 on the premium pay-TV channel.

The decision was made to switch filming of the usually island-based reality competition show, with the localised Survivor SA format that is licensed from Banijay Rights, to a South African location. 

That meant that passports for the castaways and crew, international travel and the use of foreign film support services and overseas location-based crew won't be required. 

All of the shortlisted castaways had to be asked whether they are still available - this time during November and December - and if they still wanted to take part.

Production on Survivor SA: Immunity Island - once again with host Nico Panagio counting votes at tribal council - wrapped this past week in the Eastern Cape, done in conjunction with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC).

The season was done within a protected and isolated Covid-19-free safety bubble. The castaways were rigorously Covid-tested and completely cut off from the outside world before filming started. 

The on-location Afrokaans crew, themselves undergoing Covid-19 screening, also entered an isolated production bubble whilst keeping contact with a support team on the "outside" that dealt with suppliers for the duration of the season's filming. 

So strict were Covid-19 safety protocols and the production bubble that not even M-Net's Randburg-based executives - who usually visit local shows during production - went on location, with the M-Net reality commissioning editor Terja Beney who didn't do a set visit.

Neither did any media visit Survivor SA: Immunity Island, with M-Net that in seasons past usually invited a few select press members to observe some of the castaway play and tribal council shenanigans during pivotal days like the merging of tribes.