Survivor: Island of the Idols premieres with a 90 min episode, a new twist involving 2 returning winners, and a group of 20 new castaways. The show is in its 39th season but still has some surprises for viewers.
This season, the new players will have some help in their quest to outwit, outplay, and outlast their opponents, in the form of two survivor legends. "Boston" Rob Mariano, who has appeared on Survivor four times, winning Survivor: Redemption Island, and Sandra Diaz-Twine, the show's only two-time winner, will be on hand to mentor this season's castaways. Their combined 200-plus days of Survivor makes them uniquely qualified to share the skills they've learned with this new group and will likely play a large role in determining which of the 20 players walks away with the $1 million dollar prize and the title of Sole Survivor.
So far, audiences have learned that the players will be divided into two teams mentored by the returning Survivor veterans, Lairo Tribe and Vokai Tribe. Let's take a look at who will be joining each tribe and what we know about them so far.
- Elizabeth Beisel is an Olympic Medalist. No stranger to water, this 26-year-old swimmer is from Saunderstown, Rhode Island.
- Ronnie Bardah is a 35-year-old pro poker player, something he shares with returning winner Rob. He is from Henderson, Nevada, but grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts.
- Missy Byrd, a 24-year-old from Tacoma, Washington, is an Air Force Veteran. Missy, originally from Decatur, Georgia, is the youngest player in the Lairo tribe.
- Dean Kowalski is a 28-year-old working in tech sales in New York City. Originally from Westfield, New Jersey, this east coaster will be leaving the tech behind to join the Emmy-winning show.
- Tom Laidlaw from Greenwich, Connecticut, at 60-years-old is the oldest player this season (though the oldest person to play Survivor remains Rudy Boesch at 75). He should be fully prepared for the physical side of Survivor because Tom is a former NHL player, originally from Ontario, Canada.
- Aaron Meredith, 36, originally from Connecticut, is another player who should be prepared for the physical side of the game. He's currently a gym owner from Warwick, Rhode Island.
- Vince Moua is from Palo Alto, California, where he is an admissions counselor. This native Californian is 27 years old.
- Karishma Patel has some experience with the outwit aspect. Originally from Philly, this 37-year-old personal injury lawyer currently resides in Houston, Texas.
- Elaine Stott is a factory worker from Rockholds, Kentucky. At 41 years, old this native Kentuckian is the oldest woman in the Lairo tribe.
- Chelsea Walker, a 26-year-old originally from Marlton, New Jersey, is currently a digital content creator living in Los Angeles.
- Lauren Beck, 28, from Glendale, California, is a nanny. Beck is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan and Bakersfield, California.
- Molly Byman is a 27-year-old law student from Durham, North Carolina. However, she shares her hometown of Boston with returning winner "Boston" Rob Mariano.
- Janet Carbin, 59, originally from Neptune, New Jersey, is the oldest member of Vokai and the oldest female player this season. Another castaway who is comfortable in the water, she currently resides in Palm Bay, Florida, where she is a chief lifeguard.
- Kellee Kim, a 29-year-old native Californian, is currently an MBA student in Philadelphia.
- Jason Linden, a 32-year-old New Yorker is the second personal injury lawyer playing this season.
- Jack Nichting is a 23-year-old graduate student from Virginia, making him not only the youngest player on Vokai, but also the youngest player this season.
- Noura Salman, born and raised in Maryland, is a 36-year-old entrepreneur.
- Tommy Sheehan is a 26-year-old 4th grade teacher from Long Island, New York.
- Jamal Shipman, 33, originally from Jersey City, New Jersey, is currently a K-12 admissions counselor in Providence, Rhode Island.
- Dan Spilo, the final member of the Vokai tribe, is a 48-year-old from New York, who is currently residing in Los Angeles where he is a talent manager.
Survivor: Island of the Idols premieres Wednesday, September 25 at 8pm on CBS.