Last week, Survivor showed a 20-year anniversary retrospective highlighting "great" moments that, in retrospect, reveal the fault lines in the show’s format, says Myles McNutt. "Individually, these moments were frustrating, but brought together they are a damning case against how Survivor has muddied its gameplay and sacrificed something in the process; and yet, to the producers, they’re 'great moments.'" The retrospective coming on the heels of the very problematic Season 39 didn't offer much hope for Season 40. Yet the Survivor: Winners at War premiere made you forget Survivor's past problems, says McNutt. "Every one of the show’s All-Stars seasons has a certain thrill attached to it, but the components here are operating on a different level immediately," he says. "I think the central reason is that unlike most seasons, it doesn’t feel like Jeff Probst is shoving a theme down our throat: the winners theme speaks for itself, and there is less of an effort to try to force returning players into either a tribal theme (like Heroes vs. Villains) or an individual theme (the wonky Game Changers). Each person won a different game, for different reasons, and comes into Winners at War with a different set of goals. Not everyone’s built-in narrative is equally interesting (see: Ben, although we’ll get to that later), but there is enough variety that there’s a degree of sensory overload. But because the game mostly eschews traditional introductions, the premiere felt like it had the space to give us the stories we needed, and to reinvest us in a fairly wide variety of players in just a two-hour window."
Kellee Kim has teamed with Time's Up to ensure CBS follows up on its promises to change Survivor's sexual harassment policy: "In many ways, it seems to me that CBS and Survivor want to forget about Season 39," she tells the Los Angeles Times. "But Season 39 is particularly important because of the event that had transpired. Making sure that we aren’t holding on to the pain and the anger that everyone is feeling, but to remember what happened — to make sure that this never happens again — is hugely important...Season 40 has already filmed, but there’s a whole new group of people that are going (to) Fiji in March, and then probably another season right after that. And so it’ll be really interesting to hear how these changes are implemented. And hopefully, if anyone else speaks up, whether it’s cast or crew, these changes are put into place so that there is an avenue to speak out. This is a big reason why I think it’s important to keep sharing my story and really for everyone who was a part of the season and watched the season to continue holding CBS and Survivor responsible."