Welcome to the Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers preseason! The Hollywood Reporter's Josh Wigler reports from his exclusive visit to the show's shooting location in Fiji, where he interviewed host Jeff Probst, as well as the 18 new castaways battling it out for the million-dollar prize.
Click here to make sure you're all caught up on our stories from the island, including our weekly podcast series First One Out, an in-depth look at all of the new players, culminating in an interview with the first person voted out of the season.
Survivor season 35, subtitled Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers (feel free to call it Triple H for short), premieres on Sept. 27, pitting three different tribes from three very different walks of life against each other. In the opening minutes of the season premiere, which you can watch in the video above, host and executive producer Jeff Probst explains exactly what each of the tribe designations means within the context of the season:
• The Heroes, wearing blue and formally called Levu, are "heralded for your courage, your achievements and your ideals."
• The Healers, wearing yellow and formally called Soko, are used to receiving "gratitude for your acts of service in helping others heal their physical or emotional pain."
• The Hustlers, wearing red and formally called Yawa, get their moniker not because of their abilities as liars, but because of their work ethic and their mantra: "Get it done, no matter what, 100%, all the time."
The first six minutes of the premiere shine the spotlight on six new players, appropriately enough. If you've been following along with our preseason coverage, you already know these castaways intimately. In case you're just now tuning in, here are the six players highlighted in the first few minutes of the episode, with some added quotes from their conversations with THR in the days before the game began.
Ben Driebergen (Marine, Heroes Tribe): "You have to learn from [being a marine]. It's hard. You feel like you're alone when you come back. Every Marine and veteran who comes back from all that stuff has a lot on his or her plate. You have a foot in the grave and you don't care about nothing. There's help now that's out there, but you kind of have to figure things out for yourself. Once you do, life is a lot better. Life is worth living after you get back."
Chrissy Hofbeck (Actuary, Heroes Tribe): "What an actuary does is calculate the present value of future risk. We say what we think is going to happen in the future. What's the probability of that happening? And we use that to figure out our best current decision. That's exactly what Survivor is. What do I think will happen in three days, six days, nine days? What do I have to do now in order to account for that down the line? It's all just future probabilities, right? It's great."
Cole Medders (Wilderness Therapy Guide, Healers Tribe): "Mountaineering and rock climbing, in a way, it's a very selfish pursuit. It doesn't accomplish anything for the world. It basically just gives me my good feelings, my goals, my accomplishments. In order for me to give back, I wanted to ignite that love for the outdoors in a younger generation. For me, wilderness therapy has done that. It's my chance to give back to the outdoors that shaped me, and also make someone's life better."
Mike Zahalsky (Urologist, Healers Tribe): "I've succeeded at everything I've ever done. I'm not gloating, it's just a fact. I was valedictorian of my high school class. I was accepted to Brown for their college and med school program at the same time. I was the first person in Brown's history to have three concentrations and graduate in four years. I then did a master's while in medical school with a focus on epidimeology, because I had time on my hands. I did a five-year residency, a six-year fellowship in male and female sexual dysfunction and male infertility, and at the same time I did genetic research at MIT for a year. I came down to Florida with less than a thousand dollars to my name, a $200,000 line of credit, and now I have one of the busiest urology practices in South Florida: three offices, four doctors, three PAs, 29 employees."
Ali Elliott (Celebrity Assistant, Hustlers Tribe): "My mom is one of 11 kids. That whole side of the family is obsessed with Survivor. Out of the 35 seasons, I've probably watched live at least 20 or 21. For my 12th birthday party, my aunt threw me a Survivor party, where my soccer team had to pick our buffs and had competitions all over the house. It's literally crazy. We even [used to] do a Survivor pool, where we pulled names of contestants out of a hat, and whoever you pulled, that's who you were for the season. We would have email conversations: 'You're going to Loser Island! Sucks for you!' You know how they have fantasy football? This was fantasy Survivor for us. It's definitely been a big part of my life."
Ryan Ulrich (Bellhop, Hustlers Tribe): "It's a social game, obviously. Everything emanates from the social game. If you just watch the show, and even if you listen to podcasts, you fall into this lull that everything is about strategy. Obviously, it's a huge part of the game, but I always thought the most important moments take place off camera. In those moments, you're talking about Game of Thrones, you're talking about entertainment, movies. That's where you build connections with people. When you have a little bit of a relationship there, then you can parlay it into strategy. It's not just getting this hodgepodge together and working with it."
Meet the new Survivor cast in the first episode of "First One Out," THR's preseason podcast:
The story will unfold soon, as will our coverage of Triple H all season long at THR.com/Survivor.