Jonathan LaPaglia rules out Survivor switch to Queensland

When I speak with Jonathan LaPaglia he is hunkered down in California, unable to attend the recently filmed Australian Survivor Reunion.

For LaPaglia, who is himself an avid fan of the format, it’s a big disappointment but a necessary one. 10 go-to guy Osher Günsberg steps into the studio with LaPaglia announcing the winner via satellite (he declines to reveal quite how that unfolds).

More frustrating is the delay to the next season which was due to film in Fiji in April and screen in coming months. Nor is it practical to relocate to the tropics of Queensland, either.

“Every production around the world has been put on hold and we’re no exception,” he explains.

“It’s not going to be possible until we’re on top of the pandemic -not only from an insurance point of view, but just the logistical point of view.

“You may be able to isolate the cast for something like Survivor, but you have a crew that’s still functioning within the community, wherever that is.

“The way crews work, they are very tight.”

“The minute one crew member gets it, obviously they’re out but then you have to isolate everyone else who’s been in contact with them. The way crews work, they are very tight. So as soon as one person gets it, basically your whole production is shut down.”

The crew comprises some 200 to 300 people.

“Not only do we have Australians that we transport over to Fiji, but we also have an equal amount of local hire on transportation, construction. catering, security. They’re involved in everything.”

Producers had originally mapped out a three-way final Tribal Council, but tonight only two of David, Moana & Sharn will proceed beyond the very last challenge.

“It’s an endurance challenge, again. There’s elements of other final challenges in this challenge,”says LaPaglia.

“We really wanted to do three but the unfortunate situation with Lee and his mother, he had to leave the game so we couldn’t do a final tribal of three.”

“He’s a producer’s dream in a way.”

And while David is the bookie’s favourite to win, LaPaglia points out that even if he loses the challenge there’s still the question of whether one of his rivals may or may not take him to the end.

“David’s incredibly entertaining, very smart and he knows how to work a camera as well. So he’s a producer’s dream in a way.

“But there’s no one way of doing it, which is what makes the game so fun to watch.”

LaPaglia, now in his 5th season for 10, has won plenty of praise for his hosting of the series, with a watertight format that requires him to follow the hosting methods of Jeff Probst -from challenge descriptions to the poetic summary wrapping up Tribal Council.

“They’re all quite opinionated about it!”

But he points out the the Aussie players have developed a gently ribbing of his Tribal Council closing summary.

“In the US they just kind of sit there, don’t say anything and leave. But (in Australian Survivor), they’re all waiting for it and they’re all quite opinionated about it!

“They always give me either a thumbs up or ‘nahhhh.’ It’s like they’re holding up score cards!” he laughs.

“We do have a writer that that comes up with them, but when we’re organising the votes we push ideas around and stuff.

“It usually references what’s happened in the Tribal. Sometimes we get a little stuck because in the edit the ‘theme’ disappears or is not prominent. So sometimes the tagline at the end doesn’t quite work.”

Tonight David, Moana & Sharn only want to hear one thing: they they have outwitted, outlasted and outplayed the very best to win $500,000.

Australian Survivor airs 7:30pm tonight (Reunion at 9pm).


  1. Well, I didn’t want David to win (I wanted Moana to) and I thought the producers interfered too much throughout the series and played favourites. Especially during tribal councils Jonathan lead the questioning in certain directions too much. Jeff in the US version doesn’t do that. Anyway, the final was a let down, not just because David was obviously going to win, but because having Sharn not present sort of made it all a moot point.

    I really wish they’d get the Aussie version back toward the original feel – less whose back story makes us want them to win but based on who can get through. Remember some of the best winners were the least likeable people.

  2. Tax breaks are a major budget consideration too, the film and TV entertainment world is now facing some fierce competition from the global economy for subsidies and tax concessions, they’ll have to get in line with everyone else.

    • Nope disagree just cause of what is happening doesn’t mean we should change where things are shot …. COV19 shouldn’t change plans for things it should just delay them.

  3. Still too many contestants competing and tooooooo many days.
    Don’t like either of the two women, one placed second already and she hasn’t played the game as well as David. Mo shouldn’t win either… her game play… not as well as David’s this season.

    • I thought that originally, however now I like the Oz format, I think it’s a good number of episodes, and that some of them are a bit longer. With the US original, it’s like a blink and you miss it 42 minutes a week. Not enough.

  4. David can not win the challenge. Mo will take Sharn to the final and Sharn will take Mo, since both of them know that they can not win against David. Most of the jury do not like Sharn for the way she betrayed them not once but several times. So Moana will be the winner of Survivor All Stars?

    • Good call. They’ve featured Moana’s reason for wanting the money pretty heavily throughout the series so wouldn’t surprise me if she won

  5. I guess it is how you want the Survivor game to be played on who you want to win. Moana has just sat back with a grin, munching on that little bit of stick and watched everyone else pick each other off. Then you have barrister Sharn who is the sneaky one who will turn on anyone for what she thinks will be her own benefit. Then we have David who I didn’t like in his first season but wow he is a monster at manipulation without hardly winning a challenge. By the looks of the adds they are going to do the really hard challenge again of standing on the poles and I cannot imagine David lasting long in that one. I sure hope he does though. He has been the most entertaining one through the whole series. If David doesn’t win, I hope it is Moana. Good luck to all

    • “Then you have barrister Sharn who is the sneaky one who will turn on anyone for what she thinks will be her own benefit”. – As all good barristers do.

  6. Shame about the next season, but of course there are bigger issues in the world. I predict the season that was going to be later this year will now kick off 2021.

    David is not only the best player that Aus Survivor has seen, he’s one of the best worldwide. Very much deserves to win.

      • This season he has developed into a “love-to-love’ for me, he knows how to put on a show for the cameras. Watching the US Winners version at the moment, I think there are a lot there who would not beat him in challenges. And currently the canniest player seems to be Rob, who I don’t think people would call especially physical.

        I expect Jeff Probst is madly trying to recruit David to a US season, but David seemed to indicate that he wanted to settled down in Aus now.

        • Yes, David definitely deserves the win. He is a brilliant player and on another level to the rest of the contestants this season – always planning his next move and at least one step ahead of everyone else. He’s no slouch at the challenges either and always puts in 100%. Also fascinating to watch and highly entertaining.
          A real shame Matt’s not still there – I think he would have really given Dave a run for his money and would have loved to see them as the final two.

  7. carolemorrissey

    For the first time in a while I don’t like any of the finalists & don’t care who wins. I wanted Shonee to win & am really angry at stupid Sharn for not voting David off the other day.

    • Love your passion for the show. One of the reasons the show is as fresh now as when it started is that we get so invested in the players with different viewpoints. If Shonee had made it to this stage, I would have stopped watching (couldn’t stand her), but I am thrilled that for a change some of the best players have made it to the end.

  8. Once again, 10 have flippin’ nailed this season. Personally, I’m still not a fan of David but he has been a Survivor master and deserves the win (though I’d be very happy if Moana takes it). Whatever the outcome, I’ll be glued to every second tonight.

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