‘Dream Team’ the secret ingredient to Australian Survivor challenges

Before contestants are unleashed on daily challenges, there are 24 men and women who run the course first.

They are the Australian Survivor‘s “Dream Team,” the silent men and women who test challenges before contestants are unleashed on the official course.

Behind the scenes of the hit 10 series there is a crew of 300+ people, around half being Aussies and the other half local Samoans.

“We employ quite a lot of local people which is great for the local economy,” says host Jonathan LaPaglia.

“The first time the contestants see the challenge -literally- is when they walk on and I’m there to greet them. The first time they hear about it is when I explain what the challenge is about.

“Then we (stand) down, and the challenge department will then walk the players as a tribe, through the challenge. So they’ll walk along the challenge and explain to them what each part is. If something is tricky, they’ll explain that obviously, in more detail than I do.

“There’s a lot of safety stuff that needs to be communicated to the players. But that’s all they get. There’s no hands-on, they don’t get to touch any of it or practice any of it. They just get information about the steps involved, and safety. Then they’re lined up and it’s off to the races.”

The challenges are tested by production staff, but there are sometimes very surprising results.

“We have what’s called the ‘Dream Team’. We start out with 24 and they represent the players….. We also use them to test the challenges a couple of days before to make sure it all works.

“It gives the camera people an idea where they need to put cameras, what they need to focus on, it helps me think about commentary for the challenge.

“But often what happens is with the real players, the outcome is often completely different from the Dream Team!

“Sometimes the Dream Team can do something really quickly and easily and it’s difficult for the real players. And the opposite is true, too. Sometimes it takes a Dream Team an hour to do something, and the real players will do it in 10 minutes!”

Australian Survivor screens 7:30pm Sunday – Tuesday on 10.

7 Responses

  1. Love Aussie Survivor and Jonathon especially. The South African version is my second favourite. They really get into each other!! Now the American version has gone to 90 minutes, it is kind of drawn out too much like ours but I don’t complain!

  2. I love that the Aussie design team does try to create new challenges or spins that have not been seen on the US version. Though this week, an idol clue hidden in a banana (hello choking hazard!) and the return of the Net Trap Of Death suggested the OHS team were short staffed for that episode.

  3. My only gripe with Survivor, and this is not only just the Australian version obviously, is that every challenge is exclusively physical… sure there’s a “puzzle” at the end, but it’s hardly brain surgery. The early game is so often dictated by tribes needing physical strength that it’s heavily skewered towards the more athletic players making it further than perhaps they should in terms of strategising and making things interesting. I wish there were more intellectual, less demanding challenges that could play out. How about a giant game of chess? Or a trivia type quiz? Or something that can get the brain ticking instead of always focusing on the heart rate maxing out.

      1. I don’t watch the Oz version and its been a while since being a regular viewer of the US one but the makers did used to throw in purely mental challenges-these are harder to do when a player is very tired or under fed and gives a chance for less athletic players to keep in there.

    1. I agree. In the past couple of seasons the early challenges take a 1 on 1 or a 2 on 2 wrestle with an obvious strength advantage. And when you have Brains vs Brawn, it’s clearly going to give Brawn an advantage. Which it did.

      At least this year, they seem to have more of the multi parts obstacle with a puzzle, so not balanced.

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