How 90-Minute Episodes Will Improve Survivor (& Make It Worse)

There will be a major change to the schedule of Survivor season 45, and the shift could have some pluses and minuses. Other than season premieres, finales, and rare special episodes, Survivor has always had one-hour episodes. That will be changing for the upcoming Survivor 45.


Set to premiere on the fall CBS schedule, Survivor season 45 will have 90-minute episodes. CBS recently confirmed the online rumors about longer episodes. They announced that the season is set to air back-to-back on Wednesday nights with The Amazing Race, which also is switching to 90-minute episodes.

Longer Survivor Episodes Can Show Contestant Relationships

The benefit of 90-minute episodes is that they will allow Survivor to flesh out the interpersonal relationships between the players. Whether the show takes advantage of that opportunity remains to be seen, but the extra runtime could help paint a clearer picture of the contestants and their interactions with each other. Though Survivor 44 did a better job than other new-era seasons, there are still many points during modern seasons where it’s unclear where the players stand with one another.

90-minute episodes will give the show a chance to show more camp life and more of the relationship-building happening on the island. The schedule could help clarify confusing moments on the show, like in Survivor season 43 when Jesse Lopez stated in a confessional that he was close with Karla Cruz-Godoy, but the episode never showed them interacting or building a bond. The longer episode structure, if utilized well, could help balance the strategy aspects of the game with the interpersonal dynamic aspect that was much more prevalent in early seasons.

Longer Episodes May Lead To More Survivor Twists

Sarah Wade and Jeff Probst Survivor 44

One of the drawbacks of the longer schedule is that it could tempt the producers to add even more wrinkles to an already stuffed game. The most common criticism of the “new era” seasons is that they feature far too many twists and advantages, and longer episodes could allow the Survivor‘s creative team to further toy with the format rather than focus on the contestants. Though the new era has added some interesting elements to the show, many new ideas have been universally panned, and longer episodes could give the show too much freedom to experiment.

Hopefully, Survivor can strike a balance with the new schedule. The producers could use the extra time in several ways, but they should consider incorporating more camp life into the show. There are already enough twists and advantages in the new era Survivor format, so the extra time should only be used to refine those elements and clarify relationships rather than be used as an excuse to add even more wild ideas to the Survivor mix.

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