‘Survivor’ debuts new season on CBS

Allison Corneau

CBS is making a leap back into the fall TV season with the seventh installment of their hit primetime show that combines strategic game play with the drama that is reality television. “Survivor: Pearl Islands,” premieres tonight at 8, and features surprises not seen in the previous “Survivor” seasons.

Each season, producer Mark Burnett has viewers on the edge of their seats as they welcome sixteen castaways into their home and watch as they compete in challenges to separate the weak from the strong.

Not unlike the previous seasons, this year’s group of castaways will have to brave the elements of the Panamanian coast, as well as forge relationships and all-important alliances with their fellow tribe members. On the “Pearl Islands” season, the sixteen cast members, who come from all walks of life across the country, will be separated into two co-ed tribes, dubbed Drake and Morgan, presumably to go along with the season’s theme of piracy. Burnett has one trick up his sleeve that he has made public prior to the airing of the first episode, revealing that the two tribes will be sequestered on separate islands, a new idea introduced after six seasons of the tribes’ cohabitating on the same island.

“Survivor” contestants packing their bags for Panama include Tijuana Bradley, a 27-year-old single mother from St. Louis, MO, who holds a broadcast journalism degree and enjoys skydiving in her spare time and self-proclaimed risk-taker Nicole Delma, from California, who hopes her gourmet cooking skills will help her build alliances with teammates on the secluded island. Also on the Morgan tribe is Darrah Johnson, a 22-year-old mortician who hopes her outspoken and competitive nature will help her win the title of the ultimate “Survivor,” and Osten Taylor, 27, from Boston, who may be able to aid his team in building shelter, as he has previously worked as a construction worker.

The Drake team counters with Rupert Boneham, from Indianapolis, Md., who is currently employed as a mentor for troubled teenagers; art consultant Jon Dalton, from Virginia, who cites his organizational skills and strong work ethic as two of his most admirable traits; and Connecticut native Sandra Diaz-Twine, who currently resides in Washington, and employed by the United States Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

These members and their fellow tribe mates will find themselves in the middle of their first tribal challenge, to determine who survives and who gets eliminated in this race for a handsome monetary reward. Viewers can see who outwits, outplays, and outlasts the competition in “Survivor: Pearl Island’s” 90-minute season premiere tonight at 8 p.m.