"We recognize there are things we could have done differently, and we are determined to do better going forward," the show and network said in a joint statement.
As promised, CBS and "Survivor" are taking this season's scandal very seriously, outlining several changes to upcoming seasons in the wake of removing its first player ever from the game over inappropriate conduct.
The news comes on the heels of Dan Spilo's public apology to Kellee Kim, who called out his unwanted physical contact in the season's very first episode, and on the eve of its highly-anticipated finale and reunion show, which has decided not to air live for safety concerns.
Spilo was accused by Kim early in the season of unwanted touching, which she addressed with him directly. That wasn't the end of it, though, as there were further incidents, including and up to an undisclosed "off-camera incident" with a member of the show's staff.
It was after this incident that Spilo was ultimately removed from the show. The move was met with intense criticism across social media, and even among members of the cast, including Kim, for just how long it took "Survivor" to react to a series of behaviors that were making women uncomfortable and were caught on camera.
And it is surely at least in part to this reaction that CBS has come forward with an action plan for moving forward; one that will be implemented beginning with the upcoming 40th season (the 2020 spring cycle).
"We recognize there are things we could have done differently, and we are determined to do better going forward," CBS and Survivor said in a joint statement received by Deadline. "We will take the important lessons we learned from this season and adopt new protocols and procedures for future seasons, to ensure that the events that occurred this season are not repeated."
While Season 40 has already filmed, the production had already "added to its pre-production cast orientation specific guidelines regarding personal space, inappropriate behavior, and how to report these issues."
Beginning in Season 41, the show says it will add another member to its staff, an "on-site professional" to handle confidential reporting of any concerns, as well as a "full range of reporting processes" players will be advised of before shooting begins.
Further, production is adding "new anti-harassment, unconscious bias and sensitivity training for cast, producers and production crew on location," as well as a new rule to the game "stating unwelcome physical contact, sexual harassment and impermissible biases cannot be brought into the competition and will not be permitted as part of gameplay."
They are also partnering with a "third-party expert in the field" to continue to evolve their processes and modify them as warranted moving forward. Finally, CBS has promised that the measures being implemented on "Survivor" to protect its players and staff will also be developed and implemented on all other CBS reality shows.
While everything seen thus far on "Survivor" this season was filmed months ago, before any of this backlash had begun, Wednesday night's reunion show will be Jeff Probst and company's first chance to speak on television about the season that just was, mistakes made and intentions moving forward.
On top of that, all of the players -- presumably -- involved in the season's various related controversies will be present to account for their actions, and perhaps call out the show for its inaction. Hopefully, should a lively debate spring up, "Survivor" will allow it to play out and present it accurately and honestly for its viewers.
They deserve as much transparency as the show can muster after such a divisive season and its perceived poor handling of such an important issue.
"Survivor" airs its two-hour finale, followed by a not-so-live reunion show, Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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