’Survivor SA’ host Nico Panagio. Picture: Supplied
’Survivor SA’ host Nico Panagio. Picture: Supplied

Nico Panagio chats all things 'Survivor: Immunity Island'

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published May 29, 2021

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Actor and TV presenter, Nico Panagio will host 20 fascinating but diverse group of castaways who are ready to outwit, outplay and outlast each other for the winner’s title in “Survivor SA: Immunity Island”.

Shot over two months in a production bubble in the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast, season eight starts on Thursday, June 3 at 7.30pm on M-Net (DStv 101).

Panagio, who has been hosting the show since season 3 said fans are in for a mind-blowing season with plenty of twists, turns and thrills that will make it even better than the last.

“Every season is a huge deal, and both cast and crew look forward to the experience, this time around is no exception.

“It’s completely mind-blowing and castaways really hit the ground running from the minute they stepped foot on the island,” said Panagio.

Filmed in a production bubble, Panagio explained that the upcoming season presented many challenges for the production crew and cast who had to be put on a hard lockdown for the duration of the shoot.

“Days before filming, we had to get Covid-19 tests done and isolated in our hotel rooms.

“We couldn’t use the hotel facilities like the gym or pool nor could we walk in the main hotel area.

“All we did for the two months was go to the beach and back to our rooms. It was a real sacrifice and very difficult to do but well worth it since we got to make another season of Survivor despite the adversity,” he said.

Castaways also had the full “Survivor” experience as a cold front hit the South Coast during the initial weeks of filming.

“The weather was atrocious, it just rained a lot for the first couple of weeks, but that did not deter the castaways, they were amped to play the game despite the cold weather,” said Panagio.

Admitting that he did miss filming the season overseas, he said the Wild Coast offered just as much beauty as any other island overseas.

“I love the travel part of filming this show and I did miss it.

“My family always tag along and we steal little pockets of tourism, but filming locally was also awesome.

“When viewers watch it, they will see it looks exactly like a remote island overseas.

“Post-production we allowed nature's natural colours to shine and we got a lush, tropical, green finish which is gorgeous,” he said.

Revealing this season's contestant tactics, Panagio said this group hit the ground running from the get-go, and like always, only the ones who can adapt to change will thrive.

“Some come for the adventure, others for the accolade, but this time, we see a few more students of the game who have come to beat the game.

“It’s always exciting when they think they have it all figured out and then the game twists and turns and their decisions have consequences.

“It really ups the ante and makes for great viewing,” said Panagio.

Three reasons he offered for viewers to tune in was that South Africa was one of the few countries that got to make a season of “Survivor” in a pandemic stricken year; the season is even better than the last few and it offers viewers an opportunity to see the South African coastline in all its grandeur.

“From the coastlines to the creatures and snakes, this is a truly special season that shows off Eastern Cape’s Wild Coat and it is gorgeous,” said Panagio.

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