Entertainment Weekly reports that the decision to pre-tape the finale was made so that players "feel as comfortable and safe as possible while discussing what happened out on the island"

By Ashley Boucher
December 12, 2019 07:38 AM
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The upcoming season of Survivor will conclude a little differently than previous finales of the long-running competition series.

While the finale of series traditionally includes a live reunion show, the final episode of Survivor: Island of the Idols will be pre-taped, Entertainment Weekly reported on Wednesday. The news of the change comes the same day it was announced that contestant Dan Spilo was removed from the game, a franchise first.

A source told the outlet the decision to pre-tape the finale was made in order to help the players “feel as comfortable and safe as possible while discussing what happened out on the island,” in addition to concerns about security and the sensitive material covered on the show this season.

EW reported that the season finale will still be taped in front of a live studio audience and is expected to air “in its entirety without any edits.”

“As in past seasons, the show will take place in front of an audience and still plans to start with a ‘live’ introduction, have periodic look-ins during the finale, and then a reunion/cast discussion after a winner is crowned,” according to EW.

Dan Spilo
Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

Spilo was removed from the game following an undisclosed “incident,” host Jeff Probst announced to the remaining players during Wednesday’s episode. As the screen faded to black at the end of the episode, the following message appeared: “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.”

While details about the mysterious “incident” were not given, multiple people involved with the show’s production confirmed to PEOPLE that the incident happened after an immunity challenge as Spilo and other contestants were getting into a boat to transport them back to the camp.

While getting into the boat, Spilo allegedly touched a female crew member on the leg. He insisted that the contact was accidental, according to multiple sources, but the show’s production team wasn’t convinced of that and after consulting with the show’s legal team, producers decided to remove him from the show.

At least one of the remaining contestants witnessed the incident. Sources close to Spilo say that he vehemently disagreed with the decision to remove him from the game.

Neither CBS nor Spilo are providing additional comment at this time.

Spilo was accused earlier in the season of inappropriate touching, when contestant Kellee Kim expressed concern that the Hollywood agent had violated her personal space, even after she repeatedly asked him to stop.

Kellee Kim, Dave Spilo
Robert Voets/CBS (2)

Kim was ultimately voted off of the show after vocalizing her concerns about Spilo.

Since Spilo’s removal from the show, Kim released a statement on Twitter, writing, “Tonight, on CBS Survivor, Dan Spilo was kicked off the show for, once again, inappropriate touching. While Dan’s dismissal has validated the concerns that I raised from the beginning of this season, I wish that no one else had to be subjected to this type of behavior.”

“CBS and Survivor were on notice of Dan’s behavior from the very first days of the game. And, as Survivor fans know, shortly after I spoke up on camera, I was voted off the show. Since then, I’ve accepted genuine, heartfelt apologies from fellow castaways, but I’ve continued to feel disappointed by how this pattern of behavior was allowed to occur for so long.”

“While I wish many things had gone differently, I’m glad that my decision to speak up made a difference,” Kim added. “What is most important to me now is how all of us — CBS, Survivor, other organizations, and all of us as individuals — decide to learn from this story and commit to take action.”

Kim concluded her message by expressing gratitude for the many people “who have reached out to me over the last few weeks to share their own stories and messages of solidarity.”

Probst declined to give further information on the “incident” that caused Spilo’s removal in an interview with Entertainment Weekly published after Wednesday’s episode aired.

“The question is a fair and reasonable one,” Probst told the outlet when asked what happened. “I’ve endeavored to be as forthcoming as possible with you regarding everything that has happened this season. In this situation, out of respect for privacy and confidentiality, I can’t say anymore.”

The season finale of Survivor: Island of the Idols airs December 18 on CBS.