Survivor is back this week – and by all accounts, it's one of the most difficult environments in the show's 32-season history.

"The conditions are punishing," host Jeff Probst tells PEOPLE. "There's rain. There's heat. It's just miserable. The problem with the rough conditions is that even a minor cut or scrape can become really dangerous."

If the show's first five minutes are any indication of what's in store for the 18 contestants, it looks brutal.

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Survivor Alum Michael Skupin Speaks Out After Child Pornography and Racketeering Arrest: 'I Have Never, Ever Hurt a Child'

Credit: CBS/Getty

Michael Skupin is speaking out for the first time since last week's arrest – and the reality star vigorously maintains his innocence.

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Survivor Alum Michael Skupin Charged with Child Pornography and Racketeering

Credit: CBS/Getty

Former Survivor contestant Michael Skupin is facing 11 criminal charges, including possession of child pornography and racketeering, the Michigan Attorney General's office announced Friday.

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Some people have jobs that are pure drudgery, where they do the same thing day after day after day after day.

After 16 years, you'd think that Jeff Probst would feel that way about Survivor. After all, he delivers many of the same lines on each episode. Immunity is won and lost. Someone is voted out. A torch is snuffed.

As the show prepares to debut its 32nd season in February, Probst enthusiastically tells PEOPLE that there is plenty of life left in the Survivor franchise. And the numbers don't lie – the show still delivers strong ratings, consistently winning the night in key demographics.

And Probst, 54, isn't going anywhere.

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Okay, let's take a quiz.

You've just competed on a wildly successful season of Survivor. You've either won the game, or you've emerged as one of the fan favorites.

What's your next move?

Well, if you're winner Jeremy Collins or standout contestant Joe Anglim, you land a guest starring role on The Young and the Restless.

On Wednesday's episode of the long-running soap opera, the reality stars will play coffee shop patrons. They filmed their scenes in December with series star Joshua Morrow, who happens to be a huge fan of Survivor.

PEOPLE spoke with Morrow, Anglim and Collins about the episode – and how Morrow would do if he ever competed on Survivor.

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FIRST LOOK: Preview Survivor's 'Most Punishing Season Yet'

Originally posted 01/22/2016 05:20 PM

Well, this looks awful.

CBS will begin airing its first Survivor preview since the newest cast was announced this weekend. In the First Look promo – obtained exclusively by PEOPLE – instead of playing the normal tribal music, the network is highlighting the suffering that the contestants endured.

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Meet the Cast of Survivor: Kaoh Rong

Originally posted 01/20/2016 11:00 AM

Where does Survivor find these people?

No, that's not a rhetorical question. We really want to know.

When the long-running reality show returns for its 32nd season, Survivor: Kaoh Rong, on Feb. 17, they've found a new batch of contestants to compete for the $1 million prize. Survivor's strength has always been in its casting, and, by the looks of this crew, they may have done it again.

There's a bounty hunter from Detroit, a Minnesota ER doctor, a semi-retired NBA player and a female bodybuilder from Georgia. There's a 19-year-old student and a 72-year-old(!) former FBI agent from Florida.

For the record, only one other septuagenarian has played Survivor. Rudy Boesch was 72 when he played in Survivor: Borneo and 75 when he competed in Survivor: All Stars. He turns 88 on Wednesday and is still going strong.

In a nod to 2014's exceptional Survivor: Cagayan, the tribes will be split up into the same three categories: Brains, Brawn and Beauty. By all accounts, it's a brutal season with inclement weather, exhausting challenges and more than one medical emergency.

The season will also feature a new twist: two hidden immunity idols can combine to form one super idol that can be played after the votes are read. (Okay, we'll reserve judgement on that one until we see it play out.)

Here are the 18 contestants who will try to Outwit, Outplay and Outlast their way to the end.

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Let's face it: Survivor doesn't always have a feel-good ending.

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And the Winner of Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance Is ...

Originally posted 12/16/2015 10:15 PM

There are no easy seasons of Survivor. From the harsh conditions to the big personalities, the experience is simultaneously exhilarating and miserable for the contestants.

But this season took it to the next level. All 20 contestants had played the game before, but none had won. The result? A hungry cast who was willing to make big moves and stab each other in the face to win the million dollars.

There was strategy and double-dealing, and it was delicious to watch. And there was a lot at stake – the winner would become the show's 30th victor in 31 seasons. (Sandra Diaz-Twine has won the game twice.)

Six contestants made it to the final episode: Jeremy Collins, the likable (and buff) fireman from Massachusetts. Spencer Bledsoe, a student from Chicago who thrives on strategy. Kimmi Kappenberg, the Texas mom who has made quiet moves and never been in danger. Keith Nale, the aw-shucks Louisiana firefighter who is great with a one-liner. Kelley Wentworth, the Seattle marketing manager who displayed a natural aptitude for the game. And Tasha Fox, an athletic accountant from Missouri.

So who walked away with the million-dollar prize? (Spoilers ahead!)

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When Survivor airs its finale on Wednesday night, Brazilian spitfire Abi-Maria Gomes won't still be in the game.

Voted out on day 35, she barely missed being in the show's final episode.

It's a familiar spot for Gomes, who placed fifth on Survivor: Philippines – barely missing the finale of that season.

On paper, Gomes seems like a perfect "goat" – a contestant who rubs people the wrong way and is easy to beat at the final tribal council. But for some reason, her tribes get rid of her before the finale.

Gomes, 36, tells PEOPLE why she was voted off – and how she had planned to win the game.

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