A group of recently eliminated contestants who vote to determine the Sole Survivor
The jury consists of a group of eliminated castaways (typically past the merge portion of the competition) that return to witness the remaining castaways' actions at Tribal Council. The information they take in from these visits is supposed to help them decide who to vote for to win the $1,000,000 prize and the title of Sole Survivor at the end of the game. They are usually forbidden to speak, with the exception of the Final Tribal Council, where they are allowed to address the finalists and ask them questions.
The number of castaways on the jury ranges from seven to ten depending on the season.
When Survivor jury members get voted out, they are whisked away to a camp called Ponderosa (not to be confused with the base camp where the production crew stays). The CBS website has allowed fans to see what happens behind the scenes as jury members enter the camp and re-assimilate to life in the outside world since Micronesia. Jury members stay at Ponderosa until the day after Day 39 and are transported to every Tribal Council to get a glimpse at what is happening with the remaining castaways who are still in the running. While at Ponderosa, cast-offs enjoy movies, all the food they can eat, special excursions, bedding, showers, and many other luxuries not permitted during the game of Survivor. Additionally, the contestants get a chance to ponder on who they will vote for as the winner of the show, and conversations between the jurors at Ponderosa can decide the outcome of the season.
Final Tribal Council
On Day 39, except in the case of The Australian Outback which lasted 42 days, at the Final Tribal Council, after hearing the finalists' opening words, every jury member gives their jury speech, giving a chance to ask them a question or make a comment regarding their game and the moves they made. After all jurors have spoken, the finalists give their final statements, trying to convince the jury members to vote for them. The jury then votes for a winner.
Beginning with Game Changers, a new format for the Final Tribal Council was introduced. Instead of having each jury member speak one by one, the host would now moderate an open discussion to ensure a more insightful rapport between the jury and finalists.
Exceptions to Speaking at Tribal Council
The members of the jury are not permitted to speak during Tribal Council, in order to prevent them from influencing the game. They may, however, talk to one another. Usually, jury members express their thoughts and feelings through facial expressions, hand gestures and laughter, but there are several cases when one of the jurors actually spoke during Tribal Council:
In Marquesas, John Carroll was asked by host Jeff Probst to tell the final three castaways and the other jury members about Paschal English's condition. (Paschal collapsed after being voted out and was sent to a hospital. Because of this, he missed said Tribal Council.)
In Micronesia, at James Clement's first Tribal Council as a jury member after being medically evacuated, Probst asked James to explain to everyone why he had an IV bag of antibiotics. Later in the season, after Erik Reichenbach gave up his Immunity Necklace, James stated that he was no longer the "dumbest Survivor ever".
In Kaôh Rōng, many of the jury members were whispering to themselves and others during the fire-making tiebreaker between Aubry Bracco and Cydney Gillon. The next night, at the penultimate Tribal Council, they talked amongst themselves about who would be removed from the jury due to the Juror Removal twist, and Neal Gottlieb whispered insults to Michele Fitzgerald upon being voted off the jury.
Despite playing the game four times, Rob Mariano has never been a member of the jury. He was voted out one cycle before the jury phase on both Marquesas and Heroes vs. Villains, and was a finalist on All-Stars and Redemption Island.
According to the revisions of the Survivor Rulebook, depending on the circumstances, a person who quits during the jury phase may or may not be included on the jury. In such a case, the jury can be comprised of fewer members than initially planned, or a Final Two may take place instead of a Final Three.