Survivor: Panama — Exile Island, also known as Survivor: Exile Island and Survivor: Panama, is the twelfth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor. The season was filmed in the Pearl Islands, off the coast of Panama. This location was previously used for Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: All-Stars. Filming began on October 31, 2005 and the season premiered on February 2, 2006 on CBS. The season finale was on May 14, 2006 with the votes revealed live from the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.
Applications were due on June 17, 2005. Around August 2005, 800 applicants were invited for an interview by CBS. Out of these 800, 48 of them were selected as semi-finalists and they were invited to Los Angeles in September 2005. From these semi-finalists, 16 were chosen the show and filming took place in November to December 2005.
The season included a twist that originally came from Survivor: Palau called Exile Island. Each week at least one castaway is banished for the time period between the reward challenge and the immunity challenge on Exile Island. The exile is given a single machete, a flint, a pot and a bucket of non-sanitized water. The island also contained a hidden immunity idol that could be used at tribal council after the votes have been cast. This gave the person who found the idol a strategic advantage because that person can keep the idol secret until he or she was voted off, which would cause the person with the second largest number of votes to be eliminated. As it developed, Terry found the idol and never needed to use it at a vote, but his possession of it appeared to influence how several other people voted.
The game began by splitting the 16 players into four tribes by sex and age: young men (Viveros, green buffs), older men (La Mina, orange buffs), young women (Bayoneta, blue buffs) and older women (Casaya, purple buffs). These four tribes were named after four islands located in the Pearl Islands. During the second episode the Viveros and Bayoneta tribes were dissolved and in a "schoolyard pick" with only Casaya and La Mina making two new integrated tribes. The 10 remaining contestants merged into one tribe, and called their new tribe Gitanos (black buffs, located at the former Casaya camp), the Spanish word for "gypsy." Coincidentally, a member from each of the original four tribes was represented in the final four.
Tina Scheer was originally slated for Survivor: Guatemala, but she backed out due to her son's death prior to that show.
In a 5-2 vote, Aras Baskauskas defeated Danielle DiLorenzo to take the $1 million prize.
Cirie Fields was selected from this season to compete in Survivor: Micronesia as part of the Favorites tribe and placed third. Fields competed again in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains as part of the Heroes tribe, where she placed 17th. Danielle DiLorenzo also competed on Heroes vs. Villains as part of the Villains tribe, placing 7th.
The complete season (including the mid-season recap episode and live Reunion show) was released on DVD on May 22, 2012, available exclusively through Amazon.com.