By RICHARD HUFF
DAILY NEWS TV EDITOR
The next 'Survivor' features 18 contestants, two more than usual, including a model and a drill sergeant.
They have split up the men and women again on "Survivor."
And two more players have been added to the mix, according to the contestant list for "Survivor: Vanuatu - Islands of Fire."
The latest version of the adventure reality series was shot during the past couple of months in the Vanuatu group of 83 islands in the South Pacific.
This time around, producer Mark Burnett and his team have selected 18 players - up from the usual 16. The only other edition of "Survivor" to have 18 players was last season's "All-Stars," which was expanded to accommodate more past contestants.
As in previous editions, the contestants range in age, experience and physical ability.
"We really enjoyed these people," said host Jeff Probst. "They were really, really fun."
The list included a model, a drill sergeant and an amputee.
The series' ninth edition will begin airing Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. with a two-hour premiere. There will be 14 fresh episodes, rather than the usual 13.
One player is from the metro area - Mia Galeotalanza from Toms River, N.J. - and one is from upstate - Eliza Orlins of Syracuse.
For the uninitiated, "Survivor" follows a group of people who are dropped in a remote location and forced to fend for themselves. In the past, one person was voted off every three days, though the frequency of tribal councils changed this outing. The last person standing gets $1 million - but they've usually lost weight from not eating well and picked up some odd diseases along the way.
"The coral was a problem," Probst said. "If you get a little bit of a cut, it infects easily. ... Then flies get in there and lay eggs and it sort of blows up."
Usually, the producers mix up the game each time out. In Panama, for instance, they dumped the players off in what they were wearing at the time, leaving one woman to fend for herself in a cocktail dress.
This time, too, they weren't given any food.
"The thing we've sort of accepted," Probst said, "is we probably never will give them food again. We've seen they can make it on their own, if they're forced. They're given a machette,and a pot to boil water in. There's plenty of food on the island."
This time, contestants were also divided into tribes along gender lines. It's the same format Burnett used for the start of "Survivor: The Amazon," though the teams become co-ed during the course of the game.
The early division on Vanuatu is a homage to the location, where the men rule and the women follow, Probst said.
Changes in the format, concept and challenges have been a hallmark of "Survivor." That's also helped make it one of the strongest reality series. Last season, "Survivor: All Stars" averaged more than 21 million viewers, and "Survivor: Pearl Islands" averaged just over 20 million.