Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands is the eighteenth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor. The season was filmed in the microregion of Jalapão in Tocantins, Brazil, and first aired Thursday, February 12, 2009.
CBS began casting for Survivor: Tocantins once production for Survivor: Gabon was underway. Applications were due by July 15, 2008, with in-person interviews being conducted in various cities sometime in August 2008, and semi-finalists traveling to Los Angeles, California sometime in September 2008.
Sixteen applicants were chosen to compete on the show, and were initially divided into two tribes. Exile Island returned this season, but with new twists. Instead of one castaway sent to Exile Island, two were sent. While on Exile Island, each exiled castaway picked from one of two urns. One urn contained a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol and an option to join the opposing tribe, while the other urn contained nothing. So far, Exile Island has not been used again.
James "J.T." Thomas, Jr. was named the winner in the final episode on May 17, 2009, defeating Stephen Fishbach in a unanimous vote. In addition, J.T. was named "Sprint's Player of the Season", earning the fans' vote over Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George and Sierra Reed. Thomas was the second player to win by unanimous vote, following Earl Cole of Survivor: Fiji, but the first to play a perfect game, meaning he received no votes throughout the season in addition to the unanimous jury vote. He remained the only player to do so until John Cochran of Survivor: Caramoan achieved the same feat in his season.
Thomas, along with Benjamin "Coach" Wade and Tyson Apostol, later returned for Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, where they placed 10th, 12th and 15th, respectively. Wade would return for a third time in Survivor: South Pacific, where he placed as runner-up.