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Survivor (US TV series)

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Title: Survivor (US TV series)  
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Subject: Survivor (TV series), Vecepia Towery, Brian Heidik, The Player (TV series), Rob Cesternino, Nova TV (Croatia), Kelly Wiglesworth, Rafe Judkins, List of University of California, Irvine people, Survivor Live
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Survivor (US TV series)

Genre Reality competition
Created by Charlie Parsons
Presented by Jeff Probst
Starring Survivor contestants
Theme music composer Russ Landau
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 27
No. of episodes 377
Executive producer(s) Charlie Parsons
Mark Burnett
Jeff Probst
David Burris
Running time 43 minutes
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV) (2000–2008)
1080i (HDTV) (2008–present)
Original run May 31, 2000 (2000-05-31) – present
Related shows Expedition Robinson
International versions
External links

Survivor is an American version of the Survivor reality game show, itself derived from the Swedish television series Expedition Robinson originally created in 1997 by Charlie Parsons. The series premiered on May 31, 2000, on CBS. It is hosted by television personality Jeff Probst, who is also an executive producer, and also executive produced by Mark Burnett and original creator Charlie Parsons.

The show maroons a group of strangers (as one or more tribes) in a desolate locale, where they must provide food, water, fire, and shelter for themselves, while competing in challenges to earn either a reward, or an immunity from expulsion from the game in the next of the successive votes for elimination. While much less common than elimination by vote, medical conditions, such as injury or infection, have eliminated several contestants. The last two or three survivors face a jury composed of the last seven, eight, or nine players voted off. That jury interrogates the final few, and then votes for the winner of the game, the title of Sole Survivor and a million dollar prize.

The American version has been very successful. From the 2000–01 through the 2005–06 television seasons its first eleven seasons (competitions) rated amongst the top ten most watched shows. It is commonly considered the leader of American reality TV because it was the first highly rated and profitable reality show on broadcast television in the USA, and is considered one of the best shows of the 2000s (decade).[1][2][3] The series has been nominated for several Emmy Awards, including winning for Outstanding Sound Mixing in 2001, Outstanding Special Class Program in 2002, and was subsequently nominated four times for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program when the category was introduced in 2003. Jeff Probst has won the award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program four consecutive times since the award was introduced in 2008. In 2007, the series was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 greatest TV shows of all-time.[4]

The series has been renewed for the 2013–14 television season and the 27th season, Survivor: Blood vs. Water, debuted on September 18, 2013.[5]

Format and rules

The first U.S. season of Survivor followed the same general format as the Swedish series. Sixteen or more players are split between two or more "tribes", are taken to a remote isolated location (usually in a tropical climate) and are forced to live off the land with meager supplies for roughly a month. Frequent physical challenges are used to pit the teams against each other for rewards, such as food or luxuries, or for "immunity", forcing the other tribe to attend "Tribal Council", where they must vote off one of their players. Once about half the players are remaining, the tribes are merged into a single tribe, and competitions are on an individual basis; winning immunity prevents that player from being voted out, while several that are voted out at this stage form the game's "jury". Once down to two or three people, a final Tribal Council is held where the remaining players plead their case to the jury members. The jury then votes for which player should be considered the "Sole Survivor" and win the show's prize. In all seasons for the United States version, this has included a $1 million prize in addition to the Sole Survivor title; some seasons have included additional prizes such as a car.

The U.S. version has introduced numerous modifications, or "twists", on the core rules in order to keep the players on their toes and to prevent players from relying on strategies that succeeded in prior seasons. These changes have included tribal switches, seasons starting with more than two tribes, the ability to exile a player from a tribe for a short time, hidden immunity idols that players can use to save themselves at Tribal Council and a chance to return to regular gameplay after elimination through "Redemption Island".

Series overview

The United States version is produced by Mark Burnett and hosted by Jeff Probst. Each competition is called a season, has a unique name, and lasts from 13 to 16 episodes. The first season was broadcast as a summer replacement show in 2000. Starting with Survivor: Africa, there have been two seasons aired during each U.S. television season.

In the first season there was a 75-person crew. By season 22 the crew had grown to 325 people.[6]

# Name Location Original tribes Winner Runner(s)-up Vote Notes
1 Survivor: Borneo Pulau Tiga, Sabah, Malaysia Two tribes of eight Richard Hatch Kelly Wiglesworth 4–3 The only season to have the winner revealed on location rather than live and in the U.S.
2 Survivor: The Australian Outback Herbert River at Goshen Station, Queensland, Australia Tina Wesson Colby Donaldson 4–3 The first time a contestant was evacuated due to injuries; first season filmed for more than 39 days, running 42 days
3 Survivor: Africa Shaba National Reserve, Kenya[7] Ethan Zohn Kim Johnson 5–2 The first season to feature a tribal swap
4 Survivor: Marquesas Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia Vecepia Towery Neleh Dennis 4–3 Featured the controversial Purple Rock tie breaker
5 Survivor: Thailand Ko Tarutao, Satun Province, Thailand Two tribes of eight picked by the two oldest players, Jake and Jan Brian Heidik Clay Jordan 4–3 The first season to have a fake merge and a Mutiny offer where players could change tribes
6 Survivor: The Amazon Rio Negro, Amazonas, Brazil Two tribes of eight divided by gender Jenna Morasca Matthew Von Ertfelda 6-1 The first season to feature men vs. women
7 Survivor: Pearl Islands Pearl Islands, Panama Two tribes of eight Sandra Diaz-Twine Lillian Morris 6–1 Featured the Outcast Tribe twist; first season to have two contestants re-enter the game
8 Survivor: All-Stars Three tribes of six returning players Amber Brkich Rob Mariano 4–3 The first time a season began with 3 individual tribes; first season to begin with 18 contestants; first time that former castaways returned
9 Survivor: Vanuatu – Islands of Fire Efate, Shefa Province, Vanuatu Two tribes of nine divided by gender Chris Daugherty Twila Tanner 5–2
10 Survivor: Palau Koror, Palau A schoolyard pick of two tribes of nine; two eliminated without a tribe Tom Westman Katie Gallagher 6–1 First season to begin with 20 players; introduced exile island
11 Survivor: Guatemala – The Mayan Empire Laguna Yaxhá, Yaxhá-Nakúm-Naranjo National Park, Petén, Guatemala Two tribes of nine, including two returning players Danni Boatwright Stephenie LaGrossa 6–1 Introduced the hidden immunity idol
12 Survivor: Panama – Exile Island Pearl Islands, Panama Four tribes of four divided by age and gender Aras Baskauskas Danielle DiLorenzo 5–2 The first time a season began with four tribes
13 Survivor: Cook Islands Aitutaki, Cook Islands, New Zealand Four tribes of five divided by ethnicity: African Americans, Whites, Hispanics, and Asians Yul Kwon Ozzy Lusth Becky Lee 5–4–0 First season to feature three contestants in the finals, instead of two
14 Survivor: Fiji Macuata, Vanua Levu, Fiji Two tribes of nine divided by a selected castaway, who would join the tribe who lost the first challenge Earl Cole Cassandra Franklin &
Dre "Dreamz" Herd
9–0–0 Only season to have an odd number of contestants
15 Survivor: China Zhelin Reservoir, Jiujiang, Jiangxi, China Two tribes of eight Todd Herzog Courtney Yates Amanda Kimmel 4–2–1 Introduced a twist involving kidnapping players from the opposing tribe
16 Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites Koror, Palau Two tribes of ten: fans against popular past contestants Parvati Shallow Amanda Kimmel 5–3
17 Survivor: Gabon – Earth's Last Eden Wonga-Wongue Presidential Reserve, Estuaire, Gabon A schoolyard pick of two tribes of nine, starting with the oldest players, Bob & Gillian Robert "Bob" Crowley Susie Smith Jessica "Sugar" Kiper 4–3–0 First season to feature two tribal switches; first time the show was shot and aired in HD[8]
18 Survivor: Tocantins – The Brazilian Highlands Jalapão, Tocantins, Brazil Two tribes of eight James "J.T." Thomas Jr. Stephen Fishbach 7–0
19 Survivor: Samoa Upolu, Samoa Two tribes of ten Natalie White Russell Hantz Mick Trimming 7–2–0 First season to feature tribe leaders; a member of the winning tribe would accompanying the losing tribe back to their camp
20 Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Two tribes of ten returning players, divided by "hero" or "villain" status Sandra Diaz-Twine Parvati Shallow Russell Hantz 6–3–0
21 Survivor: Nicaragua San Juan del Sur, Rivas, Nicaragua[9] Two tribes of ten divided by age Jud "Fabio" Birza Chase Rice Matthew "Sash" Lenahan 5–4–0 Featured the Medallion of Power
22 Survivor: Redemption Island Two tribes of nine, including two returning players Rob Mariano Phillip Sheppard Natalie Tenerelli 8–1–0 Introduced Redemption Island
23 Survivor: South Pacific Upolu, Samoa Sophie Clarke Benjamin "Coach" Wade Albert Destrade 6–3–0
24 Survivor: One World Two tribes of nine divided by gender Kim Spradlin Sabrina Thompson Chelsea Meissner 7–2–0 Both tribes lived on the same beach as two separate tribes from the onset
25 Survivor: Philippines Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Philippines Three tribes of six, including three returning players Denise Stapley Lisa Whelchel &
Michael Skupin
6–1–1 Included three returning players who had previously been medically evacuated in a previous season
26 Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites Two tribes of ten: fans against popular past contestants John Cochran Dawn Meehan &
Sherri Biethman
27 Survivor: Blood vs. Water Palaui Island, Santa Ana, Cagayan, Philippines[10] Two tribes of ten: returning contestants against their loved ones[11] TBA TBA TBA TBA Introduced twist of switch position for a loved one in Redemption Island


The American version of Survivor has been shot in many locations around the world since the first season, favoring warm, tropical climates.

Continent Locations (season number)
Africa Kenya (3), Gabon (17)
Asia China (15), Malaysia (1), Philippines (25, 26, 27, 28), Thailand (5)
Oceania Australia (2), Cook Islands (13), Fiji (14), French Polynesia (4), Palau (10, 16), Samoa (19, 20, 23, 24), Vanuatu (9)
North America Guatemala (11), Nicaragua (21, 22), Panama (7, 8, 12)
South America Brazil (6, 18)

Since "The Australian Outback", the announcement of each season's winner and subsequent reunion have been broadcast live in front of a studio audience, usually alternating between the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City (home to CBS' Late Show with David Letterman) and CBS Television City or the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles.

U.S. television ratings

Survivor has consistently been one of the top 20 most watched shows through its first 18 seasons and from seasons 21 to 23.[12]

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of the United States version of Survivor on CBS.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.

Survivor: Borneo doesn't have a ranking because it aired in the summer of 2000. It would have ranked #2 in the 1999–2000 U.S. television season, assuming it would have attained the exact same viewership numbers as it did in the summer of 2000.

Season Timeslot (ET) Premiered Ended TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere
(in millions)
Date Finale
(in millions)
(in millions)
Survivor: Borneo Wednesday 8:00 pm May 31, 2000[13] 15.51 August 23, 2000 51.69[13] 36.70[14] 1999–2000 #2 28.30[15]
Survivor: The Australian Outback Thursday
8:00 pm
January 28, 2001[16] 45.371 May 3, 2001[17] 36.35 28.01 2000–2001 #1 29.80[18]
Survivor: Africa October 11, 2001[19] 23.84 January 10, 2002[20] 27.26 19.05 2001–2002 #8 20.69[21]
Survivor: Marquesas February 28, 2002[22] 23.19 May 19, 2002[23] 25.87 17.89 #6 20.77[24]
Survivor: Thailand September 19, 2002[25] 23.05 December 19, 2002[26] 24.08 20.43 2002–2003 #4 21.21[27]
Survivor: The Amazon February 13, 2003[28] 23.26 May 11, 2003[29] 22.29 17.65 #9 19.97[27]
Survivor: Pearl Islands September 18, 2003[30] 21.50 December 14, 2003[31] 25.23 21.87 2003–2004 #7 20.72[32]
Survivor: All-Stars February 1, 2004[33] 33.531 May 9, 2004[34] 24.76 23.92 #3 21.49[35]
Survivor: Vanuatu September 16, 2004[36] 20.06 December 12, 2004[37] 19.72 15.23 2004–2005 #10 19.64[38]
Survivor: Palau February 17, 2005[38] 23.66 May 15, 2005[39] 20.80 15.48 #5 20.91[40]
Survivor: Guatemala September 15, 2005[41] 18.41 December 11, 2005[42] 21.18 15.21 2005–2006 #8[43] 18.30[40]
Survivor: Panama February 2, 2006[44] 19.20 May 14, 2006 17.07 11.65 #11[43] 16.82[45]
Survivor: Cook Islands September 14, 2006[46] 18.00 December 17, 2006 16.42 13.53 2006–2007 #13 15.75[47]
Survivor: Fiji February 8, 2007[48] 16.68 May 13, 2007 13.63 11.43 #15 14.83[47]
Survivor: China September 20, 2007[49] 15.35 December 16, 2007 15.10 12.22 2007–2008 #8 15.18[50]
Survivor: Micronesia February 7, 2008[51] 14.02 May 11, 2008 12.92 10.84 #11 13.61[50]
Survivor: Gabon September 25, 2008 13.05[52] December 14, 2008 13.77 11.74 2008–2009 #15 13.81[53]
Survivor: Tocantins February 12, 2009 13.63[54] May 17, 2009 12.94[55] 11.59[55] #19 12.86[53]
Survivor: Samoa September 17, 2009[56] 11.66[57] December 20, 2009 13.97[58] 11.68[58] 2009–2010 #17 12.34[59]
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains February 11, 2010[60] 14.15[61] May 16, 2010 13.46[62] 10.65[62] #14 12.60[59]
Survivor: Nicaragua Wednesday
8:00 pm
September 15, 2010[63] 12.23[64] December 19, 2010 13.58[65] 11.19[65] 2010–2011 #11 13.61[66]
Survivor: Redemption Island February 16, 2011 11.17[67] May 15, 2011 13.30[68] 10.97[68] #18 12.59[66]
Survivor: South Pacific September 14, 2011[69] 10.74[70] December 18, 2011 13.07[71] 9.92[71] 2011–2012 #18 12.77[72]
Survivor: One World February 15, 2012 10.79[73] May 13, 2012 10.34[74] 7.72[74] #26 11.64[72]
Survivor: Philippines September 19, 2012[75] 11.37[76] December 16, 2012 11.46[77] 8.77[78] 2012–2013 #21 11.85[79]
Survivor: Caramoan February 13, 2013 8.94[80] May 12, 2013 10.16[81] 8.13[81] #28 10.82[79]
Survivor: Blood vs. Water September 18, 2013 9.73[82] TBA TBA TBA 2013-2014 TBA TBA

^1 The season premieres of Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: All-Stars each aired after a Super Bowl. Survivor seasons (competitions) broadcast in winter/spring have had episodes moved to Wednesdays at 8:00 pm to avoid conflicts with broadcasts of the first two weeks of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. For Survivor: Marquesas and every competition beginning with Survivor: The Amazon, the finale was broadcast Sunday at 8:00 pm. In addition, for the spring Survivor season (second competition of the television season), this finale has almost always coincided with Mother's Day in the United States.

Awards and nominations

Primetime Emmy Awards

Year Category Nominee/Episode Result
2001 Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (Special Class) Won
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Non-Fiction Program For episode "#1" Won
Outstanding Cinematography for Non-Fiction Programming "A Honeymoon Or Not" Nominated
Outstanding Main Title Theme Music Russ Landau Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming "Trial By Fire" Nominated
Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special "Survivor: The Reunion (#1.14)" Nominated
2002 Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic, Multi-Camera) for VMC Programming "Finale and the Reunion" Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Two Peas in a Pod" Nominated
Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video for a Series "Finale and the Reunion" Nominated
2003 Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program Nominated
Outstanding Cinematography for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "The Importance Of Being Earnest" Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "More Than Meats The Eye" Nominated
Outstanding Reality/Competition Program Nominated
2004 Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Beg, Barter And Steal" Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Swimming With Sharks" Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Shark Attack" Nominated
Outstanding Reality/Competition Program Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "They're Back" Nominated
2005 Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "This Has Never Happened Before" Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "This Has Never Happened Before" Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Culture Shock and Violent Storms" Nominated
Outstanding Reality/Competition Program Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Love is in the Air, Rats are Everywhere" Nominated
2006 Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Big Trek, Big Trouble, Big Surprise" Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Starvation & Lunacy" Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Salvation And Desertion" Nominated
Outstanding Reality/Competition Program Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Big Trek, Big Trouble, Big Surprise" Nominated
Outstanding Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Big Trek, Big Trouble, Big Surprise" Nominated
2007 Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "An Evil Thought" Nominated
2008 Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "He's A Ball Of Goo!" Nominated
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Jeff Probst Won
Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming "Just Don't Eat The Apple" Nominated
2009 Outstanding Sound Mixing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "The Poison Apple Needs To Go" Nominated
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Jeff Probst Won
Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming "The Camp Is Cursed" Nominated
2010 Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Tonight, We Make Our Move" Nominated
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Jeff Probst Won
Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming "Slay Everyone, Trust No One" Won
2011 Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Don't You Work For Me?" Nominated
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Jeff Probst Won
Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming "Rice Wars" Nominated
2012 Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) "Cult-Like" Nominated
Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming "Running the Show" Nominated

Post-show auctions

At the end of each U.S. Survivor season from Survivor: Africa onward, various Survivor props and memorabilia are auctioned online for charity. The most common recipient has been the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.[83] Most recently, proceeds have gone toward The Serpentine Project, a charity founded by Jeff Probst, dedicated to helping those transitioning out of foster care upon emancipation at eighteen years of age.[84] Items up for auction have included flags, mats, tree mails, contestant torches, contestant clothing, autographed items, immunity idols and the voting urn.[85]

Controversies and legal action

  • In February 2001, Rudy Boesch.
  • During a reward trip on Survivor: The Australian Outback, Colby Donaldson removed corals from the Great Barrier Reef and in the same trip, a helicopter involved with the production crew flew around protected sea bird rookeries. Both acts violated Australian law and the incidents could have resulted in fines up to A$110,000. Mark Burnett, the executive producer, issued an apology on behalf of Donaldson and the Survivor production team.[86]
  • At the tribal immunity challenge for the final four players on Survivor: Africa, host Jeff Probst asked which female player in their season had no piercings. Kim Johnson answered Kelly Goldsmith, got the point, and went on to win the challenge, which put her through to the final three and ultimately (after winning another immunity challenge) the final two. Unbeknownst to the producers, another contestant on "Africa", Lindsey Richter, also had no piercings. Lex van den Berghe's answer had been Lindsey, but the show did not award him a point, which could have significantly changed the outcome of the challenge and the overall game. CBS later paid van den Berghe and Tom Buchanan, who had finished in fourth place, a settlement.[87]
  • In an attempt to win a reward challenge on Survivor: Pearl Islands, contestant Jon Dalton conspired with his friend, Dan Fields, before the show even started, in what Probst has described as the greatest lie on Survivor to date. Fields told Dalton that his grandmother, Jean Cooke, had died, in order to win sympathy from his tribemates and subsequently win the reward. In reality, Cooke had not died, a fact that only emerged to his tribemates once the episode had aired. After the challenge, Dalton admitted in a confessional that his grandmother was alive and "probably watching Jerry Springer right now". When the show's producers learned of Cooke's alleged death, they called Dalton's family to offer their condolences, only to have Cooke herself answer the phone. On the "Pearl Islands" reunion show, Probst had a short interview with Cooke, who was indeed alive and well.[88]
  • In the fifth episode of Survivor: All-Stars, a naked Richard Hatch came into contact with Sue Hawk after she blocked his path during an immunity challenge. Hatch was voted out that day for other reasons, but Hawk quit the game two days later as a result of what had happened. Hawk considered filing a lawsuit against the parties involved, but appeared with Hatch on The Early Show the morning after the sixth episode aired, stating she opted out of legal action because CBS had helped her "deal with the situation".[89]
  • Rupert Boneham, a contestant on Pearl Islands and All-Stars, was extremely popular with television audiences, but finished eighth and fourth, respectively, in his appearances on the show. As part of a special on the All-Stars reunion (Survivor: America's Tribal Council), a contest for the 18 players was created, where the winner would be selected by the viewing audience to receive a $1 million prize. Boneham unsurprisingly won this prize, with more than 80% of the votes cast. Many fans of the show saw this as a way of diluting the overall concept of the show, that instead of outwitting, outplaying and outlasting your fellow tribe members to win the game, a player could now play specifically just to gain popularity with the show's audience, regardless of how well they played the game, and still be rewarded with a large prize.[90]
  • In January 2006, Richard Hatch, the winner of the first season of Survivor, was charged and found guilty of failing to report his winnings to the IRS to avoid taxes. He was sentenced to four years and three months in prison.[91]
  • In the beginning of Survivor: Cook Islands, the tribes were grouped according to their race. Probst claimed the choice came from the criticism that Survivor was "not ethnically diverse enough",[92] but several long-term sponsors, including Campbell's Soup, Procter & Gamble, Home Depot, Coca Cola, and General Motors[93] dropped their support of the show shortly after this announcement, leading to speculation that the decisions were in response to the controversy. Each company has either denied the link to the controversy or declined to comment, although the decision for General Motors to discontinue their sponsorship had been made months prior to the announcement of the racial split, and was thus purely coincidental.[94]
  • The selection process for the 14th season came under fire when it was revealed that, of the entire Survivor: Fiji cast, only Gary Stritesky had gone through the application process for the show; the rest of the contestants were recruited.[95] Probst defended the process, citing finding diversity of cast as a reason.
  • At the Survivor: China reunion show, Denise Martin told producers and the audience that she had been demoted to a janitor from a lunch lady due to the distraction she was to students from her appearance on the show. Because of her misfortune, Burnett awarded Martin $50,000. But Martin would later recant her story after the school district she worked for publicly stated that she had taken the custodial position before appearing on the show.[96] Martin then decided to donate the $50,000 to charity.[97]
  • A brief uncensored shot of Marcus Lehman's genitals during the premiere episode of Survivor: Gabon led to the show and network being asked to apologize for the incident.[98]
  • Jim Early (aka Missyae), who was a user on one of the fan forums for Survivor, was sued by Burnett, his production company, and CBS in August 2010, for allegedly releasing detailed spoiler information for Survivor: Samoa and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Early revealed that he was getting his information from Russell Hantz, a contestant on both seasons, through both phone calls and emails. Early complied in the lawsuit by providing such evidence, eventually leading to its dismissal in January 2011. Although legal action has yet to be taken against Hantz, the contract for a player in Survivor includes a liability of up to $5 million for the premature revealing of a season's results.[99] Hantz has stated that the claim is false.[100]
  • Controversy was caused after contestants that did not make the jury in Survivor: Caramoan were not allowed on stage for the reunion show. While Jeff Probst claimed that the new stage could not accommodate all 18 of the attending contestants, the format change was panned because the show's fans and fellow contestants felt that it was unfair for them to be left out in the audience. Erik Reichenbach, who finished 5th and did not even get a chance to speak at the reunion, called out the producers for their treatment of the contestants. Calling it a farce, he criticized how the reunion show left so many unanswered questions about the other contestants and his own evacuation during the season finale. He also criticized how the pre-jury members were completely left out in favor of featuring the show's older contestants, like Rob Mariano and Rudy Boesch.[101]


The wild success of Survivor spawned a wide range of merchandise from the very first season. While early items available were limited to buffs, water bottles, hats, t-shirts, and other typical souvenir items, the marketability of the franchise has grown tremendously. Today, fans can find innumerable items, including computer and board games, interactive online games, mugs, tribal-themed jewelry, beach towels, dog tags, magnets, multi-function tools, DVD seasons, Survivor party kits, insider books, soundtracks, and more.

DVD releases

Best of
DVD name Release date
Season One: The Greatest and Most Outrageous Moments January 9, 2001
Season Two: The Greatest and Most Outrageous Moments September 25, 2001
Full seasons

Seasons 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 and 10 were released in stores. The remaining seasons have been released exclusively on through their CreateSpace manufacture on demand program.

DVD name Release date
The Complete First Season: Borneo May 11, 2004
The Complete Second Season: The Australian Outback April 26, 2005
The Complete Third Season: Africa October 5, 2010
The Complete Fourth Season: Marquesas October 5, 2010
The Complete Fifth Season: Thailand October 25, 2011
The Complete Sixth Season: The Amazon November 22, 2011
The Complete Seventh Season: Pearl Islands February 7, 2006
The Complete Eighth Season: All-Stars September 14, 2004
The Complete Ninth Season: Vanuatu – Islands of Fire December 5, 2006
The Complete Tenth Season: Palau August 29, 2006
The Complete Eleventh Season: Guatemala – The Maya Empire May 22, 2012
The Complete Twelfth Season: Panama – Exile Island May 22, 2012
The Complete Thirteenth Season: Cook Islands December 11, 2012
The Complete Fourteenth Season: Fiji December 11, 2012
The Complete Twentieth Season: Heroes vs. Villains February 22, 2011
Complete seasons on iTunes
Currently available
Season 9: Vanuatu – Islands of Fire
Season 10: Palau
Season 11: Guatemala – The Maya Empire
Season 12: Panama – Exile Island
Season 13: Cook Islands
Season 14: Fiji
Season 15: China
Season 16: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites
Season 17: Gabon – Earth's Last Eden
Season 18: Tocantins – The Brazilian Highlands
Season 19: Samoa
Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains
Season 21: Nicaragua
Season 22: Redemption Island
Season 23: South Pacific
Season 24: One World
Season 25: Philippines
Season 26: Caramoan

Other media

Video games

In the 2001 Survivor video game for PC, developed by Infogrames, it allows players to play and create characters for the game based on the Pulau Tiga or Australian Outback cast members. The game also includes a character creation system for making custom characters.

Gameplay consists of choosing survivors' skills (fishing, cooking, etc.), forming alliances, developing relationships with other tribe members, and voting off competitors at tribal council.

The game was very poorly received by critics. GameSpot gave the game a 'Terrible' score of 2.0 out of 10, saying "If you're harboring even a tiny urge to buy this game, please listen very carefully to this advice: Don't do it."[102] Likewise, IGN gave the game a 'Terrible' 2.4 out of 10, stating "It is horribly boring and repetitive. The graphics are weak and even the greatest Survivor fan would break the CD in two after playing it for 20 minutes."[103] The game was the recipient of Game Revolution's lowest score of all time, an F-.[104] An 'interactive review' was created specially for the game, and features interactive comments like "The Survival periods are about as much fun as" followed by a drop-down menu, "watching paint dry/throbbing hemorrhoids/staring at air/being buried alive."[104]

On November 4, 2009, it was announced that a second game based on the show would be turned into a video game. The game would require players to participate in various challenges like those in the reality shows in order to win.[105]


Various soundtracks have been released featuring music composed by Russ Landau, including soundtracks for seasons 9 through 24 (with the exception of season 14).[106]

Thrill ride

The Tiki Twirl thrill ride at California's Great America in Santa Clara, California was originally called Survivor: The Ride. The ride includes a rotating platform that moves along an undulating track. Riders can be sprayed by water guns hidden in oversized tribal masks. Theme elements included drums and other familiar Survivor musical accents playing in the background, Survivor memorabilia throughout the queue line and other merchandise for sale in nearby gift shops.[107]

See also

Television in the United States portal


External links

  • Internet Movie Database

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