Survivor fails to ‘outlast’ competition

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“Outwit, outplay and outlast.” Sound familiar? Does this catchphrase make you think of your pre-teen TV habits? If you answered “yes” then you have undoubtedly witnessed the once popular reality game show known as Survivor. If you answered “no,” then let me bring you up to speed. Survivor is a reality game show that maroons a group of strangers in a deserted location where they must find food, water, fire and shelter themselves. On top of surviving, they compete in challenges to earn either a enticing reward, or immunity from expulsion from the game in the next  successive votes for elimination.

The show started off with a bang. For its first 11 seasons, Survivor was amongst the top ten most watched shows in American TV for that time.     It was 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 became something of a cultural phenomenon in the early 2000s. However, with the show’s 26th season premiere this past week (Survivor: Caramoan), it doesn’t seem to have the same impactful effect. If we look at the numbers, we can clearly see that Survivor is not the show it used to be.

Last week around 14 million viewers watched the season premiere. But those numbers can’t match or even top American Idol ratings, which have an average of over 25 million viewers every week. In its first two seasons, Survivor averaged over 28 million viewers. That’s double the viewership it averages now. Survivor’s quality and creativity has also plummeted significantly.  It was once compelling to watch because it was different from other reality shows. Their unique concept and interactive characters made it a front runner in reality TV. The shock value of the show is also gone. Their ideas are getting old and it seems to be the same storyline season in and season out.

Survivor has also fallen victim to shows that focus more on dating and talent. These shows are the most popular shows on television right now. Viewers now prefer watching Simon Cowell rip singers apart than see people on an island eating coconuts and making fires for a million dollars. There is no doubt that Survivor has been a huge part of TV legacy but since their first few seasons, the feeling just isn’t the same. The show must radically change their structure or watch their viewership fade away.

Sorry Survivor, the tribe has spoken.

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