After spending 12 seasons near the top of the reality-television food chain, even a show as entertaining and exciting as Mark Burnett’s “Survivor” may have to add a new twist to maintain its viewership.
Controversy and intrigue are the lifeblood of the “reality” industry, but even in an arena such as this, where producers and writers are erasing and redrawing the proverbial “line” on a day-to-day basis, Burnett and his troupe of writers may have finally gone too far with their premise for the 13th edition of “Survivor.”
Contestants on the Cook Islands edition of “Survivor,” the site of a famous mutiny on Captain Bligh’s HMS Bounty, will be divided into four tribes based on their ethnicity.
There will be a white tribe, a Hispanic tribe, an Asian tribe and a black tribe.
Is this a move of desperation on the part of the “Survivor” producers?
Is this kind of twist really going to produce the results that the show needs to sustain itself, and is it worth the potential moral sacrifice?
The ratings scream out a resounding “Yes.”
When “Survivor: Borneo” concluded on Aug. 23, 2000, 51.7 million viewers tuned in to see Richard Hatch defeat Kelly Wiglesworth to win the initial million dollar prize.
However, when Aras Baskauskas defeated Danielle DiLorenzo to win last year’s “Survivor: Panama,” only 17.07 million viewers witnessed what happened after “the tribe had spoken.”
While the numbers approve Burnett’s controversial premise, students here at the College tend to have a more diverse opinion.
“I didn’t know of that,” Matt Owen, sophomore history and secondary education major, said. “Honestly, I think it’ll make for an amusing fallout.
“It’s obviously being done to stir up controversy for the show – and controversy brings in ratings,” Owen said. “I’m looking forward to seeing people complain (needlessly) about this separation.”
“I think it was fun when they split the women and men because everyone loves a battle between the sexes,” Leo Fabianus-Mahaga, sophomore criminal justice major, said. “But no one is a fan of a battle between the races.”
Other members of the campus were simply appalled by the concept.
“That’s horrible,” Stephanie Cwynar, sophomore marketing major, said.
While the campus’s opinion seems relatively divided, the real test of “Survivor’s” edgy new season will be put to the test when it premieres on Thursday, Sept. 14.
Then it will be up to the rest of the nation to decide if Burnett’s brainchild can survive the eventual media pressure.