Survivor (U.S. TV series)
Logo used for the first season
|Created by||Charlie Parsons|
|Presented by||Jeff Probst|
|Theme music composer||Russ Landau|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||33|
|No. of episodes||500 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV) (2000–08)
1080i (HDTV) (2008–)
|Original release||May 31, 2000– present|
|Related shows||Expedition Robinson
Survivor is the American version of the international Survivor reality competition television franchise, itself derived from the Swedish television series Expedition Robinson created by Charlie Parsons which premiered in 1997. The American 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, Parsons.
The show maroons a group of strangers in an isolated location, where they must provide food, water, fire, and shelter for themselves. The contestants compete in challenges for rewards and immunity from elimination. The contestants are progressively eliminated from the game as they are voted out by their fellow contestants, until only one remains and is given the title of "Sole Survivor" and is awarded the grand prize of US$1,000,000.
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 U.S., and is considered one of the best shows of the 2000s (decade). 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 won the award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program four consecutive times after 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. In 2013, TV Guide ranked it at #39 on its list of the "60 Best Series of All Time".
- 1 Format and rules
- 2 Series overview
- 3 Production
- 4 Reception
- 5 Post-show auctions
- 6 Controversies and legal action
- 7 Merchandise
- 8 Home media releases
- 9 Other media
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
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 39 days (42 in The Australian Outback). 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. Most players 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 grand 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 (particularly earlier 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, special voting powers which can be used to influence the result at Tribal Council and a chance to return to regular gameplay after elimination through "Redemption Island" or "The Outcast Tribe".
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.
There have been a total of 498 contestants that have competed on Survivor's 33 seasons.
|No.||Season title||Location||Original tribes||Winner||Runner(s)-up||Final vote|
|1||Survivor: Borneo||Pulau Tiga, Sabah, Malaysia||Two tribes of eight||Richard Hatch||Kelly Wiglesworth||4–3|
|2||Survivor: The Australian Outback||Herbert River at Goshen Station, Queensland, Australia||Tina Wesson||Colby Donaldson||4–3|
|3||Survivor: Africa||Shaba National Reserve, Kenya||Ethan Zohn||Kim Johnson||5–2|
|4||Survivor: Marquesas||Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia||Vecepia Towery||Neleh Dennis||4–3|
|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|
|6||Survivor: The Amazon||Rio Negro, Amazonas, Brazil||Two tribes of eight divided by gender||Jenna Morasca||Matthew Von Ertfelda||6–1|
|7||Survivor: Pearl Islands||Pearl Islands, Panama||Two tribes of eight||Sandra Diaz-Twine||Lillian Morris||6–1|
|8||Survivor: All-Stars||Three tribes of six returning players||Amber Brkich||Rob Mariano||4–3|
|9||Survivor: Vanuatu||Efate, Shefa, 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|
|11||Survivor: Guatemala||Laguna Yaxhá, Yaxhá-Nakúm-Naranjo National Park, Petén, Guatemala||Two tribes of nine, including two returning players||Danni Boatwright||Stephenie LaGrossa||6–1|
|12||Survivor: Panama||Pearl Islands, Panama||Four tribes of four divided by age and gender||Aras Baskauskas||Danielle DiLorenzo||5–2|
|13||Survivor: Cook Islands||Aitutaki, Cook Islands||Four tribes of five divided by ethnicity: African Americans, Whites, Hispanics, and Asians||Yul Kwon||Ozzy Lusth||Becky Lee||5–4–0|
|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 &
Andria "Dreamz" Herd
|15||Survivor: China||Zhelin, Jiujiang, Jiangxi, China||Two tribes of eight||Todd Herzog||Courtney Yates||Amanda Kimmel||4–2–1|
|16||Survivor: Micronesia||Koror, Palau||Two tribes of ten: new players against past contestants||Parvati Shallow||Amanda Kimmel||5–3|
|17||Survivor: Gabon||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|
|18||Survivor: Tocantins||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|
|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||Two tribes of ten divided by age||Jud "Fabio" Birza||Chase Rice||Matthew "Sash" Lenahan||5–4–0|
|22||Survivor: Redemption Island||Two tribes of nine, including two returning players||Rob Mariano||Phillip Sheppard||Natalie Tenerelli||8–1–0|
|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 living on the same beach||Kim Spradlin||Sabrina Thompson||Chelsea Meissner||7–2–0|
|25||Survivor: Philippines||Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Philippines||Three tribes of six, including three returning players who had been medically evacuated in a previous season||Denise Stapley||Lisa Whelchel &
|26||Survivor: Caramoan||Two tribes of ten: new players against past contestants||John Cochran||Dawn Meehan &
|27||Survivor: Blood vs. Water||Palaui Island, Santa Ana, Cagayan, Philippines||Two tribes of ten: returning contestants against their loved ones||Tyson Apostol||Monica Culpepper||Gervase Peterson||7–1–0|
|28||Survivor: Cagayan||Three tribes of six divided by primary attribute: "brawn" vs. "brains" vs. "beauty"||Tony Vlachos||Yung "Woo" Hwang||8–1|
|29||Survivor: San Juan del Sur||San Juan del Sur, Rivas, Nicaragua||Nine pairs of new players, each with a pre-existing relationship, divided onto two tribes of nine||Natalie Anderson||Jaclyn Schultz||Missy Payne||5–2–1|
|30||Survivor: Worlds Apart||Three tribes of six divided by social class: "white collar" vs. "blue collar" vs. "no collar"||Mike Holloway||Carolyn Rivera &
Will Sims II
|31||Survivor: Cambodia||Koh Rong, Cambodia||Two tribes of ten returning players. Players selected by public vote||Jeremy Collins||Spencer Bledsoe &
|32||Survivor: Kaôh Rōng||Three tribes of six divided by primary attribute: "brains" vs. "brawn" vs. "beauty"||Michele Fitzgerald||Aubry Bracco||Tai Trang||5–2–0|
|33||Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X||Mamanuca Islands, Fiji||Two tribes of ten divided by generation: millennials vs. Generation X||Adam Klein||Hannah Shapiro &
|34||Survivor: Game Changers||Two tribes of ten returning players||TBA|
The original idea of Survivor was developed by Charlie Parsons in 1994 under the name Castaway. Parsons formed Planet24 with Bob Geldof to produce the show and tried to have the BBC broadcast it, but the network turned it down. Parsons went to Swedish television and was able to find a broadcaster, ultimately producing Expedition Robinson in 1997. The show was a success, and plans for international versions were made.
Mark Burnett intended to be the person to bring the show to the United States, though he recognized that the Swedish version was a bit crude and mean-spirited. Burnett retooled the concept to use better production values, based on his prior Eco-Challenge show, and wanted to focus more on the human drama experienced while under pressure. Burnett spent about a year trying to find a broadcaster that would take the show, retooling the concept based on feedback. On November 24, 1999, Burnett made his pitch to Les Moonves of CBS, and Moonves agreed to pick up the show. The first season, Survivor: Borneo was filmed during March and April 2000, and was first broadcast on May 31, 2000. The first season became a ratings success, leading to its current ongoing run.
The American version of Survivor has been shot in many locations around the world since the first season, usually favoring warm and tropical climates. Though locations varied across the globe in the first dozen seasons, more recent seasons have used the same general location for back-to-back filming of two cycles (for example, the use of Samoa for filming of seasons 19, 20).
|Continent/Region||Locations (season number)|
|Africa||Kenya (3), Gabon (17)|
|Asia||Malaysia (1), Thailand (5), China (15), Philippines (25, 26, 27, 28), Cambodia (31, 32)|
|Oceania||Australia (2), French Polynesia (4), Vanuatu (9), Palau (10, 16), Cook Islands (13), Fiji (14, 33, 34), Samoa (19, 20, 23, 24)|
|Central America||Panama (7, 8, 12), Guatemala (11), Nicaragua (21, 22, 29, 30)|
|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 the CBS' Late Show franchise) 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.
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.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)3||Premiered||Ended||TV season||Rank||Viewers
|May 31, 2000||15.51||August 23, 2000||51.69||36.70||2000||2||28.30|
|Survivor: The Australian Outback||Thursday
|January 28, 2001||45.371||May 3, 2001||36.35||28.01||2000–01||1||29.80|
|Survivor: Africa||October 11, 2001||23.84||January 10, 2002||27.26||19.05||2001–02||8||20.69|
|Survivor: Marquesas||February 28, 2002||23.19||May 19, 2002||25.87||17.89||6||20.77|
|Survivor: Thailand||September 19, 2002||23.05||December 19, 2002||24.08||20.43||2002–03||4||21.21|
|Survivor: The Amazon||February 13, 2003||23.26||May 11, 2003||22.29||17.65||9||19.97|
|Survivor: Pearl Islands||September 18, 2003||21.50||December 14, 2003||25.23||21.87||2003–04||7||20.72|
|Survivor: All-Stars||February 1, 2004||33.531||May 9, 2004||24.76||23.92||3||21.49|
|Survivor: Vanuatu||September 16, 2004||20.06||December 12, 2004||19.72||15.23||2004–05||10||19.64|
|Survivor: Palau||February 17, 2005||23.66||May 15, 2005||20.80||15.48||5||20.91|
|Survivor: Guatemala||September 15, 2005||18.41||December 11, 2005||21.18||15.21||2005–06||8||18.30|
|Survivor: Panama||February 2, 2006||19.20||May 14, 2006||17.07||11.65||11||16.82|
|Survivor: Cook Islands||September 14, 2006||18.00||December 17, 2006||16.42||13.53||2006–07||13||15.75|
|Survivor: Fiji||February 8, 2007||16.68||May 13, 2007||13.63||11.43||15||14.83|
|Survivor: China||September 20, 2007||15.35||December 16, 2007||15.10||12.22||2007–08||8||15.18|
|Survivor: Micronesia||February 7, 2008||14.02||May 11, 2008||12.92||10.84||11||13.61|
|Survivor: Gabon||September 25, 2008||13.05||December 14, 2008||13.77||11.74||2008–09||15||13.81|
|Survivor: Tocantins||February 12, 2009||13.63||May 17, 2009||12.94||11.59||19||12.86|
|Survivor: Samoa||September 17, 2009||11.66||December 20, 2009||13.97||11.68||2009–10||17||12.34|
|Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains||February 11, 2010||14.15||May 16, 2010||13.46||10.65||14||12.60|
|September 15, 2010||12.23||December 19, 2010||13.58||11.19||2010–11||11||13.61|
|Survivor: Redemption Island||February 16, 2011||11.17||May 15, 2011||13.30||10.97||18||12.59|
|Survivor: South Pacific||September 14, 2011||10.74||December 18, 2011||13.07||9.92||2011–12||18||12.77|
|Survivor: One World||February 15, 2012||10.79||May 13, 2012||10.34||7.72||26||11.64|
|Survivor: Philippines||September 19, 2012||11.37||December 16, 2012||11.46||8.77||2012–13||21||11.85|
|Survivor: Caramoan||February 13, 2013||8.94||May 12, 2013||10.16||8.13||28||10.82|
|Survivor: Blood vs. Water||September 18, 2013||9.73||December 15, 2013||10.19||7.46||2013–14||252||11.30|
|Survivor: Cagayan||February 26, 2014||9.40||May 21, 2014||9.58||7.14|
|Survivor: San Juan del Sur||September 24, 2014||9.75||December 17, 2014||9.79||7.31||2014–15||31||11.35|
|Survivor: Worlds Apart||February 25, 2015||10.04||May 20, 2015||9.74||7.21|
|Survivor: Cambodia||September 23, 2015||9.70||December 16, 2015||9.45||6.49||2015–16||26||10.99|
|Survivor: Kaôh Rōng||February 17, 2016||8.30||May 18, 2016||9.54||6.42|
|Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X||September 21, 2016||9.46||December 14, 2016||9.09||6.40||2016–17|
^1 The season premieres of Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: All-Stars each aired after a Super Bowl.
^2 Starting with the 2013–14 TV series ranking, the two seasons aired in that time are listed together as Survivor. Previously, seasons were listed separately.
^3 The season finales of Survivor: Marquesas, and Survivor: The Amazon through Survivor: Blood vs. Water, were aired on Sunday at 8:00 pm. Additionally, Survivor regularly aired on Thursdays, some episodes were moved to Wednesday at 8:00 pm to accommodate broadcasts of the first two weeks of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.
Awards and nominations
Primetime Emmy Awards
|2001||Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (Special Class)||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Non-Fiction Program||"The Marooning"||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"||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 and 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||"This 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|
|2013||Outstanding Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera)||"Create a Little Chaos"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Programming||Nominated|
|Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming||Nominated|
|Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming||"Zipping Over the Cuckoo's Nest"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming||"Live Finale and Reunion" (Survivor: Caramoan)||Nominated|
|"Live Finale and Reunion" (Survivor: Philippines)||Nominated|
|2014||Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming||"Mad Treasure Hunt"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming||"Mad Treasure Hunt"||Nominated|
|2015||Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming||"It's Survivor Warfare"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming||"It's Survivor Warfare"||Nominated|
|2016||Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming||"Second Chance"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming||"Signed, Sealed and Delivered"||Nominated|
|2001||TCA Awards||Program of the Year||Nominated|||
|2001||Outstanding New Program||Nominated|||
|2011||Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming||Nominated|||
|2013||Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming||Nominated|||
|2013||Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Reality Series – Competition||Nominated|||
|2014||Best Reality Series – Competition||Nominated|||
|2014||TCA Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming||Nominated|||
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. 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. Items up for auction have included flags, mats, tree mails, contestant torches, contestant clothing, autographed items, immunity idols and the voting urn.
Controversies and legal action
- In February 2001, Stacey Stillman filed a lawsuit claiming that producers interfered in the process of Survivor: Borneo by persuading two members of her tribe (Sean Kenniff and Dirk Been) to vote her off instead of Rudy Boesch.
- During a reward trip on Survivor: The Australian Outback, Colby Donaldson removed corals from the Great Barrier Reef and, on the same trip, a helicopter involved with the production crew flew around protected seabird 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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", but several long-term sponsors, including Campbell's Soup, Procter & Gamble, Home Depot, and Coca Cola 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.
- 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. 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. Martin then decided to donate the $50,000 to charity.
- 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.
- 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. Hantz has stated that the claim is false.
- 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 former contestants, like Rob Mariano and Rudy Boesch.
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.
Home media 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 Amazon.com 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 Fifteenth Season: China||January 27, 2014|
|The Complete Sixteenth Season: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites||January 31, 2014|
|The Complete Seventeenth Season: Gabon – Earth's Last Eden||September 11, 2014|
|The Complete Eighteenth Season: Tocantins – The Brazilian Highlands||August 5, 2014|
|The Complete Nineteenth Season: Samoa||November 18, 2014|
|The Complete Twentieth Season: Heroes vs. Villains||February 22, 2011|
|The Complete Twenty-First Season: Nicaragua||November 18, 2014|
|The Complete Twenty-Second Season: Redemption Island||October 7, 2015|
|The Complete Twenty-Third Season: South Pacific||October 7, 2015|
|The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season: One World||September 23, 2016|
|The Complete Twenty-Fifth Season: Philippines||September 23, 2016|
|The Complete Twenty-Sixth Season: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites||TBA|
|The Complete Twenty-Seventh Season: Blood vs. Water||TBA|
|The Complete Twenty-Eighth Season: Cagayan||TBA|
|The Complete Twenty-Ninth Season: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water||TBA|
|The Complete Thirtieth Season: Worlds Apart||TBA|
|The Complete Thirty-First Season: Cambodia - Second Chance||TBA|
- CBS All Access
All seasons, including the current season, are available on CBS All Access, the network's over-the-top subscription streaming service.
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." Likewise, IGN gave the game a 'Painful' 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." The game was the recipient of Game Revolution's lowest score of all time, an F-. 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."
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.
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.
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