One of the reality television shows that made reality TV so popular is the reality game Survivor. The show got its start from a Swedish television show called Expedition Robinson. The popular American version began May 31, 2000 and has continued to be successful on network television up till now.
The show is hosted by Jeff Probst who oversees the execution of the game. Contestants are dropped off in some remote location and must work as two separate tribes to live under difficult conditions as well as compete in competitions. Often at the start of the competition they are not even given fire until either they win it in competition or go to tribal counsel to vote someone off.
When a tribe loses an immunity challenge, they have to go to tribal counsel to vote a member off. This can make for interesting interaction among tribe members prior to going. People will form alliances and then break them. The drama is ongoing in trying to stay in the game and for just simply living together. It makes for an entertaining reality show.
Ultimately, the tribes will merge and then they compete for individual immunity. If you have the immunity idol you can’t be voted out. When they merge anyone voted off will become part of a jury who will decide between the last two or three people left on who gets the million dollar prize. Along the way they also compete in challenges where they win small rewards such as food or supplies that help make their life easier in their seclusion.
The first show of Survivor was done from the Australian Outback and has continued to varied locations around the world which include Samoa, the Amazon, Fiji, and China to name a few of the twenty four seasons it has aired. The show started an influx of new reality shows across the cable networks particularly The History Channel, TLC, Bravo, and A & E. We now have TV shows from Ice Road Truckers to Gene Simmons Family Jewels. The number of reality television shows has continued to grow and entire channels have even been created devoted entirely to reality shows.
There is no doubt that this dramatic engaging reality game show has influenced the direction of television programming. Network TV carries its share of reality style shows and Cable Networks have exploded in new reality TV genre. It will be interesting to see how long Survivor continues its prime time popularity and how long reality TV continues to grow across Cable and Network TV.