Are you kidding me??
I dont watch Survivor or any other reality tv, but seen this on yahoo and thought it looked like a really bad idea.
A Racy Twist for "Survivor"
By Gina Serpe 11 minutes ago
Some may call it exploiting racial tensions. CBS calls it darn good television.
Jeff Probst popped in on The Early Show Wednesday morning, confirming the reports that the 20 castaways for Survivor: Cook Islands will be grouped by race, with competitors divided into four tribes consisting of whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics.
Apparently, "separate but equal" holds only the warmest of connotations for Mark Burnett.
Like a good host, Probst had nothing but praise for the producers' controversial brainchild, calling the exercise in segregation a valuable social experiment, rather than a stunt to dig up some controversy--and raise ratings.
"The idea for this actually came from the criticism that Survivor was not ethnically diverse enough, because for whatever reason, we always have a low number of minority applicants apply for the show," Probst said.
"So we set out and said, 'Let's turn this criticism into creative for the show.' And I think it fits perfectly with what Survivor does, which is, it is a social experiment. And this is adding another layer to that experiment, which is taking the show to a completely different level."
Different level, yes. Good level, still to be determined.
"If I had been a producer of this show, it is not an idea I would have come up with or given approval to," Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, told E! Online. "It's like a return back to segregated leagues in sports. The unseemly interest this will invite certainly is not worth the dramatic elements it's going to bring."
"To the less-than-open minded person, it is very easy to trash us," Burnett explained to Entertainment Weekly. "But we're smart enough to not make it negative. We're smart enough to have gotten rid of every racist person in casting."
Though more to the point, the producers haven't and can't weed out every racially sensitive person in their audience who may take offense to the seemingly archaic, and potentially socially irresponsible, division.
While the 43-year-old host admitted that the players themselves had "mixed reactions" to the racial separation, he made clear that the division was not meant to incite any controversy, add to the tension during the competition or simply be viewed as a gimmick.
"Our original idea was simply to have the most ethnically diverse group of people on TV. It wasn't until we got to casting and started noticing this theme of ethnic pride that we started thinking, 'Wow, if culture is still playing such a big part in these people's lives, that's our idea. Let's divide them based on ethnicity,' " he said.
Though not everyone is as excited about the idea as Probst and his Survivor crew.
"It sounds like a gimmick a lot of people are going to have real issues as to the taste of," Thompson said.
Referencing Burnett's previous experiments on Survivor and The Apprentice to divide teams by boys vs. girls and, more recently on the latter, by street smarts vs. book smarts, Thompson said that "these things don't often work so well in less dicey situations."
And any publicity is good publicity, right?
"As far as getting some attention, getting it talked about again, this'll do it," Thompson said. "Survivor is a great game. It's the gold standard of reality TV. But nobody seems to talk about it anymore."
Or watch it.
Survivor: Cook Islands will be the reality show's 13th installment and comes on the heels of the least watched season in the series' history. Despite garnering an Emmy nod for Best Reality Competition, Survivor: Panama--Exile Island, which split the tribes based on gender and age, averaged a franchise-low 16.8 million viewers. Hence the latest drastic measure.
CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler told EW that while she was hesitant to give the go-ahead on the "risky idea," she finally relented, saying it was the logical next step in "a show that explores social politics."
"It's not just 18 white people," Probst told the magazine. "Suddenly you have new slang, new rituals--people doing things like making fire in ways that haven't been done on Survivor. I think we have a season where people will say you can never go back to what you were before."
It's not the first time a primetime reality show has flirted with race, though it will be the first time one follows through.
Last year, Donald Trump hinted that The Apprentice was toying with the idea of dividing his two teams by race, only to backtrack on the notion when backlash started up, saying "I personally don't like it, so it will never happen."