Unless you’ve been stranded on a desert island for the past few months, you’ve probably seen “Survivor.” The “reality-themed” CBS series about sixteen castaway contestants vying for a million dollar prize was easily the big winner in TV’s summer landscape.
How much of a prize is there though, in being the king of summer TV? Has it ever occurred to anyone that the success of “Survivor” is due to the fact that there was nothing else on? Can somebody tell me what the other networks were running on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. this summer? I certainly couldn’t hazard so much as a guess.
These people won’t go away. Just when you thought it was over and your life would is “Survivor-free,” castaways start popping up in places they really shouldn’t be, like the Emmys or the MTV Video Music Awards. Sean has even written a book. Remember Sean –the neurosurgeon who didn’t seem to know anything?
Summer is the land of the rerun- it always has been and always will. It goes without saying (so I’ll say it) that if the season finale of “Drew Carey” or “Frasier” was in May and there’s a rerun in August you haven’t seen, you probably aren’t that big a fan to begin with.
You might welcome something new to watch, even if it is “FNF” Richard running around shirtless. Even a person who generally keeps abreast of the general architecture of network TV lineups could probably not tell you what was on NBC, ABC, or FOX on Wednesdays at eight for the past thirteen weeks. I know I certainly could not. I could, however; tell you all about Rudy, the ex-Navy SEAL. “Survivor” does have its assets. It’s the first TV show I’ve been able to sit down and watch with my parents and siblings at the same time.
One could argue that it’s the family show of the millennium. And what great casting! Who’s better equipped and more apt to lead us through the jungles of Borneo than the host of “Rock & Roll Jeopardy?” Let’s hear it for ‘crossover appeal’ (OK, Now I’m just being sarcastic).
I’m not suggesting that “Survivor” can’t do some surviving of it’s own when put to the test. In fact, CBS is going to start showing the reruns on September 15th against the Olympics. They’ll probably score some much-needed ratings wins for the network. I say “much needed” because “Big Brother” has moved CBS immediately from the TV throne to the toilet, but that’s a story for another time.
I’m merely suggesting that before CBS pins its hopes on a fall schedule that includes: Touched by a Survivor, Everybody Loves A Survivor, and Late Show with Gervase; somebody should give some thought to whether or not this is going to last. “Caroline in the City” and “Suddenly Susan” were once hit series. They both faded quickly. Although, I would say the characters on “Survivor” were far more likeable.
Will a new cast and new location be able to outwit, outplay, and outlast (or at the least, outrate) the likes of the Cosbys, Careys, Romanos, Philbins, Grammers, Spades, and every Johnny-come-lately stand-up-turned-sitcom comedian, let alone the Barbara Walters or Diane Sawyer driven program?
This remains to be seen, or as they might say in poorly scripted “Survivor” talk… “The tribe has not yet spoken.”