Survivor is the American adaptation of the international Survivor reality competition television franchise, which is based on Charlie Parsons’ Swedish television series Expedition Robinson, which debuted in 1997. On May 31, 2000, CBS broadcasted the first episode of the American series. It is hosted by television star Jeff Probst, who also serves as an executive producer alongside Mark Burnett and Parsons, the show’s originator. The television show sets a group of strangers in a remote location where they must fend for themselves by providing food, fire, and shelter.
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The players compete in activities that test their physical abilities, such as running and swimming, as well as their mental abilities, such as puzzles and endurance trials, in exchange for awards and immunity from elimination. As their fellow contestants vote them out, the participants are gradually eliminated from the game until only one remains, who is called “Sole Survivor” and gets the ultimate prize of $1,000,000.
What the Show is All About?
In the United States, the first season of Survivor followed the same fundamental format as the Swedish version. Sixteen or more players are split into two or more “tribes” and brought to a remote, isolated region (usually in the tropics) where they must survive on the land for 39 days with minimal supplies (42 in The Australian Outback, 26 in season 41). The teams compete against each other for rewards such as food or luxuries, or for “immunity,” which causes the other tribe to attend “Tribal Council” and vote off one of their tribemates.
At the “merge,” survivors from both tribes come together to live as one, marking the game’s halfway point. At this stage, survivors will compete against one another for individual immunity, which protects them from being voted out at Tribal Council. The bulk of the players that were voted out form the game’s “jury” after the merge. A Final Tribal Council is held when the group is reduced to two or three people, during which the remaining players state their case to the jury members.
The jury then decides who should be crowned “Sole Survivor” and receive the show’s big prize. In all seasons of the US version (except Survivor: Winners at War), a $1 million prize has been awarded in addition to the Sole Survivor title; some seasons (especially earlier seasons) have included additional prizes offered during the game, such as a car, as well as fan-favorite prizes awarded at the finale.
What’s in the Extras?
The amount paid to each competitor is determined by the sequence in which they were voted out: the first player voted out received US$2,500, and the amount escalates from there. These figures have risen in several of the seasons that have featured returning players: Survivor: All-Stars had a minimum reward of US$5,000, whereas Winners at War had a minimum payout of US$25,000. For participation in the finals show, all players will be paid $10,000.
In order to keep players on their toes and prevent them from depending on methods that worked in previous seasons, the US version has made various adjustments, or “twists,” to the main rules.
Charlie Parsons came up with the idea for Survivor, which he dubbed Castaway, in 1994. Parsons formed Planet24 with Bob Geldof to produce the show, and attempted to have the BBC broadcast it, but the network declined. In 1997, Parsons approached Swedish television in search of a broadcaster, which led to the production of Expedition Robinson. The programme was a blockbuster, and there are plans for international adaptations.