NAACP says they’ll wait to see Survivor; Burnett dismisses lack of geographic diversity

On the eve of the debut of Survivor Cook Islands, the NAACP has issued a statement saying they “do not” like the idea, but will wait to see the first episode. That resulted in a parade of statements from all parties. First, the NAACP said,

“Concerning the new season of ‘Survivor,’ whether we like the concept or not — and for the record, we do not — it is premature to judge the show purely on conjecture. We will judge the show on what we see, and we will monitor the public response.”

That prompted warm feelings from CBS, who said,

“We appreciate the NAACP reserving judgment on ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ until they’ve seen the show. As a programmer, you can’t ask for more than to be judged by how audiences react to what they see on the screen.”

And finally, Mark Burnett responded personally:

“I agree with the NAACP in that ‘there is no escaping the reality that race is a complex and emotional issue in America, one we are still reluctant to confront and address,’ and I am happy that they have reserved judgment until they watch the series. I would encourage anyone to follow this lead and watch at least a few episodes to get a clear picture of how the dynamic will play out.”

Speaking of Burnett, ASAP’s The Slug asked him about reality blurred‘s revelation that 13 Californians and three actors on this season.

Burnett said, “A lot of them live in California but are really from somewhere else and have been here less than a year. You have to look at where they’re really from, not where they live.”

That’s the biggest bullshit answer I’ve heard this week. First, if they live in LA, that means they are currently from LA. That’s the definition of living somewhere. Perhaps they were born elsewhere, but if the city of their birth was so significant, CBS would list that on the cast biographies.

Civil rights group on “Survivor” — Let’s see [Hollywood Reporter]
The Slug Talks to Mark Burnett [The Slug]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.