Survivor producers “decided to make an exception for” 20-year-old Frosti

Producers for Survivor waived their own rules to allow a 20-year-old to compete on the new season of the show. Michael “Frosti” Zernow’s bio on says he was born February 15, 1987, making him solidly 20; he won’t be 21 until next February, about two months after his season concludes. And the application insists that “contestants must be 21 years or older at the time of application.”

For an column, I asked CBS why he’s on the show. “The producers decided to make an exception for him. They have the right to waive eligibility requirements at their discretion,” a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson didn’t respond to a follow-up about Big Brother 8‘s Daniele Donato, who’s also underage at 20, but presumably the same is true for her (and previous under-21 cast members).

Speaking of casting, Canadians might not be able to apply for the show, but besides working as Dream Teamers, they get a special treat this season: fortune cookies. Yes, Global Television “is using the iconic fortune cookie to support the series’ September 20th premiere,” the network announced in a press release. For the promotion, “one million custom-baked fortune cookies – prepared in a secret location, and containing special SURVIVOR: CHINA-branded messaging – will be distributed with each meal at participating Manchu WOK Restaurants nationwide.” Inside are “three ‘golden tickets’, bearing the grand prize of a trip for two to China.”

So stop complaining, Canadians. You get fortune cookies and three-in-one million chance to win a trip, and people in the states only get the chance to actually be on the series.

Did ‘Survivor’ break its own age-limit rule? [MSNBC]
A ‘Media Innovation 2007′ Exclusive – Global Television Supports Premiere Of ‘Survivor: China’ With Canadian Advertising First [Global Television press release]
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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, 37, 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.