The media loves to run stories about how much Survivor‘s ratings for the season premiere drop from the previous season. But as I’ve pointed out, the show consistently wins its timeslot among total viewers and those ages 18 to 49, and it remains a top 20, often top 15, series.
Now, “TV industry people were taking another look at the show and its steady, under-the-radar success,” The Los Angeles Times reports. “It’s an astounding feat of longevity that highlights the program’s knack for outwitting, outplaying and outlasting the scores of copycat reality competitions it helped spawn.”
The paper cites the show’s production values, cinematography, and casting as reasons behind its success, never mind the game and its drama.Mark Burnett praises his own show, calling it “the gold standard of this genre. I don’t really like the term ‘reality.’ It’s a strange press invention. ‘Survivor’ is really a super documentary, in a way.”
CBS executive Kelly Kahl says, “A couple of moments there, I kind of thought we were near the end. But the show keeps surprising us. I can’t think of a scripted show that has this kind of staying power. If this were a new show and did these kind of numbers, it’d be on magazine covers.”