Survivor’s “steady, under-the-radar success” is “an astounding feat of longevity”

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.”

‘Survivor’s’ name truly says it all [Los Angeles Times]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.