CBS is inviting all Survivor cast members to Los Angeles in January for a party and press event that will likely be part of the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. However, I’ve learned that only those returning cast members who are part of season 20, which taped last summer and debuts in February, are having their travel expenses paid.
In an e.mail message to Survivor cast members obtained by reality blurred, CBS executive vice president of marketing Anne O’Grady writes, “To celebrate this amazing milestone, CBS will be throwing a red-carpet press event and party in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 9th and we would love it if you could attend.”
January 9 is CBS’ day at the TCA’s press tour, and typically networks host parties for critics and other media to facilitate interviews, so the Survivor event will serve as, or be part of, CBS’ press tour party. (Full disclosure: I’m a member of TCA and as such, will be attending that party.) At recent press tours, CBS has included cast members from its sibling networks, The CW and Showtime, so perhaps the casts of Dexter, The Mentalist, The United States of Tara, 90210, and other shows will get a chance to meet their favorite Survivors.
The e.mail from CBS’ VP says the network is “inviting everyone who has ever appeared on the show, along with producers and crew who helped get us to this landmark moment” of 20 seasons. As of season 19, Wikipedia says that is a total of 301 cast members, and of course, season 20 won’t have new cast members, as it’s yet another all-star edition.
Alas, CBS hasn’t kept good records on those 301: A person who has an identical name to a previous Survivor contestant received and forwarded to me the same e.mail invitation that actual contestants received, so the party could potentially be populated by a doppelganger or two.
Also, a cast member (who asked to remain anonymous to avoid CBS’ wrath) told me that just Survivor 20 cast members are being flown out and put up in a hotel; everyone else must pay their own way. The 280 or so who can’t afford to fly themselves out or want to disassociate themselves from the series can still receive “a special commemorative buff just for cast members,” according to O’Grady’s e.mail message.