Details about Survivor Heroes vs. Villains challenges revealed

Details about the Survivor Heroes vs. Villains challenges have emerged recently. (This story doesn’t reveal anything about outcomes, but stop reading if you don’t want to know details.)

Challenges this season will look familiar, because they’ll mostly all be repeats of challenges from the first 19 seasons. After a season of largely disappointing challenges in Samoa (bowling, bocce ball), this might be more disappointing or even unfair (especially when it comes to individual immunity, as some contestants would conceivably have prior experience), but it also makes some amount of sense for an anniversary, all-star season.

I asked challenge producer John Kirhoffer about those at the anniversary/reunion/press event last Saturday, and when I referred to the challenges as “repeats,” he called them “classics,” and suggested they might be tweaked, which is typical for challenges the show has brought back before. The environment has some impact, too; you can’t duplicate one of those epic Gabon challenges that used its distinctive landscape in Samoa without modifying it, for example.

Meanwhile, Jeff Probst revealed some details about the opening challenge Saturday in a red carpet video. He said that the heroes and villains tribe split led to “instant animosity” and added, “The very first challenge has a broken toe, a dislocated shoulder, and a topless finish. And honestly, that was the first 10 minutes of the show.”

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.