Samoan tsunami killed hundreds, destroyed Survivor locations one year ago

One year ago last Tuesday, a tsunami destroyed land and lives in the Pacific Ocean, including the southern part of Samoa, where Survivor Samoa and Survivor Heroes vs. Villains were both filmed. It left hundreds homeless on Samoa, and killed almost 200 people, mostly on that island.

Season 20 had just completed filming when it hit, and the remaining show crew was safe, in part because their hotel is on the northern part of the island, which was mostly unaffected. Because Survivor used the now-closed Ili’ili Resort for Ponderosa, the pre- and post-game holding area for contestants, and its owner said the show’s use of it saved lives, because it wasn’t occupied when the tsunami hit. (View photos of the destroyed resort.)

To see what Ponderosa and other locations looked like before the tsunami, here are a few of the photos I took at Ponderosa, at a challenge beach, and on the way to the tribe beaches (which were also on the south side of the island and thus affected, although a Survivor-themed resort is still being planned for that location).

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.