Survivor challenge rehearsal footage argues that it looks simple but is “tough”

A challenge we’ll see on tomorrow night’s Survivor Nicaragua has been previewed online via footage of the Dream Team’s rehearsal of the challenge, which tries to make the argument that the challenge is not as easy as it looks. Jeff Probst even says at one point that it’s “simple in concept but tough to do.” (Like bowling? Oh, I kid the challenge team.)

While this is no Spit it Out, the amazing immunity challenge from episode five, Push Me Pull U was designed by former Dream Team member Edwin Davis, and involves holding a pole by pulling away from it on two handles. Like Probst’s comment, CBS’ web site description of the video says that “trying to keep a pole suspended between two metal bars may be trickier than it appears.” However, a camera operator participating in the challenge insists “this is easy,” and a tie is called after more than an hour so the crew can break for lunch.

I’m being too hard on the challenges: endurance challenges are good, and sometimes the simplest ones are the most memorable, like when they’re just standing on pylons in the middle of the water, offering to strip for peanut butter.

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.