Why Canadians (and non-Americans) can’t apply for Survivor

Although Canadians watch CBS’ version of Survivor, they cannot apply for the show. The cast application actually says, “You must be a United States citizen and live in the United States.” People in other countries might want to apply, too, but there’s something about Canada having to watch our version yet not being able to apply that seems particularly galling.

This periodically leads some Canadian fans to apply via the online casting call or otherwise desperately to get attention, as if the producers and network are just arbitrarily excluding Canadians as punishment for their free health care and annoyingly similar pennies. (I received one such plea just a few days ago.)

On his new web site, host Jeff Probst explains, in a Q&A, exactly why people of other nationalities are excluded, and it has to do with the rights to the series. The question is about South Africa, but applies to people from any other country, and the answer probably also explains why people outside the U.S. cannot even watch web content without faking their IP addresses:

“This is a very common question, and so many of you from all over the world asked the same question! The issue surrounds the ‘rights’ to the Survivor format. Mark Burnett/CBS only have the rights to do an American version of Survivor. This means you have to be an American citizen. As you noted, there are other countries, including South Africa that do their own version of Survivor. None of them as exciting as ours of course! By the way, we have several South Africans on our crew — good people!”

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.