Cold weather Survivor: time to give up hope

For perhaps as long as Survivor has been around, some fans have been asking/hoping/wanting a season set in a cold climate. While a season set in a climate very different from the ones we’ve been used to over the past 12 years would be an interesting change, it’s probably never going to happen, so let’s just let it go.

Asked by Xfinity’s Gordon Holmes about ideas that he gets pitched, executive producer, showrunner, and host Jeff Probst said, “I get snowy climate a lot. It seems quite unlikely that will ever happen.”

Gordon points out one reason why that’s unlikely: you can’t have people in skimpy clothing, and we all know how critical that is, even if the people in charge of blurring bulges would lose their jobs.

More significant, I think, is how it would impact the 350+ crew members, making production significantly more difficult. Heat, wind, humidity, and rain present one set of challenges; freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and blizzards present an entirely different and far more difficult set of challenges. Sure, Deadliest Catch films in arctic conditions, but being on a boat is different than having a sprawling production with several challenge locations, camp sites, and support areas.

I’m also not sure it’d be that fun to watch. When cast members are shivering or huddled in the rain, that tells us what they’re going through, but it doesn’t make for great interaction or drama, and Survivor needs that. Although maybe if the whole tribe was forced to cuddle all season, you’d get more Malcolm/Angie/Roxy-style conflict and it’d be great.

Speaking of locations, seven years ago, I was asked this question for msnbc.com, and my answer included places I’d like to see the show go, from New Zealand to Hawaii. I stand by those choices as ones that would make for visually interesting seasons, but I’ve since learned that there’s a lot more that affects where the show goes, so those places–particularly the United States, Australia, and Canada–are unlikely.

The production needs a country that’s accessible and friendly, offering logistical and financial support, such as in the form of tax credits and a strong dollar is strong and will buy more. That limits them, especially since budget cuts caused the show to film back-to-back seasons instead of having two locations a year.

So, a winter location would be be both logistically challenging and maybe not the best creative choice. And ultimately, I’m just going to be grateful for every season Survivor isn’t in Samoa.

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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.