Behind the scenes of Survivor Caramoan’s insane cold open

Survivor Caramoan debuts tonight with a strangely shortened 90-minute premiere, and as usual, it will feature a bunch of crazy returnees. Also as usual, it will begin with an epic shot of Jeff Probst delivering the series’ signature opening line: “39 days, 20 people, one Survivor.”

Those moments are always impressive cinematically and sometimes literally breathtaking, whether because Probst is dangling from a helicopter or because incredible, huge waves smashing through holes in rocks behind him, as they did in Samoa.

For tonight’s cold open, Probst will be on top of a narrow column of rocks, and he’s posted a behind-the-scenes video to show how he found his way there.

Helicopter pilot Ken Gray drops Probst off onto a two-foot-wide space on top of an insanely tall rock where a crew member, Mark James, is already waiting with what’s described as a leash. They’re obviously incredible professionals who do phenomenal work–James especially, as he apparently climbed up and down the rock.

This video is terrifying and proves one thing: Jeff Probst is a fucking bad ass host who’s completely in his own league.

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.