Survivor premiere’s last 30 minutes replaced by Big Bang Theory repeat

The first episode of Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites will no longer be two hours, but has been cut back to 90 minutes. CBS will now follow it with a repeat of The Big Bang Theory from last November. That episode is “The Habitation Configuration,” which guest starred Wil Wheaton and LeVar Burton.

A press release announcing the change didn’t specify the reason, nor even mention that it was a change, instead referring to Survivor‘s debut as “a special 90-minute premiere.” A January 11 press release referred to “a special two-hour premiere.”

In other words, a two-hour premiere has been shortened by a half hour at the last minute; the season has been in the can for more than half a year now, so there was no last-minute surprise. That suggests to me that the delivered premiere wasn’t working creatively as a two-hour episode, or the network just didn’t have faith that viewers would stick around for two hours, so they stuck in a repeat of one of their crowd-pleaser comedies to go up against the last part of American Idol.

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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, 37, 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.