Survivor renewed for next year, but not necessarily for two seasons

Survivor has officially been renewed for the 2013-2014 television season, but does that mean two more seasons? Probably, but CBS isn’t clear.

Neither a press release nor a Facebook post make that clear, and a post on CBS.com was similarly vague.

CBS’ press release–which was about its renewal of 18 different shows, so not just about Survivor–said that its “three Emmy Award-winning reality series The Amazing Race, Survivor and Undercover Boss also return with new editions.” A Facebook post said the show “has been RENEWED for the 2013-2014 broadcast season!”, while the show’s web site says it “will return with brand-new episodes for the 2013-2014 broadcast season!”

That all three announcements avoid specifying that it’ll be back for two seasons is weird, and leaves open the possibility that it’s just for one season during the year.

I think that’s highly unlikely, however. The show performs well against increasingly weak competition in American Idol and The X Factor, and it now films two seasons back to back in the same location, saving significant amounts of money. It’d still be cheaper to film just one season, of course, but it’s more cost effective to film two.

If anything, CBS might just be waiting to announce the dual seasons in the future, perhaps after they announce the location or twists. In any case, cue the desperate phone calls and e.mail messages from past cast members to casting producers, begging to be brought back as returnees who face a far less challenging path to final Tribal Council than they did their first, second, or third times on the show.

Update: Jeff Probst has said the show will shoot seasons 27 and 28 this summer. Not sure if that just confirms the obvious two seasons a year–or still leaves open the possibility that just one airs next year.

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.