As it starts casting for its spring 2009 season, Survivor is lowering the minimum age from 21 to 18 for most people. A CBS spokesperson told me today that the change was made simply because “Casting wanted to be able to consider applicants between 18 and 21.”
Previous applications said “contestants must be 21 years or older at the time of application,” but the new application [PDF] says “contestants must be 18 years or older at the time of application, except that if you reside in one of the five states listed below.” Those exceptions are DC and Mississippi, where you have to be at least 21, and Alabama, Nebraska, and Wyoming, where you have to be at least 19.
Why the exceptions? In those five states, “the age of legal majority is over 18. For applicants from those states, they need to be at least the age stated (age of majority) to be considered for the show,” the spokesperson told me.
Next season won’t be the first with contestants under 21. Last season, Frosti was 20, and CBS told me at the time that “producers decided to make an exception for him.” Apparently, they’ve just decided to make that the rule instead of the exception.