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Why Canadians (and non-Americans) can’t apply for Survivor

Although Canadians watch CBS’ version of Survivor, they cannot apply for the show. The cast application actually says, “You must be a United States citizen and live in the United States.” People in other countries might want to apply, too, but there’s something about Canada having to watch our version yet not being able to apply that seems particularly galling.

This periodically leads some Canadian fans to apply via the online casting call or otherwise desperately to get attention, as if the producers and network are just arbitrarily excluding Canadians as punishment for their free health care and annoyingly similar pennies. (I received one such plea just a few days ago.)

On his new web site, host Jeff Probst explains, in a Q&A, exactly why people of other nationalities are excluded, and it has to do with the rights to the series. The question is about South Africa, but applies to people from any other country, and the answer probably also explains why people outside the U.S. cannot even watch web content without faking their IP addresses:

“This is a very common question, and so many of you from all over the world asked the same question! The issue surrounds the ‘rights’ to the Survivor format. Mark Burnett/CBS only have the rights to do an American version of Survivor. This means you have to be an American citizen. As you noted, there are other countries, including South Africa that do their own version of Survivor. None of them as exciting as ours of course! By the way, we have several South Africans on our crew — good people!”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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