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Beyond the Edge, CBS’s celebrity Survivor, is not at all like Survivor

Beyond the Edge, CBS’s celebrity Survivor, is not at all like Survivor
Beyond the Edge cast members Eboni K. Williams, Craig Morgan, Metta World Peace, Paulina Porizkova (seated), Lauren Alaina, Ray Lewis, Colton Underwood, Mauro Ranallo (host), Jodie Sweetin and Mike Singletary (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

The idea of Celebrity Survivor has been discussed over Survivor’s life; a decade ago, Mark Burnett said it’d been discussed, and was something that he’d consider.

In 2013, Jeff Probst challenged celebrities to agree to a 10-day version of the show, with Neil Patrick Harris saying he was in.

While CBS aired two seasons of Celebrity Big Brother, with the third coming next year, it’s never done a celebrity version of its marquee reality competition.

Alas, it still isn’t: The new CBS reality competition Beyond the Edge is not actually Celebrity Survivor, but a Survivor-ish show with celebrities spending two weeks in Panama, produced by the people behind Naked and Afraid.

A beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama, which is hosting Beyond the Edge on CBS, a Survivor-ish celebrity reality show
A beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama, which is hosting Beyond the Edge on CBS, a Survivor-ish celebrity reality show (Photo by Camilo Pinaud/Unsplash)

In mid-December, TMZ reported that a “very Survivor-esque” show was filmed in Panama earlier this fall, featuring a cast of celebrities competing in challenges and a strategic game.

CBS announced the show Feb. 2, during Celebrity Big Brother. It said the celebrities will “face off in epic adventures and endure the most brutal conditions, as they push themselves to go far beyond their comfort zone.”

In the press release, executive producer Greg Goldman claimed this will be “the most extreme celebrity format ever attempted. The day before we started principal photography, all of the producers looked at each other with the sinking feeling that this celebrity cast might see where they were living for up to two weeks—the harsh jungles of Panama—and just bolt. To the contrary, we were amazed by how these icons pushed themselves to their breaking points, showing incredible mental fortitude and physical tenacity. And all for an incredible cause: to raise money for charities that are near and dear to their hearts.”

Here’s how CBS described the show:

For two weeks, the celebrities will see if they have the grit to withstand torrential downpours, scorching heat and deadly wildlife while living in the exotic Panama jungle. There won’t be any judges or eliminations—instead, each celebrity must rely on their inner fortitude, physical ability, and courage, and have faith in their teammates to endure in the wild. For each day they last, and every grueling adventure challenge they win with their team, the celebrities will raise more money for their charities. If a player reaches their breaking point, they can ring a bell to signal that they are ready to go home. At the end of the 14 days, the top two earners will go head to head in one final adventure, to see who can become the Beyond the Edge champion and take home the most money for their charity.

The series premieres March 16, airing after Survivor 42 at 9 p.m. ET.

Beyond the Edge’s cast

Eboni K. Williams, photographed for The Real Housewives of New York City
Eboni K. Williams, photographed for The Real Housewives of New York City (Photo by Sophy Holland/Bravo)

Beyond the Edge will be hosted by Showtime Sports’ Mauro Ranallo. There are just nine celebrity cast members, and seven of them have previous reality TV experience:

  1. Eboni K. Williams from The Real Housewives of New York City
  2. Metta World Peace, who’s been on Celebrity Big Brother and Dancing with the Stars
  3. Ray Lewis, who’s been on Dancing with the Stars and Lip Sync Battle
  4. Jodie Sweetin, who’s been on Dancing with the Stars and hosted Pants-Off Dance-Off
  5. Paulina Porizkova, a former America’s Next Top Model judge
  6. Colton Underwood, who definitely needs even more attention
  7. Lauren Alaina, who was on American Idol and later Dancing with the Stars
  8. Craig Morgan, a country music singer
  9. Mike Singletary, a former NFL player and coach

The show they’ll compete on will air on CBS in March, and was not produced by Survivor’s production company.

Instead, it comes from Renegade 83, which is best known for producing Naked and Afraid, and its recent spin-off Naked and Afraid of Love. Among its other shows, however, are some low-budget celebrity shows like this silly nonsense, plus the horrible, quickly cancelled You the Jury.

It was filmed in Bocas del Toro, Panama, a chain of islands on the Caribbean coast of Panama, according to Variety, which also reported the show’s title, saying Beyond the Edge “would pit celebs in a Survivor-like battle of strategy, wits and muscle.”

But there doesn’t seem to be any strategy involved, just endurance—and just for two weeks.

The casting and Central American location make it sound very much like I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, which aired two seasons: on ABC and, six years later, on NBC, which filmed in Costa Rica. The American versions, at least, were pretty much disasters.

In December, Deadline reported this odd piece of information: “Jeff Probst has been involved in the project. Although he is not currently officially attached, he is expected to sign on as an exec producer of the show.” Probst did work on a show that’s already completely filmed without being officially attached to it? That doesn’t make much sense. Probst’s name was not included in CBS’s announcement.

With its non-elimination format, Beyond the Edge will not be the long-awaited Celebrity Survivor, with actual celebrities playing actual Survivor.

Update: This story and its headline were updated Feb. 2, 2022, after CBS officially announced the show.

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  • Andy Dehnart

    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.

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Saturday 11th of December 2021

Def seems sus that they decided to call a “Survivor-esque” show Beyond the Edge when the last twist of Survivor before the pandemic was Edge of Extinction. Obviously, celebrity doesn’t go extinct after death. In some cases, it grows. And perhaps the angle is that they want their name to be something by giving to the charity of their choice.

At least, that’s what I imagine Jeff Probst thinking/saying.

*Original post contained an auto-correct error.