It’s very clear to me that AI is not good at predicting the winner of Survivor 43, considering it selected Ben Driebergen, who, of course, is not on this season.
But human choices may point to who among Survivor 43’s final five—Cassidy Clark, Jesse Lopez, Karla Cruz Godoy, Mike Gabler, and Owen Knight—will win the $1 million on tonight’s finale.
Based on how the previous 42 seasons’ winners were edited during their seasons, the most-likely female winner is Cassidy, while Jesse is the most-likely male winner.
That’s even despite the fact that Karla has had more screen time: 45 confessionals all season, compared to Cassidy’s 30 confessionals.
Compared to the rest of the cast, Karla has been over-edited by 18 percent, while Cassidy has been under-edited by 21 percent.
So why am I suggesting that Cassidy is the more-likely female winner? It’s because, over time, women who win Survivor have been dramatically and severely under-edited during their seasons compared to bros who’ve won.
How do Survivor winners’ edits compare?
The winner of Survivor 41 was an excellent example of that: Erika Casupanan’s win made her the first person of Filipino descent, the first Canadian winner, and the first woman to win the CBS show after a streak of six male winners.
Yet before the finale, Erika was under-edited by 27 percent, receiving an average of 2.2 confessionals per episode, for a total of 26. Yes, the editing really failed Erika.
Thankfully, Survivor’s editors and producers adjusted and did the opposite the next season: Survivor 42 winner Maryanne Oketch was over-edited by 15 percent.
Still: Of Survivor’s 19 female winners, 14 of them have been under-edited.
He who published this data recently in these two beautiful charts, which make it easily to quickly see how differently the editors have treated winners based on their sex:
I absolutely laughed when I saw Rob Mariano there with 207 percent over-editing during the season when he finally won, mostly to stop myself from crying.
Kosta pointed out that the show “historically edits winners differently depending on their gender. The top 15 winner edits are all men while the bottom 8 are all women except Chris Underwood.”
Survivor: Edge of Extinction winner Chris Underwood was not in the game for nearly one month.
To find out if players were over, under, or evenly edited, Kosta’s methodology involved “comparing the number of confessionals each player received in their season up until the finale vs. how many confessionals they would have received if confessionals were distributed evenly in each episode among all players still left in the game for the entire season,” he wrote.
Will Survivor 43’s winner follow historical trends?
Kosta analyzed the Survivor 43 finalists in the Instagram caption and this Twitter thread, noting that:
- “Jesse being 31% over-edited actually makes his edit just below average for a male winner.”
- “Karla being 18% over-edited would make her the female winner with the 3rd biggest edit heading into the finale” and “makes me feel like her wining is unlikely”
- “Owen (with his near perfectly even edit) and Gabler who is 6% under-edited are both within the normal range of a male winner but at the low end of the spectrum”
- “Cassidy being 21% under-edited is well within the normal range for women”
That makes Jesse a less-likely winner than Cassidy, based on historical averages!
It’s wild to think that Gabler has had more confessionals than Cassidy, but that still makes him less-likely to win than her.
The attention Jesse has received—and the glowing edit—is one reason why I suggested, weeks ago, that Survivor was setting us up for his win. But compared to Survivor’s other male winners, he’s below average in terms of attention.
Of course, these are historical averages; as the dramatic difference in editing women between Survivor seasons 41 and 42 demonstrates, the editors can and do break from their norm.
In general, I think it’s unfair to winners to not have the story of their game told throughout the season, and not have their character developed. That leads to fans thinking of them as undeserving or underwhelming winners, even after they received votes from the people who were actually there all season long.
We’re only seeing what Survivor’s producers and editors decide to show us, so these numbers are entirely within their control.
At the same time, some players are just bigger characters than others, and may have far more entertaining confessionals, and thus those get included, because of course the most-entertaining and most-interesting footage will get priority.
The question is whether Survivor 43 will have struck the right balance, illustrating the winner’s game and letting us get to know them over the season, instead of making their win seem like it came from nowhere.