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The Traitors murders its rivals; we’ve watched Survivor for 1.2 million years

The Traitors murders its rivals; we’ve watched Survivor for 1.2 million years
Alan Cumming watches the first Traitors US season 2 mission (Photo by Euan Cherry/Peacock)

It’s a good time for reality TV competitions: Both Peacock’s The Traitors season two and CBS’s fall season of Survivor have increased their viewers year-to-year.

Increasing ratings in this day and age is an impressive feat. Even with fewer new scripted shows this fall because of the actors’ and writers’ strikes, there’s still plenty of content to watch, and more people are finding these two great shows.

The Traitors US season two was the top-rated reality TV show streaming the week of its premiere, while Survivor 45 increased audience on both streaming and broadcast TV.

Across 45 seasons, CBS calculated that we’ve “collectively spent 630 billion minutes” watching Survivor since the summer of 2000.

That’s the same as 1.19863 million years, which is 437,799,607 days. If my math is right, that means Jeff Probst and company could film 11.2 million seasons of original 39-day Survivor in the amount of time we’ve all spent watching Survivor.

Alan Cumming returns to host Peacock’s The Traitors 2

Peacock announced that, according to Nielsen streaming ratings data, The Traitors season two’s premiere:

  • was Peacock’s most-watched reality premiere ever
  • was the ninth most-popular streaming show overall based on minutes viewed during the week of Jan. 15
  • had increased its “streaming reach” by 75 percent compared to season one, likely validating the decision to cast mostly reality TV stars

And most significantly, it was the top-rated reality TV show on all streaming platforms the week of Jan. 15, which was the first full week after the Friday on which its three episodes premiered. (That same week also gave us the premieres of a new season of Netflix’s Love on the Spectrum U.S and Max’s Jason Momoa reality show.)

That’s great news for the best new reality competition format of 2023, and a show that continues to excel in every area.

A man stands next to a vertical flag and a tall table with a wood pelican statue on it
Jeff Probst on Survivor 45, episode 6 (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS)

Survivor 45, meanwhile, which was the best of the post-pandemic seasons, grew its audience four percent across both broadcast and streaming, CBS announced.

Pairing Survivor and Amazing Race together with 90-minute episodes took CBS’s Wednesday ratings up 19 percent compared to last fall, which probably explains why we’re getting the same schedule this spring, too.

On Paramount+, Survivor is the top-rated reality TV program, and third overall. People also spent 72 percent more time streaming this fall compared to Survivor 43.

CBS shared Nielsen data with me showing Survivor 45 averaged 6.598 million viewers per episode this past fall, when adding in people who watched live or over seven days following each episode.

Survivor 45 had a high of 6.989 million viewers for episode two, and a low of 6.314 million for the merge episode, of all things. The finale was the second-lowest for total viewers: 6.345 million.

Still, Survivor 45’s finale was Paramount+’s top live-streamed show, while live viewing on both Paramount+ and CBS’s app were up 27 percent compared to the 2022 finale of Survivor 43.

To no one’s surprise, CBS noted that Paramount+ viewers of Survivor “are, on average, 20 years younger than those watching on broadcast.” That’s probably because those of us still watching on broadcast can only watch if the orderlies in our nursing homes change the channel for us, but I’m glad they did.

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