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24 Facts: Survivor

2010-06-21 16:38

  Totally original? We think not. The show is based on the Swedish television series Expedition Robinson created in 1997 by Charlie Parsons.

2. Most popular Survivor season ever? The Australian Outback (season 2).

3. Australian Outback was also the only season to last 42 days instead of the standard 39 days. Seems more is... more.

4. In that popular season, Colby Donaldson set a Survivor record and won nine individual challenges (reward and immunity).

5. Think you can cheat the system? Not so easy. One of the season's early challenges saw survivors having to balance a wooden pole with jugs of water hanging from it on their shoulders. The tribe member who held on the longest won a reward for their tribe. However, one of the poles unexpectedly broke under the weight of all the water and the challenge had to be run a second time with slightly different rules. Since this incident, every challenge featured on the show is tested by "The Dream Team" before filming, in order to discover loopholes and ways to cheat.

6. The eventual winner of that season, Tina Wesson, was not a first choice, but was called in at the last minute as a replacement. You can't tell everything from an application video, now can you?

7. The least popular season that we've seen in SA is Survivor: Fiji.

8. Wondering why? Host Probst announced that most viewer applications were ignored for this season and instead the show used its own recruited players. It was later discovered that many of the 'contestants' were just unemployed actors residing in California. Talk about taking the 'real' out of reality.

9. One of these 'recruits', Melissa McNulty, didn't even make it onto the island because she had a panic attack the day before. As a result, Survivor: Fiji was the only season to start with an uneven number of contestants.

10. Season one winner Richard Hatch was charged and found guilty in January 2006 of failing to report his winnings to the IRS to avoid taxes. He has been sentenced to four years, three months in prison. Tsk tsk.

11. The Survivor theme tune, Ancient Voices, is composed by Russ Landau and the lyrics are based on an ancient Russian folk song.

12. What's Russia got to do with it? Well, nothing really. That's why they remix the song each season to incorporate indigenous sounds from the area in which it is filmed.

13. Mark Burnett's been rapped over the knuckles for re-enacting scenes with actor stand-ins. He's adamant that they were just used to increase production value and didn't affect the outcome. Hmmm...

14. Survivor: Cook Islands was the first season to have three people in the final and nine castaways in the jury.

15. That wasn't the only unique aspect of the Cook Islands season. It began with tribes grouped according to race. Host Jeff Probst claims the choice "came from the criticism that Survivor was not ethnically diverse enough." After this statement, many big corporates dropped their support for the reality show, but they never commented as to why. Not such a smart move, Survivor peeps.

16. A smarter move was dividing the tribes by gender as they did in Survivor: The Amazon. A girl, Jenna Morasca, won that one. Weaker sex? Not a chance.

17. Jon Dalton, also known as Jonny Fairplay, definitely made himself memorable on Survivor: Pearl Islands. Some of his attention-seeking stunts included arriving at tribal council drunk and lying about his grandmother passing away just so that he could win a reward challenge!  CBS executives called his grandmother's home to offer condolences, only to have Grandma herself answer the phone.

18. Jonny wasn't the only contestant to stretch the truth. Survivor: China contestant Denise Martin told everyone her sob story of being demoted from a school lunch lady to a janitor. Being the nice guy that he is, Mark Burnett gave her $50 000 to console her. BUT, it turns out that she was actually promoted and had applied for the new position before Survivor. To save a bit of face she then donated the money to charity.

19. Survivor is also a matchmaking game. Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor: Africa met Jenna Morasca, winner of Survivor: The Amazon on Survivor: All-Stars in 2003 (it only aired in 2004) and they've been together ever since. Cute!

20. Some refer to them as Survivor's First Couple, but let's not forget about Rob and Amber. They were also both former Survivor contestants who met up on the All-Stars show and made it all the way to the final. Just before it was announced which of them would take home the million dollars, Rob proposed to Amber and she accepted. So we guess she paid for the wedding.

21. Due to their popularity, Rob and Amber were invited to take part in that other great reality TV show, The Amazing Race.

22. Host Jeff Probst likes to keep things within the tribe. In 2005 he began dating 26-year-old Survivor: Vanuatu contestant Julie Berry. They've since broken up.

23. At the end of every season, the Survivor props are auctioned off and the money is donated to charity. While the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation used to benefit mostly, funds raised now go to Jeff Probst's own charity called The Serpentine Project. We told you he likes to keep things in his own tribe...

24. Survivor celebrates 10 years and 20 seasons on air this year. At least two more seasons have been confirmed. Long live Survivor!


Survivor Micronesia: Fans vs Favourites starts on SABC 3 on Monday 28 June at 20h00.
TV's most popular and successful reality show is back on local screens with its 16th season. Although it's 'reality', a lot goes on behind the scenes. Did you know many of these?

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