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Survivor Plays The Race Card, What’s Next?

August 24, 2006 12:12 AM by Joe Blackmon

CBS tried bringing back old cast members.  CBS tried slipping in a celebrity by casting a former NFL quarterback.  CBS tried dividing castaways by sex and age.  None of which generated sufficient buzz to turn around ratings on their still solid but also steadily declining reality TV franchise Survivor.  Now, in its thirteenth season, CBS has finally played the race card.    

For Survivor Cook Islands, the castaways will initially be divided into four tribes along ethnic lines (African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic and White).  This bold move by CBS is both groundbreaking and controversial.  It’s groundbreaking because standard practice for most major network reality shows in the past has been to have no more than one or two minorities in a cast.  Survivor could well be the first major network reality series where the majority of the contestants are minorities.  It’s controversial for obvious reasons.

The controversial aspects of this move appear to already be paying dividends for CBS.  Unlike recent editions of Survivor that received little press coverage, the news about the racial divide on Survivor Cook Islands is the talk of both mainstream media and blogs.  Everyone wants to provide their point of view on whether this is a fascinating social experiment or just a really bad idea.

If this new concept for dividing tribes does result in higher ratings for Survivor, then it begs the question of “What’s next?”  Will there be tribes divided based on religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc?  Based on the number of actors and models that keep getting cast on Survivor, what about a tribe consisting of actors/models and a tribe consisting or normal everyday people?   

Reality TV Magazine is your source for Survivor news.  For other great Survivor Cook Islands news, please also check out SirLinksALot: Survivor Cook Islands.

Topics: Survivor |

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13 Responses to “Survivor Plays The Race Card, What’s Next?”

  1. African-American Political Pundit Says:
    August 24th, 2006 at 10:22 am

    It’s unfortunate that race matters so much in our country. The “bigotry demons” are working overtime at CBS. The 20 contestants will be divided into the White Tribe, the African American Tribe, the Asian American Tribe and the Hispanic Tribe. Why not a Native American Tribe or a Japanese American Tribe? It seems to me the African American Tribe, Native American Tribe and Japense American Tribe are real survivors of American Racism let get them to play the game.

    Ooops the “bigotry demons” at CBS got it wrong, what is the white tribe doing in there? Let’s kick out the white tribe real soon, they are not really “survivors” they are descendents of slave owners and neocolonialist but not really “survivors.” How about a Jewish holocoust tribe for good measure. Oops again, to old, not in the CBS viewer market. How about an O.J. Simpson tribe? A Rodney King Tribe? Oh better yet, how about a KKK Tribe?

  2. C Says:
    August 24th, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    New low CBS … won’t be watchin’ this season.

  3. Anonymous Says:
    August 24th, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    This doesn`t show racism at all. All it shows is that CBS has run out of ideas. You should at least be thankful that they are using the “politically correct” terms. When all of those reality shows (not just Survivor) separated teams based on gender, did you see any femenists groups getting all huffy about it?

    BTW, racism isn`t a one-way street.

  4. Les Says:
    August 25th, 2006 at 12:11 am

    I think it’s an interesting concept, but what’s with the inequity with the black team and the white team only allowing two men on the team? But, it’s not suprising that black men would be left out or not given the same opportunites as the other minorites which is racist. I also wonder what criteria the white producers used in picking the contestants favoring one group over another. ultimately it makes for entertaining television but not good for race relations.

  5. Tracy Says:
    August 25th, 2006 at 12:15 am

    i think it will be interesting but i just dont get the point of it all. If the “…” team wins, does that mean they are superior to the others? what is it that mark burnett wants us to learn or take from this? or is he simply trying to improve his ratings which have dipped? whatever the reason, you have to admit its a gutsy move on the part of CBS.

  6. chris Says:
    August 25th, 2006 at 12:26 am

    the world as a majority is segragated to continants and countries… not entirely but for the most part… thats how the world is. Survivor has always called itself a microcosm of society…. why not have tribes divided by race? i think people are getting a little bit ahead of themselves. lets wait and see what happens.

    this is an equal oppurtunity game. and the person who wins is going to have to get along with everyone.

    i cant wait to see what happens. i wont be rooting for the tribe that is my race. i’ll be rooting for the people that i like.

  7. Lisa Says:
    August 25th, 2006 at 8:22 am

    During the last season when the teams were separated by age and gender the separation was very short-lived. I expect the same will happen here. After a couple of weeks they will form two tribes and races will no longer matter. Soon thereafter it will be every man/woman for him/herself and it will blend in with every other season. So, to me, the controversy is just much ado about nothing. As long as no particular team is given special privileges then what difference does it really make?

  8. Anonymous Says:
    August 25th, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    ^ I agree

  9. JJ Says:
    August 25th, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    Okay I get it now. Asians=outsmart,
    whites=outwit,
    Africans=outlast,
    Latinos=? LOL!

    Seriously though I don’t find the premise racist at all. Think about it most ethnicities socialize and marry within their own race/culutre/religion/class. The show’s just reflecting the reality faced by billions in the real world everyday.

    In past Survivors the minority contestants (no more than 2 per season compared to 15 this year) are mostly picked off before merge, always b4 final 4 (god bless Cirie). The odds of a non-white person winning this time around are extremely high.

    This isn’t racism, its race equality and multiculturalism and anyone watching should embrace that not cheer/boo any team because of their skin colour.

  10. Timberfake Says:
    August 25th, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    They’ll do anything for ratings. I think this spells the end of Survivor, and I can’t believe people even watch this show.

  11. Anonymous Says:
    August 26th, 2006 at 7:40 pm

    Next, Survivor w/ handicapped people only!!! To be followed by Survivor-The Seniors Take Control!!(over 60 only!)
    Finally, Survivor-The Wrath of God-religious fanatics of all types fight it out in the name of Da Lord!!!

  12. Survivor Cook Island Says:
    August 28th, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    Survivor Cook Island continues to bring negative opinions

    Survivor Cook Island negative opinions still rool, but..
     As Madonna knows, one element of survival, at least as a business entity, is the ability to generate fresh attention. CBS’s reality hit, Survivor, takes that lesson to heart by …

  13. Anonymous Says:
    August 29th, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    well you know that it would be interesting to see how this all falls apart. its a new view for america to see this since no other show has ever divided people into ethnic groups in order to comptete.

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