News: Outwit, outplay and outlast - eh?
By Steve Tilley -- Edmonton Sun
Outwit, outplay and outlast - eh?
Future installments of CBS's reality-TV phenom Survivor could be open to
Canadian contestants, if series creator and executive producer Mark Burnett
has his way.
During a media conference call yesterday to discuss Survivor: Thailand,
premiering tomorrow night at 9 on CBS, The Sun asked Burnett why he hasn't
yet allowed Canadian citizens to become contestants on the show, which
traditionally draws an even higher ratio of viewers north of the border than
it does in United States.
"It's a bona fide question and I don't see any reason, going forward, that
we couldn't include a Canadian or two," said Burnett.
"(Canada) is so closely aligned with the U.S. that it's not going to be a
jarring thing, like putting a person on the show from China who doesn't
speak English," Burnett said, adding he planned to discuss the idea of
Canuck contestants with CBS president Les Moonves.
So far the only Canadian presence on Survivor has been Survivor: The
Australian Outback's Kel Gleason, who was punted off in the second episode
after it was hinted he was hoarding a stash of beef jerky. Gleason, an
American citizen who worked as a U.S. army intelligence officer, spent part
of his childhood in New Brunswick.
A CBS spokesman said there could be legal issues involved in allowing
non-American citizens on the show, but Burnett vowed to pursue the matter
"Americans and Canadians have the same kind of accent, a bit, apart from you
keep saying 'eh' all the time," said Burnett.
"I think it's a bona fide question, and I'm kind of embarrassed actually
that we haven't attempted it before, because we have such a great viewing
audience in Canada and I've worked there so much. So far I haven't stopped
to think about it, and I will today."
The tidbits Burnett spilled yesterday about Survivor: Thailand included the
revelation that the tribes will not be divided into male and female camps,
as was suggested by some of the CBS promos for the show, and that 90% of the
challenges will be brand new to this series. Burnett also said the third
episode of Survivor: Thailand will include the show's first-ever challenge
to involve physical contact between contestants, an idea which almost
backfired when tempers flared and things got a little rough, forcing host
Jeff Probst to play peacemaker.
"It got a little out of hand, and Jeff started feeling like he was
refereeing the NFL I think," said Burnett. "Jeff was able to tone things
down by yelling at them. I think the words he used were, 'I'm beginning to
sound like a broken record here, guys. Chill out.'
"Tensions run really high when big rewards or immunity are at stake, and you
got a bunch of guys with too much testosterone running around. Trust me, it
makes good TV, though. That's the good thing about it."