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'All-Star Survivor' edition nixes Palau site; is Papua New Guinea the host site?


By Wade Paulsen, 08/06/2003 

The Pacific Daily News (in Guam), which previously reported the interest of CBS's Survivor in filming its upcoming "All-Star Survivor" edition this fall on the Pacific island paradise of Palau, now reports that delays in filming Survivor: Pearl Islands have forced CBS to end consideration of Palau as the next Survivor host site. According to an e-mail from the Survivor scout team leader, which was read by the Palau chief of staff, the filming of Pearl Islands (also known as Survivor 7) ran so far behind that the producers "may have to do another program right there in Panama."

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Palau, which has already hosted the Japanese edition of Survivor and was hoping to become more widely known as a tourist destination in its former colonial ruler, was considered to be a finalist along with the former Australian protectorate Papua New Guinea for hosting the show.

Knowing that Palau has a government structure similar to the U.S., we believe the e-mail to be genuine and not a Survivor-requested misdirection. We note, however, that Papua New Guinea has made no similar formal statement regarding its dashed hopes for "All-Star Survivor" (also known as Survivor 8). We note that, regardless of the e-mail, the filming of Survivor: Pearl Islands is complete and that the preliminary filming for Survivor 8 won't begin until late September.

We also think that the chance that Survivor executive producer (and native Australian) Mark Burnett will re-use a location for back-to-back Survivors -- especially when the second one will be going head-to-head against the last episodes of NBC's Friends -- is too low to seriously consider. Thus, we now lean toward the belief that Survivor 8 will be held in Papua New Guinea. Stay tuned for further developments.

One advantage of Papua New Guinea (called "PNG" for short) is its proximity to the Australian province of Queensland (in fact, the southern half of PNG was annexed by Queensland in 1883 and remained part of Queensland for decades). It also isn't all that far away from the Queensland site which hosted Survivor: The Australian Outback, so the advance work required would be much less.

PNG is an independent nation occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea plus several surrounding island groups, and it has been plagued both by political instability (including secessionist movements on some of the richer large islands) and natural disasters (including tsunamis and earthquakes). Hosting Survivor would be a way to establish its own identity.

PNG was also the site of several fierce WWII battles between the Japanese invaders and the ANZUS (Australia-New Zealand-U.S.) allies. The Japanese were unable to capture the capital of PNG, Port Moresby, although the subsequent battles to dislodge them from their captured territories and islands were quite bloody. Some of this history might come into play in an "All-Star Survivor" quiz.

The main language of Papua New Guinea is Tok Pisin, an English-based creole, although English is the official language (as in Palau). Over 90% of the residents are Christian. Like northern Queensland, the climate is variable depending on location; three-quarters of the country is tropical rainforest, but Port Moresby is actually quite dry. More information about Papua New Guinea may be retrieved from the NineMSN version of Encarta maintained in Australia.











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