CBS orders more 'Survivor' but Jeff Probst's status still undetermined
By Reality TV World staff, 11/08/2005
CBS announced Tuesday that it that it has ordered two more editions of Survivor for broadcast during the 2006-2007 television season. The two new editions will represent the thirteenth and fourteen editions of the long-running CBS reality series.
"Survivor is that rare television breed -- a show with seemingly endless audience appeal," CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler stated in the network's renewal announcement. "It started as a cultural phenomenon and has evolved into a consistent Top 10 show that leads off the most successful night of television on any network."
"Part of that is testament to a concept with inherent drama that features different faces and places; the other part is the ability of [Survivor executive producer] Mark Burnett and his talented team to inject new ideas and new wrinkles to keep the format fresh," Tassler added.
Like Tassler, Burnett also gushed about the continuing success of his first and most successful (at least in terms of ratings) reality franchise. "It is an honor that our show's continued ratings success has become part of television history," said Burnett. "Survivor has been, and continues to be, a wonderful experience for me and for my production crew, and that has remained unchanged since our beginnings. I look forward to continuing as part of the CBS family, and in keeping our loyal Thursday night audience entertained and enthralled for many more years to come."
All ten of Survivor's editions have finished ranked among their television seasons' Top 10 most-watched shows -- a streak that the currently airing Survivor: Guatemala should extend to eleven after next month's December 11 finale. If you consider each Survivor edition to be its own season, Survivor is only the sixth show in television history to rank in the Top 10 during each of its first ten seasons.
Although new time period competition from Alias, Smallville, and Everyone Hates Chris has resulted in this season's Survivor: Guatemala edition experiencing a small ratings drop, Survivor has remained a ratings powerhouse that dominates its time period and ranks seventh in the season's season-to-date rankings.
Notably absent from the CBS announcement was any mention of who will hostSurvivor's two 2006-2007 editions. Earlier this fall, Jeff Probst -- the only host the show has ever known -- confirmed to reporters that his current contract was set to expire after the twelfth Survivor edition that will premiere in early 2006. In the process, Probst also stated that given the show's travel requirements, he'd be hesitant to sign another long-term hosting contract -- a comment that sparked rumors that Survivor 12 would be the last Probst-hosted edition.
Last month, Probst termed an Inside TV report that he was going to leave Survivor because he was in love with Survivor: Vanuatu girlfriend Julie Berry as "ridiculous," adding he didn't "know where these stories come from." However the issue of whether he was challenging the report that he would be leaving or only the reason why he would be leaving remained somewhat unclear and was further muddled when Burnett told TV Guide (Inside TV's sister publication) that he believed that Probst would "move on" after Survivor 12.
CBS did not immediately respond to requests for clarification as to whether Probst will host the two newly announced Survivor editions. Late Wednesday, CBS spokesperson Colleen Sullivan confirmed to Reality TV World that the issue of whether Probst would return for the two new Survivor editions "hasn't been determined yet."
Given the undetermined (or at least undisclosed) status of Probst's return, the reasoning behind CBS' decision to announce its completely unsurprising pickup of two more Survivor editions so early into the current television season remains unknown. Last year's Survivor 11/Survivor 12 announcement didn't occur until mid-December -- a move that still placed it more than a month ahead of January 2004's announcement that the network had ordered Survivor 9/Survivor 10.