'Survivor 8' considers filming All Star Survivor edition in Palau
By Wade Paulsen, 06/11/2003
CBS and Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett appear to be trying for a grand slam with Survivor 8. As previously discussed, this will be the long-rumored All-Star Survivor edition, with the confirmed participation of the first three Survivor winners -- RIchard Hatch, Tina Wesson and Ethan Zohn -- plus Susan Hawk and Rudy Boesch from Richard's "Tagi Alliance" in Pulau Tiga and the beautiful but treacherous Jerri Manthey from The Australian Outback.
Now, the Pacific Daily News (in Guam) reports that Survivor is negotiating with the former American territory of Palau to host Survivor 8. Palau, part of the Caroline Islands, became a U.S. protectorate after WWII. The U.S. approved Palau becoming an independent country in 1986, but Palau didn't agree to it until 1994, and it retains close ties to the U.S., which provides its military defense. English is one of the two official languages. The country consists of over 500 islands, but the total population is under 20,000; only a few of the islands are inhabited.
Palau's main industry is tourism, especially from the Japanese, but it has been trying to boost its American tourism profile. It is known for its natural beauty, featured in a PBS special on 'The Living Edens.' Its "Rock Islands" are covered with jungle and located in a lagoon that teems with an amazing diversity of coral and marine life.
If Palau is chosen as the site for Survivor 8, the Survivor producers and crew will begin on-site work in September, with filming to wrap by early December for airing beginning in January 2004. Of course, Survivor explores many locations that it never uses, so there is no guarantee that Palau will end up being the host location for Survivor 8. However, the combination of natural beauty and the American military presence (plus an English-speaking government) has to position Palau as the early front-runner.
Note that Survivor 8 will be going head-to-head with the final, or so they claim, season of Friends on NBC. Clearly, Mark Burnett has decided to fight fire with fire, with an all-star edition in a distinctive location.
More interesting are the business aspects of hosting Survivor. According to the article,the producers "ask for everything from tax breaks and visa waivers to security for the filming site to keep out snooping reporters or curious fans. In Palau's case, security will likely mean providing patrol boats around the chosen islands. The filming site must be uninhabited and without a trace of development in the vicinity. At the same time, it must be close enough to a developed area to house crews and provide emergency care."
Pretty steep demands. And yet, well worth it. Australian officials estimated the promotional value of hosting Survivor: The Austalian Outback at $2.6 billion. Since Survivor U.S. is seen in over 50 countries, including most of the main English-speaking countries except the U.K., an English-speaking and American-friendly paradise could reap an even bigger windfall from hosting the show.