Will 'Survivor' finale format change in 'Survivor: Pearl Islands'?
By Wade Paulsen, 08/29/2003
The Hollywood Reporter quotes CBS spokesperson Chris Ender as hinting that the finale format for Survivor: Pearl Islands will change from the format that has been employed on all episodes of Survivor since the second one (Survivor: The Australian Outback). Ender noted that Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett "always has tricks up his sleeves."
This change in the endgame would follow a change in the opening for Pearl Islands, as the contestants are abandoned at the start this time with no supplies, no bathing suits, no "luxury items" -- in fact, nothing but the clothes on their backs. So much for Dirk's Bible, Colby's oversized Texas flag, Ethan's hacky sack and all of the other luxury items that have attained a place in Survivor lore.
The current format for the finale originated after two of the contestants on Survivor: Pulau Tiga stated, during interviews the week before the finale, that "he" was surprised he'd won -- a reference to initial winner Richard Hatch. Since then, Survivor has featured a "lockbox" for the final votes. The two finalists and the jury thus don't know who won until the final votes are revealed on the live conclusion. However, in Survivor: The Amazon, the final two became widely known due to on-line betting by CBS employees with BoDog.com -- despite all of CBS's confidentiality provisions intended to prevent such leakage. We agree that it's time for a change.
We have no idea of the new format, but we hope that, whatever changes are employed, they create as much interest in the winner as the live disclosure has. Speaking of which, Hollywood Reporter also states that, according to BoDog.com (which has now reduced the betting limit on Survivor to $100), the early favorite to win Survivor: Pearl Islands is 31-year-old San Franciscan Burton Roberts, with odds of 4-1. We'd prefer to wait for more information to bubble out of the murky streams before picking a winner ourselves...