Reality television shows have been a craze in America over the last few years. Shows like Survivor, Big Brother, The Bachelor, Fear Factor have been flooding the channels. Survivor is not only flooding the channels, but also stands out in its context and its ability to survive the ratings. Survivor is a reality game show, where sixteen contestants are dropped on an island or a desolate location and have to learn to survive in nature and the elimination votes of their fellow castaways. A show generally consists of one award challenge where the two different teams compete for an award and an immunity challenge where they see which team has to go to tribal council to vote a member off. The challenge these contestants must endure is "how to work together like a team while still figuring out a way to screw each other." What is it about Survivor that drew so many different viewers and what does this say about Americans?
Survivor attracts a wide range of viewers because of its ethnic diversity and different sexualities. In fact, Survivor, in every season has had almost every different ethnic background represented on the island. The first season of Survivor had a black contestant who had many Americans pulling for him. The first season also had a gay man win the title of Ultimate Survivor. However, Survivor is not the only show that varies their contestant's sexuality and ethnicity. Numerous reality shows have different races and sexualities represented through their contestants. America is very diverse with its culture. Donna Petrozzello says that "The cast, like in the first three series, have been plucked from all portions of society." Fan clubs develop when there is a unique person on the show. People who are viewing the shows want to root for the person who is most like them so then they can relate to someone. Having a very diverse selection of contestants allows for a wide range of viewers.
The audiences are usually attracted to the personal relationships that evolve between the people on the screen. Survivor draws in these viewers who are interested in personal relationships by putting people who have never met on an island together. While these people must learn to get along in order to work together, at the same time they must find a way to beat all the others at the game. Dana Gee sums this up well with "Like the prior shows, the test for these folks is how to work together like a team while still figuring out a way to screw each other." The alliances and the bickering between the cast-a-ways make for good entertainment. Americans like excitement and problems that other people have to endure. The drama between the contestants is entertaining and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. When viewers watch these relationships, it is a source of comfort. You can sit down and say at least my life isn't that bad.
Survivor's uniqueness and different approach to presenting the story to the audience definitely caused viewers to be drawn...