Well it looks like the tribe has spoken. And by the tribe, I mean the ratings. And they did not have anything nice to say.
Looks like reality TV trailblazer Survivor is having some serious trouble. The special 2-hour, action packed episode that aired on Wednesday has resulted in the worst ratings in the series’ tenure. TV Line has tallied the votes, and it turns out that last week’s episode “My Wheels Are Spinning” resulted in 8.1 Million views, a 14% decrease in ratings compared to the week prior. Yikes.
There certainly is some wiggle room as to why such a decline in viewership would happen this week. For one, it is the dreaded week of Thanksgiving television, where shows generally fall hard in the ratings. Survivor isn’t unique to this, as a plethora of successful TV programming had a hard week as well, including Fox megahit Empire. So, host and producer Jeff Probst might not be shaking in his weather-resistant shirt and Survivor baseball cap.
The fact that this episode resulted in the lowest-ratings for the series does have some cause for alarm. In fact, we are in the midst of Season 31 (yes, you read that right. A few seasons are produced every year), so the fact that none of the previous 30 seasons have reached this low viewership can mean that the show is in trouble- and there are no hidden immunity idols to save them.
Survivor premiered its first season in the year 2000, and quickly captured the attention of American viewers. While Reality TV hadn’t quite hit its stride yet, Survivor served as a trailblazer for the genre (although I’m sure they don’t want to take responsibility for Reality TV craze and Kardashian empire that has since grown). Viewers quickly became enamored with the social experiment of stranding Americans on a deserted island, seeing how they fared and, yes, survived. Additionally, layered gameplay of social, physical, and strategical elements made for captivating and constantly changing television.
Survivor has created a millionaire in the winner of every season, and became a cultural phenomenon, and has been nominated for a total of 54 Emmy nominations throughout the years. Additionally, a few contestants have gone on to create lively entertainment careers, the most successful being former The View and Fox and Friends host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Does this series low rating mean that Survivor could be on the way out? I have to say, it might be a possibility. Despite the episode in question being two hours worth of plot twists and surprise eliminations, the ratings were tragic. Plus, the Thanksgiving excuse might not be especially valid, as medical drama Code Black followed Survivor on Wednesday night, and managed to increase their ratings substantially since last week.
I can only hope that Probst and the team at CBS manages to find a way to keep Survivor going, and get the ratings back up before the show’s torch gets snuffed out forever.