Monday, May 16, 2011

"Survivor" Changed TV

My dad watches one show and one show only, "Survivor." He has watched ALL 22 seasons over the past ten years. The only time he has ever gotten mad at me was when I forgot to record the season finale of Season 2. If he could he would go on in a heart beat. Their are many hard core "Survivor" fans and although the ratings have dropped "Survivor" is still going strong. "Survivor" will eventually end, but it's impact on our culture will have a lasting effect.

In "Convergence Culture" Jenkins talks about "Survivor's"impact on television. When "Survivor" came to America in 2000 (Europeans had all ready started it two years prior) it sparked a new form of television. "Survivor" was the first of its kind, a show that involves the audience by getting invested with characters who get voted off. This caused such a stir of passionate viewers that a lot of them couldn't wait till the next week to find out who got voted off. They tried to find leaks in the "Survivor" system to see what information they could get (Any person on the Survivor who leaks information could be fined $5 million dollars).

Producers saw the rabidness of these "Survivor" fans and how invested they were in the characters on the show. This lead to "American Idol," a show that welcomes and survives on audience participation. The audience could now vote on who they wanted and in turn they had an invested intrest in that character and would watch the show to see what would happen. Jenkins talks about how "American Idol"(2002) was the first to incorporate technology with a television show. In 2002 "American Idol" was teaching people how to use their cell phones in a different way, to vote.

Now the most popular shows are the interactive shows. "American Idol" is receiving more votes than ever. "The Voice" a new show that is an American Idol copycat is letting you vote AND tweet along side the judges. "One Tree Hill" lets you vote on the outcome of an episode, "Do you want him to kiss Julie or not." "Survivor" is now letting you tweet along side Jeff Probst the host of "Survivor." We have now entered into the age where TV is interactive.

Season 22 of "Survivor: Redemption Island" just ended last night. The winner was four time competitor and the most popular "Survivor" Boston Rob! Finally!


Annie Ostler said...

I fell off the Survivor band wagon years ago, but I will always remember being hooked on it immediately when I first saw it for those reasons that you discuss. It really did change tv. That's cool that your book you read discussed these issues.

And I don't know why, but that makes me happy that Boston Rob finally won...even if he is ridiculous sometimes.

Carlie said...

Your dad is a smart man, and you are lucky he didn't disown you for missing that finale!

Samuel said...

Want a comics tie-in to this one?

In early 1989, DC comics set up a 1-900 number that the fans could call to determine the fate of one of the main characters.

The character? Robin (well... Jason Todd, the second Robin). His fate - he died. The vote margin? Robin died because he was short 72 votes.

So, there you go. Comics leading the way yet again.