Discovery Channel is putting on a real life Hunger Games. At least that’s what the network’s new show, Survival Live (WT) sounds like to me — without the killing, of course. Eight contestants will compete for 42 days in the wilderness on what the network is billing as the first-ever live broadcast survival show.
The network describes it as a, “24/7 real time, multi-platform viewing experience where viewers will play a large role in each survivalist’s success or failure. The survivalists struggle will be streamed live, day and night, from the moment they are abandoned into the remote wilderness with only the clothes on their back. Viewers will have the ability to check out the survivalists biometric data to see who is physically struggling, and can elect to help them out. The survivalists will be able to build a relationship with the audience by talking to them through the cameras. That relationship could be the difference between failing to succeed on the first week or making it the full 42 days. To prosper, these survivalists will need the audience in their corner if they want to stay alive.”
In addition to pre-recorded episodes, there will be live ones where the weakest survivalist will be “extracted,” based on “how well they have demonstrated their skills and how well they have maintained themselves physically,” according to the network. At the end of 42 days, only one will remain.
Frankly, this set-up gives me the heebie-jeebies. (In my head I’m saying this like King Julian.) It sounds just a touch sinister…but these people are competing willingly, and it’s not actually deadly. Discovery is no stranger to survival shows: Naked and Afraid, Dual Survival, and Bear Grylls: Escape from Hell…who knew there were so many ways to strand people in the wild with video cameras? But, this one sounds like something you won’t want to miss, so be ready for it to hit later this year.
The Hollywood Reporter, who first broke the news, spoke to Eileen O’Neill, group president of Discovery and TLC Networks, who said that the show would likely be filmed somewhere in the Pacific Rim. I hope it’s somewhere balmy.
Is “American Idol” no longer the cultural titan it once was? The numbers are in for last night’s season finale. Not even the notoriously kind Judge J.Lo would have been impressed.
For the first time in a long time, “Idol” won’t finish as the top-rated program in primetime. According to preliminary numbers, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” will go down as this season’s top-ranked program. The NFL game of the week averaged around 20.7 million viewers, while “Idol’s” Wednesday edition averaged 19.7 million viewers this season. With big NFL ratings come big numbers for the league. Last December, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “the NFL pre-emptively renewed TV rights deals with CBS, Fox, and NBC for nine years (through 2022) at an average increase of 7 percent per network that will take revenue for the NFL from $1.93 billion annually to $3.1 billion by 2022.”
Wednesday night’s ‘Idol’ finale “delivered a preliminary 6.1/18 among adults 18-49.” That’s down 32% from last year. Preliminary numbers suggest the finale had 21.5 million viewers. What was once the new hotness has become old and busted. Circle of life, kids.
Industry site Deadline.com points out that this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Throughout the year, the Fox reality show has been “tracking 30% lower than last season.” But it isn’t like the show was killing it last season. In fact, last season was (until now) the show’s lowest-rated finale. However, this year’s season finale did have the most votes of any finale, an indication that while the numbers may be dwindling, those who remain are more passionate than ever.
Of course, “American Idol” has been on the air for about a decade, so it’s no wonder it’s getting a little long in the tooth. New shows with similar setups like “The Voice” are heading in the opposite direction. The NBC competition ended its second season earlier this month with a 16% jump over its debut season. Its Season 2 finale earned 11.6 million viewers.
But its not just “The Voice” that is gunning for the “Idol” demographic. There’s “The X Factor” with former “Idol” judge Simon Cowell. “Duets” with one-time “Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson. And one mustn’t forget Howard Stern on “America’s Got Talent.” “Idol” has a long-term fight on its hands and the star power of J.Lo and Steven Tyler might not be enough. Perhaps another major shakeup is in order.