Over the years, I’ve had more than one love affair with a TV show. But no matter how much I’ve enjoyed epic hits like 24, Alias or Joey Grecco’s Cheaters, none of them have been able to generate the level of excitement that I feel when I watch Survivor. I’m not sure if it’s the Machiavellian nature of the show or simply being able to watch an assortment of characters who are so wacky that they end up making Gilligan’s Island look like the Love Boat. I love the show so much, that I even organized a home version of the game with my family over the holidays… and I ended up getting voted out 2nd for trying to emulate Russell Hantz’s bulldog strategy.
Because Survivor is the number #1 show on my Season Pass priority list, you would think that I’d never miss an episode. But every year Survivor changes the name of their show just a little bit, so that DVR subscribers have to resubscribe to each new season.
While this may or may not be hurting Survivor’s DVR consumption, the fact that the producers of the show haven’t noticed has always baffled me. It’d be like me changing my RSS feed every six months, so that only my superfans could easily follow my blog. Unless you like languishing in obscurity, this isn’t a very good strategy for retaining an audience or capturing people’s attention.
Recently, Jeff Probst, the host of Survivor, launched a blog to promote the show and other charitable causes that he cares about. On his site, he solicits questions from fans and answers the more common ones. While all tidbits about the show caught my attention, one particular answer jumped out at me. In answering the question of how long will Survivor continue to run, Probst says that the survival of Survivor is dependent upon live viewers because “TiVo doesn’t help us in the ratings.”