Is ‘Survivor’ the Greatest Show in Television History?

Television has no deficit of reality TV programming: It seems like every week there’s a new reality show popping up. From the lives of LA housewives to ultimate ninja showdowns and everything in between, there is something for everyone.

But through the years, there have been a few reality shows that have withstood the test of time. Survivor has outwitted and outlasted them all. The reality competition continues to bring in viewers and is always coming up with new ways to make the show relevant and fresh. The question is: Is Survivor the best show on TV?

The show is always looking to try something new

This year, Survivor made news by mixing things up a little bit. Season 38 introduced the Edge of Extinction. The show begins like any season with contestants battling it out to outwit and outlast. They compete in competitions and the losing team goes to tribal council to vote out one of their own.

But this year, things are a little different. This time, when contestants are voted out, they will find a choice at the end of the path — go home or choose to stay and fight to get back into the game on a secluded island.

The show’s host Jeff Probst, who loves to study behavior said that the twist was made to see how far contestants would push themselves. He said he wants to see what contestants will do when faced with the choice to stay in the game, “…if there’s something stirring inside of you and you’re posed with this question of, ‘Wait, I could maybe get back in?’ then maybe you’ll push yourself a little further and see what you’re made of.”

‘Survivor’ has turned Jeff Probst into a household name

Probst began hosting Survivor in 2000. At the time, the host thought the show would only last a few years and he would move on. But the show surprised everyone and went on to be the longest running reality show on TV. Years later, many shows can credit Survivor for making entertaining television and opening the door for so many other reality shows. 

Throughout his tenure, Probst has been the face of Survivor. It’s hard to imagine any other voice speaking, “The tribe has spoken.” The show has made Probst a household name and garnered him a net worth of nearly $40 million. In addition to hosting the reality show, Probst hosted a short-lived talk show and has authored several children’s books.  

Probst says there’s a secret to getting on the show

If you think that the idea of competing on Survivor sounds like a dream come true, Probst says that there’s a trick that will increase your odds of getting cast. The host says the show is looking for someone authentic. They want contestants that have a story to tell and will create compelling television. That’s it. No gimmicks. No fancy editing. Just be yourself.

How much life does ‘Survivor’ have left in it?

For nearly 20 years, Survivor has been a solid player in the CBS lineup. Though it has been on for 38 seasons, the show continues to have that “it” quality that keeps attracting viewers year after year. With consistently strong ratings, it would seem like CBS has no reason to say goodbye to its longest running reality show.

And it seems that Probst has no intentions of going anywhere anytime soon. Probst and creator Mark Burnett already have plans for how they want to celebrate season 40 and as of now, the host still enjoys what he does, “The reason why I’m still enthusiastic today is the same reason why I wanted the job so badly back in 2000: I love humans. I love human behavior. … It just never gets old.” And maybe Probst has figured it out. Maybe it’s the study of human behavior that continues to bring us back for more.