With Survivor: Winners at War coming to an end and the series’ 20th anniversary (20th!) just weeks away, there’s no better time than now to honor the revolutionary reality TV competition. Welcome to Survivor Week, a celebration of the show’s best moments and characters.
Curiously, Survivor doesn’t claim to be a part of the genre it helped to invent. Producer Mark Burnett, who spent four years peddling the concept for the show alongside partner Charlie Parsons before finally finding a buyer in CBS, has long claimed his signature product isn’t “reality”—it’s “unscripted drama. ” The latter term is more flattering to figures like Burnett, making visible their efforts to manipulate real people’s actions into a narrative just as satisfying as any fictional construct. Unfortunately, it’s just not as catchy.
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