Still not sold on this Redemption Island concept. The strings of Survivor are really showing.
I have a high school friend (pretty small number that can claim that) who works in Hollywood. It was his dream, and I give him major credit: he made it happen. He’s mostly film crew and lighting. Anyway, I asked him about this reality stuff, and he explained that it was mainly about money. It’s cheaper to film pre-law students from Mississippi than to hire Jennifer Aniston. Okay, understandable.
What too much of the audience does not realize: these days, a good percentage of Survivor players are recruited. Now, why would they do that? It’s like this. Average typical Joes and Janes are a pain in the butt from Hollywood’s standpoint. They don’t always realize that their job is to create good TV, and they may not be tractable. But if you recruit a couple of semi-notorious past contestants, and a bunch of people with at least some hope of making a mark in show business (rather than winning a mill and then finishing law school in Mississippi), they’ll play ball with the producers.
The benefit here is less work necessary in editing and production. Sure, producers can create a Frankenbyte to make people say anything, but it’s nice when the cast is tractable. “Could you do that one again?” “Sure, no problem.” As opposed to: “Are you kidding? You filmed me taking a leak. Go to hell.”
At any rate, that’s where we are at. Oh, we have the obligatory old white redneck, plus all the other stereotypes. Lots of young women in bikinis, can’t even tell them apart, don’t even care. It’s wandered far afield from the original concept, and as ever, the producers don’t realize that the original concept was what made it interesting, and that all that is needed to keep it fresh is new crops of players with new behaviors. Nope, just have to mess with it. Hollywood, once again running true to form: the longer Hollywood holds anything, the more it cheapens it.
I see this as the eternal impulse to “change it up.” We deal with it often in editing as well, including the writer who self-edits eternally and never pulls the publication trigger. At some point, the thing’s got to be done.
Not saying that Hollywood should never evolve its reality shows, of course. Tastes can change in twenty years. What I’m saying is that a predictable editing of the concept begins far too early, and mainly because producers cannot resist tinkering–“making it their own.” That, I think, is more about them than about the viewer.