Survivor, also known as Expedition Robinson, is a reality-based competition television show.

The original Survivor franchise logo, used in most versions outside the United States.

The universal logo of the American Survivor series.


Survivor is derived from a 1997 Swedish television series called Expedition Robinson. Following its success, in 2000, Mark Burnett collaborated with Charlie Parsons (who developed Expedition Robinson) to create the U.S. version, which they entitled Survivor. Initially, Burnett looked for a television network who would buy the concept, but was unsuccessful, until CBS accepted the offer.[1][2]

The American series debuted in May 31, 2000, which amassed huge international success, which prompted Burnett and Parsons to produce more seasons after it.

Following the American franchise, other countries have produced their own versions of the series. The rights to these franchises are bought from Parsons' Castaway Television Productions.

In Survivor: All-Stars, the novel and film Lord of the Flies was said to be an inspiration of the series.

The Survivor series is considered to be the pioneer of the Reality Television genre, spawning several reality shows with completely different premises, either competition-based, or chronicling a famous person's daily life.


The show's premise is to subject sixteen to twenty strangers to a remote location, stripped away of most comforts in life such as food and technology. These contestants would be undergo challenges and physical and mental fatigue for 39 days. Divided in to teams called "tribes", the castaways must construct a new world while battling the elements and one another. Every few nights, the tribe that loses an Immunity Challenge would go to Tribal Council and must vote one of their own off the island. At a certain point, what remains from the original tribes would merge into one final tribe where they will compete for a seat at the Final Tribal Council, where the most recently eliminated castaways will ultimately decide which of the final few would earn the title of Sole Survivor and its accompanying $1,000,000 prize.


The series' motto, Outwit, Outplay, Outlast, is the three key factors to ensure victory in the game. "Outwit" is the strategic factor, where a contestant must cleverly make it through the game as unscathed as possible. To "Outplay" is to consider the other contestants and how to assimilate and/or manipulate them. "Outlast" stands for surviving as many days as possible.


To know about Survivor's rules, refer to the Survivor Rulebook page.

Sixteen to twenty strangers will be marooned in an unforgiving territory where they will be divided into teams called "tribes". According to Jeff Probst, the standard sixteen-castaway format is implemented to make the viewers get to know each contestant more; but in seasons with more than sixteen contestants, Probst explained that the expanded cast is to have "wiggle room" in case of unprecedented events such as medical evacuations and voluntary exits.

Given a pre-determined amount of tools and supplies, the tribes would then proceed to their camps, which they will inhabit on for the next 39 days. These tools are usually limited to a machete, a cooking pot and water canteens. In some seasons, contestants are given limited food supplies such as rice and fruits. Otherwise, they have to rely on available flora and fauna for nourishment.

These tribes are also required to compete in competitions called "challenges", where they have to vie for either creature comforts such as additional supplies, food or love from home (Reward Challenges) or the right to stay for another cycle of days (Immunity Challenges). The tribe that loses at the Immunity Challenge must go to an elimination ceremony called Tribal Council where their actions will put into account. The tribe votes, and whoever receives the plurality of the votes (majority vote is not necessary) will be eliminated from the game. Occasionally, however, a twist may be present that allows previously voted out castaways to have a chance to reenter the game at a predetermined point.

At a certain point, the tribes will be merged into one final tribe, where they will now compete as individuals unlike the tribal phase, where challenges are won by group effort. In later seasons, the merge typically also marks the start of the jury phase, where the people who are eliminated will return to subsequent Tribal Councils to ultimately decide who among the final two/three will win the title of Sole Survivor and the million dollar prize that comes along with it at the Final Tribal Council.

Over the years, each franchise has introduced twists to the original format to make the game fresher and more interesting.

International Franchises





Middle East


Through Borneo until Tocantins and from Nicaragua to South Pacific, Survivor remained as one of the most watched television shows, breaking in to the Top 20 Most Watched shows of their respective television seasons. The season finale alone of Borneo, "The Final Four", ranked the series' highest number of viewers, with 51.69 million viewers. The change of time slot in Survivor: Nicaragua (from Thursdays to Wednesdays) did not seem to affect ratings.[3]


Survivor's success are largely thought as the proponent of the Reality Television genre, spawning several other reality shows, competition-based or otherwise. On a similar note, Mark Burnett subsequently produced several other competition-based programs such as The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Combat Missions (which starred Survivor: Borneo and Survivor: All-Stars contestant Rudy Boesch), The Voice, and among others.


In the United States version, other than DVDs and replica buffs, merchandise ranges from mugs, flash disks, keychains, computer games, and shirts. Several of the US show's props, such as contestants' torches, Immunity Idols and challenge paraphernalia are auctioned off for charity.


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