M-Net does Survivor SA


Pay-TV broadcaster M-Net has announced that it will be producing, in conjunction with Endemol SA, the first ever South African version of the hit reality format, Survivor, set to hit local screens on 27 August. Filming commences in an island off Panama on 5 June.

Screen Africa readers may recall that some years back, Videovision Entertainment bought an option to produce a local Survivor series and approached SABC3, the channel that has broadcast several American series of Survivor. However, nothing came of the endeavour.

M-Net’s director of Local Productions Carl Fischer said that the signing of the Survivor rights from international format licence holder Strix is the result of many months of negotiation.

Survivor SA will tap into the Strix infrastructure in Panama, where it is overseeing the shooting of several different countries’ versions of the show. Endemol SA will send a crew of 30 South Africans to Panama, comprised of reality teams, content managers, loggers and cameramen. Strix provides the tribal councils, immunity challenge games and production crew.

Fischer commented: “Prior to M-Net deciding on Survivor, we scoured international television programming schedules from around the world and looked at a number of local proposals. The usual suspects came up, such as the option of doing another series of Idols.

“M-Net decided to do the third in the trilogy of the big format reality shows after Big Brother and Idols. Survivor is part docu-soap, part drama and part competition. The number of contestants on Survivor varies around the world from 10 to 16; we will have 14.”

Fischer went on to say that Survivor SA will be M-Net’s flagship project for the year – there will be no Big Brother or Idols in 2006.

Head of Entertainment at Endemol SA Marie Rosholt admitted that Survivor presented a big challenge, “but not as big as doing Big Brother in Lagos”. Both she and Fischer confirmed that Survivor SA has “a large budget comparable to Big Brother”.

Although the series will be done in English, post production will allow for sub-titling where necessary.Survivor SA will have a Sunday evening 6pm slot. Applicants have until the end of April to submit their entries and the shortlisted candidates will have to undergo rigorous medical and psychological testing to qualify as contestants.

The Survivor SA announcement was made via a satellite news conference from M-Net Broadcast Services in Johannesburg, linking up to members of the media in Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.


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