The decline of Survivor | Gene Expression

I just realized that the American television show [Survivor][1] is now over 10 years old. Though [The Real World][2] had been around for nearly ten years when it premiered in the spring of 2010, _Survivor_ was what triggered the lift-off of the current generation of “reality television.” I haven’t watched it since season (series) two, so I was curious what was going on with it. It looks like it’s been in [long-term ratings decline][3]. The host received a [one year renewal on his contract][4] early this year, instead of the two or four year contracts agreed to in the past.

Here’s the trend in terms of its ranking in the ratings:

![surv1][5]

And by millions of viewers:

![surv2][6]

Note the disjunction between the viewers who watched the premier, and those who watched the finale, on the first season. _Survivor Borneo_ became a national phenomenon and built up momentum over the season. The second season, _The Australian Outback_, exhibited the opposite trend. The only outlier after those seasons is the _All-Stars_. Since season two it seems that the franchise has matured and is now slowly decaying into cultural and ratings irrelevance, though it’s had a very long run.

![][7]

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivor_(U.S._TV_series) [2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Real_World [3]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivor_(U.S._TV_series)#U.S._television_ratings [4]: http://livefeed.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/02/jeff-probst-renews-hosting-gig-for-survivor-.html [5]: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/files/2010/10/surv1.png (surv1) [6]: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/files/2010/10/surv2.png (surv2) [7]: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/DiscoverBlogs/~4/uPObQRNVtso

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