- This is the 38th season for CBS’s reality show.
- ‘Survivor’ was one of the early pioneers of the reality TV genre.
- ‘Survivor: Edge of Extinction’ Episode 5 airs March 20 at 8:00 PM Eastern.
Five episodes in to Survivor: Edge of Extinction and things are starting to get interesting. Whenever I ‘do media’ talking about reality TV I get asked one question with extreme frequency: “If you weren’t doing odds on (insert show name here) would you watch it?” More often than not, it’s an emphatic ‘No’. For example, were I not making odds on the reboot of Project Runway I don’t think I’d have much interest in watching. I’d probably keep following media coverage about it to see what the vibe is. If the word was positive I might give it another chance. This notwithstanding, I sure don’t see myself bothering to watch based on my reaction to the premiere episode.
It’s always a good sign for a reality show when I equivocate or answer ‘Yes’. For the first time this season, I can say that were I not doing odds on Survivor: Edge of Extinction I’d probably still watch. At the very least, I’d keep up with the show through entertainment media coverage. For whatever reason, I’ve always found Survivor more engaging than most other reality shows. Much of the credit goes to the casting on the show as they have consistently found contestants that are interesting and show some complexity.
Survivor contestants are definitely a step up the evolutionary scale from the contestants on Big Brother which usually ends up being an assortment of ‘random tatted up dudes’ and ‘random attractive chicks’ plus for some reason there seems to be a ‘cowboy guy’ on the show every season like Jason Dent from Season 19. Even when the Big Brother contestants try to display some type of personality or emotional complexity it comes off as a ‘work’. In most seasons, my contempt for the show and the contestants grows as the season progresses and once it ends I’m always glad to be done with it. Not so with Survivor–after a few episodes I’m at least ‘invested’ in the show. I can’t say I’m ‘hooked’ and spend my leisure time discussing the game but the contestants are engaging enough to keep my interest.
WENDY AND THE CHICKENS
The most amusing yet complex storyline on Survivor: Edge of Extinction so far is the deal with Wendy and the chickens. EOnline called Wendy “Survivor‘s most chaotic player ever”. She’s definitely one of the most entertaining in recent years. Sadly, she’s the current favorite to be eliminated but more about that in a moment. The chickens were introduced to the plot in Episode 3 as a reward challenge prize. The Manu tribe won and Wendy hurt her ankle during the competition. Ever since, she’s done everything possible to keep the chickens alive–even after ending up in a new tribe via the tribal swap:
Wendy first terrorized the Manu tribe with her injured ankle and her refusal to let anyone kill a chicken and her theft of the flint, and tonight, even with a whole new tribe, Wendy was still at it.
Wendy’s tribemates all ended up in one tribe together (the Lesu tribe) which left her as the only Manu tribe member left but was soon joined by new members. Things were going swimmingly until….
She was thrilled with her new tribemates and shared every piece of info she had about her former tribe, until her new tribe expressed desire to kill the chickens.
Wendy first tried to convince them to wait until the chickens laid eggs, but then in the night, she gleefully set the chickens free. (Remember: she is not a vegetarian.)
The rest of her tribe immediately knew she was responsible for letting the chickens go, but the chickens didn’t really go very far despite Wendy’s best efforts, so everyone else planned to kill the first one they could catch, even as Wendy begged. “You’re my best tribe! You’re my tribemates!”
EDGIC: HOW EDITING CAN SHAPE THE NARRATIVE
Among the Survivor cognoscenti on the Intertubes the prevailing opinion is that Wendy is as good as gone. I’m not so sure. It’s no secret that the production and editing of reality shows goes a long way into shaping the results. There’s even a term for that–if you read the big Survivor fan websites you’ll see the word edgic mentioned repeatedly. Edgic is a more ‘meta’ analysis of what’s going on during a given season focusing on how the show is being edited and what type of narrative these decisions are trying to shape. Here’s a further explanation of ‘edgic’ from the Surviving Tribal website:
In Survivor, edgic describing the logic behind what the editing team is showing us over an episode or a series of episodes in order to predict what narrative they’re highlighting and character arcs they’re building. The goal of edgic is to learn who’s in contention to win, with the goal to have a definitive winner pick after the merge episode each season. The term was created by the lovely, good-hearted people at Survivor Sucks, showing you just how dedicated they are to their appreciation of the game despite that title.
I’ve been asked if I follow any of the edgic discussion for not only Survivor but several other reality shows. I read them every week but they don’t play a large part in my oddsmaking process. That being said, I do consider many of the same concepts about the editing process shaping the narrative. One of the easiest ‘tells’ is to watch the first few shows. If a contestant is all but ignored completely (INV or ‘invisible’ in Survivor edgic parlance) their chances are slim and none to win or even survive for more than a few weeks. We’ll talk more about edgic and some of its concepts in the coming weeks. The entire article cited for the above quote is worth reading:
SURVIVOR GLOSSARY: DOES EDGIC TRULY PREDICT WINNERS (Surviving Tribal)
EXTINCTION ISLAND REMAINS SHROUDED IN MYSTERY
The producers have spent so much time developing Wendy’s character and the storyline of the chickens is so entertaining there doesn’t appear to be much upside from ending it so early in the season. Then again, Wendy would significantly liven up the proceedings on Extinction Island so she could get voted out and not necessarily be off the show.
To this point, very little has been explained about Extinction Island. There’s a good chance this is by design. All four contestants voted out to date (Reem Daly, Keith Sowell, Chris Underwood and Rick Devens) have accepted the offer and currently reside on Extinction Island. The premise is that Extinction Island serves as a purgatory of sorts and at some point those exiled will have the opportunity to re-join the ‘main game’. What is unclear is a) how many contestants will have the opportunity to rejoin the competition and b) what the process will be in order to do this. One interesting twist is that the rest of the contestants are to this point unaware of the existence of Extinction Island and the ‘redemption’ process for voted out contestants. It still feels like more should be happening there which is why the scenario of Wendy being voted out to the island definitely makes sense. Anyway, once the producers focus more on the growing population ‘in exile’ I’ll add some props specific to Extinction Island.
Episode 5 will air on Wednesday, March 20 at 8 PM Eastern and is a special two hour episode. Here are the official SPORTS INSIDER Survivor: Edge of Extinction betting odds for the upcoming episode:
‘SURVIVOR: EDGE OF EXTINCTION’ BETTING ODDS
TO WIN ‘SURVIVOR: EDGE OF EXTINCTION’
David Wright +500
Eric Hafemann +500
Aubry Bracco +600
Lauren O’Connell +600
Victoria Baamonde +700
Joe Anglim +1000
Gavin Whitson +1150
Julie Rosenberg +1150
Kelly Wentworth +1150
Julia Carter +2000
Ron Clark +2000
Dan Wardog Desilva +3500
Aurora McCreary +3500
Wendy Diaz +3500
‘SURVIVOR: EDGE OF EXTINCTION’ EPISODE 5 BETTING ODDS
TO BE VOTED OUT AT TRIBAL COUNCIL IN EPISODE 5?
Wendy Diaz +250
Dan Wardog Desilva +450
Julia Carter +750
Lauren O’Connell +1000
Joe Anglim +1000
David Wright +1000
Aubry Bracco +1500
Aurora McCreary +1500
Kelley Wentworth +1500
Eric Hafemann +2500
Victoria Baamonde +2500
Ron Clark +2500
Gavin Whitson +2500
Julie Rosenberg +2500
No One Voted Out in Episode 5 +5000
WHO WILL WIN IMMUNITY IN EPISODE 5?
Kama Tribe -150
Lesu Tribe +200
Manu Tribe +350
No One Wins Immunity in Episode 5 +1500
WHO WILL WIN REWARD IN EPISODE 5?
Kama Tribe -300
Manu Tribe +350
Lesu Tribe +500
No One Wins Reward in Episode 5 +1500
WILL A HIDDEN IDOL BE PLAYED IN EPISODE 5?
WILL ANY CONTESTANT QUIT/BE REMOVED FROM ISLAND DUE TO INJURY IN EPISODE 5?
WILL ANY CONTESTANT CRY ON CAMERA DURING EPISODE 5?
WILL THE EPISODE 5 VOTED OUT CASTAWAY ACCEPT THE EXTINCTION OFFER?
WILL ANY CASTAWAY CATCH SEAFOOD IN EPISODE 5?
WILL A CONTESTANT BE ‘PIXELATED’ DUE TO NUDITY IN EPISODE 5?
GENDER IDENTITY OF NEXT CONTESTANT PIXELATED DUE TO NUDITY?
NEXT CONTESTANT TO BE PIXELATED DUE TO NUDITY?
Victoria Baamonde +350
Kelley Wentworth +500
Joe Anglim +500
Eric Hafemann +750
Aurora McCreary +750
Lauren O’Connell +1000
Aubry Bracco +1000
Julie Rosenberg +1500
Dan Wardog Desilva +1500
Gavin Whitson +1500
Wendy Diaz +2500
David Wright +2500
Ron Clark +5000
Julia Carter +5000
In the previous three propositions pixelation must be due to accidental or intentional nudity and not due to obscene gestures or any other reason. If there is no pixelation due to nudity this season the previous two propositions will be graded ‘no action’.
EPISODE 5 KEY DEMO (18-49) RATINGS
Over 1.45 -170
Under 1.45 +150
EPISODE 5 KEY DEMO (18-49) SHARE
Over 5.5 -600
Under 5.5 +450
EPISODE 5 TOTAL VIEWERSHIP
Over 7.35 Million -150
Under 7.35 Million +130
The previous three TV ratings propositions will be graded using data reported at TV By The Numbers. Episode 5 is a special two hour episode. Ratings propositions will be graded based on the data from the first hour.