“Survivor” is the granddaddy of the reality competition TV genre, exploding onto our screens back in 2000. While it was awarded a special class Emmy the following year, it has never won the Reality-Competion Program prize. Indeed, while it contended in that category for the first four years of its existence beginning in 2003, it lost all those bids to “The Amazing Race.” That other CBS programming staple has taken nine of these 11 Emmy races.
Surely, it is time to welcome “Survivor” back to the category. Below, the top five reasons for putting a check mark next to it on your Emmy ballot.
1. The most jaw-dropping season ever
The most recent season of “Survivor” was praised as one of the best of the 28 to date and saw its ratings rise. Tony Vlachos schemed his way to final three. Then, after convincing an ally to take him to the final, his bold game play won him the million dollar prize. This spy-shack builder with an uncanny knack for reading people was the most shocking winner ever.
2. The recent renaissance
This first-rate season followed on three really strong outings from the franchise, the best run in the show’s history. For any series to hit its creative peak at this late date is unheard of in television.
3. The most compelling contestants
Great television tells a great story. Each season sees Jeff Probst — who has won the Reality Host Emmy four times — set up the premise: 39 Days, 1 Survivor. Over the course of the competition, we follow one castaway’s journey to sole survivor. They have to work with and against the other contestants to stay in the game and then need a compelling story to convince those who are cast off of their claim to the prize. While Vlanchos won this season, the rest of the players — who were initially divided into three tribes representing Brains, Brawn and Beauty — were just as memorable.
4. The best format
This is a category for best reality competition and “Survivor” delivers the most layered one on TV shy of the “Game of Thrones.” There is the physical aspect with intense challenges that can win you immunity. Contestants have to strategize to take control of the game. They must have strong self-awareness and manage how they are percieved by the other players. In the end, the winner has to convince those rivals that they engineered to eject to give them one million dollars. All of this unfolds against a backdrop of sleep deprivation, starvation and inhospitable elements.
5. The enduring legacy
Sure, some trashy shows rode in on the back of this hit. But just as we wouldn’t blame Jane Austen for “50 Shades of Grey,” let’s not punish “Survivor” for “I Wanna Marry Harry.” For more than than a decade, “Survivor” has delivered captivating stories framed by the highest quality production values
Do you think “Survivor” can resurface in the Reality-Competition Program race at the Emmys. Make your prediciton below using our easy drag-and-drop menu.