Is 'Celebrity Survivor' already in the works?

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

A celebrity version of Survivor has been discussed off and on almost since the reality hit first aired back in the summer of 2000, but we may be closer to seeing it than ever before. When asked about it during a conference call with reporters last week, executive producer Mark Burnett replied, “Would I think about an all-celebrity version? For charity, if CBS wanted to, a shortened version, I would think about it.”

But last night, Survivor host Jeff Probst took it to a whole other level as a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. After being told by Fallon that he needed to re-up his contract, Probst replied: “I’ll re-up if you will agree to be part of a crew to do a seven-day Celebrity Survivor.” When Fallon squirmed, Probst continued: “Seven days and for one hour a day you can be in communication with your fans. You can tweet, you can talk about whatever and then it’s back to Survivor.” And Probst wasn’t done. After the show, he tweeted from @JeffProbst: “If you think Fallon should do Survivor, tweet him and encourage him. If we can get a handful of great celebs I think we could pull it off!”

This is a far cry from Probst’s previous stance on celebrity editions. Back in the summer of 2009, I had heard whispers that they were seriously considering a celebrity version of the show (especially after Burnett’s success reinvigorating The Apprentice franchise with Celebrity Apprentice) before finally settling on the theme of Heroes vs Villains. When I asked Probst about it while on location for that season, he replied, “We never talked about doing a Celebrity Survivor. I can’t imagine ever doing a Celebrity Survivor. It doesn’t even seem right. We’re not I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! This is not a bulls— show. It’s a real show.”

This would not mark the first time the host has changed his mind. Immediately after dealing with the egos and attitudes of Survivor: All-Stars, Probst was dead set against doing another edition filled with returning players — a stance he ultimately softened (which led to Fans vs Favorites and Heroes vs. Villains). As a big fan of the absurdity of Celebrity Apprentice, I have no problem with an edition filled with pampered prima donnas roughing it, but doing it for just seven days and allowing celebrities to actually communicate with the outside world while playing seems like a poor approximation of the true Survivor experience.

What do you think? Is Celebrity Survivor something you want to see, even if the famous faces were only roughing it for a week…with their laptops? Hit the message boards and let us know. For more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss. And to see Probst’s take on the new contestants of Redemption Island, premiering tonight, click on the video player below.

Comments (152 total) Add your comment
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  • ^..^

    “a shortened version”
    That’s a joke right there! Make some of these spoiled celebs go the 39 days just like everyone else!

    • Bryan

      I would watch if it were for the full 39 days and all the money went for charity. No would-be celebs either, I want the real deal. No Dancing with the Stars casting Bulls***. A-List, not D-List

      • Too obvious…

        NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO, umm, No!

      • scott

        You would never get a 39 day version of survivor with A list celebs. The reason they are A-list is that they are working. There is no reason for them to stop current projects or turn down future projects for a month and a half to do survivor. The only way you could get big names to do it would for it to be a shortened version. I would watch that version. I have no interest in watching a 39 day version with D listers.

      • Mr. Holloway

        But the thing is, no “real” celeb (actor/musician/whatever) who is actively working has the time or inclination to take more than a month off from what they do to rough it, “Survivor”-style.

        Why do you think “DWTS” mostly attracts desperate wannabes/has-beens?

      • Mr. Holloway

        …then again, seven days IS pretty weak.

      • darclyte

        I agree with both of the above commentators. Full 39 days. Nothing different than a “regular” Survivor season. They’ve already had people with some degree of celebrity (like Jimmy Johnson and Gary Hogeboom.) Don’t make it “pansy” like IAC…GMOOH, go full out. I think with the right people, it would work. They would need a smaller sized cast though, like the number in the first season, and not some bloated 20 people cast. Have the winner get $5 million, and have an equal amount go to their charity of choice. I know there are celebs who would be willing to try it, and not just B-Z listers or has beens…even some “A” listers would probably want to do it. I bet NPH would do it in a heartbeat during the break for HIMYM.

      • darclyte

        Both of the above being Bryan and ^..^

      • Dan

        Ditto… it can work given two conditions.

        1. Full-on season with brutal conditions for 39 days.

        2. Real celebs… no d-list reality stars or washed-up 80s and 90s has-beens.

      • billy

        there have been celebrities that did the Eco-challenge (also by Mr. Burnett). they can get enough on survivor. prey on their vanity and then pummel them in the most brutal 39-day survivor, yet. and, i mean pummel them. ratings gold.

      • just me

        @darclyte….$5 million REALLY???? You must have taken your idiot pills this morning. I will go with $5 mil all to the charity, not 5 mil for them and 5 mil for charity. That’s stupid.

      • D.

        Eco-Challenge!? OMG…I LOVE Eco-Challenge, but it disappeared. I have not seen it since the season directly after the New Zealand season. Where did it go? Do they still show Eco-Challenge on TV? Are they still holding it and not telvising it? I see nothing new when I google it. 0.0 Anyway, enough of my rant about Eco-Challenge (which I love more then Survivor!) A Celebrity Surivior? Like most, I agree that it would have to have A-B list celebs and it would have to be the full experience (39 days, no outside contact, special treatment, etc.) 5 million as the final prize, whether to charity or not, is not realisitic. This is one time I would actually support the celeb getting the money. If they made it to the end of Survivor and won then they deserve the money just like everyone else. Having a lot of money (or no money) has never disqualified a contestant before, so why should it now? C’mon, Russell is a millionaire already, yet if he had won he would have received his check just like everyone else. The auction at the end of the season would probably raise the most out of any past Survivor auction, so that would be one way for a charity to be involved. If the producers wanted to invovle a charity during the show, they could do something like each day you survive earns money for your charity.

    • legitentertainment

      AMEN!!!!

    • Jethro

      I’ve read this before and the entire cast of NJS are already signed. Lindsay L. is interested along with several of the Real Housewives franchise, Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest, Derek & Maks from DWTS, Kate Gosselin and Johnny Weir have all sparked interest!

      • Rlangdon

        Um, I think they said A list.

      • kaley

        Kate Gosselin…are you nuts! She couldn’t make it to lunch time with Sara Palin in Alaska.

      • Ian

        No idea what NJS is, but if it involves “celebrities” similar to the ones you listed, then I’d hardly call it a celebrity edition. Regardless, it sounds like you either made up all the stuff you posted, or just copied and pasted it from some other place that made it up.

      • wha

        hahaha! Ewwwww. A bunch of nobodies from much worse reality shows. Blerg.

      • Heidi

        Kate Gosselin would NEVER do this show unless she decided to be a part of it for a couple of hours and then plan a big ‘get me off this island’ tantrum.

      • Heidi

        but I would definitely watch with glee to see Jeff take a strip off Kate’s spoiled pansy-ass self!!

      • Rebecca

        I can’t see Kate Gosselin, or some of the others you’ve listed, doing squat for charity. The D-listers are generally trying to earn cash as easily as possible and frankly, I don’t want to see ‘em on Survivor. We already of DWTS for the D-List trainwreck laughs.

    • SLB

      There is no way a celeb version would work. I’d like to see it, but it’s not going to happen and if it does it’ll s*ck. There’s no way you’re going to find better than D list celebs to be on a show. And they seem to act more like prima donna’s than A list celebs. And, only 7 days and they get to contact the outside world? That ruins it already.

      • Anna

        To say nothing of the fact Probst will use it as an excuse to bring Russell back yet AGAIN. Someone should do a show on why Probst and Burnett are so hell bent on selling out.

    • jenkay

      Thank you….7 days would be stupid. At least do 20 days.

    • Lala

      Jimmy Johnson proved that you can get a “celebrity” to sign up for the whole 39 days. Heck, fill it with washed up sports stars. There is no shortage of celebs whose careers need a shot in the arm. no, you wont get Brad and Angelina, but i see another gig for Hasselhoff! LOL!

    • stu

      sandra bernhard & margret choo

  • Entertainment2u-Twitter

    I guess it comes down to falling ratings. And now SURVIVOR will truly be tested by going head-to-head with IDOL.

    And for some reason, viewers crave these silly celebrity versions of reality shows — look at how REGULAR APPRENTICE is now a failure, but CELEBRITY APPRENTICE is a hit.

    It’s purely a business decision. But yes, VERY interesting how Jeff’s tone has changed.

    • Asha

      Celebrity Apprentice is awesome and they aren’t ever super famous celebs. The Bret Michaels version was a true gem.

      • Jethro

        You Go Girl, Ms. NeNe Leakes from Atlanta!

  • Ian

    7 days wouldn’t allow for much content for CBS. They couldn’t stretch the season for more than 6 episodes and the cast would be small.

    It’d have to be a 10 day show.
    The whole ‘twitter on the island’ seems a bit much but I would love Celeb Survivor as long as they get actual A and B list celebrites.
    Celebrity Apprentice’s C and D list casts would not be worthy for a Celeb Survivor. They need like Jennifer Aniston, Neil Patrick Harris and Bieber.

    • Heidi

      I agree 10 days is a good compromise. To get B list stars (A list is pushing it) it can’t be any longer, and I suppose I wouldn’t care if they were twittering an hour a day about their charity, so long as it wasn’t where the crew lives. They really need the full experience of being damp, cold, bug-bitten, etc. I do think some would want it, to see if they can actually make it out there. I’d love to see Liz Hassleback return – remember as rich a life as she has now, she was first discovered by being on the show and doing very well.

      • Saeed

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  • sara

    And it just gets worse.

  • wtf

    7 days is not long enough. I would love to see a version of survivor with actually survival experts like Bear Grylls, Les Stroud, and all those other experts on DSC.

  • joblo

    I think it’d be an interesting experiment that I’d watch, but if it’s just 7 days it’s not really Survivor; I don’t even know how that would work logistically on this show.

  • John

    I think they need to mix it up and put them in a colder climate like Alaska! We’ve seen the tropical setting so many times its boring now! I’m not talking snow covered Alaska but something colder. Put each team in a none powered one room cabin. No running water or electricity. And do challenges in the forests! They have to do some hunting, fishing and foraging for food! I think it could be a good boost to the franchise! And then alternate tropics/forest each season.

    • Leslie

      Get real – they would never do a cold climate version – then there would be no scantily clad women for the guys to watch!

  • Andrea

    Just stick a Palin on Survivor. It sure worked for DWTS despite her not even being a “D” list celebrity

    • Heidi

      Sarah Palin and Elizabeth Hassleback would be in their element!!!

      • Ianskee

        Elisabeth will never play ever again. She declined both offers for All-stars and HVV

  • cici217

    I think it’s a great idea if it is for charity and done properly. It could be a hoot with the right guests.
    But if it includes folks like air mattress Heidi than no thanks.

    • Heidi

      remember her dry shampoo and she was so upset when it was gone? Hee Hee… they do have to get one princess though. It makes for a good story. They of course have to cast a comedian, a tough cookie, and a spoiled brat along with a sweetheart and at least one hunky guy…

  • NEVER WATCH CELEBRITY SURVIVOR!

    Really…not only do we have to endure the “continual” return of Rob/Hantz (I’m not watching until both are voted out…will wait for the Finals) now we have to watch pampered overpaid celebrities…yeh sure…shoot down the original premise of the show and lose your longtime fans…count me out!

    • Gray

      Funny. I’m with you. Am not watching SURVIVOR this season until those two are voted out which, because Russell was revealed to be the spoiler to an online site (which EW has never reported), I know which episode I can start watching.

      • SLB

        That’s what’s going to make it great to watch. Listening to that idiot proclaim himself the best player ever, how stupid everyone else it, only to watch him leave with his worst place finish ever. I’m going to like this season now.

      • Heidi

        I’m mad about Russell doing that as well. They have major proof via emails…I always figured it was someone on the crew but it turns out to be Russell! Such a tool.

      • iheartpoco

        Me too! I’m also really disappointed that EW.com has decided not to at least report the allegations…I guess they have a pretty cozy relationship with CBS, and the corporate back-scratching that seems to be in evidence here is really frustrating. This is a really big deal, and it seems like CBS just wants it to go away, at least until the season is done.

  • Meli

    What would be the point of a ‘shortened’ version? Assuming you can get insurance companies to sign off on it, make them do the full version.

    • Heidi

      They won’t get anyone good if they do a long version. No way. Even those who are on DWTS work their other jobs as well and go home at night.

  • BCav

    They only way that twitter would be any good for this is if the show was live. Otherwise you get celebs tweeting (possibly giving out major spoilers)about the experience way before it actually airs.

    • Jen

      Exactly. And why must celebrities be treated like they are different human beings? They will be pooping in the woods like every other Survivor ever has.

      • @Jen

        No they won’t. None of them will poop for the seven days.

  • Adam

    Desperation time

  • axel

    ok, heres how it should be done.
    make it celebrites that should be in jail, linsey, paris ect, ect. and instead of money, be playing for reduced jail time.

  • raftrap

    I could maybe accept the B-List actors if they go the full 39 days, maybe they can pit one CSI cast against another, that would be fun to watch.

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