It was a debacle. The battle of the sexes twist didn’t work. The cast was unlikable, including one dude who called himself Troyzan and another dude who called himself Tarzan. It was ridiculous. So when Survivor: One World signed off in the spring of 2012, many wondered openly about the health of the franchise that gave birth to network reality TV way back in the summer of 2000. Maybe it was finally time to snuff Survivor’s torch.
Except that’s not what happened. Ever since then, Survivor has been so hot that Michael Skupin may burn his hands on it again if he stands too close. There have been four installments since One World (a.k.a. The Season That Shall Not Be Named) and each has been absolutely riveting, culminating with Survivor: Cagayan, in which immunity idol hoarding Jersey cop Tony and cerebral underdog Spencer will continue to battle it out in tonight’s finale along with Ninja Stealth Woo and Chaos Kass. It has been the most consistent run of reality excellence the show has ever had. The question is: How the hell does that happen in season 28? Sure, there have been other reality shows that have seemingly lasted forever — The Bachelor, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars — but none can claim to be this good this late in its run. So, what’s in Survivor’s secret sauce? READ FULL STORY