New Survivor Teams Divided Along Racial Lines

NEW YORK, August 24: For the first time in its history, Survivor, returning to CBS next month, will divide its
teams—or “tribes”—along racial lines.

Previous seasons have seen teams formed by designated
leaders, or along gender or age lines. The new season, Survivor: Cook
, will feature four teams of African
Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics and whites. They will compete in weekly
challenges, with the losing group voting out a member of its own team.

Producer Mark Burnett told the New York Times: “In America today, I really don’t
believe there are many people who hate each other because of their race. But
even though people may work together, they do tend in their private lives to
divide along social and ethnic lines. In New York you will find areas like
Little Afghanistan. Maybe in the year 3010, when we’re all coffee-colored, it
really will make no difference. But right now, it is what it is.”

The show has received criticism in the past for its lack of
diversity, and Burnett noted that a significant effort was made to have
contestants from diverse backgrounds for the new season, expanding the number
of players from 16 to 20.

Burnett referred to the format change as a “social
experiment,” and not as a play to boost ratings. “I know it’s going to be
controversial,” he said. “I’m not an idiot.”