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Survivor: Cook Islands

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Courtes of: TV GUIDE, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES

Survivor Players React to Racial Divide

by Matt Webb Mitovich

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Jeff Probst, Survivor: Cook Islands

In the three weeks since word got out that CBS' Survivor: Cook Islands (premiering tonight at 8 pm/ET) would split up the tribes based on race

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Courtesy of: REALITY TV MAGAZINE

Survivor Cook Islands: It

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Courtesy of: CNN, ENTERTAIN

'Survivor's' race for ratings

POSTED: 11:45 a.m. EDT, September 14, 2006

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"Survivor" cast members Stephannie Favor, left, Sundra Oakley and Rebecca Borman, right, adjust to life on island.

NEW YORK (AP) -- If viewers had been taking "Survivor" for granted, here was an idea guaranteed to catch their eye: organize the players by race.

For "Survivor: Cook Islands," the 20 castaways will initially be split into four tribes along ethnic lines (black, white, Asian-American and Hispanic). The 13th cycle of the CBS adventure challenge premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT, arriving on the heels of a burst of attention -- including outrage that creator Mark Burnett had played the race card with his players.

From the first announcement of the show's new concept in late August, pundits were fulminating.

A Wall Street Journal editorial accused the show of "playing up identity-politics in a crude and potentially rancorous way."

In the Hollywood Reporter, Ray Richmond blasted Burnett for "tapping a raw segregationist nerve and exploiting America's obsession with race for personal gain."

Meanwhile, several members of the New York City Council were denouncing the show for promoting divisiveness. "How could anybody be so desperate for ratings?" posed Councilman John Liu, who is Asian-American.

Then New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman observed that these city officials included members of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

"In other words," wrote Haberman, "leading the condemnation of CBS for creating teams defined by race and ethnicity was a team that created itself using race and ethnicity as the definition."

When asked by The Associated Press his reaction to all the flack, Burnett replied, "I'm not shocked. I just think truly any rational person would wait to see what happens."

The harshest critics, he said, "could look pretty stupid if it becomes the most positive thing for removing stereotypes. And I hope that the people who've made the loudest comments will, in the adverse, also be the loudest congratulators if they're wrong."

Detractors and other interested parties have to wait until Thursday to see if the show deserved all the fuss: Though shooting on the Cook Islands in the South Pacific has wrapped, CBS kept the episodes under wraps from the press. No point in killing the pre-launch buzz.

Last week, the show's host, Jeff Probst, joined Burnett in asking viewers to withhold judgment until they've taken a peek.

The new series is featuring "the most ethnic-diverse cast in the history of TV, as far as I know," Probst said during a teleconference with reporters -- and, he added, the freshest, least "Survivor"-savvy group of players since the pioneering castaways of season one.

As they compete for the $1 million prize, they won't be modeling the same old game plans that have worked before, he said. "We don't have people coming in saying, 'I'm gonna be just like Colby."'

Last season, the show divided contestants into groups of older men, younger men, older women and younger women. This season's organizing principal, Probst said, was conceived "in terms of ethnic pride, not discrimination.

"But then you have to vote somebody out from your own group, and that complicates things," he went on. "How are you going to do it? Because now it's going to come down to who's contributing and who isn't."

Later, when a number of players have been voted off, the thinned-out ranks will be consolidated and integrated. Then, Probst explained, the issue becomes whether to stay loyal to members of your own ethnic group, "because you've already made bonds based simply on skin color.

"Or, more likely, will you look to make alliances with people who ... will help you to the end, so you can win?"

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Courtesy of: REALITY TV MAGAZINE

Survivor Cook Islands Results

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV SHOW COMMENTARY

Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

September 14, 2006: Survivor Confidential

I don't know if you've heard, but there's been some talk about this season of Survivor. Something about its being controversial. Set in the South Pacific's Cook Islands, this season's castaways have been divided into four tribes based on ethnicity and race

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

September 21, 2006: "Aitu Takes a Holiday"

Hands down, this was the funniest tribal council ever on Survivor. It was like watching group therapy. Between Billy and "Mr. Bully's" fight, and Billy's declaration of love for Candace, I'm not sure what

I laughed at more. It was tears-in-my-eyes laughter. I'll make a declaration of my own: I love Jeff Probst. He is the best reality-show host out there, with Phil Keoghan of The Amazing Race a close second. While everyone else was laughing and/or rolling their eyes at Billy, Jeff managed to respectfully question Billy's love connection

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Courtesy of: REALITY TV MAGAZINE

Survivor Cook Islands Results

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

September 28, 2006: Survivors, Ready?

Survivor aficionados know there's a certain lingo that goes along with the show. For some it's comforting, for others, mind-numbingly repetitive. Me? I like it. Jeff's catchphrases are a constant that I can rely on each week as the number of castaways dwindles. That said...

First things first: We couldn't move on from last week's show without finishing up Billy's love story. Back at camp, Aitu continued to dismiss the love, and the next day, after the tribes merged, Cecilia went directly to Candice to get the scoop. Needless to say, this love was one-sided. Again, I cannot wait for the reunion show.

With that cleared up, Jeff uttered those three little words that change the game every single time. Drop your buffs! That's right, segregation is over. Survivor put as much effort into contriving the makeup of these two new tribes as they did with the first four. Grab a tile from the bag, do a schoolyard pick, but only choose a person who has yet to be represented on your new team. Squeeze the egg. This three-part tribe-picking was more complicated than putting together a desk from Ikea. The upside is that the game now feels like it has truly started. The stunts are behind us and we can get down to business. Or as Brad says, "It's a game and you're in it to win it for yourself and first and foremost, cash."

I am happy to have the tried-and-true Survivor back, but did they have to dredge up an old immunity challenge? The sandbag chain-gang challenge has been done before, and I daresay it was more entertaining with Tom the fireman in for the long haul than with all the Cook Islands women dropping out minutes into the race. Raro, now consisting of Stephannie, Rebecca, Cristina, Jenny, Pavarti, Brad, J.P., Nate and Adam beat Aitu, which is now made up of Cecilia, Jessica, Sundra, Becky, Candice, Jonathan, Yul, Ozzy and Cao Boi. I'm as much in the dark as Aitu is about Candice being sent to Exile Island, but so far none of those choices has made much sense to me.

With the teams now being a "melting pot," the show is livelier, and personalities are peeking through. And of course the hard-core strategizing has begun. Jonathan, who if you close your eyes sounds exactly like Alan Alda, is all about getting into an alliance of five with "a couple of the Asians," Candice and Jessica. Jess isn't convinced she wants to hook up with that crew, and I don't blame her. Jon's a little pushy and lot talky. Meanwhile, Ozzy now finds himself without the numbers and consequently has a lot less to say at tribal. Bet he's reconsidering last week's power play about now.

At tribal, I wondered if Yul really would have shared the immunity idol if the tribe had spoken to Becky instead of Cecilia. I

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

October 5, 2006: The Ghost of Billy

You know, there really may be something to this whole karma thing. It

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Courtesy of: REALITYBLURRED

Future seasons of Survivor will "have equal representation among races," Probst hopes

Survivor Cook Islands ethnically diverse cast is something that will remain in future seasons, or at least that

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

October 12, 2006: Talk Ain't Cheap

You have to watch what you say on Survivor or it could cost you big. Just ask Stephannie, who watched her million-dollar dreams drift away on an imaginary plate of mashed potatoes. I feel bad for Stephannie because Nate, who, despite his declarations, is no friend to Stephannie, has been trying to get this woman off the island for the last two weeks. How do you take "I could go for some mashed potatoes and gravy" to mean, "Gee, I can't wait to get off this island"? I

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Courtesy of: ZAP2IT

December Finales for 'Race,' 'Survivor'

Many millions will be distributed to deserving reality contestants

October 17, 2006

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Parvati Shallow of 'Survivor: Cook Islands'The latest seasons of CBS' venerable "The Amazing Race" and "Survivor" franchises will have their finales on consecutive Sundays in December.

The 10th season of "Amazing Race" will cross the finish-line on Sunday, December 10 in a relatively restrained finale only running one hour.

The following week (December 17), though, "Survivor: Cook Islands" will dedicated two hours to its last episode but, as usual, the winner won't be revealed until the hour-long live special airing at 10 p.m. ET. The "Survivor" reunion special will film, once again, at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.

The Phil Keoghan-hosted "Amazing Race" has won four consecutive Emmys in the outstanding reality-competition category. CBS transplanted "Race" to Sundays this fall and the latest season has averaged a solid 11.15 million viewers, leading into "Cold Case."

In its 13th incarnation, "Survivor" has had a somewhat difficult season. A wave of mostly negative press greeted the show's decision to split the season's tribes along racial lines and then a second wave of mostly negative press greeted the show's decision to integrate the tribes after only two episodes, before the latest social experiment made any impact at all. While that controversy failed to build any new audience, "Survivor" has still averaged nearly 16.7 million viewers this season, outdrawing ABC's freshman hit "Ugly Betty."

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

October 19, 2006: The Deal with the Idol

It's Week 6 of Cook Islands and there are still 14 castaways left! I understand the math behind it, but I still have to ask why there are so many people on the island. It's like the first six weeks never happened, so this double-elimination week was just what the doctor ordered, though it didn't take a genius to figure out that Cao Boi and Cristina would be sent packing.

Cao Boi has been the most interesting player this season and for that I'm sorry to see him leave, but at least he left on a high point. Voodoo dreams aside, he came up with a great plan to suss out the hidden immunity idol, one that showed the most strategizing I've seen yet this year. It is ironic that a man with such a spiritual connection to immunity idols would be so blind as to the truth of the matter, which is that neither Jonathan nor Candice had it. Then again, Cao Boi was still playing along ethnic lines as his comments about Americans and caucasians showed. In the end it was his allegiance to the former Puka members that killed his chances.

Poor Cristina. While clearly on borrowed time, it was hard to watch her beg for a second chance with her tribe. Especially since she gave her all at the challenge. Loved the down-and-dirty hand-to-hand combat. Who knew she and Candice were so strong? The best part of the challenge? Jeff's calling out, "No choking!" as Cristina was struggling against her opponents. Too bad she resorted to hair-pulling instead of showing us some of her cop moves. In the end, it was the physically weaker tribe (again) that won a challenge that was all about brute strength.

Everybody went to tribal council this week and while Aitu feasted on lamb shanks, Raro was made to watch. Unfortunately, the twist at tribal council was lame. Kidnapping a member from the losing tribe for a few days was pretty much like sending them to Exile Island

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

October 26, 2006: A Repeat by Any Other Name

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

November 2, 2006: Who You Calling a 'Nancy Boy'?

Clearly Candice is just a loving person. She loves Billy. She loves Adam. But she really loves peanut butter. Like, loves peanut butter would make her declare, "I'm in love with everybody that I can see right now." I mean, it's only been 17 days. Maybe I just don't eat peanut butter that much, but I

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

November 9, 2006: And Then There Were Four

Well, well, well. The show is getting interesting again. The Mutiny on the Bounty theme added a much-needed jolt to the Cook Islands Survivor. Jeff tossed out this new twist just before the reward challenge and, through the magic of editing, just after Jonathan and Candice chatted about breaking up their alliance of six. The offer? Mutiny. With ten seconds to decide, castaways could switch tribes. The only takers? Candice and Jonathan

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

November 16, 2006: Four Straight Wins

I love, love, love this show! It has excitement; it has conflict; it has betrayal; it has underdogs; it even has new verbs. Where else would you hear about octopussing? And Rebecca, if you chose only to speak one word during this week's show, I'm glad it was that one. Let's see, it is day 22, and over the course of the next three days Aitu pulled out another two challenge wins

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

December 7, 2006: Everybody Hates Jonathan

And now we know why Parvati doesn't do any work at camp. It's just not safe. The girl nearly sliced her thumb off trying to open a coconut. Tragic as that may have been, Parvati's mishap allowed us another glimpse of that cute Aussie doctor from last season. Her sacrifice will not go unnoticed in my book.

This week was the family visits. Sundra's heartfelt weeping at the sight of her mother had me wondering if she'd be able to actually perform in the reward challenge of throwing water from one bucket into another while blindfolded. I

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

December 14, 2006: The True Puppet Master

For some reason I really thought Parvati would end up in the finals. Not due to any true game play on her part, but merely out of some cosmic irony. Rarely have I seen a castaway who has done as little as she. I was wrong. Even with the seismic tremors at Aitu

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Yeah I know, it's not Cook Island.....but his thread is locked!

.....

Courtesy of: REALITY TV MAGAZINE

Survivor Winner Aras Baskauskas Launches Tundra Gear

On May 14, 2006, over 20 million people watched Aras Baskauskas win CBS

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Survivor: Cook Islands

by Rhoda Charles

December 17, 2006: The Aitu Four

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was a season that certainly had it

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Courtesy of: REALTITY TV MAGAZINE

Survivor Cook Islands - Ozzy Wants To Build Skate Parks In Mexico, Becky Suffered From Back Injury

Written by Ryan Haidet.

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What began with 20 castaways in the most controversial season to date,

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