Survivor bad boy Russell Hantz may be badder than you think, according to a new report by The Daily Beast. Jim Early, who was sued by Mark Burnett Productions and CBS for leaking elimination spoilers about Survivor‘s 19th and 20th seasons on the Survivor Sucks message boards, said his mole was none other than Hantz, and that he’s cooperating with the network and producers in their ongoing investigation. (A spokesperson for CBS provided a statement about the scandal, which I’ve shared in its entirety at the end of this story.)
We’ll see how the story continues to play out, but either way, it got me thinking about a couple of recent high-profile spoilers I stumbled across and how they affected me in totally different ways. After reading a recap of Survivor: Nicaragua last year, I hit the comments section where some d-bag had posted the entire elimination order for the final nine contestants. I tried to look away without processing anything, but the Na’Onka-level rage building in my chest told me it was too late: The season had been spoiled.
I had a similar experience mid-way through Ali Fedotowsky’s turn as The Bachelorette — in which I accidentally discovered her choice would come down to Roberto vs. Chris — but it didn’t bother me in the least. The difference, I think, is that half the fun of The Bachelorette is the “journey”– watching crazy, desperate, deluded fameosexuals fight for love, or the closest thing to love they can comprehend (which, of course, is fame).
Conversely, on Survivor, the real joy is in the white-knuckle psychological ride of seeing which castaway will ultimately ouwit, outlast, and outplay his or her competitors. A spoiler on The Bachelorette is just an ant at the picnic, but it turns into a rabies-infested Grizzly bear when translated to Survivor. At least that’s how I see it.
How do you feel about reality-TV spoilers? Does your tolerance level vary from show to show? Which spoilers make you feel downright homicidal, and which ones result in nothing more than a shoulder shrug? Check out CBS’ response to the Hantz accusations below, then head to the comments section and share your thoughts. Oh, and for all my reality-TV coverage, follow me on Twitter @MichaeSlezakTV.
CBS’ Statement on Behalf of Survivor
From the beginning, Survivor has been blessed with a rabid fan base, including a fanatical group online which, from the show’s early days, initiated one of television’s first organized campaigns to predict and speculate results in advance of a reality show broadcast. As the show has progressed in years and the Internet has grown in scope, the number of these sites has increased with periodic claims of unauthorized leaks from people connected to the show.
We’ve investigated some of these claims. Each time, we’ve peeled back the curtain to find a subculture of the show with fans/bloggers simultaneously networking and competing with each other for spoiler information while hurling accusations of unfair practices against each other.
The fervent activity of these sites often generates a confusing web of backstabbing, claims of misinformation and Internet alliances. It’s almost like an underground game-within-a-game of Survivor that plays out with the melodrama of a daytime soap and the complexity of Dungeons and Dragons.
Outwit, outplay, outlast. It happens more than just on the air.