How Survivor changed the world 20 years ago. Plus: Masked Singer's fake audience, TAR's return, and more

News about Eco-Challenge, RHONY, and Love Island

Dear newsletter friends,

Last Sunday was the 20th anniversary of Survivor: Borneo’s finale, which I rewatched this week. It holds up, and from Sue’s legendary speech at the final Tribal Council to Rich’s decision to quit the final immunity challenge, it’s just as dramatic two decades later.

I’d forgotten so much, though, like how bored the jury is! And the tie vote at the final four!

In my recap, I wrote about how Survivor Borneo’s finale changed Survivor, TV, and the world forever, with attention to Rich and Kelly’s strategies.

A show that will not change the world but is perhaps what some people living in the world really need right now is Love Island.

I recapped its dumb, pretty premiere.

The Masked Singer is coming back in a few weeks, and it will be doing so with a fake audience, which prompted me to write about how fake its audience already was during parts of the episode.

In other fall TV news:

More news:

Ask Andy—my cleverly named feature where people ask me reality TV-related questions and I try to answer—is back, with two new answers:

  1. Why is Intervention set in Canada this season?

  2. Can I watch past Great American Baking Show seasons?

Have a question? Just reply to this message and ask me!

Interviews I loved reading this week:

Finally this week, meet Virginia Oliver, who’s 100 and still lobster fishing.

Have a great weekend, wear a mask around other people, and enjoy your reality TV-watching!


🌄 This is Reality in Focus issue 209, first sent 28 August 2020, and it may not remember yesterday, but it still remembers watching that Survivor finale.

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📷 Photo of a sunrise in Uden, Netherlands, by Joran Quinten