COVID-19 has paused the production of Survivor and more in an unprecedented way, leaving reality game television in a world of uncertainty.
Big Brother Canada ends production.
Big Brother cancels in-person casting calls.
Survivor postpones filming season 41.
The Amazing Race postpones filming.
New Shows to Watch while in Quarantine
Big Brother Canada 8 Ends Production
Have we ever seen anything like this? Big Brother Canada is closing shop. In the middle of a season, the cast and crew are going home. With growing concerns about coming to work, the crew for Big Brother Canada 8 voiced concerned about the show. In the end, the show ended production for the season. This is unprecedented. I personally, can't believe the time we're living in.
Survivor On Pause
“This is unprecedented,” Jeff Probst said after announcing that filming for Survivor’s 41st season was postponed. Some on production crew was sent home.
"Though Fiji has no reported cases and is beautifully remote, our crew numbers over 400 and are flying in from over 20 different countries, creating a need for more time to fully analyze and create our new production safety plan. The situation is unprecedented and we are learning more information every day," the host wrote in a letter to the crew.
Personally, as someone who has watched Big Brother, Survivor, The Challenge, and more since I was in the 7th grade, I’ve never seen anything like this. Fans like us always had a new season on the horizon from CBS… but this time, things aren’t so sure.
Casting... Through Skype?
Shows like Big Brother and Survivor need people from all across the country to get on planes and in large crowds of people. Because of that, Big Brother cancelled all in-person casting calls across the county. Production begins in the summer but that, too, is not certain at this time.
Imagine the coronavirus hitting the Big Brother house during production. But even before anyone gets to the house... what about casting? How does Robyn Kass find a cast of 16 people when everything is locked down? Through Skype calls?
Shows In Progress Break The News
In Germany, the players inside the house had no idea what was happening on the outside world. The host for the show revealed the news from behind a glass wall. Thankfully, production showed the cast video messages from home to ease the anxiety of not knowing what was happening in the outside world.
In Big Brother Canada, a similar scene:
For the first time ever, we may see a broken reality game show schedule unlike anything we’ve ever seen. We love these shows and watch them like they’re the SuperBowl.
We will see a disrupted schedule for more than one show for the first time ever.
The Amazing Race flies players all around the world. That’s 100% impossible right now and will be impossible for a very long time.
We are living through history, and our kids and grandkids (hopefully watching season 80 of Survivor) will be talking about this pandemic and reading about it in history books.
Watching in Quarantine
Even my own YouTube reality show, The Totem Pole, is affected by the coronavirus. For those of you who have never heard of the show, it’s a YouTube reality show where players try to avoid the bottom of the totem pole or face elimination.
Because of scheduling, we have to film some additional confessionals and cast photos after the game is finished. We had a few more questions to ask and more cast photos to take, but the coronavirus has locked cast members up to 12 hours away from Little Rock, Arkansas, where we film the show.
But thankfully, even if we don’t get a new season of Survivor, Big Brother, or The Amazing Race… The Totem Pole will be releasing a new season this summer.
The virus has affected this season, which is something no one on production saw coming. At the time of filming, the virus was in a few states far away. But when the cast members got their phones back, it had already spread. Now, the cast and crew are home and safe.
The season 3 trailer just dropped, so check it out! What else is there to do in quarantine?
Even Big Brother 17’s winner, Steve Moses, tweeted about his excitement for the new season.
Live Reality Games Reschedule
Live Reality Games, where reality fans from across the world come together to play in once-in-a-lifetime experiences have been affected. In Florida, Mayhem Manor, a reality game vacation, had to postpone their third season until later in the year.
“We’ve planned this season for almost a year,” the executive producer, Dvaughn Neville, said. “So when COVID-19 news started to rev up around our launch date, our first priority was to reach out to the participants. Out of 54 cast and crew, we only had 4 people choose to not participate if we went through with hosting the season as planned. Our vendors and partners were all full steam ahead.”
But then things changed when the virus hit the US…
“Thankfully, we didn’t have to cancel,” Neville said. “We were able to finally reach an agreement with our vendors to be able to postpone. So ultimately dozens of participants and crew were a bit disappointed but we felt like this was the best option for everyone involved.”
The good news is, these shows are not cancelled. When the world gets back on its axis, things can start to feel normal again. Please be careful and take care of yourself.