'SURVIVOR': A dose of reality for US audiences

The Nation Published on Oct 2, 2002

Americans may no longer confuse Thailand with Taiwan thanks to the hit reality TV show "Survivor Thailand", which has been broadcast on the CBS television network since September 19.

Even before this series of "Survivor" went to air, "Thailand" could be heard over and over again in advertisements in various media in a pre-broadcast campaign designed to prepare Americans for the series and its setting.

"Survivor Thailand" was shot in Ko Tarutao Marine National Park in Satun province in June and July.

In "Countdown Survivor Thailand", the show's production team explained why it chose the Kingdom as a filming location.

"The country has the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in the region," producer Mark Benette said.

Chalinee Chinwitchara, an official at the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Los Angeles office, said several other Asian countries including India had offered themselves as shooting locations for "Survivor".

"Our country was handpicked because of our charming culture, way of life and scenic landscapes. Most importantly, the production team was impressed by Thais," she said.

Chalinee said Thailand had benefited hugely from the show financially and by having beautiful images of the country broadcast overseas.

"We persuaded the production team to name its series 'Survivor Thailand' instead of 'Survivor Tarutao', which promotes our country as a whole," she said.

The producers' positive impression of Thai people persuaded them to include elements of the local culture into the rules of the show for the first time, Chalinee said.

"Survivor Thailand" also marked the first appearance by an Asian contestant on the show. Of the 16 contestants who begin each "Survivor" series, the one who lasts the longest wins US$1 million (Bt42 million).

The show is currently being aired on UBC Series, Channel 36.

Chom Petchpradab

The Nation