Two things happened last night on Survivor: Nicaragua that make me question if Survivor is on its last legs.
First, reward challenge. Yet another team challenge. I thought that it was an individual game now. What happened to the pecking order challenge? That always added a major twist to alliances, usually ending up with the underdogs coming out on top.
Also at the reward challenge we are inundated with an ad for Gulliver's Travels. While I appreciate the fact that CBS has to earn a profit to continue to producing Survivor, this is a new low. This was quite different from the Coke and Sears product placements of previous seasons. Gulliver's Travels completely took over the challenge and the reward, something that CBS usually reserves for the likes of Big Brother.
Second, quitters. Survivor has had quitters in the past. Some for more valid reasons than others (Sue and Jenna in All-Stars). Others just gave up on the game entirely (Osten in Pearl Islands). All but one of these occurred before the Jury started. Janu quit season 10 (Palau) with one person already on the Jury. After much discussion at Tribal Council she was allowed to join the Jury in spite of quitting the game.
On Jeff Probst's EW blog he claims that Janu set the precedent of quitters on the Jury. I do not agree with this at all. In Palau there was no tribe swap and Koror only voted out two people: Willard (who practically volunteered) and Coby (7-1-1 with Janu voting Stephanie). So before Janu quit she had very little impact on the game. Compare this to Naonka and Kelly. Both had voted out numerous people who were actually playing the game, which dramatically affected the course of Survivor: Nicaragua. Because of this difference the "precedent" should not apply.
Naonka and Kelly quit the game. Yet they are on the jury which is part of the game. So the only thing that they quit was sitting in the rain. The punishment should be more severe. They should have nothing to do with the show. No Jury. No money. No exit confessional. No reunion. Instead there would be two empty seats to serve as a reminder to the future contestants of the penalty for quitting.
The last one is still possible, but I doubt it. For some reason the majority of tv viewers like watching people blow up and argue irrationally which is why Naonka was cast to begin with. Which leads to the underlying problem. CBS just wants people to watch the show, so the casting crew steaks out bars across the country looking for attractive people that want to be on tv. The problem is that once you go for a few days without a shower no one looks attractive. Also these people do not care about the show as much as fans who apply through the traditional channels. Thus they do not know how hard it can be and are more likely to quit.
If CBS does not start looking for better players soon Survivor might have trouble competing with American Idol on Wednesday nights.