‘Survivor’ Viewership Sees Uptick in Recent Episodes

"Survivor 41" cast in premiere.

YouTube The "Survivor 41" cast in the season premiere.

The current season of “Survivor” has seen much volatility in ratings; although CBS saw the show’s numbers decline for several episodes in a row, ratings are now on the incline. What is the cause behind such unpredictability, and will “Survivor” be able to stabilize? Here is the rundown on what the show’s viewership numbers mean.


‘Survivor’ Ratings Have Risen Two Episodes in a Row

"Survivor 41" cast episode 4

YouTubeThe “Survivor 41” castaways during a challenge in episode 4.

As reported by MediaTraffic, the most recent two episodes of “Survivor 41” have given the show a ratings boost for the first time this season. Viewership for episode 7 – which aired November 3 – reached 5.471 million, while last week’s episode (episode 8) reached 5.556 million.

Before last week, however, the show’s numbers were continually dipping, with episode 6 hitting the lowest numbers this season at 5.317 million viewers.

The premiere of the season also saw a ratings drop from last year, with about 6 million viewers tuning in, vs. nearly 7 million for the premiere of season 40.

Such a drop has led some fans to worry about the show possibly being canceled, and has even led former contestant Russell Hantz to vocalize his thoughts on the show, saying that the “ratings disaster” prove the show is “going down the tubes.”

However, it is worth noting that season 40, which Hantz – and others – compare this season’s numbers to – was a legendary all-winners season, and so widely hyped that fans were discussing it before it was even officially announced. Hence, a ratings drop from such a widely-publicized season to another regular, all-newbies season (not to mention after a year-long break due to COVID) is normal. When compared to the most recent all-newbies season – season 39 – viewership is still dropping, but not by so much. In fact, a consistent decline in ratings over the course of several seasons is normal for any broadcast television show, let alone a show like “Survivor,” which is now in its 41st season.


The Upshot On ‘Survivor’s’ Declining Ratings

"Survivor 41" cast episode 5

YouTubeThe “Survivor 41” cast before a challenge in episode 5.

So not only is a ratings drop for the series not new, it is not even necessarily a bad sign for CBS or “Survivor.” According to Deadline, CBS continued to “reign supreme” with its “Survivor” ratings, even after episode 5 back in October, scoring the top rating spot for its time slot, earning a 1.0 in the 18-54 demographic. Part of the reason that the show remains strong is because its ratings were fairly high to begin with – the first few seasons back in 2000 and 2001 far surpassed even the most optimistic predictions, with the first season finale drawing in over 50 million viewers, and “Australia,” season 2, doing even better. Hence, “Survivor” had a boost to begin with, which is why they are still doing well for broadcast television in general.

Despite contestant Sydney Segal’s claims that her elimination would be “ratings suicide” for the show after she was voted out in episode 7, the show’s uptick in ratings has persisted without her. This is perhaps due to the simple fact of the merge, which is a turning point in each season and, with dwindling numbers of contestants, arguably makes the story easier to follow. In addition, as the audience’s familiarity with the cast grows, the unpopular twists and advantages – which may be contributing to a ratings decline – become less important to the show.

Ten contestants remain in the current season of “Survivor.” Be sure to catch future episodes of “Survivor 41” by tuning in to CBS Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET.

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