Cape Town – The entry period has opened for the 7th season of Survivor South Africa that will be produced and broadcast on M-Net (DStv 101) in 2019 with the season entitled Island of Secrets.
M-Net renewed Survivor SA for a 7th season midway through the just-concluded 6th season after the Philippines set season saw a 71% ratings spike for the competitive Thursday evening timeslot. Producers promise even more game-changing twists and surprises for next year.
Nico Panagio will once again be the host of Survivor SA: Island of Secrets that will again be produced by Afrokaans.
Survivor South Africa on M-Net is seen as such a must-watch property that the programme holds the distinction of being the only locally produced South African TV show that has its episodes being uploaded by fans to illegal torrent file-sharing sites after linear broadcast, with the latest season that was again downloaded thousands of times and watched globally far outside of the country's borders.
Channel24 asked Kay Ann Williams, the head of local content and independent films for M-Net channels, when during the 6th season the channel decided to renew Survivor SA for another season.
"When we saw our audience's response to it – and I don't just mean ratings, I also mean emotional engagement on social media and online, and obviously there's also the ratings – it was about halfway through when we saw that the combination of those things were extremely rewarding for Survivor South Africa and M-Net."
"This Survivor SA season proved to us that local content is really king for the audience. When they see themselves, and people like them – I think there's a part of South Africa that can identify with at one of the castaways. So the 6th season made a huge impact and it was a very easy decision to make."
"This tremendous season came about through Handrie Basson and Le Roux Botha, the series director's vision and I want to say thank you for their passion and absolute obsession with this game."
"Before Survivor SA Philippines on Thursday evenings there were very strong international content on M-Net, and when Survivor SA came on it grew that timeslot's ratings by 71%. So the ratings were phenomenal - it was more than what we expected, and as I've said it wasn't just the ratings, it was also the engagement of DStv subscribers and it was because of this local content on M-Net."
"Thank you for giving us excellent local content, thank you for being excellent visionaries," said Kay Ann Williams.
WHAT TO EXPECT THE FROM NEW SEASON
Handrie Basson, Survivor SA executive producer told Channel24 that Island of Secrets "is a secret, obviously".
"For the next season we are introducing some interesting, new, compelling elements to the show that will not only surprise the audience but moreover the castaways."
"We want to throw them curve balls – that’s what this game is about, it's to keep them on their toes. And with the element of the island of secrets, the main reason behind it is to keep the game fresh – for the M-Net audience's entertainment, but also for the castaways and their game plan."
"With the firsts that unfolded on this Survivor SA: Philippines season on M-Net, it is a wonderful feeling to be able to have that as a first – not only for South Africa, but also for the world's audience," said Basson.
"Survivor is such a worldwide family, and there are so many countries that we don't even know about who are producing Survivor for their local audiences. We only sort of know of the English speaking franchises that we get to see sometimes."
About one of the castaways who decided to unexpectedly quit during this season, Basson said "when a castaway leaves unexpectedly, you need to be prepared for it. It can be a medical evacuation, it can be through their own free will, a lot of things can happen. So you build those eventualities into your planning and we plan for months ahead. So we have plan A, plan B, plan C's in place."
"Thank you to M-Net for giving us a platform to live out our passion. And for the faith in us and believing in us, and for seeing our vision and our crazy ideas through," he said.
Entries for Survivor SA: Island of Secrets close on 30 September at www.mnet.tv/survivorsa and no late entries will be accepted. In a change from previous seasons and moving with the times, contestants who have to be older than 18, must make and submit a video entry this time along with their photo.
A valid South African passport that expires after November 2019 is required.