When Survivor: Africa begins taping at the Shaba National Reserve in Kenya this week, a CBS programming practices executive will be on location to monitor the production.
Apparently sensitive to issues raised about the authenticity of the million-dollar competition on the reality series, CBS is putting a practices person on site for the third iteration of the Survivor series. The move follows a lawsuit filed by ex-Survivor contestant Stacey Stillman, who has alleged other contestants were encouraged to vote her off the show. But CBS spokesman Gil Schwartz said the presence of a network standards & practices person is common practice - although there was no CBS location oversight on the first two Survivor productions. Both CBS and executive producer Mark Burnett thought it was a good idea this time, according to Schwartz. "It's certainly not any reflection of a lack of confidence in Mark," he said.
This third Survivor is already under pressure from anti-government activitists in Kenya who object to the TV crew's presence in the game reserve, according to local newspaper reports.
Burnett has reportedly quadrupled the show's security staff and made a deal with government officials to establish a no-fly zone over the production's compound to discourage unwanted attention. CBS declined to comment on security arrangements for the show. - Richard Tedesco