'Survivor 8' to be Tournament of Champs
05/15/2003 AT 12:57 PM EDT
CBS is banking on some old familiar friends to help keep its "Survivor" franchise fresh next season. The network, previewing its fall lineup for journalists and advertisers this week, announced that it will air an eighth, all-star edition of the granddaddy of all American reality shows -- featuring former players such as Richard Hatch and Jerri Manthey.
Not only that, but the payoff for the Sole Survivor will be $2 million, double the regular jackpot.
This tournament of champions, airing in early 2004, will reportedly include former contestants Manthey, Hatch, Susan Hawk, Tina Wesson, Ethan Zohn and Rudy Boesch.
Next up, however, will be the seventh edition of "Survivor," which host Jeff Probst and producer Mark Burnett confirmed will take place on Pearl Island, off the coast of Panama, according to published reports.
The setting, said Probst, will help provide for most of the challenges to be set in the water and for a theme that will involve piracy. Casting has also been completed for season seven, he said.
In terms of drawing power, the "Survivor" franchise is losing some of its buzzworthiness but remains a potent force for CBS. More than 22 million people tuned in to watch Jenna Morasca take the $1 million prize over Matthew Von Ertfelda in this past Sunday's season finale of "Survivor: The Amazon."
That was enough to rank the show at No. 3 on this week's Nielsen ratings list, but the figure nevertheless represents the series' lowest-rated finale ever.
In summer 2000, 51 million curious people watched Richard Hatch claim the "Survivor" crown on the show's first-season finale, and Hatch went on to claim more than his 15 minutes of fame.
It remains to be seen how Morasca will fare now that the shouting's over.