Yeah, that happened.

Cast Tree


Survivor: Caramoan Episode 6 .GIFs

A round of applause for Survivor: Caramoan's #1 Power Couple.

A round of applause for Survivor: Caramoan’s #1 Power Couple.

True Bros Aqua Dump Together.
True Bros Aqua Dump Together.


#RTVF330: The Final Tribal Council

This past Thursday I taught the final class of #RTVF330, my Northwestern University class on Survivor and reality TV. Thursday also happened to be my last class as a college professor for the foreseeable future, as in the coming weeks I’ll be joining the staff of the Los Angeles office of Frank N. Magid Associates, a research and consulting firm that services media and entertainment industry clients. I’ll have more to say about my transition from academia to industry in a future post. For the time being, I’d like to share a few moments and memories from my class’s final tribal council. Read more of this post

Podcast: talking Survivor, reality TV, and #RTVF330 on The Dom & Colin Podcast

Late last week I sat down with Dom Harvey and Colin Stone of The Dom & Colin Podcast for a long (135 minutes!) discussion about Survivor, reality TV, and social media. The resulting podcast is a pretty good representation of the sort of topics I touch on in my Northwestern University reality TV class, #RTVF330. You can listen to the interview on Dom’s and Colin’s website or download it for free from iTunes. Note: this will be on the quiz.


Fans Versus Favorites…Versus Favorites (#RTVF330 Survivor Trivia Challenge)

When the student-castaways of #RTVF330 aren’t busy learning about television’s Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, the effects of changing audience metrics on programming and advertising, and FOX reality czar Mike Darnell’s unique fashion sense they spend their time studying Survivor. (Technically they spend most of their free time watching Catfish, but I like to imagine that when they’re not watching Nev and Max explain the dangers of cybersex to midwesterners they’re committing to memory such important facts as the depth of Jeff Probst’s dimples (11 mm) or which Survivor winner took the most episodes before going to tribal council in back-to-back episodes.) On Tuesday, February 5, the castaways had a chance to show off their knowledge of Survivor history in #RTVF330’s second-annual Survivor Trivia Reward Challenge. Read more of this post

Survivor Math (RTVF330 Hidden Immunity Idol)

The Rooster breaks down Survivor Math for some of his prized pupils.

The Rooster breaks down Survivor Math for some of his prized pupils.

Note: this post contains material that originally appeared on the RTVF330 Tumblr. Now that the puzzle has been solved and this week’s hidden immunity idol is out of play I’m making it public.

Grab your calculators, because it’s time for the Survivor Math test. RTVF330 All Star Jonathan Forman (@jofo322) has put together a word problem that will test your math and research skills. Solve all three puzzles and then enter the answers in the marked spaces below. Combined these ten digits will lead you to the location of our hidden immunity idol and a perfect score on this week’s quiz.

Part I

  • Start with number of different locations where seasons of Survivor have been filmed: ___
  • Multiply by the number of different players who have returned to the game from Redemption Island: ___
  • Add the number of the season that was the first to feature a cast comprised of both new and returning players: ___
  • Multiply by the number of the season that saw one tribe decimated to the point where only one tribe member remained going into the merge: ___

Answer A _ _ _

Part II

  • Start with the total number of days that members of the Mariano family have played Survivor: ___
  • Add the number of days played in the only Survivor season that lasted more than 39 days: ___
  • Add the number of players who have played Survivor three or more times: ___
  • Subtract the number of the first season in which the castaways picked their own tribes: ___
  • Multiply by the number of seasons in which three players received votes to win at the Final Tribal Council: ___
  • Add the number of National League Most Valuable Player Awards won bySurvivor players: ___

Answer B: _ _ _

Part III

  • Start with the placement of the Survivor: Caramoan (Fans versus Favorites 2) returning player who placed the worst in his/her original season: ___
  • Multiply by the number of former pageant queens in the cast of Survivor: Philippines: ___
  • Add the number of distinct seasons in which Survivor: Caramoan’s returning castaways originally played: ___
  • Add the number of seasons of Survivor which have started with an odd number of players: ___
  • Multiply by the number of the season in which two players were sent home on the second day after not being selected in a schoolyard pick: ___
  • Add the number of the season in which tribes were divided by gender for the first time: ___
  • Multiply by the total number of letters in the first and last name of the castaway who first destroyed and later slept in the commode in Survivor: Exile Island: ___
  • Add the number of times James Clement won the $100,000 fan favorite award: ___
  • Add the number of votes cast to eliminate Yau-Man Chan from Survivor: Fiji: ___

Answer C: _ _ _ _


  Answer A    Answer B     Answer C 

         _ _ _   –    _ _ _       –    _ _ _ _

Postscript: Only about six of the sixty students in my class successfully solved this puzzle, and even after that they failed to locate the hidden immunity idol. You’ll know when you’ve solved it – drop me a line at @fymaxwell when you’ve figured it out.

RTVF330 Critics’ Round Table (Podcast) / Immunity Challenge #1

RTVF330 Critics' Round Table. From left: Max Dawson, Myles McNutt, Mo Ryan, Erik Adams.

RTVF330 Critics’ Round Table. From left: Max Dawson, Myles McNutt, Mo Ryan, Erik Adams.

On Thursday, January 17 my class on Survivor and reality TV hosted television critics Myles McNutt (Onion AV Club), Mo Ryan (Huffington Post), and Erik Adams (Onion AV Club) for the 2013 RTVF330 Critics’ Round Table. Our ninety-minute discussion touched on topics ranging from the special appeal of Pawn Stars to Netflix’s Arrested Development revival to how television showrunners are using social media to connect with (and, in some instances, antagonize) members of their own audiences. Myles, Mo, and Erik were kind enough to allow me to record our discussion, which is presented here for your enjoyment. Please download/stream/share:

Thursday also marked the first immunity challenge, or pop quiz, of the class. Following Tuesday’s hard-fought Survivor 101 reward challenge the victorious Dangrayne tribe opted to send Kalabaw member Charlie Gingold to Exile Island, thereby costing his tribe 5 points in the ongoing fight for immunity from the midterm exam. Did Dangrayne’s strategy pay off, hobbling Kalabaw in the immunity challenge standings? Or did its choice make an instant enemy out of a formidable foe? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out. In the meantime, why not see how you would have fared on this challenge. I’ve embedded the multiple choice quiz below. Tweet your answers to me at @fymaxwell and I’ll let you know how you did.

%d bloggers like this: