Over the weekend, the BBC found itself in a state of crisis following the underwhelming performance of its highly anticipated reality series, Survivor. After debuting on Saturday at 8.25pm, the show, which reportedly cost the BBC £30 million, managed to attract a mere 2.6 million viewers. In contrast, the previous Saturday's show, Michael McIntyre's The Wheel, had an audience of 4.5 million viewers.
Even with the advantage of a 7 million-strong audience from the popular Strictly Come Dancing, Survivor failed to capitalize on its lead-in show. The Sunday repeat fared even worse, with only 2.2 million viewers, ultimately losing out to a repeat of the Antiques Roadshow on BBC Two.
The BBC had made Survivor a top priority, even moving the highly acclaimed David Attenborough's Planet Earth III from its coveted Sunday 8pm slot to accommodate the new show. With such disappointing results, the network's executives are now urgently strategizing to salvage the remaining 14 episodes. An exhaustive advertising campaign since July was expected to boost viewership, but it proved insufficient.
According to an insider, the situation is dire for the BBC. The show's massive cost, coupled with its failure to captivate audiences, has plunged the network into turmoil. Conversations are now underway to determine how best to reverse the situation rapidly.
Viewers expressed their disinterest on social media, characterizing the new series as "dull" and "boring." One user remarked on X, formerly Twitter, stating they were already bored with Survivor, while another questioned whether it aligned with what the "great British public" desires on a Saturday night. Yet another critic pleaded for the return of The Wheel, expressing their disappointment in Survivor.
Survivor transports 18 Britons to the Dominican Republic, where they are stranded in tropical surroundings and divided into two tribes. They compete against each other in physical and mental challenges, vying for rewards and immunity. The ultimate goal is to be named the Sole Survivor and win the prize of £100,000.
The BBC's ambitious pursuit of success led them to poach comedian Joel Dommett, host of ITV's The Masked Singer, as the host of Survivor. Despite its global popularity as a franchise, with longevity in the United States since its launch in 2000 and two previous series on ITV in 2001 and 2002, the show failed to resonate with British audiences.
While BBC sources claim that the show has seen success on its iPlayer platform, the dismal ratings on live television remain a significant concern for the network. The BBC now faces the challenge of reevaluating its prime-time schedule in order to meet viewer demands and regain its footing in the highly competitive television landscape.