Viewers Stand By ‘Survivor’

NEW YORK Despite the controversy surrounding CBS’ decision to air an upcoming edition of Survivor in which teams are divided by race, a survey conducted by Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann found that only 17 percent of those claiming to be avid Survivor watchers were “personally offended” by the new format.

That said, nearly one-third of non-viewers said they found the format personally offensive.

Results of the survey, conducted earlier this month, were released just two days before the premiere of the new installment of the show, Survivor: Cook Islands, which will feature four competing teams divided by race (African American, Asian American, Hispanic and white).

The show has prompted cries of protest from some groups, including the New York City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, which has called on CBS to dump the format.

In the wake of the controversy, several longtime Survivor advertisers, including Procter & Gamble, General Motors, Coca-Cola and Home Depot, pulled their advertising from the program.

A CBS representative said the network has replaced the defectors with other advertisers. “We have a full roster of advertisers for Survivor,” she said. But she said that the network would not disclose that roster prior before the show airs. “They will be apparent come the show’s premiere,” she said.

According to the UM survey, conducted online, about 75 percent of all respondents claimed their attitude toward the show’s advertisers would not change. About 80 percent of those saying they view the show regularly also said they would probably watch the Cook Islands installment, while an additional 10 percent of those who said they don’t watch regularly said they were interested in tuning in.

Of those respondents who said they weren’t interested in watching, less than 15 percent said it was because they were offended by the new format.