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BBC crisis as big-budget series suffers ratings humiliation after viewers slam ‘waste of licence fee money’


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BBC execs are reportedly in “crisis talks” following the underwhelming reception its latest big-money show Survivor received during its opening weekend.

Fronted by Joel Dommett – who welcomed his first child with wife Hannah Cooper in September – the show puts 18 contestants on a Caribbean island where they have to take on a range of physical and mental challenges while split into two tribes, all in the hopes of pocketing the £100,000 prize pot.

Its first episode aired on Saturday evening at 8:25pm fresh off the back of Strictly Come Dancing, which had managed to draw in over seven million viewers.

But Survivor failed to retain those watching BBC One at the time as it averaged a mere 2.6 million viewers during its debut episode.

Not only did it slump compared to Strictly, but it also only raked in a little over half the viewers Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel attracted the week before in the same time slot.

The second episode aired on Sunday evening at 8pm but only managed to draw in 2.2 million fans and was even beaten by a repeat of Antiques Roadshow on BBC Two, according to the Daily Mail.

Joel Dommett

Joel Dommett presents Survivor on the BBC


As a result, bosses are now in “crisis talks to work out how they can boost ratings”, according to the publication who also heard from an insider who said: “It’s crazy.

“BBC One had a winning Saturday and Sunday night schedule that would have seen it safely through to Christmas – and the panicking bosses just ripped it up to make room for a show that cost so much of licence-payers’ money that they could not afford for it to flop.

“They even moved Sir David Attenborough from his traditional 8pm slot,” the source added referring to Sunday’s schedule rejig for Planet Earth III.

The insider branded it “terrible news for the BBC” and “an absolute disaster” before they went on: “It cost a fortune and it is just not appealing to the masses – conversations are now taking place as to what can be done to turn things around, quickly.”

A BBC source told GB News in response to the insider’s claims: “In a world of on demand viewing, programmes are not judged on overnight performance alone and iPlayer figures are still to come.”

The results from the viewing figures may have come as no surprise to BBC bosses, however, if the reactions of X, formerly Twitter, users are anything to go by.

After the first Survivor episode premiere, one viewer wrote: “Shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but there’s a reason why the original #Survivor lasted 2 series. It wasn’t good enough.

“Would rather spend 6 months alone on a desert island than watch a minute of this waste of licence fee money. The Wheel should’ve stayed in this slot.”

A second also argued: “How can the @bbc find money to produce/commission s***e like this #Survivor show they’ve plonked right in the middle of the prime time #Saturday night schedule. Joel Dommett is handsome but a really boring predictable presenter. The show at best should be on BBC3.”

Another also questioned: “Why is the UK #survivor so rubbish!! Please just mimic the editing and style from the US and Aussie shows! They’re MILES better!!”

“Dear powers that be at the BBC, can we have The Wheel back on after Strictly. Not feeling #Survivor,” a fourth pleaded while another weighed in: “Turned this off it’s been done before & the people on it were far too annoying #survivor.”

Even those who enjoyed the show suggested the Beeb make a change as one viewer shared: “I love #Survivor but, IMHO, this show is better off an iPlayer exclusive. 2 new eps each Saturday midnight, so you can just watch it at any time, rather than a Saturday/Sunday night show. Sat/Sun should still be The Wheel/Antiques Roadshow, those shows are more popular.”

There was still some positive reaction from viewers who decided to stick with the reality show, as another X user argued: “#SurvivorUK my teen daughter and I loved the first 2 episodes and can’t wait for the next. Don’t understand what all the negative comments are about but as massive Suvivor fans we think it’s great and about time! Please keep going.”

To which a second echoed: “Catching up with episode one of #survivor. Loving it already! Great mix of contestants! The BBC seems to just getting it just right with reality shows at the moment. Joel is proving his worth as a great host too.”

The money spent on Survivor comes at a time when the Beeb has come under fire for axing a number of projects due to funding challenges.

For instance, Birmingham-based soap Doctors was confirmed to be ending later this year as a result of rising costs and the “flat licence fee”, according to the Beeb.

It also canned Top Gear earlier this year following host Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’s life-threatening crash in December – although he’s rumoured to be lining up new projects with the corporation.

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Written by: radioroxi

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