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Did the Right 'Survivor' Survive?Aired August 24, 2000 - 3:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SURVIVOR")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got two rats, prime and ready to be cooked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBIE BATTISTA, HOST: They ate rats, swallowed grubs, connived, cajoled, and even got naked, all for a million bucks. In the end, there was one survivor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SURVIVOR")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time for you to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I was home I would have cried, because Rudy is my man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SURVIVOR")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have Richard the snake, and Kelly, who turned into the rat.
Let it be in the end the way Mother Nature intended it to be, for the snake to eat the rat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The winner of the first "Survivor" competition is Rich.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNA LEWIS, "SURVIVOR" CASTAWAY: Rich, he is an intelligent guy, he was one step ahead and he did it in a charming way so that people would vote for him to get the money -- it's amazing.
RICHARD HATCH, "SURVIVOR" WINNER: I think that's key to success here in a game that's about social interaction, just know who you are, don't try and figure that out once you're in the midst of a game.
SONJA CHRISTOPHER, "SURVIVOR" CASTAWAY: Richard is a -- he's a very bright guy, he's -- at least he was honest about his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BATTISTA: How did Richard Hatch do it? And do you think he deserved the million dollars? In a classic struggle of good and evil, do good guys finish last?
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to TALKBACK LIVE.
Well, after all those weeks, all that plotting and scheming and planning, Richard Hatch, the corporate trainer with a penchant for nudity grabbed the brass ring, the lone survivor of the CBS summer hit. Would you have picked him?
Let's poll the audience real quickly here and find out whether or not people agreed with that choice -- Lisa.
BATTISTA: You wanted Kelly? Why?
LISA: Most definitely. She was the only one that didn't get a vote, she was the only one that didn't get a negative vote.
BATTISTA: Ed, who do you think?
ED: I think Richard should have got it. I mean, he planned, he plotted, he won the game.
BATTISTA: And over here on the other side of the room to Charlie.
CHARLIE: Yes, I -- Rudy should have won it because of his military discipline. I worked for the Navy for 32 years so I was a little prejudiced, and I thought he -- the SEAL background, training and everything -- I liked Rudy.
EDITH: I think Rudy should have won because he was truly a survivor, I would like to see him on "Survivor II."
BATTISTA: And Sarah.
SARAH: I expected Rich to win, because he was so incredibly controlling over the entire group.
BATTISTA: All right, joining us now is Marc Peyser, a senior writer for "Newsweek" magazine. Marc has watched all the "Survivor" segments, and he has spoken with all the cast members, and he wrote this week's cover story on the show.
Marc, nice to see you. MARC PEYSER, "NEWSWEEK" MAGAZINE: Thank you.
BATTISTA: You were one of the many who thought that Rudy was going to win. Were you surprised last night?
PEYSER: I was shocked. I was screaming at my television, I really couldn't believe it.
PEYSER: Well, I thought that Rich had the least chance to win, he was the most hated person on the show. We knew that some of the other survivors were going to be voting for the winner, and I didn't think there was anyway they would allow him to walk away with the million dollars.
BATTISTA: You know, it's interesting, though, I think, you know, going into the final weeks here everybody did acknowledge that Rich played the game better than anyone else, so I -- it's kind of amazing we were all surprised that he won.
PEYSER: It's true, and the person in your audience that said they thought he deserved to win in a way is right, he figured out how to play the game, it ran according to his rules and that does make him the survivor.
BATTISTA: Did Kelly make a big mistake when she voted Rudy off the island?
PEYSER: I mean, I guess in hindsight you could say that, but I don't think anybody would have second-guessed that at the time. I think many people thought, like I did, that Rich wasn't going to win and so he would be a less difficult candidate for her to go up against as a finalist.
BATTISTA: I have this e-mail here from Charlie in Illinois who says: "Greg's pick a number tie-breaking vote reduced the 39 days to survive to a lottery number. When it got tough going, it was Kelly using her skills and will to win immunity so many times. All her supporters should make the decision right by mailing her a dollar each. She will really win big."
You know, he makes a point, though, about Greg, it was -- the final vote was a 3-3 tie between, you know, Kelly and Rich. Greg had the tie-busting vote, he had asked the question earlier, and he had asked the two to pick a number between one and 10. So basically, his vote went to the person who picked the number closest to his number, which was just luck. Did that take something away from it?
PEYSER: Well, I mean, that's what he said. It's hard to know what Greg really means, he was one of the odder characters on the show. He told us he picked Rich because Rich picked the right number, or the closer number, but, you know, I don't know how seriously to take it. And who is to say that he was the one who had the tie- breaking vote, there were three other people who voted that way and, you know, that's just the way it falls. BATTISTA: Well, you had a chance to speak to all of these survivors, you just said a few moments ago that Greg was one of the more eccentric ones, a lot of people may remember his talking into the coconut all the time like it was a phone. Hello! Was Rich the way he was in real life like he was on the show?
PEYSER: You mean arrogant and full of himself and confident?
PEYSER: Yes, pretty much. I mean, he didn't tell us who won, so he didn't go quite that far. But, yes, he said he had no regrets for playing the game like he did. He feels that it was the right way to play and he thinks that America is happy to see him triumph, because he knew what he was doing. He's gotten very little negative feedback from people and that was fine with him.
BATTISTA: Did you detect any sort of tension between some of the cast members that we saw so hideously evidence last night when Susan just eviscerated Kelly in those final moments?
PEYSER: God, I know, it was shocking. I mean, no, I didn't really. I asked them if there was any lingering animosity, Sue especially said, no, it's water under the bridge, it was just a game, we are over it, we're buddies, we're fine. Kelly was feeling remorseful in general, it's hard to know what she was feeling the worst about. She, we know, didn't really like having been part of the alliance. She was sort of generally bummed-out. I don't know how much of that had to do with Sue's outburst, she was the one person who didn't show up for the early show recap this morning, so who is to say -- she didn't really seem happy, though.
BATTISTA: Stay with us, Marc, because on the phone with us is James Wiglesworth, he is the father of "Survivor" runner-up Kelly.
Jim, thanks very much for joining us.
JAMES WIGLESWORTH, FATHER OF KELLY: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
BATTISTA: What did you think, were you disappointed?
WIGLESWORTH: Well, you know, gosh, the emotions just literally ran the gamut. I mean, we just absolutely were so excited for her, and I obviously did not know the outcome and was sitting on pins and needles, and when the host spun the last name around I thought for sure it was Kelly and I over-reacted and jumped too soon. You know, I would like to see her won the million. Certainly, I think she carried herself well, did an excellent job on the show, won a great many of the immunities toward the end and a lot of ways, you know, was a true survivor. But again, you know, who knows? That particular jury, I'm not sure if it's a jury of our peers. It just...
BATTISTA: Did she go into this thing to win, or did she -- was she just looking for the fun and the experience? WIGLESWORTH: No, I mean, I think she went into it knowing, you know, the idea was to go in there and survive and win a million dollars. I don't know that she or any other contestants truly knew what they were in for. I think she probably thought initially it was going to be more physical and less mental and probably it ended up being just the opposite.
BATTISTA: How hard was it for you to watch that scene last night between Susan and Kelly?
WIGLESWORTH: Well, that was tough. There's no question. I mean, I think Sue obviously when she was a little kid didn't get that little box checked on her report card that says, "plays well with other children."
WIGLESWORTH: I think she was also just venting frustrations. Obviously, this is the 39th day, she had just gotten voted off the day before or that day, I'm not exactly sure, and obviously, you know, saw her chances of winning going down the tubes, and didn't have a cool- off period as some of the other people had before they came back. And it just -- she went over the top a bit, I don't think there is any question. But I think Kelly just dealt with it in a wonderful way, I was very proud of the way she handled it.
BATTISTA: How has this whole experience changed your daughter?
WIGLESWORTH: Well, I don't know that I can answer that, because I haven't literally seen her since she got back from the island. She -- we are here in North Carolina, and she lives -- she is now living out in California. And I've only spoken to her a couple of times, but...
BATTISTA: Let me interrupt you just one second.
BATTISTA: Forgive me, I have to throw quickly to Wolf Blitzer in the newsroom for this breaking story.
(INTERRUPTED BY CNN COVERAGE OF BREAKING NEWS)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: All right. And now the number one thing learned on the "Survivor" island, here is Richard.
RICHARD HATCH, "SURVIVOR" CASTMEMBER: The human body is a beautiful thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BATTISTA: All right. We are back, and we are talking to Jim Wiglesworth, who is the father of Kelly Wiglesworth, who was the runner-up last night on the blockbuster final episode of "Survivor." And we have a couple of questions very quickly for Kelly's dad. Then we'll move on -- Dan.
DAN: Yes, Mr. Wigleswalsh -- Wiglesworth, sorry -- did Kelly ever have a place of quiet time that she went to before she got on the show, that you know of?
WIGLESWORTH: Quiet place meaning...
BATTISTA: She did that on the show, remember, she always had a quiet place to go to. And he's wondering if she did that at home.
WIGLESWORTH: No, not really. I mean not that she voluntarily went to.
BATTISTA: Oh, the one you sent her to though.
WIGLESWORTH: There may have been one of those when she was a child. No, but Kelly has always been pretty much an individualist, as opposed to -- she would much rather do her things as opposed to necessarily participate in lot of group activities. So the show was a natural for her in that respect.
BATTISTA: Another question, Charlie.
CHARLIE: Follow up on that: How much of that was Kelly and how much was an act? Was it pretty representative of what she was like?
WIGLESWORTH: Well, there's awful that you -- you can see bits and piece I think of everyone's personalities. And I don't know any of the other people other than Kelly. But certainly throughout the confines of the show, I would see things, you know, when she's being quiet, reflective or her sense of humor or, you know, caring attitude when she is consoling some of the contestants from time to time.
So you see a lot of the natural characteristics that are part of her personality. And then there are other times when she may be in a tiff or saying something to somebody that I would look at the TV and say: Oh, Kelly, I wish we wouldn't say those words on national television. So there were parts of each personality I'm sure that came out. There were certain things I saw about Kelly that I recognized and other parts she was truly just playing the game.
BATTISTA: All right, Jim Wiglesworth, thanks very much for joining us. Good luck to you and to Kelly as well.
WIGLESWORTH: Bobbie, thank you very much.
BATTISTA: Our next guest is Dr. Carole Lieberman. She's been doing a weekly analysis of "Survivors" for KCBS in Los Angeles. She is a media psychiatrist and author of the book, "Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them, and When to Leave Them," which kind of describes maybe some of Kelly's interaction with the men on the island last night, I'm not sure.
But -- so you've been studying these guys, Dr. Lieberman, all along. Psychologically speaking, how did Richard manage to get the upper hand?
DR. CAROLE LIEBERMAN, PSYCHIATRIST/MEDIA CONSULTANT: Well, the real survivor technique that Richard used was something that started in him when he was a little boy and he had to learn to survive on the playground. Undoubtedly, Richard was made fun of because of his weight, because of becoming -- manifesting that he was gay when that happened -- for probably a lot of other things where he showed a kind of vulnerability. He was the kind of kid that kids would naturally pick up.
So he has learned over the years -- it wasn't that he prepared just a month or two before he got on the island -- he's been preparing all his life to make alliances, to find other kids who he could sort of have control over, who could then help him get more accepted into the larger crowd. And so all these things, the manipulations, the guilt, making people feel guilty, making people appreciate him, manipulating them in lots of different ways, becoming indispensable -- like he did when he provided the food -- all of these different things were techniques that he's been learning all his life and brought to bear on this show.
And for him, winning the million dollars wasn't just about the money, it was about showing all of those bullies who he's had to deal with all his life that now he can kick sand in their face.
BATTISTA: You know, Kelly expressed a lot of problems and regrets about her sort of lost sense of ethics during this 13 weeks. Is that part of why she didn't win?
LIEBERMAN: I think some people mistook her confusion and identity crisis for being manipulative and deceitful. I didn't see her that way. I saw her as honestly confused, honestly wrestling with her conscience. But you know, I said from the beginning that the winner of this show was going to be a man, because when it came down to it, I didn't see how -- regardless who the people were who were left -- the final two -- I couldn't see how men would vote for a woman to win.
And that's what happened in the end. Gervase was the only man to vote for Kelly. And I think that that was partly because he was able to see more sensitively. Also, he lived -- he was raised by a mother who he appreciated. But Greg and Sean were sort of the deciding votes, because we knew that Sue and Rudy -- Rudy had his allegiance that he was, you know, true to himself -- he made a promise. And Sue hated Kelly more than she hated Richard. And really, it was Sean and Greg.
And I think even though they appreciated that Kelly was the better person, they went -- and whatever they used as their, you know, explanation, the number, or whatever it was -- the real reason -- maybe unconscious even to them -- was because they wanted to see a man win rather than a woman, because it made them feel better. BATTISTA: Marc, when you had a chance to speak with all the survivors, were there any others who felt regret about their behavior in any way, or would they have done things differently?
PEYSER: Well, those who got kicked off a little earlier I think regretted whatever behavior led to that, though I don't really think that they -- I mean, there wasn't a lot of remorse. They played as they wanted to, those who joined the alliance and those who didn't. Some of the ones who didn't join the alliance, we heard B.B. and Gretchen talk about how if they had it to do over again they maybe would have joined up a little earlier and figured out a way to get, you know, get farther in this game.
But there really wasn't a lot of regret. They had a great time. It was a much bigger hit than anybody imagined, and these guys played a big part in that, not just in the way they behaved on the show but in keeping their mouth shut, keeping the secret going for so long.
So it's hard to have a lot of regrets when you're a part of the biggest thing in America.
BATTISTA: That is amazing, by the way, that that secret was kept for as long as it was. I mean, you just would have thought that, you know, through an ex-crewmember or somebody that it would have gotten out somehow.
PEYSER: Yes, I agree. I mean, you've got remember that they were off the island four months ago. That was when that last show last night was taped. It's unbelievable to me that somebody didn't tell somebody who told somebody. They managed to do it, and that's really amazing in this day and age.
BATTISTA: They should all work for the CIA or something.
BATTISTA: I have to take a quick break here.
Marc Peyser, thanks very much for joining you us.
Still ahead, we'll talk with a former cast member MTV's "Real World," and he'll talk about living in front of the camera. We'll also talk with Dr. Lieberman about what all this tells us about our own human interactions.
We'll be back in just a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HATCH: Rudy -- Rudy's comments -- you know, I mean, he comes from a different generation, but he is a kind and gentle and honest and amazing man who I feel really close to. We have a great relationship...
BOESCH: Not that close.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BATTISTA: We just had that e-mail, another e-mail from Jason says the same thing. "Rich's win exemplifies the back-stabbing, cutthroat nature that is the rule rather than the exception in society today. Way to go, Richard. We got what we deserved."
And George says, "Survivor: Corporate America with sand and palm trees."
Dr. Lieberman, is that the case here? I mean, what does this tell us about human interaction, and is it a lot like the office?
LIEBERMAN: It tells us that our world needs to change. You know, people are -- some people are saying that Richard won. Well, yes, in a way -- that he played the game the best, and that's why he won. You know, you could say, well, he won so he must have played the game the best.
But, really, if you look at Kelly, she didn't get any votes. She won all those immunity challenges. Richard didn't do very well physically in terms of surviving, except for catching the fish. I mean, what is to determine who plays the game better?
And I think our society, our corporations -- and not just the corporations, I think all of society is getting more and more like Richard. And rather than applaud him, I think that, really, this should be a mirror that is held up to all of us. So many people have watched it, and I think that good use could be put to it. And if we all search inside ourselves and look at what part of us is like Richard, and rather than applauding that find a way to be a little more -- have a little bit more compassion for the rest of the world and be a real winner.
BATTISTA: Let me bring Adam Buckman into the conversation. He's a TV columnist for "The New York Post" and he is a huge "Survivor" fan and has been following it religiously. Also with us is Judd Winick, a former cast member of MTV's "Real World: San Francisco." Judd is the author of a new book called "Pedro and Me: Friendship Lost and What I Learned."
Adam, let me start with you since you're such a big fan. You were surprised last night?
ADAM BUCKMAN, "NEW YORK POST": Oh, yes, very much surprised. And that's been one of the great things about "Survivor," can't predict who's going to be voted out when tribal council comes along, and last night was certainly no exception.
BATTISTA: What do you think is it that made this show work, and why did we watch in such numbers?
BUCKMAN: A whole ton of elements were at work with this program. The way that CBS mounted it into summer time helped an awful lot. This summer has been unusual compared to the last couple summers, where the networks have not put on anything new this summer at all. "Survivor" pretty much had the field to itself.
The consistency of the way it was scheduled and promoted, every Wednesday night at 8:00 you were certain that the next chapter of "Survivor" would be there 13 straight weeks, no preemptions, no schedule shifts, the kind of stuff that drives viewers crazy.
And then there was the quality of the show. This show was so well-made, Bobbie, they should teach it in TV school, the filming, the editing, the pacing. Just everything about it was terrific, and it's incredible hew the country is talking about it today.
BATTISTA: I felt the set was a little cheesy.
BUCKMAN: Well the set was cheesy. A lot of the stuff on the show was cheesy. In spite of that, it worked.
BATTISTA: Judd, you were on the cutting edge of this particular genre with MTV's "Real World." Why do you think that the viewers make such a connection by watching people go through their daily life?
JUDD WINICK, AUTHOR, "PEDRO AND ME": Well I think for starters is that we're natural voyeurs. But at the same time, I think as viewers we look at this and say, well I can do that. I can be right there. And quite frankly, everyone's right. They could do this. Anybody out there could have done "Survivor." They might not have succeeded in the same way, but for the most part viewers can look at this and say, that could be me.
BATTISTA: How did the show change your life? Did it?
WINICK: Yes, in so many ways. One of the cast members is now my fiancee. My roommate on the show, Pedro Zamora, Pedro died of AIDS maybe about four month after we finished filming. And after that, I became an AIDS educator -- so many things, I wouldn't even know where to begin.
BATTISTA: An e-mail here from Cindy says:
"I love 'Survivor.' I can't wait for the next one. But I do wonder what kind of message we are sending to our children when we reward deception and manipulation. I just hope the next winner will win with more dignity and flare than either Kelly or Rich exhibited in the past few weeks."
That does lead us to talk about the next one a little bit, Adam, because I'm not -- now that everyone has learned how to play this game and win through Richard, what does that bode for the next one, that we're going to have, you know, 16 Richards there and raise the bar on deception and manipulation and everything else?
BUCKMAN: Well, I'm hopeful that the people that -- the great creative people who made this show will apply there know-how and their obvious skill at this sort of thing to making "Survivor" in Australia as good as this one, because they start out with a handicap. The people participating in the Australian outback "Survivor" will have watched this past "Survivor," and they're going to pick up things about how they should act on camera.
And that may -- it may make this reality show all the more fake, all the more forced, all the more contrived. They'll be actively seeking alliances in sort of an unnatural way. I'm hoping that there's something the producers can do to make the next "Survivor" seem as fresh as this one did.
BATTISTA: Why do you suppose that there are so many knock-offs now of this like show that are out there, like "Big Brother" and "1900 House" and there's a whole bunch more coming down the pike. Do you think this is a trend that is going to become part of the permanent television landscape here, or are they all just going to die off?
BUCKMAN: Well, the answer to your about, you know, why are there all of these reality shows is an easy one. TV loves to imitate success.
The other networks, especially the ones whose executives may have passed on "Survivor" when it was first brought up to them, are hungry for the same kind of success that their rivals at CBS are having right now. They want to do anything they can to repeat that success. And what they'll do is they'll go overboard, and they'll go around the world to buy reality show concepts and bring them here, most of which will fail, just like last season's game shows that were supposed to capitalize on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." They all failed, and some of the reality shows coming look dreadful. And I think they'll fail as miserably as "Big Brother" has on CBS.
BATTISTA: "Chains of Love," I think, is one, where...
BATTISTA: Isn't that where -- what's that one? Where four guys are, like, chained to one girl, or the other way?
BUCKMAN: I think it's three guys chained to one woman. They are living together chained this way in a certain way. This was a European model. And I think that these things come from someplace like Holland or something like that. Maybe you'll get an e-mail today or a phone call from Holland, and they can explain to us why these shows are so popular there.
BATTISTA: Judd, we know that the "Survivor"s are all now having their 15 minutes of fame and there are lots of deals and commercials and endorsements, whatever, in the works for them. But what do you -- what are they in for exactly now that the show is over? Is there some kind of letdown?
WINICK: Yes, well there will be a certain amount of crash. When we did the show, after leaving, you sort of miss the cameras, you miss all the attention. You live under a certain intensity, that everyone is following around documenting everything you say. And then they reflect upon it and you reflect on it.
After that, well, it's slowly going to dissipate. Everyone here is trying to cash in quickly and with as much gusto as they possibly can. And they should, because it's going to be -- it's pretty fleeting, as is television in general. You know, out of sight, out of mind.
BATTISTA: I've got to take a quick break, speaking of that. And as we do, what's going on in the chat room, Brian?
BRIAN: There are a lot of different things going on in the chat room. A lot of people agree with Rich. And one of the other things that someone pointed out, like you mentioned to Adam before, was that Rudy -- excuse me, Richard is setting a precedent, and a lot of the other survivors in future episodes will start acting like Rich, because now they know how to play the game.
And about Susan and Kelly, that little tension that was formed, someone mentioned that, "Condemning others is what we're all about. Americans love condemning their neighbors."
BATTISTA: We'll be back in just a moment.
Some of the questions on the "Survivor II/Australia" application form were, "If you could hold any political office, what would it be, and why? Describe your perfect day? What would be the craziest, wildest thing you would do for a million dollars? What would you not do for a million dollars? And what skills do you bring to "Survivor II/Australia" that would make you a useful member of the group?
BATTISTA: All right. Rick is on the phone from Pennsylvania.
Rick, go ahead?
RICK: Hi, Bobbie.
RICK: Great show.
I thought that Richard and Rudy should have split the prize money. But Richard won. He used his wits, and the name of the show was "Survivor." And I'd like to see Richard, Rudy and Kelly all go to Australia, although I don't know if they would take it up again.
And I also thought that Susan's comments were way off base. To say that she wouldn't even give a person a glass of water if they were dying of thirst. That is wrong. You just don't treat people like that.
BATTISTA: Yes, let me ask Dr. Lieberman about that. That really did end up being sort of the hallmark of that show last night, that sort of tense moment.
LIEBERMAN: Well, what that was a symbol of how primitive people actually got. If you look at "Lord of the Flies" as a kind of forerunner of "Survivor," you know, people got physically primitive there. And in some ways they did on "Survivor," too, with the mud and things like that.
But Susan's resorting to being a child basically, you know, is kind of like na-na-na. That's what she should have said next. You know, she picked up things that would hurt the most. She knew what would hurt Kelly the most, reminding her of that moment when she was the most humiliated, when she was beaten in that test, and here she was a river rafter. And everything she said was awful. It was going to the most childish part of herself, and probably that's how she was, and now she's covered it over with a thin veneer.
But you know, what's so interesting about this show, yes, we are voyeurs and that's why we watch and it's like a soap opera, but in some ways, it's even more exciting, because it's unpredictable. But it also brings us back to something we're all very familiar with, which is, having to deal with wanting to be a member of the in-crowd and feeling like an outcast at times , and what we did to survive. I mean, I think that Richard is the extreme example, as I was talking about before. But we can all relate to wanting people to like us.
BATTISTA: Well, and it was interesting though, too, it was not the most athletic and the most popular people who survived here at the end of this show, so I guess that says something for outcasts, too.
Judd, you, I'm sure, had some moments that were tense like that on some of the episodes of "Real World." How did you deal with that?
WINICK: Well, I -- in the case of "Survivor," I mean, I think that we are all forgetting that the bottom line is this is a game show, you know, people were on the show to win a huge pile of money. It makes "The Real World" look tame by comparison. All we had, you know, they put us up in a house for six months and filmed us. Out tension was real-life tension, in the sense that one of our housemates was living with AIDS. And after leaving the show, not long after it, he was dying with it. These are real-life issues. Those are the things that we had to deal with it, and unfortunately, how we had to deal with it on camera, there was nothing to fall back on. We just dealt with it however we could, which was to either come to Pedro's side or ignore the problem.
BATTISTA: I got an e-mail here a moment ago from Roger, who says, "It may become reality television, but living in front of a camera 24-7 is hardly reality."
Adam, is it fair to call this reality television, really?
BUCKMAN: I haven't felt that it's the most accurate label to give this kind of show these days. Reality TV, up until this summer with "survivor," used to refer to those reality video shows referring to, you know, the shows where there were car crashes and people caught at work, and the chef spiting in the soup and stuff like that, surveillance cameras and things like that.
BATTISTA: Let's bring that back.
BUCKMAN: But that's reality, or at least more than this. That's not acted in front of the camera by people who are vying for a million dollars on a game show.
So I'm not sure that reality is the right thing to call these shows. That doesn't diminish at all for me the appeal of "Survivor." "Survivor" worked no matter how hokey it was, no matter how unreal the reality was, it worked for me, and I loved every minute of it.
BATTISTA: Let me go to Vince in the audience.
VINCE: I was just wondering, what does it mean about being ethical, I mean, our society? I mean, how is this going to impact our society. Obviously, by watching this, I mean, what does that say about America? What does that say about...
BATTISTA: Dr. Lieberman, why do we watch these kinds of things?
LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, we've been seeing this actually in real life unfold in a lot of arenas -- you know, in the legal system, in politics -- where the scoundrels seem to win out, and I don't know that "Survivor" necessarily endorsed that. I mean, the fact that Richard won, yes, it will make some people think that, gee, if I act like that, I'll win a million dollars or, you know, I will be in the best in some way. But I think that, hopefully, a lot more people were given pause and realized that this is not the way to act. But you know, it's really happening all over our society where cameras aren't.
BATTISTA: As a matter of fact, Steve made a point over here quickly about the real corporate world.
STEVE: Well, there is a -- in the front page of the business section of "USA Today," they are talking about Internet companies, and how Yahoo! is staying on their own and trying to fight against AOL, Time Warner, who have come together, who -- well, not necessarily fight against them, but all of the big people are coming together in an alliance, and the little guys are staying on their own, and who's going to win? And it's just like the "Survivor" show of who is getting together to form the alliance, and who's staying on their own and who's going to win on all of this.
BATTISTA: Yes, so Terry's question, who's a teacher from North Carolina would be, "How do I teach my kids about what's right and what's wrong and about ethics and that sort of thing when I also have to prepare them for the things that go on in the real world?"
WINICK: Well, don't assume that "Survivor" is going to give them the answer.
LIEBERMAN: Well, I don't know.
BATTISTA: Yes, are we getting too deep with this?
WINICK: I think so. At end of the day, this is a game show, where people were to win a million bucks.
LIEBERMAN: I disagree. I think that -- first of all, I think taping all episodes of "Survivor" and showing it to your class, and picking out which things are ethical and which things aren't, would be a great teaching tool. But I don't think it was just about a million dollars. I mean, sure, everybody wanting -- who doesn't want to win a million dollars, but I think unconsciously, the people who tried out for that show, and a lot of whom had had survival skills, you know, in their background, I think that it was about feeling more powerful in their life, feeling that they could survive in an emotional as well as a physical kind of world. And yes, the prize is a million dollars, but it wasn't just about the money.
BATTISTA: I've got to take a break. We'll be back in just a moment.
BATTISTA: We are about out of time here, so let's take a quick look at the poll question that we asked today, which is kind of irrelevant now since it's all over. But we have, who would you have voted to win "survivor?" Seventy-one percent Kelly, 29 percent said Richard.
And we thank all of our guests for joining us today. Dr. Carole Lieberman, appreciate your time, and Adam Buckman and Judd Winick, thank you both very much for joining us as well.
We'll see you again tomorrow at 3:00 for more of TALKBACK LIVE.
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