‘Survivor’ Anniversary Hype Starts … NOW!

CBS is planning a big-time bash next month to kick off a year of love for the reality franchise that ushered in the modern era of reality TV.

Let the "Survivor" 10th anniversary hoopla begin.

The series that kicked off the modern reality TV era marks its 10th anniversary this summer, with its 20th edition scheduled to premiere early next year. And that means we can expect plenty of hype from the marketing and PR gurus over at CBS (along with all sorts of navel-gazing about The State of Reality 10 Years After ‘Survivor’ from reporters like… me.)

But first: A party!

We called the Eye about this a few weeks ago, but the network today finally confirmed that it’s planning a major "Survivor" reunion/anniversary bash as the evening event for its portion of the semiannual TV Critics Assn. press tour next month.

Scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 9, the party is expected to feature all 20 cast members from the upcoming all-star edition of the show (CBS has never officially confirmed the format and still won’t, even though it’s been widely reported cycle 20 will be a veterans’ edition).

CBS hasn’t held a winter press tour party in a few years. And it’s been even longer since the network threw a big bash for "Survivor" (in the early days of the show, every finale merited a most awesome post-show throwdown.)

So why now?

“Survivor has been a game changer in so many ways," CBS west coast communications chief Chris Ender told TheWrap. "It helped change the course of this network, influenced programming on television for the better part of the decade and made celebrities of many ordinary citizens. The combination of its 10th anniversary, the upcoming 20th edition and the TCA in such close proximity, sets the stage nicely for a big celebratory event.”

The elite 20 who’ve made the cut for the anniversary edition of "Survivor" are all scheduled to show at the party, since they’ll already be be in town to do PR for the show. While Reality Blurred (which broke news of the "Survivor" party this morning) and other websites have already leaked many names, the cast for the next edition of "Survivor" isn’t expected to be officially announced until just a few days before (if not that morning at the CBS press tour).

CBS is also inviting the couple of hundred other people who’ve been contestants on "Survivor" over the years to the party. It’s not yet clear how many will make the schlep to LA, though given reality contestants love for the spotlight… turnout should be decent. Fingers crossed Richard Hatch, who was denied a chance to appear on the next season due to the legal system’s jihad against him, will be able to make the trip. 

The "Survivor" event will take place on the CBS lot in Studio City. The network plans to convert a large soundstage into an island setting. And yes, creator Mark Burnett will be in attendance.

CBS isn’t planning to invite any non-"Survivor" stars to the party, though Ender said that "any stars that want to come are welcome."

Meanwhile, TV MoJoe would like to point out that next year marks the 10th anniversay of another reality icon: "Big Brother." Here’s hoping CBS finds a few dollars to throw a big bash for that series this summer.