The Couch Potato's Guide to Giving Back
You might want to give back to...Help Samoa
Not long after taping in Samoa wrapped on the 19th season of Survivor, a magnitude 8.3 earthquake struck near the Samoan Islands, triggering a tsunami that wiped out villages and displaced thousands of residents. While you won't see the demolished areas on the show, host Jeff Probst says the disaster had a direct effect on the Survivor family. "Some of our guys lived there for six months. When an island is so small that you can drive around it in four hours, you really get to know the people. The devastation that happened to that island is heart-wrenching," he says. "While we have a regular crew of over 300, we also always employ 100 or 150 locals. In addition, we're using ancillary local labor all the time. We lost a lot of friends. There are people who perished who worked in the communities where we were living while we were there." Überfans might be familiar with "Ponderosa," the house where voted out contests stay for the duration of taping and where post-tribal council Web-only videos are taped. "It was completely demolished. It's as if it was never there," Probst says. "Two weeks earlier we were in those buildings, and now they're gone." Samoa doesn't have the infrastructure to rebuild a community quickly, and there's no government assistance, Probst points out, so every little bit helps. One thing he's confident of is that loyal Survivor viewers will give back to the island that housed one of the series' most memorable seasons (at least so far). "It won't surprise me if I find out later that there was a pretty decent outpouring of support from Survivor fans," he says. "They really feel connected, like they're part of the action. That's why we're still on the air."