The longest running reality show ever, Survivor, has just begun its newest season. The theme is Millennials vs Gen-X, and we couldn’t be more excited. The only saddening thing for reality competition show fans is that the beginning of Survivor means the end of Big Brother, CBS’ summer season adaptation of the successful Survivor model.

Our take on these two

dreamstime_xxl_19766277As one of Wichita’s premier television providers, we have heard some strong opinions in favor and opposition of these two long-running behemoths. The shows are similar in composition, both feature a host, a marooned cast, regular competitions, evictions, and, of course, a large cash prize incentive. If you’re wondering which to get into, don’t worry, even with hundreds of episodes between the two, jumping in at any point is still just as rewarding. But there are differences, and you may want to start with one you are more sure to like first, so this is our breakdown of the pros and cons of each:

Survivor features:

  • One episode a week
  • Spoiler free, no livestream available
  • All episodes (until finale) are recorded and edited for entertainment value
  • Survival aspect to gameplay and strategy
  • More dramatic evictions
  • Tougher, often more physical, competitions
  • Often more diverse casts
  • More “emergency evacuations,” which dramatically impact show dynamic
  • Seasons begin with segregated tribes
  • Features hidden immunity idols

Big Brother features:

  • Numerous episodes each week, often times 3
  • Season takes place simultaneously to episodes, live episodes each week
  • Livestreams available for a fee, chance for recorded episodes to be spoiled
  • Contestants are houseguests with no survival worries
  • Typically those “on the block” have a feeling they will be evicted, less random
  • Less diverse, typically younger and more attractive casts
  • Rarely evacuations, but plenty of producer induced twists
  • Seasons rarely have a team dynamic, much less comradery
  • Features a “Veto” competition weekly rather than hidden idols


Most of the time, people like both shows. We can see an average older audience enjoying Survivor, especially this season with the generational theme, while younger people relate more to the cast of Big Brother. Both feature incredibly interesting social dynamics, strategic gameplay, and plenty of drama. Best of all, both are on CBS, which is included in HD with your DirecTV package.

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