Hi Sexi, thanks for the link.
For those of you with slow connections, here it the entire chat.
Mark Burnett's 12/18/02 CBS.COM Chat
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Mark Burnett's CBS.COM chat on 12/18/02 follows. Transcription by Cafunston on VOTEDOFF.TV.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
CBS: Mr. Burnett, welcome and thanks for spending some time to chat with us today. Are you ready for some questions?
Q: First things first… so who wins Thailand?
Mark: Once again, there’s two winners: CBS and Mark Burnett!
Q: Thank you for being here today, Mr. Burnett. I was wondering if you had a favorite season out of the 6 that have been filmed so far?
Mark: Probably my favorite season is the one I just concluded shooting in the Amazon. The way the Amazon begins is something that will have the public talking about for a long time.
Mark: … I think the Amazon will spark many debates and once you see it you will see why it will spark so many debates.
Q: Who puts together the ideas for the challenges?
Mark: We have an entire department of challenge production. The same people have been working in the department for Survivor and then we have a pitch meeting to me and we pick some and get rid of some and then after that we involve Jeff Probst and our producing team and between all of us we come up with a pretty good democratic decision of what the new challenges should be.
Q: have you or Jeff Probst ever competed in any of the challenges created for the show?
Mark: Yeah, in the early seasons we used to test the challenges. We didn’t compete against each other but we tested the challenges and it was fun and then we just got busier and busier and have good people whose job it is to test challenges. We call them the Dream Team.
Q: How come Jeff seems like he is in a such a bad mood this season?
Mark: Jeff wasn’t in a bad mood at all, he just felt the need to play his other role which is, I guess the referee role.
Q: Mr. Burnett, who is your all time favorite survivor and why?
Mark: You know I think I have a favorite one from each season. Not as a person but just as the character they were on the show. I think Sue Hawk was a great character on Survivor 1, Gerry from Survivor 2, Big Tom from Survivor 3, Boston Rob from Survivor 4, and Helen from Survivor 5.
Q: Is there anyone you regret choosing for the show?
Mark: No, I think in hindsight you cannot change characters and any character being removed from the mix may have hurt the overall drama.
Q: Mark, Have you ever thought about more than sixteen people on the two tribes?
Mark: Yes, I have thought about it and we may actually do that some time.
Q: Have you thought about having 3 tribes?
Mark: I actually thought about having three tribes and four tribes.
Q: What do you think about people online who try to spoil the show’s outcome?
Mark: I think it’s fun! Actually, they help keep the secret better because so many of theses spoilers have different opinions of who wins and what’s happening so it’s more confusing. It’s a benefit.
Q: Were you satisfied with the way the “pick your own tribe” worked out? Will we see it again in the future?
Mark: I loved pick your own tribe. I especially loved the fact that everybody made the assumption it was men against women followed by it being a complete twist and in fact, they picked their own tribe which led on to great drama when the older weaker team proved stronger in the first challenge.
Q: When will you have a g8irl tribe vs. a guy tribe?
Mark: Maybe one day we’ll consider doing that. I t just creates all kinds of problems on whether or not we can find challenges to keep it fair.
Q: Mr. Burnet, I am a true fan of this show. I’ve never missed an episode. However, I find that I wasn’t as entertained by this recent cast of characters and I have to say it’s because there was no one that I really wanted to see win. Will your casting strategies change after this survivor or will you continue to cast the same characters over and over?
Mark: I don’t think we’ve ever cast the same characters and America is made up of all kinds of people and keeping each cast diverse and unique is what’s important
Q: Hey Mark! Will there ever be a cold climate edition of Survivor?
Mark: I’m researching environments like that right now but I’m not sure that the public wants to see a cold climate Survivor.
Q: What do you look for in a location?
Mark: I look for a location that is iconic. For example, Thailand, Africa the Australian Outback -- are instantly recognizable. On the other hand, Borneo and the Marquesas while being less recognizable have a magical sound to their name.
Q: Okay Mark, confess. How much do you like to play with the audience in your editing?
Mark: I like it very much!
Q: After you have picked your cast do you ever try to predict who will win and are you surprised by the outcomes?
Mark: I never try to predict who will win and I’m ALWAS surprised by the outcome. Ever since on Season 1, when I was certain that Richard Hatch would be voted off first.
Q: Why did you choose to delay the merge this time around?
Mark: Because it was a lesson to the Survivors that assumption is a mistake and it worked perfectly. Shii Ann bought that hook, line and sinker.
Q: What is the biggest misconception people have about Survivor?
Mark: I don’t know that there are any anymore. I mean, we just finished filming our sixth season and the old misconception that they weren’t really suffering has certainly disappeared.
Q: Why don’t the survivors spend more time looking for food, instead of just sitting there starving?
Mark: In Thailand they found enough food to sustain them in the ocean and had had to make that food supply last for thirty-nine days. There’s also a balance to be achieved between the amount of effort to find food and the weight loss caused by the effort versus spending enough time resting.
Q: How would you rate the experience of filming “Survivor: Amazon” against the previous seasons?
Mark: It was by best experience ever which comes as a result of a very experienced production crew and a great cast.
Q: Hey Mark, do you think any of the contestants on survivor will ever make it to the big couch on the Letterman Show?
Mark: Well, some already have… the winners do. The winners and Elisabeth Filarski. So, they’ve either got to win or be really cute!
Q: Mark did there ever come a time when you just prayed someone would be voted off?
Mark: Oh never! I don’t allow myself to become emotionally involved in the game.
Q: Mark, with so much of the show’s elements having been done over and over (i.e. nasty food challenge, merges, etc.), how will you keep it fresh in the future?
Mark: I think every season we’ve managed to keep it really fresh with new challenges and twists and that’s my job: to make sure that there is something new and exciting in every season. I think you saw that this year with the non-merge.
Q: Who’s idea was it to have the family members do the gross food challenge? That was pretty wild!
Mark: Yeah, it was a totally unique twist and unbelievable how committed the loved ones were to have eaten the worst stuff we’ve ever asked anybody to eat?
Mark: I honestly think it was a collaboration of ideas, I don’t remember exactly whose idea it was.
Q: If Jeff Probst was bitten by an alligator and couldn’t make a tribal council, would you step in and fill his spot?
Mark: We’ve often talked about that and I probably would have to. Let’s just hope it never comes to that.
Q: How do you feel about all of the controversy between Brian and CC right as your show is winding up?
Mark: You know, there’s the life on the show and there’s personal lives and in a strange way any controversy creates more viewers. It’s sad but true.
Q: Mark, Here’s a toughie, do you believe Ted or Ghandia?
Mark: I believe there’s always three sides to every story.
Q: Mark, what is the scariest moment of all of the shows?
Mark: Creatively, day one, Survivor 1 and emotionally, probably Michael falling in the fire.
Q: Besides the guy who burned his hand, have any other survivors needed medial care while they were on the show?
Mark: many of them. I mean, there’s always little things that happen and everything from very bad bug bites, lacerations to extremely bad diarrhea. You name it, it happens.
Q: Are you going to put out any more DVD’s of Survivor Seasons?
Mark: I’m not sure. We haven’t done that since I guess, Australia and we’ve thought about it lately.
Q: Hello Mark, How many years did you have the idea for a Survivor Show and what inspired the idea?
Mark: My friend Charlie Parsons had the original idea and my first time of working on developing this was in the fall of ’95.
Q: I think it would be interesting to see an all woman survivor or an all man survivor … what are you thoughts?
Mark. I don’t really like the idea of that. I think that the whole point of Survivor is to see people fairly representative of the diversity of America.
Q: My friends and I all agree that we would LOVE to see footage form “loser lodge.” Have you ever considered doing a “behind the scenes” survivor documentary?
Mark: Yes, it has been considered and discussed and I think it’s a good idea.
Q: Mark, what is the most interesting luxury item someone asked to bring?
Mark: A sex toy. It was a large, accurate copy of the male anatomy and it was bright purple. And I said NO!
Q: In which location did the crew most fear for their lives?
Q: What would you bring as your luxury item if you were to compete on the show?
Mark: And air mattress but they probably won’t let me bring it.
Q: Mark… have you ever eaten some of the stuff you make them eat?
Mark: Often, as does Jeff… as do my kids.
Q: Are you surprised at who made the final four?
Mark: If you consider how weak Chuay Gahn was perceived to be then it’s extremely surprising that the final four are all Chuay Gahn.
Q: What are your greatest challenges in producing a Survivor series besides the weather?
Mark: Taking a few hundred American production staff to a remote, hostile environment and trying to make good television at break-neck speed.
Q: Did any of survivors get fed up and just want to quit?
Mark: So far in the first five seasons, no one except for BB has considered quitting.
Q: What quality did Jeff possess that made you say “he’s the host”?
Mark: I felt Jeff had a great persona and great comedic timing. Jeff desperately loves the social psychology and told me he couldn’t think of a better job.
Q: Mark – would YOU ever pose for Playgirl??
Q: Didn’t Robb break any rules when he choked Clay during one of the challenges? I would have though he’d be disqualified for violence against another player?
Mark: Maybe Jeff thought Clay deserved it!
Q: What do you have to say to those people who think Survivor is fixed / rigged?
Mark: I think they’d have to be crazy if at this point with us being under such a microscope every week that they could eve consider that possibility.
Q: I noticed that there has been a different “type” of winner on each show. Is this just a coincidence?
Mark: No, I always try to measure their heights so we have a diversity of winners.
Q: Mark, what do you think are the harder challenges.. physical or mental?
Mark: I think they’re both equally hard because trying to keep your brain straight when you’re so tired and playing a constant game and the physical games are also hard because you don’t have enough calories.
Q: Mark What things do you look for in a Survivor Contestant and in their audition tapes?
Mark: I look for if they’re an “A” type personality, that they are a leader, that they could survivor thirty-nine days outdoors and that they want to win.
Q: Mark – What about a Celebrity Survivor?!?!?!?
Mark: We totally want to do it and intend to do it. It’s just a matter of production schedules.
Q: Mark, on this season the survivors seem to be eating more and receiving more food rewards than before. Why did you decide to give them more food?
Mark: In Thailand up until the merge they’d been given absolutely nothing. After the merge I consider it less necessary to have them starving and therefore, wanted better rewards to create better drama.
Q: Can you tell us anything about tomorrow’s finale??? Please???????
Mark: Yeah, Ted wins!! Actually, what I will say is that Jeff Probst is hosting and you can expect him to not avoid delving into any of the drama such as the Ted and Ghandia situation or how the final two became the final two or how someone like Jed seemed to have it all but got voted out very quickly.
Mark: …or someone like Robb who completely grew as a person.
CBS: Well everyone, our time is up. Mr. Burnett, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today. Any final comments for the Survivor fans?
Mark: I hope you enjoy Thursday night’s sneak preview of Survivor: Amazon!
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