90-minute format for airing Survivor 46 is working great (and CBS should keep it)

CBS has gone to a 90-minute format while airing Survivor seasons 45 and 46. Let's hope they keep this longer running time into the future.
SURVIVOR 46 on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live or to watch the next day on Paramount+
SURVIVOR 46 on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live or to watch the next day on Paramount+ /

The writers' strike in 2023 forced networks to think outside the box a little bit when it came to what to broadcast during the months with no new programming available. CBS hit on a nice solution for their Wednesday nights in the fall of 2023.

CBS aired Survivor 45 and The Amazing Race back to back, as they have done for years, but they aired each episode for 90 minutes instead of an hour, saving them the necessity to find something for the third hour of primetime on Wednesdays.

It was a terrific idea, and the network has continued the practice in 2024. New seasons for Survivor and The Amazing Race were filmed before the strike, and it left them with some new programming for both the fall of 2023 and spring of 2024.

How has the 90-minute format been a positive?

From a fan's perspective, the longer episodes have been great. That extra time allows the audience to get to know each tribe and its members better. We see more activity around camp, more conversations, and more strategy.

When the fans get to know the players better, it gets them engaged more with the program and what is happening, and what will happen, over the course of the season. Fans also get much more insight to the various strategies the players discuss, which is one of the reasons we watch the show.

Under the old, standard, 60-minute format, which was really only about 42 minutes after commercials, the show sometimes felt rushed. Fans felt like we were missing a lot of things. With three tribes, there is a lot of interaction that audiences just don't get to see.

When you figure in that the challenge(s) will take up about 10 minutes of air time, and tribal council might take up another 10 minutes, that does not leave a lot of time for the audience to get to see what is going on in camp.

A great example of this on Survivor 46 was one day the Siga tribe, who hadn't had to go to tribal council yet, was sitting around, hanging out with each other. Ben and Charlie decided to have a song-off. Ben would say the title of a Metallica song and Charlie would then counter with the title of a Taylor Swift song. The two battled it out, going back and forth, until Ben, after 106 Metallica titles, could not think of another, while Charlie added another for good measure and won the game.

It was a fun little game that most likely wouldn't have made the cut with the shortened format. It gave us a nice look at the personalities of Ben and Charlie, along with their fellow tribe members. How did they react? Were they amused? Annoyed? It also gave the audience a vivid look at how a tribe that still wasn't stressed too much about the strategy of the game yet might kill time on the beach after several days.

It would be nice if CBS kept this longer air time format moving ahead next fall. It has worked as well on The Amazing Race as it has on Survivor. Any time the audience has a better chance to connect with the players, the better it is for everyone.

Next. Q's Journey Alliance was doomed from the start . Q's Journey Alliance was doomed from the start . light