The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

“Survivor” Fans Descend On Washington D.C. For a Live Viewing Party

“Survivor” Fans Descend On Washington D.C. For a Live Viewing Party

Over 150 people filed into the National Press Building in Washington D.C. They crowded the confined elevators and rode them all the way to floor 13 where the National Press Club was located. Why? To watch episode seven of “Survivor 43” of course. Despite first airing nearly 22 years ago, people are still lining up to attend “Survivor” watch parties. This one was held by “Rob Has A Podcast Know-It-Alls Live.”

“Survivor” is a reality TV show where 18 people are stranded on an island, forced to survive and vote each other out, in order to win a $1 million prize. Despite airing for 22 years, the show remains popular and has topped its time slot nearly every week since season one, “Survivor: Borneo.” Mike Bloom, a reality TV journalist and podcaster, explained this phenomenon.

“The main reason I would say the show is still on the air is that I feel like everyone watches the show for a different reason. Some love the strategy, some love the personalities, some love the big TV moments, and some even just love the challenges! And because the show offers something different for everyone, it keeps them invested,” Bloom said.

When the venue opened around 7 p.m. fans poured through the doors into the National Press Club. The blue and gold patterned carpet quickly disappeared as the spaces between the folding chairs became flooded with people trying to mingle with former players. Omar Zaheer, a contestant on “Survivor 42” and exotic animal veterinarian, compared his experience with fans to a job he worked at a zoo.

Zaheer said, “It’s always fun to meet fans because that’s what I was before the show and still am. I would have loved to be in their position too, so I understand the excitement. It’s also kind of weird because it feels like when I was at the zoo and people would roll through and talk to me about the bird I was holding; but now I am the bird.”

As it grew closer to the 8 p.m. airing of “Survivor,” Rob Cesternino, the founder of Rob Has A Podcast, got on stage to tell everyone to get seated. This prompted an intense game of musical chairs. Fans who had not yet claimed a seat started rushing to find a spot with a good view of the screen posted at the front of the theater. 

After a few frantic minutes, the lights dimmed, and silence permeated the room.  The episode began to play, however, two minutes into the show the projector stopped working. The problem persisted for what seemed to be 10 minutes until Cesternino ran onto the stage with his phone. He put his microphone up to its speaker and narrated what was happening visually.

Fifteen minutes later, aforementioned “Survivor” Journalist Mike Bloom saved the day and projected his press copy of the episode onto the screen. As a positive side effect, this meant that there were no commercial breaks for the audience. However, a drawback was that Bloom’s email was watermarked on the screen the entire time. Event attendee Ali Tanveer explained his frustration with sitting through the tech issues.

Tanveer said, “It was still fun, but I was like ‘Bro why didn’t they test this before the show.’”

After Bloom fixed the issue, the theater was able to watch the show without issues. Fans cheered on their favorite contestants, collectively groaned at a controversial game mechanic, and let out gasps when contestant Dwight Moore was voted out. Following the episode was a  live recap featuring Cesternino,  “Survivor 42” winner Maryanne Oketch, and other former “Survivor” contestants.

“Rob Has a Podcast” was able to put on this event because it is one of the most popular “Survivor” fan communities. As it stands now, there are over 4,400 “Rob Has A Podcast” patrons on Patreon, a membership website where fans can support creators. This earns Cesternino’s network nearly $10,000 a month alone, not accounting for podcast ads, live show tickets, and merchandise sales.

With events of this scale still being held for a show that’s nearly 22 years old, it begs the question, how much longer can events like these continue to happen? Will there ever come a time when there isn’t a “Survivor” season to watch? Bloom seems to believe that these questions are not concerns.

Bloom said, “I have confidence that ‘Survivor’ is a formula that can essentially go on until it’s played by the cockroaches left over from humanity’s destruction.”

Featured Image courtesy of Nicholas Mangold.

More to Discover
Activate Search
“Survivor” Fans Descend On Washington D.C. For a Live Viewing Party