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Sunday, 21 October, 2001, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
New Survivor struggles in ratings
Cast of Friends
Friends had been beaten by Survivor's second series
The latest high-profile American reality TV show, Survivor: Africa, has been beaten in the ratings for the second week in a row by comedy Friends.

The second episode of Survivor: Africa, shown on Friday, got the lowest viewing figures for a Survivor show since June 2000.

Some commentators had predicted that reality TV shows would lose their appeal after the 11 September attacks because they now seem irrelevant and trivial.

Richard Hatch was the first winner of Survivor's $1m prize
Richard Hatch was the first winner of Survivor's $1m prize
More than 65% of people who took part in a recent BBC News Online vote said they thought reality TV was doomed.

The previous series of Survivor, set in the Australian Outback, regularly beat Friends in the ratings when the shows were up against each other in the spring.

But on Friday, the comedy attracted more than 25 million viewers, compared with Survivor's 19.6 million.

The latest series of Survivor is set in the Shaba National Reserve in Kenya, where the 16 contestants are forced to fend for themselves, surrounded by wildlife including lions, tigers and elephants.

Its opening show was watched by 23.8 million people - again beaten by Friends.

'Silly'

Some Americans said that they had seen too many real struggles for survival on TV since 11 September.

Michael MacDonald, who works for Nasdaq in offices close to the devastated World Trade Center complex, said earlier this month that he had seen people "on a mass scale die on live television".

"Shows that are on TV like Survivor, it just feels silly to watch them after what we've seen over the last month," he said.

CBS, the US network broadcasting Survivor: Africa has been trying to promote and package the new series as escapist entertainment that will appeal to an angst-ridden nation.

Friends star David Schwimmer - Ross Gellar in the show - denied reports in the summer that he said the comedy was coming to an end.

See also:

11 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV 's survival challenge
11 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Vote: End for reality TV?
24 May 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV around the globe
20 Jun 01 | TV and Radio
Friends stay together - Schwimmer
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