Officials in New York are campaigning to stop the broadcast of a new series of reality show Survivor which divides contestants into ethnic "tribes".
A lawyer, police officer and guitarist are among the "castaways"
City council officials are to stage a rally on Friday to urge New York-based CBS network to pull the 13th series of Survivor, due to air from 14 September.
Campaign group Hispanics Across America called the programme "racist TV".
CBS said it had "full confidence in the producers and their ability to produce the programme in a responsible manner".
The broadcaster added that it "fully recognises the controversial nature of this format".
The network announced on Wednesday that the 20 "castaways" would be initially segregated into groups of blacks, whites, Asians and Latinos before merging later in the series.
It said the move was aimed at addressing complaints that there had not been sufficient ethnic diversity in previous series.
But New York councillor John Liu told the Associated Press: "The idea of having a battle of the races is preposterous.
"How could anybody be so desperate for ratings?"
The programme could encourage racial division, he added.
Hispanics Across America founder Fernando Mateo called the move an "offensive and cheap trick" to boost ratings.
"The participants will be held to the daunting and unfair challenge of representing an entire race of people," he said.
"What will it mean for a team - a race - to fail in a battle of wits and strength against another race?"
Twenty contestants will compete for a $1m (£530,000) prize while stranded on the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.