Nearly two millennia after becoming the site of a mass Jewish suicide, the ancient fortress Masada might finally yield a “Survivor.”
The once-isolated desert outpost is among the locations being considered for the season finale of Israel’s version of the TV show, which is currently advancing through its second season. Producers for the show’s broadcaster, Channel 10, are looking for an open-air venue to host the episode, which will crown a single winner following several months of physical challenges and the eliminations of earlier contestants. Masada, where more than 900 besieged Jews died in 73 C.E. rather than surrender to Roman forces, is just one of several possible locations for the finale, which might be shot at Ramat Gan Stadium, north of Tel Aviv, or at the Sultan’s Pool, an ancient water source and now the site of outdoor concerts and festivals in Jerusalem.
The search for an outdoor venue was interpreted by the Israeli news Web site Ynet, the first to report the story, as part of an effort to boost ratings for “Survivor,” which earned a record audience during its first season last year but has declined in popularity during its current run. The show’s first season finale took place at Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena, home to the city’s professional basketball team.
“Masada is only a possibility,” wrote Inbal Hadida, a Channel 10 publicist, in an e-mail to The Shmooze. “This season we are looking for a different location — a more spectacular, breathtaking and ‘challenging’ one.”
Seven contestants of the original 20 remain on the current season of “Survivor,” which is taking place mostly on the Pearl Islands, off the coast of Panama. A decision about the location of the finale will be made at the end of May.
This story "Israeli ‘Survivor’: Next Stop, Masada?" was written by Nathan Burstein.