Peter A. Lance chat transcript
Controversial 'Survivor' author Peter A. Lance joined JAM! on Monday December 18th, 2000 to talk about his book "The Stingray: Lethal Tactics of the Sole Survivor." Read what he had to say:
RWilkes ......... Minneapolis, Minnesota USA:
Peter, we all know that filming for "Survivor II, The
Australian Outback" in (N. QLD) North Queensland ended on
Nov. 30th 2000. Will you be writing a NEW book based on
your investigation of Mark Burnett's latest "Reality" TV
show? They are in post production editing for the 13
episodes right now....... Is that correct?
Peter A Lance: Yes, they're in post-production.
I may be writing a book, I have a source inside the Survivor II production who has
provided me with production info - daily call sheets, I was the first reporter
to name the two new tribes:
Kucha (aboriginal name for grey eastern kangaroo) Ogakor (aboriginal for fresh-water
There is evidence that some of the same manipulation that took place on
Survivor was on going in II.
Since the Stingray is a book that will have several editions and since
the website is a source for info, we may well be doing an investigation.
How many of the 16 castaways have you spoken to? What is
your overall impression of them? Are there any castaways
you would still like to speak with, or are you "done" with
them now that the book is out?
Peter A Lance: I've spoken to a number of them, some have asked not to have me described them.
I don't want to say exactly how many for confidentiality.
Their attitude has been that they're grateful for the experience but many
of them were disappointed by the limitations put on them by the network in terms
of profiting from Survivor. Because of the gag orders CBS had them sign, many
of them are fearful of discussing their Survivor experience.
I think it's a shame, I can understand why CBS had them sign secrecy agreements during the period
between the production and airing of the series. Nobody would have wanted
to know the final outcome cause that would have spoiled the drama of it all.
The question is, why now, months after final airing of Survivor I, are these people
being denied the right to openly discuss their Survivor experience?
Do you think you are hurting CBS and the TV show by writing
Peter A Lance: I think that all Americans and Canadians, want the truth. No network, especially a media giant like CBS
should ever be hurt by the truth.
I was as big a fan of Survivor as anyone. I think it was a brilliantly executed series.
But, it's incredible that given this media phenomenon, no other journalist
looked at it critically. I hope that the revelations in my book, "StingRay" will have the effect of
causing the network to be less restrictive with future castaways.
Did you hate 'big brother' too?
Peter A Lance: I don't hate Survivor!
"Big Brother" was obviously a different series. The only common elements were that it used ordinary people and there was
prize money involved.
Part of the problem with "Big Brother" was, in its largely unedited format,
much of the drama that we saw on Survivor was missing.
The irony was, that in creating this drama, there was a certain amount of
manipulation that went on in Survivor that prevented us until now from
knowing the whole truth about what happened on that island.
Did you get the information out of the contestants by
prying, or did they offer info to you to help write the
Peter A Lance: I wrote the book using traditional methods of investigative reporting.
I contacted the castaways, members of their family. Sometimes by email, by phone.
I asked them if they'd be willing to talk, the agreed to talk.
No one gave me information that they did not want to disclose.
I think what happened here is that a number of the castaways and their families,
at the point I contacted them (early fall) were frustrated by the network's efforts
to control them. They really wanted to unload and they spoke openly and freely.
Then, when the word came out that I was doing a book, and the network discovered this, I believe they
cracked the whip and intimidated the castaways, preventing them from any
further discussion. Everything in this book that I've written is a fair and accurate rendering of
what I learned in my investigation.
I invaded nobody's privacy, no acts of trespass, I was just looking for the truth.
Ok- The naughty stuff! What ~really~ happened between
Greg and Colleen?? And Jenna and the rumours about her?
Peter A Lance: I believe that Greg and Colleen were clearly developing an intimate relationship while
they were on the island.
Since then, they've grown even closer. I can't comment on the rumours about Jenna.
Who do you think the TV show was so popular? I hated it,
and I am interested in reading your book now.
Peter A Lance: Thank you and I think if you read the book you'll learn things about Survivor that
have never been disclosed.
I think it was popular for a number of reasons:
1. exotic location (this distinguished it from Big Brother)
2. Brilliantly cast - Mark Burnett deserves immense credit for selecting 16 people
who were quite involving. In the end, people connect to the series because of the characters.
I really truly believe that most people who watched it, felt that what they were seeing was what actually
happened on that island. This was an enormous draw. Not only did people have weekly Survivor parties, there were University profs
who studied the show as an example of pop culture.
The question I explore in my book is how much of it was real, and how much was
created for dramatic effect.
Peter, what did Dirk say when you asked him whether or not
Mark Burnett had influenced him in to voting for Stacey?
Peter A Lance: I put the question to him four times, in each instance he refused to answer the
question directly. He kept side-stepping it.
He gave a non-denial, denial. I was specific with Dirk about this charge cause
if it's true that Mark intervened on the vote, that would have tremendous implications for the FCC that regulates
game shows broadcast in the U.S.
I said "Dirk, if this did not happen, it would be a lie and lying is wrong and as one who embraces the bible, I would imagine that you would not want to perpetuate a lie so tell me, did it happen or not?"
He said - I'm not going to confirm it, I'm not going to deny it.
Why would he tell Stacey that it happened? Whey would she send me an email?
Whey won't Mark openly discuss it and go on the record?
What do they have to hide?
Has there been any lawsuits presented because of this book?
What does Mark Burnett think?
Peter A Lance: To my knowledge, no one has sued yet. I was talking to a reporter from the New York Times who
was about to interview Mark, the reporter asked me a number of questions to put to Mark, I have
not found out about his reaction yet.
Ironically, if there was litigation, in discovery, under oath, the truth would come out.
No one welcomes litigation, perhaps the FCC at some point will investigate the charges in a public forum.
Until then, people have an opportunity to get "The Stingray".
It is significant I think that in a poll conducted by court TV they asked viewers if they believed the producers
had intervened and I believe that 87% said yes, there's currently been a poll
on survivornews.net (a fan site), they asked a similar question and the response was over 70%. So clearly, the people
That's one of the reasons I've made this an open ended investigation. In the last few pages of the book,
I tell people there will be other editions and that we'll continue to examine it on the website.
I invite anyone with information on what happened on the island or in Australian to contact the website.
who did the artwork? very funny....was there another name,
or was this always the title?
Peter A Lance: This was always the title for this book.
The artwork was done by a brilliant Canadian cartoonist from the Toronto area :
Zeebarf - zeebarf.com - Jay Ziebarf - he's also an animator, he's the next Matt Groening.
he not only did the cover but did all the work in the book and designed the websites.
He'll continue to work with me.
Peter A Lance: The best way Canadians can get this book is on the website.
Peter A Lance: www.thestingray.net
Do you have any news from your inside source on the
Survivor 2 challenges(same/different) and how the dramatic
entry into the outback will be done.
Peter A Lance: One of the challenges was called the maze. I don't have the material in front of me.
If you go to our website you can see the two call sheets and those are loaded with information.
One of the thing that's interesting is that while is was assumed that the crews were covering the castaways around the clock,
the call sheets indicate they get on around 5 a.m. and leave around 11:30 p.m.
They also get catered to 3 times a day in the presence of the castaways.
Presumably they're within a few feet of the castaways.
Also, there's a notation that the maze, the challenge, it says: rehearsal.
Is that a rehearsal for the crew? or where the castaways are taken through the maze?
If you go to a review of The Stingray, one of the things in it is from Access Hollywood, the spider web challenge that Colleen won. You can actually hear the
director say "action".
The call sheets seem like the show is being shot like a feature film.
Already, a bogus call sheet has surfaced.
Even on Survivor II the chafe and the counter measures are starting.
Peter A Lance: I really appreciate the interest that people have shown in The Stingray.
It says to me that people who are fans are also interested in knowing the whole truth about the series.
The most immediate way to get the book is through the website:
It will also be on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.
Thank you, you can look forward to more revelations about Survivor II through the website.