The revelation by Survivor: The Australian Outback producer Mark Burnett that, for aesthetic reasons, he went back and re-shot certain sequences of the show using body doubles has reinvigorated the age old debate about just how real reality TV is. But Outback champ Tina Wesson admits she doesn't understand what the brouhaha is all about.
"I knew that they were going to use [the doubles] for aerial photos and things that are totally non-game related," she tells TV Guide Online. "It's just to get the shot, because they want to get us back at camp interacting — that's where the stories really take place, not standing around waiting for a helicopter to fly over and take a shot. So it's a very, very innocent thing. It's not a big deal at all."
Citing an example, Burnett said he reenacted an Outback swimming race with look-alikes wearing the same bathing suits as the contestants. And "the only other thing we've done is when the two tribes approach [host] Jeff [Probst] for a challenge, we may do that twice... because I want a nice wide shot," he told Reuters. "I think it's completely valid. I'm proud of the way we make Survivor. I'm not at all defensive about it."
As it is, Wesson — who says she never came face-to-face with her dead ringer — points out that she and her fellow castaways would have had little patience for all the technical requirements needed to make Survivor the visual spectacle it was. "If we had to sit there and wait for everything to be right, the lighting, the chopper to come in, stand in this position, everything that goes along with the production of something... It's just a totally moot point," she insists. "I don't think [anyone] should be upset at all."