Age: 12 years / 25 cycles. The longest-running broadcast primetime reality show (second if you count ABC’s clip show America’s Funniest Home Videos).
Senior Power: Ratings have slipped in recent years, but this aptly titled war horse often still wins its Wednesday slot with 11.5 million viewers.
Survival Secret: The game is inherently dramatic, brutal to win and a player’s fate can turn on the smallest mistake. Even lousy seasons force players to struggle desperately, both physically and mentally. It’s like watching a mafia drama where you’re wondering who will get whacked next, except the mobsters wear skimpy swimsuits in the tropics.
Life Expectancy: Emmy-winning host and producer Jeff Probst’s salary keeps climbing, but that’s not an insurmountable cost (and the show could continue without him, in theory). Expect Survivor to outlast the competition for another couple years, at minimum.
Runners-up: Fox’s American Idol (10 years / 11 cycles); ABC’s The Bachelor (10 years / 16 cycles).