If you think Americans are the only ones addicted to Survivor, think again. The show that has us rooting for Colleen and Greg, Susan or Sean, Rudy or Gretchen, actually got its start in Europe. The idea of strangers thrown together in bizarre circumstances has international appeal, as CBS News Correspondent Richard Roth reports from London.
Television has long been one of America's big exports. You can tune in Frasier in France, ER in England and Baywatch almost anyplace. Survivor, though is part of a counter-trend. It's an American import from Europe.
Before there was Survivor, there was Expedition Robinson, which is on seven nights a week in Sweden. But it wasn't always smooth sailing on the show. One group of castaways broke the rules by smuggling cigars and gin. An early contestant even committed suicide after he was voted off the island. The winner's prize in Sweden was just $60,000, but the show became a megahit, spreading to Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.
Now, Germany, Spain and Argentina are in the act, all with versions bought from the Englishman who developed the concept, Charlie Parsons.
Expedition Robinson made a celebrity of 26-year-old Stefanie Lederman, who survived on coconuts and snails and wasn't the only one to fall in love with another contestant.
Being a castaway clearly fulfills fantasies that appeal to everyone, regardless of nationality.
"Wherever we've played it's been a big success. And it's spawned lots of imitations and copies," said producer Parsons.
The British show called Castaway 2000 has put 36 people on a remote Scottish island for a whole year. The idea isn't to make money -- it's to muddle through.
Keep in mind, of course, before there was Expedition Robinson, there was the Swiss family of the same name, and before them, the guy who really started it all, Robinson Crusoe. The only thing modern was turning a good story into a game show.
"I do believe that watching people surviving on a desert island is a slow and dull process, whereas watching them compete against each other is actually kind of a life-enhancing experience," said Parsons.
In Britain, there was show called Shipwrecked, in which all the castaways were aged 18 to 25. They complained a lot so the producers allowed them to make trips to a nearby island for fried chicken, cigarettes and other supplies. Kind of like a Castaway Club Med. It only ran one season.
A new show in Holland, Chains Of Love, has ten contestants locked in a room. One by one they're unchained until the woman ends up with the man she wants to date.
There's also a show in total darkness and another on a moving bus and another called 1940 House in which a family pretends they're living during World War II -- real people, fake bombs.