Survivors is one of the formats that gives Telecinco the most joy in a matter of audiences. His figures speak for themselves. When reality shows its final phase, Thursday’s galas accumulate an average of 3,158,000 viewers and a 28.5% share of the screen, making it the most viewed and most shared show of the 2017-2018 season. , according to data provided by Telecinco. Furthermore, this edition is achieving the best average screen share in the format’s history. The channel dedicates three nights a week to the program, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (the first two presented by Jorge Javier Vázquez and on Sundays, with Sandra Barneda), and in all of them they have been leaders in their respective broadcasting periods. A great reward for one of the most complex programs to produce on all national television whose preparation EL PAÍS lives from within.

It is 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 17 and in a Mediaset room about twenty people attend the meeting of escaleta in which part of the team reviews the contents of the day. It is already the final stretch before a new gala begins with games, expulsion and nominees in Survivors. In parallel, 8,000 kilometers away, in Honduras there is also its own meeting with a team that replicates the one here. Because if there is a director in Madrid, there is another in Honduras, and so with each position. In total, some 160 people are displaced there, all from the Bulldog TV production company. Here, among the Mediaset team (for the technical part) and Bulldog (for, above all, content), there are also over a hundred.

At the escaleta meeting, the program team reviews the content of the evening gala. KIKE FOR

“Every day, first thing in the morning, we receive a written summary of what has happened in Honduras,” says Alfredo Ereño, CEO of Bulldog TV. The videos with that content arrive in Madrid at around 2.30pm and the management team selects and orders the images. From there you will get about 20-25 videos that make up the content of the program. The first outline – the document with the content of the detailed minute-by-minute program – is sent to Honduras the day before to verify that the plan made in Madrid is viable from a practical point of view. Once approved, the scriptwriter takes action, giving narrative form to that content.

Josep Tomás, director of the program in Madrid, takes the lead in the meeting of escaleta, where all the content of the gala is read aloud and each member of the team takes notes of what affects him and answers questions.

Jorge Javier Vázquez is preparing for the gala on Thursday.

Jorge Javier Vázquez is preparing for the gala on Thursday. KIKE FOR

The presenter, Jorge Javier Vázquez, arrives around 8:00 pm to watch the videos in one of the editing rooms. Vázquez, who arrives wearing sportswear, takes the opportunity to have a quick dinner (this Thursday was beef jerky and a tray with fruit) while discussing the videos with the director and the rest of the team present. “This is how he sees the tone of each video and the main protagonists, knows the full story of each plot, we will tell the guests who will be there so he knows who has to make way …”, explains Ereño. Then you will have to go through costumes, makeup and hairdressing and at 21:30 you should already be on the set to record some promotions that are interspersed throughout the night.

In parallel, the logistics deployment is developed to transfer the guests, family or former contestants to the program. At 19:30 everyone has to have makeup and hair. Before entering the set, they meet with the guest coordinator to exchange views on the contestants and on the events that take place in the keys, so that the team knows their opinions in advance.

Former contestants and guests take positions ten minutes before the show begins.

Former contestants and guests take positions ten minutes before the show begins. KIKE FOR

Last Thursday, the program had a key point scheduled for 0.40: the entry on the set of Alberto Isla, sent off last week, and his reunion with Isabel Pantoja daughter. The expelled who arrive on the set have been totally isolated since their expulsion. “We do not even say which hotel they are in so that no one can go. And they are with someone from our team 24 hours a day. They do not sleep with them but they do stay at the door so that no one enters,” says Ereño. For this reason, when reading the résumé, special emphasis is placed on the fact that in an advertising break, Isla will be removed from the set so that no one can advance anything. “Their spontaneity is what really counts, it is a reality show,” says Ereño.

At 20:40 the audience begins to pass to set 6 of Mediaset; By 21:00 they should be seated. At this time, in the corridors near the set, guests, former contestants and team personnel meet. In the service, one can meet Saray and Melissa – expelled from the program, one for misconduct and the other by popular vote – who greet each other as if nothing had happened.

Jorge Javier Vázquez and the manager of the program, before the gala began.

Jorge Javier Vázquez and the manager of the program, before the gala began. KIKE FOR

Everything measured to the second. Until the live things come into action – and depending on inclement weather – which sometimes forces you to have a complete plan B in case everything fails. Ereño remembers, for example, the first program of this edition, which was about to be totally different. “At 19.40, when we were watching the videos, we received a call from Honduras saying that they cannot move anything because a hurricane is coming.” That ruined the jumps from the helicopter with which the reality begins each year and even made it difficult for the contestants to move to the islands. “We made a completely new staircase in 15 minutes. We have a bigger boat to move the contestants, but the jumps had to be removed. And in the palapa we have a corner, which is not usually seen much, where you can do a little game. Because you have to do the program in any way. Fortunately, the weather held up for the duration of the program, then spike hits. “

The gala begins and, while things are set more or less as seen on screen, the Survivors control is abuzz. Some 15 people from the technical and content team are in permanent communication with their counterparts in Honduras, where there is another control just like that of Madrid. The director is also in communication with Jorge Javier Vázquez giving orders and commenting on what is happening, to which the presenter sometimes reacts live with laughter or responses with which he communicates with his director.

The 'Survivors' control is abuzz during the show's live broadcast.

The ‘Survivors’ control is abuzz during the show’s live broadcast. KIKE FOR

The signal comes from America in triplicate to make sure there are no problems even if one of them is cut. On the screens you can see the broadcast, the signal from Honduras, from the different cameras on the set, what the competition emits … The night becomes crazy or surreal at times and in control it reacts with laughter and applause to the occurrences from the presenter. But everything, mysteriously, goes ahead thanks to a perfectly greased machinery that makes the great Telecinco overproduction possible.