Excellent article discussing this at Clique Clack.
I was a life-long Survivor fan, never missed an episode, until a couple seasons ago I finally got tired and left. This article says much better than I could exactly how I felt. It's not too long an article, and well written.
Let me preface this with the statement that I am a Survivor fan. I have watched every season from the beginning, Ive seen the good and the bad, and Ive stuck with it hoping that somehow, some way it can have a season that lives up to the best of the best. What Ive seen over the past couple of year, though, is a downward spiral that is taking a great game dangerously into the realm of conflict reality TV (i.e. the Real Housewives franchise), putting the personality clashes among the tribe members above the actual game.
It also doesnt help that a majority of the players are now cast off the street, in a club, from a modeling agency for types (or stereotypes) instead of being culled from viewer submissions (I personally know a couple of people who have applied several times and have never been contacted). Whats worse, the producers then reinforce the stereotype by selecting what that person wears on the island! If youve ever wondered why someone would wear a suit, high heels, or a sweater vest to a tropical island knowing that theyre about to play the game of Survivor, now you know (even Phillips awful pink underwear were selected by the producers). The show has gotten so enamored with the conflicts between the tribe members that theyve forgotten about the challenges, most of the time combining a reward and immunity challenge just to give the story more screen time.