"Survivor: Stratosphere" Set to Debut in September on CBS

By Mark Birnbaum

Network hopes to relaunch interest in space with cutthroat series spin-off this fall

16 ordinary Americans with no prior training or supervision will be launched via rocket into orbit this fall and must endure the trials and tribulations of orbital flight on the International Space Station.

Chinese, Russian and Japanese ambassadors were told, “tough shit, padres”, by bigwig CBS execs after international pressure and threats of sanctions forced the resident astronauts of the space station to return to earth while the series is being filmed.

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The first 16 contestants failed to make it to orbit, but 16 eager and willing volunteers were quick to sign up on CBS.com for a second go!

Returning host Jeff Probst underwent 12 weeks of grueling training at Kennedy Space Centre in preparation of properly and persistently berating and belittling the contestants while they battle for their lives and $1,000,000 (USD, not Euro, unfortunately) in orbit.

“We’re all very, very excited,” said Probst, sipping champagne and reading Glamor at Mission Control.  “This is the first time we’ll have the contestants literally struggling to survive.  With the sharp decline in viewership, online polls suggested the top three ways to improve the show were “Marathon Man-esque” battles to the death, Snow Leopard on Elephant battle royales, and more cowbell.  We think that this season will combine those suggestions into the best Survivor ever.”

We all know from the movies that fires are an astronaut’s worst enemy, so the traditional torches will have to be replaced by oxygen tanks.  This year, instead of snuffing out the torch, Probst will sever the eliminated contestant’s oxygen supply, and then force the unlucky votee out the closest airlock.

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“Ok, Jeff, let’s do this thing.” Immunity challenge fail. Out the airlock you go, gents!

“Ok, ok, are you guys ready?  I’ve been practicing this,” Probst said with a huge grin, putting down the magazine and clearing his throat.  “Hhheeeeem.  Ok.  ‘The crew has spoken.  It’s time for you to go.  Waaaaa, waaaaa, waaaa!'”, making his best alarm noise, and violently convulsing, imitating explosive decompression.

Jeff revealed that one of the immunity challenges will include a spacewalk where contestants are required to make complex repairs of sensitive satellite equipment while balancing on a small pedestal in zero gravity.  Another challenge will have contestants square off in an attempt to build the best lunar landing module made solely out of paper mache and toilet paper rolls, after having not slept for 72 hours and consumed only freeze dried rice rations.

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Defuse the space bomb in 60 seconds immunity challenge.

Because of the nature of this year’s elimination structure, only the winner will be returning home to his/her family, thus providing for some hilarious outtake footage of the contestants filling out their wills and last testaments, and teary goodbyes to their friends and coworkers.

It is rumoured that the winner will also take home the Hubble Space Telescope after it is decommissioned in 2018, and Internet message boards are rife with speculation as to how much the nifty star-finder will fetch on Ebay or Craigslist.

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“Ok, so I repair the bulkhead, and you interpret the isometric data, got it?”

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