General Motors Corp. has ended its sponsorship of CBS’ hit series “Survivor,” but the world’s largest automaker said Wednesday that the decision had nothing to do with the reality show’s decision to divide its contestants by race and ethnicity.
GM spokeswoman Ryndee S. Carney said the company made the decision in the normal course of making its media buys months ago, before the show made its announcement.
“I think it’s just a coincidence. I know it’s not cause and effect,” Carney said.
A group of New York City officials has criticized the new format, saying it promotes divisiveness. They have asked CBS to reconsider its plans.
“How could anybody be so desperate for ratings?” City Councilman John Liu asked last week.
For the first portion of the 13th edition of “Survivor,” which premieres Sept. 14, the contestants competing for the $1-million prize while stranded on the Cook Islands in the South Pacific will be divided into four teams -- blacks, Asians, Latinos and whites.
GM, which has sponsored “Survivor” since it premiered in May 2000, is shifting some of its media dollars from prime-time television to more live sports, award shows and other big events, Carney said.
The Detroit-based company also decided that its media strategy should feature cars and trucks integrated into shows, which was difficult on “Survivor,” Carney said.
“There’s a limited number of possibilities as to how you can integrate a car or truck in a show that people spend their whole time on an island,” she said.