CBS Books Its c

Thursday, June 15th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — As the ``Survivor'' audience continues to grow, CBS has already settled on a second, considerably drier, location for the sequel: the Australian outback.

The network has begun accepting applications for ``Survivor 2,'' which will be filmed in October and November for broadcast starting January. CBS expects considerably more than the 6,100 applicants it received for the first installment.

An estimated 23.2 million people watched the third installment of the 13-week series Wednesday night, a 28 percent increase over the previous week, Nielsen Media Research said hursday. It was CBS's biggest audience with regular programming for that time slot since at least 1987.

It was the first time ``Survivor'' did not go head-to-head against ABC's ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.'' But it did compete against the NBA Finals in about one-fifth of the country, including Los Angeles and Indianapolis.

The soggy stowaways voted out a third person, 27-year-old San Francisco lawyer Stacey Stillman, sending her away in a torrential downpour.

The rugged outback won't be nearly as wet as the tropical island near Borneo where the series is now set. The sun-baked, desolate territory has its share of kangaroos, crocodiles, huge spiders and lizards, however. The filming will take place late in the Australian springtime.

CBS knew after the first week's ratings that ``Survivor'' would return, but wanted to make sure the interest built, said CBS President Leslie Moonves.

Stillman, appearing Thursday on CBS's ``The Early Show,'' said she expected she would be voted out because she was the weakest physically in her group and her personality clashed with that of some of her fellow islanders.

``I did get cranky,'' she said. ``We hadn't eaten in nine days.''

Like ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' last August, ``Survivor'' is enlivening the normally dull summer rerun season. And it has been a bonanza for CBS's often futile effort to reach a younger audience.

``Survivor'' alone drew a bigger audience than ABC, NBC, Fox, UPN and the WB combined Wednesday night among viewers ages 18 to 34, Nielsen said. Normally, CBS's typical viewer is over 50.