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CBS, ‘Survivor’ go to China

'Pirate Master' premieres May 31

CBS has booked China as the location for the next edition of “Survivor,” and locked in premiere dates for two key summer reality shows — including Mark Burnett’s “Pirate Master.”

Production of U.S. entertainment projects in mainland China had been rare, due to logistical and government restrictions. But with a growing economy, China has begun a more open policy, including its active wooing to host the 2008 Beijing Olympics. While bigscreen features, such as the 2006 “The Painted Veil,” forged new ground by filming completely in China, CBS’s lensing of an entire series is a precedent for an American network.

The China setting should also boost “Survivor’s” appeal to overseas auds. Skein airs in numerous countries around the world.

The move to China for the 15th edition takes the skein away from an island setting for the first time since the 11th installment, set in Guatemala.

In addition to “Pirate Master,” Mark Burnett Prods. is producer “On the Lot” for Fox (premiering May 22), as well as a “Shrek”-themed online skein for AOL and DreamWorks.

The Eye’s summer sked kicks off May 31 at 8 p.m. with the premiere of “Pirate Master.” The skein inherits “Survivor’s” regular season timeslot, bowing seven years to the day that “Survivor” first premiered on CBS.

Net ordered 13 episodes of the unscripted adventure last year (Daily Variety, Nov. 6).

For the past couple of years, CBS has aired the “Big Brother” results show on Thursday nights. With “Pirate Master” now slated for the night, it’s possible the net could be mulling a change in the “Brother” air pattern.

Eye did confirm another bit of scheduling, saying that “Creature Comforts” — the long-in-the-works project from Aardman Animations — will premiere June 4 at 8 p.m.

“Creature Comforts” — which combines stop-motion animated animals with audio from interviews with average Americans — inherits the timeslot normally occupied by “How I Met Your Mother.” No word on where that skein will air over the summer.

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