RIO DE JANEIRO — After just two episodes, TV Globo has a hit with its “Survivor”-type show “No Limite.”
And mirroring the controversies in the U.S. and other markets, the program has kicked off a national debate on reality-type shows, as well as on racism.
The initial, hourlong episode on July 23 garnered a 47 rating. The subsequent half-hour episode on July 30 earned a 45.
Leading broadcaster TV Globo normally gets a 30-33 rating for the Sunday 10:30 p.m. slot. “No Limite” rivals the web’s most popular weeknight shows: telenovelas and the evening newscast “Jornal Nacional.”
Very expensive show
TV Globo execs are mum on the show’s budget, but local press reports have said each episode runs 250,000-285,000 real ($139,000-$159,000), which would make it the most expensive show in the history of TV Globo. The average hour of telenovela production costs about $66,600.
Depending on the performance of the 12 participants, who are competing for a grand prize of $166,000, “No Limite” will air for seven or eight episodes.
In the week following the first episode, the country was abuzz about the show, as Brazilians discussed the ethics of reality shows and speculated about who would next be ejected from the isolated beach compound.
But after the second installment, the debate shifted to racism. Young, middle-class Marcus Dias, in a heated argument with Paulo Cesar Martins (nicknamed Amendoim) — an African-Brazilian and community leader in Rio’s largest slum — used a racially pejorative word.
Voted off, Amendoim maintains he is a victim of racism. He is reportedly weighing a suit against Dias, as well as a run in the upcoming city council race.
(Mary Sutter in Miami contributed to this report.)