March 29, 2013 at 2:41 PM ET
Production on "Koh-Lanta," the French adaptation of "Survivor," has been stopped and the series canceled for the 2013 season following the death of a contestant during filming in Cambodia.
Channel TF1 and production company Adventure Line Productions jointly made the decision to cancel the season. "It is not really a question,” said TF1 spokesman Alexander Petit following the death of Gerald Babin, 25. “Everyone is being flown back to France.”
No decision has been made about the long-term continuation of the series.
Gerald Babin died Friday after suffering cardiac arrest during the first day of filming. After the group jumped from a boat and participated in a tug of war, Babin complained of cramps in his arms and was given medical attention at the scene by the staff doctor before being airlifted by helicopter to a nearby hospital. He suffered a series of cardiac arrests during the transfer before reaching the facility, the companies said.
“Adventure Line Productions, TF1 and [host] Denis Broginart are devastated and join in the profound sadness of Gerald’s family,” the channel said in a statement. TF1 has flown Babin’s family to Cambodia to recover his body.
ALP said that all candidates had received extensive medical examinations and testing as part of the selection process.
The French version of Survivor has been a consistent hit for channel TF1, with a high of 8 million viewers and a 40 percent share in the 2007 season and an average of 7.4 million viewers and a 29.9 percent share in the 2012 season. Ad rates for the finale were $117,000 (€90,000) for a 30-second spot. After The Voice, the show is the biggest hit on TF1 and considered the flagship of the channel. Since its debut in 2001, TF1 has aired 12 series and two special “all star” editions.