NEW YORK -- ''Survivor'' is proving such a hit that a sequel is in the works.
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 series.
This time, the location will be the Australian outback -- not nearly as wet as the tropical island 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.
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 Thursday. 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.
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. Casting for the second edition will be just as important as the location, he said.
''The relatability of these people is one of the chords that is striking people,'' he said. ''Everyone imagines what they would do because they are seeing people like themselves.''
Like ''Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' last August, ''Survivor'' is enlivening the normally dull summer rerun season. And it's been a bonanza for CBS's often futile effort to reach a younger audience.
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