The production staff of “Survivor,” television’s longest-running reality show, which has been filming its latest installment on Koh Rong island, bade farewell to Cambodia on Wednesday evening with a champagne toast in Phnom Penh alongside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son, Hun Manet.
The show, which began dropping contestants in isolated locations to fend for themselves in 2000 and awards $1 million to the last person standing in each series, wrapped up on July 8 after more than three months filming two series.
Arriving with his entourage at the headquarters of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) at about 6:30 p.m., Mr. Manet, head of the Defense Ministry’s counterterrorism department, greeted the show’s production team before the floor was given to co-executive producer Jesse Jensen.
“Nine months ago we were here in the room…nine months later we’ve got two series that are finished filming and they’re both amazing,” he said.
“We couldn’t have done it without you guys,” he said to the crowd of CDC officials and Mr. Manet.
After a champagne toast, Mr. Jensen said the event was arranged to thank the officials for their assistance, including Mr. Manet, who set up a security task force and helped “sort out some land problems,” on which he declined to comment further.
On his way out of the building, Mr. Manet said the TV show would be “good promotion for Cambodia,” declining to comment further.
CDC Secretary-General Sok Chenda Sophea said that despite some obstacles during filming, he believed the show would cast Cambodia in a positive light when it is beamed to an estimated 100 million viewers in 143 countries on its CBS debut in September.
“I was previously working for the Ministry of Tourism. I know too well how people outside of Cambodia are not properly informed about Cambodia,” Mr. Chenda Sophea said, adding that the “Survivor” production team called him constantly during filming.
“Normally people will send them to hell, but I play my role of one-stop service and we made it happen.”
(Additional reporting by Sek Odom)
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