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The tribe has spoken.
Jeff Probst, Survivor

The most common structure for Reality TV, it involves voting off one member of a group of people in each episode. They may be voted off by judges (perhaps including The Mean Brit), their fellow contestants or by the viewing audience via the Internet or some other form of communication (yes, they do exist). Some shows use a method that combines two or more forms. Immunity may be offered as a prize in some manner; having it means that the player cannot be voted off. An Elimination Statement will probably follow. Needless to say, the last person left at the end wins.

Eliminated From the Race is an alternative structure. Compare There Can Be Only One. Tall Poppy Syndrome often emerges when the voting power is in the hands of the other contestants.

Examples of Voted Off the Island include:


Live Action TV

  • Survivor is the Trope Namer.
  • American Idol: Audience votes for their favorite to stay in.
  • "House votes" on whether to evict a cast member would occasionally crop up during early seasons of proto-reality show The Real World, but weren't a regular part of the show's structure.
    • Likewise, later seasons of Road Rules would have it so that if the team failed one too many individual challenges, they'd have to vote off a member.
  • So You Think You Can Dance: Audience votes for their favorite to stay in.
  • Dancing With the Stars: a complicated scoring hybrid, both the judges' scores and the TV audience votes (via phone, text message, or website) determine who goes home. In case of a tie, the audience vote is the tie-breaker.
    • Originally the actual numbers didn't matter, only rankings. After this led to undeserving contestants very nearly winning in the first two seasons, it changed to weighted percentages.
  • Hells Kitchen: Fellow competitors vote for who should leave the kitchen, but The Mean Brit has the final say. He's even added people to the chopping block, or straight-out kicked people without even letting them get their say. On the other hand, on a couple of occasions he's mixed it up by asking one of the losing team members who s/he thinks should go.
    • The Biggest Loser works the other way: an objective weigh-in determines who will be liable for elimination, then the losing team has to vote off one of their own members. The winning team has no say in the matter.
  • Big Brother. Most nations have this as something the viewing public does via a phone line; the US version had it for the first season, but switched over to an internal system among the contestants for later seasons.
  • Canada's Worst Driver is an inversion; a team of judges vote on who 'graduates', getting their keys or license back and leaving the Driver Rehabilitation Center...in this Reality Show, leaving is a GOOD thing. The longer you're on, the worse you are!
    • Yes, this means the winner of the series is decided in the second episode (which is the earliest someone can graduate from rehab), but the whole point of watching the show is to see who the loser is.
  • In The Apprentice the losing team leader has to bring back one or two team-mates who have performed badly on the task. The boss then decides who has performed the worst, and fires them; usually he fires just the worst performer, but will occasionally fire two or three people.
  • In The Weakest Link, the contestants would vote to determine who would not go to the next round. This usually resulted in the best players being eliminated.
  • The History Channel's Top Shot has the members of the team choose the two members to have a competition (one of whom goes home) by shooting a handgun at a target with the person's name.
  • Used as a punishment in later seasons of MTV's Road Rules. The vote was only cast if when the team failed a mission.
  • Parodied in the first several episodes of the fourth season of House, during which House whittles 40 potential replacements for Cameron, Chase, and Foreman down to three.
    • Lampshaded repeatedly, but directly referenced in dialogue in "Mirror, Mirror."

 Cuddy: When your extended job interview/reality TV show killed a patient, you lost your veto power.


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