We start this week, as you can guess
from the title...with the return of the two big dogs of CBS Reality
Program...the 18th Season of Survivor and the 14th edition of The
Survivor: Tocantins (The Brazilian Highlands) started it’s new
season with a brilliant first episode. After both teams were already
divided into tribes Jalapao and Timbira, they rode a bus to a
designated spot and needed to strip the bus clean of supplies. Then
Jeff Probst said, "One person from each tribe will not take part in
this journey." The two tribes voted out who they thought was the
weakest because Jeff wanted to see what first impressions were made.
Then the people (Sandy and Sierra who were both noticeably upset)
were told they weren’t making this part of journey...on foot. They
were making it by helicopter. Brilliance. The episode played out in
usual Survivor style, with Carolina Eastwood being voted out. She
expected Sandy to be...but her bossy style and lack of assistance in
the reward challenge was rewarded with the blindside vote out.
This shows that Survivor is still doing what it does best...change
the game in such a way that each season seems fresh and new. This is
Thursday night appointment television.
And over to the Amazing Race...where the big news is that they have
switched the game up a little bit as well. And the little additions
they have made make this show even better. The graphics have been
freshened up, the editing style takes cues from the show "24", and
the new use of Google Earth/Google Maps was great and made you ask,
"Why didn’t they do that sooner?"
Of course, the best thing about the show is the game play...which
has not been changed. And that is a great thing. We have 11
couples...and the most talked about couple (Margie & Luke Adams the
mother/deaf son team) finished first for the first leg. The show is
still the best reality game competition on the air. This is fun to
watch...and I will be watching on Sundays.
This past Tuesday night, we saw the
first group of 12 sing for their spot in the American Idol Top 12.
The voting portion of the competition got underway this week, as the
Top Male (Danny Gokey), the top Female (Alexis Grace) and the
assumed third place vote getter (Michael Sarver) booked their
tickets this week. We saw a lot of bad performances and
underwhelming song selection, but don’t be surprised to see Anoop
Dog (a/k/a Anoop Desai) back in the Wild Card round three weeks from
Next Tuesday we will see: Megan Corkery, Kris Allen, Mishavonna
Henson, Matt Breitzke, Alison Iraheta, Matt Giraud, Jasmine Murray,
Kai Kalama, Jesse Langseth, Adam Lambert (one of the Top 36
pre-performance favorites), Jeanine Vailes and Nick Mitchell (a/k/a
We go from singers to card
players...as we have a big confirmation of news that broke a few
weeks ago. GSN has officially announced the 2nd season renewal of
"Catch-21", the remake of Gambit starring Alfonso Ribeiro and Mikki
Padilla as the dealer.
What makes this news even bigger is a) the episode renewal order is
65 episodes, up 25 from Season 1's run of 40. b) the 2nd season
premiere will be April 6 at 6:30PM EST...leading out from the
premiere of the revival of Newlywed Game. You combine these two
facts and Catch-21 and Newlywed are going to be the lynchpin of the
May Sweeps run for GSN. There have been rumors of a set change, a
higher profile online component and a potential for more bonus round
winners as well.
Combine this with the casting notices on Craigslist for Season 3 of
Bingo America, the news out of GSN is looking pretty good if you ask
It looks like the yearly WGA protests
against reality shows have started. The Hollywood Reporter Live Feed
reports that the guild protested Wednesday's live telecast of
"American Idol," calling on producer FremantleMedia North America to
"treat its 'reality' TV writers and other workers with respect by
improving working conditions and providing health care and pension
"Many Fremantle workers do not receive benefits that are standard in
the entertainment industry including minimum compensation, health
insurance, and retirement benefits," says the release. "Fremantle
has also chosen to use non-union drivers who work excessive overtime
without proper rest periods or drug and alcohol testing."
Having dropped the reality issue in the final days of negotiations
during the writers strike, organizing reality workers clearly
remains a WGA goal (one to shoot for, if not obtain). The move
follows the recent settlement of a WGA-supported lawsuit between
hundreds of reality TV workers and several networks and production
The settlement of two class-action lawsuits by reality shows
staffers against TV networks and production companies were settled
for more than $4 million last month. I believe that this settlement
plus the protests will actually lead to the unionization of the
reality show staffers. It may not happen right away...but I think it
will happen by 2010 or 2011. It has to.
Oscar weekend is coming up as of this
writing, and "Slumdog Millionaire" has been the talk of the movie
world for months and has people talking up the game show as well.
And that’s just fine with Michael Davies. In a New York Times
article, Michael Davies said, "I couldn’t tell you whether ‘Slumdog’
has done anything to accelerate those conversations (of a 10th
anniversary revival with ABC), but it certainly hasn’t hurt." He
continues, "Enough people have asked me, ‘Isn’t this great for
"Millionaire"?’ that I know it’s been great for the overall brand in
the U.S.," he said.
He also joked, ""By the way," he added, "I’ve got to think the
‘Survivor’ folks and the ‘Idol’ folks are thinking, ‘Movie, movie,
I really believe that ABC will make the deal with Davies. It would
make the most sense to.
Finally, The Price is Right
Valentine’s Day episode aired on February 13 and after viewing the
show, I can call it a success. The couples aspect didn’t affect the
gameplay at all, and in fact it seemed fresh and new. And when you
offer a restored 1975 Corvette Stingray convertible, you can’t go
wrong. The show was so successful that a third theme episode (after
a previously scheduled Academy of Country Music tie-in episode) is
being planned according to Buzzerblog...an "Ultimate Baby Shower"
episode...where I believe we will see a lot of pregnant females in
As long as these theme episodes do not affect gameplay, I say these
theme shows are a pretty cool idea and another positive aspect in
the rebuilding process of Price.
–America’s Got Talent continues to add audition dates and locations
–itseasytowin.com promotes it’s first live online game show.
–The American Idol performances are available on Itunes. On March
11, Idol will move the results show to 9PM...competing directly with
Lost. And all 7 Idol Winners reunited for the first time as "The
American Idol Experience" opens in Disney Hollywood Studios. That
gives people the chance to get a fast pass on next season’s Idol
–Former NBA player Duane Causwell is looking for the next great
basketball player on "America’s Top Baller"
–In a Good Morning America Interview with Tom Bergeron, Bob Barker
talks retirement, the elephant Billy and claims he only watches
occasionally. "I sometimes turn it on for a game or two. But I don't
watch it. I'm not a loyal viewer," he said. He joked that he watches
TV with his dog, Jessie. "And in my right hand, I have a bottle of
–CBS greenlights an automotive obstacle course show called "Thunder
–Fox Sports extends it’s deal with Fox Sports Net through 2010 with
the World Poker Tour.
–Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump resign from Trump Entertainment
Resorts' board of directors.
–Jerry Springer becomes slimy lawyer Billy Flynn in the musical
Chicago in London from June 1-July 11. (This is what could have
helped Nick Cannon get his America’s Got Talent gig)
–Big Brother UK’s Jade Goody cervical cancer battle and last days
are playing out in the British press.
–Tom Bergeron’s Autobiography "I’m Hosting As Fast I Can" comes out
April 7th and he is using his Facebook page to promote it.
–Endless Games releases another edition of the Newlywed Game.
Jason Block is writing as fast
as he can. E-mail him at