We start this week
with the Survivor Finale. Let's see how we got there first. The five
left were Mick, Brett, Jaison, Russell and Natalie. In the first
immunity challenge, Brett wins his 3rd immunity in a row and Jaison
gets voted out. In the final immunity challenge with the final four,
Russell Hantz wins his first and only immunity by outlasting Brett
in a pole balancing stunt. Brett was voted out and the final jury
got to decide between Mick, Russell and Natalie.
Russell was cocky and confident and thought he was getting a
million. But the jury didn't agree and voted 7-2-0 to give Natalie
White, a 26-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep the title of Sole
Survivor and the million dollar check that goes along with it. John
and Shambo were the only people who voted for Russell to get the
cash. He did receive $100,000 as the Sprint Player of the Season,
which was voted on by the fans.
The reaction was
instant and swift. Most people felt that Russell was the best player
and Natalie rode his coattails to victory. Even Jeff Probst on his
Entertainment Weekly blog thought so. He wrote: "I think Russell was
the victim of a jury of bitter people. I am not taking anything away
from Natalie, she clearly did a great job of reading the group
dynamic of the jury and as a result she deserves the money.
Oftentimes on Survivor, the vote does come down to a choice where a
determining factor is “how nice someone is” but that’s usually when
all other criteria being considered is equal. That doesn’t hold up
this season. This season was so lopsided in terms of one person
(Russell) completely dominating the game that to not give him the
money and the title is a bit silly. If I were playing Survivor, no
matter how much I despised someone, if they kicked my ass in the
game I would give it to them. Period. Outwit. Outplay. Nobody
outwitted or outplayed Russell. Not even close."
He continues: "Q. Did Natalie play a better game than Russell? A:
For me, that’s a bit easier to answer. I do not think that Natalie
played a better game, but rather was the right person in the right
position who made one very good strategic move and that was to stay
out of Russell’s way, and as a result she ended up with the money.
But to be fair – a very good counter argument is that Natalie used
her strengths, avoided her weaknesses and by taking this active
approach to the game, she put herself in position to win the money
and it paid off. It’s a counter argument, but not one that I’m that
fond of supporting."
Although he was upset at the reunion special, Russell does have a
sense of humor. He opened a website the night before the live finale
http://www.russellgotscrewed.com. Any vote or t-shirt sale will
have a part of the proceeds donated to St. Jude's Children's
I agree with Jeff. I don’t care if this is supposed to be a social
game. Russell stayed true to the Survivor credo. He outwitted,
outlasted, and outplayed everyone in the Survivor: Samoa cast. They
were exactly how Russell characterized them: easily manipulated
babies who were bitter they got played. The vote wasn't for Natalie,
it was against Russell.
Don't feel too bad for Russell. He is rumored to be getting a 2nd
bite at the million-dollar apple. "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains"
premieres February 11, 2010 and is the 20th edition of the show.
It's also the 3rd All-Star Edition of the show, after Survivor:
All-Stars and Survivor: Fans v. Favorites. Russell and 19 other past
contestants get another chance be named Sole Survivor.
This season was a classic Survivor season. Russell was hated by
some, loved by most and has a huge advantage if he is going to go
back to Samoa to play one more time. "Heroes v. Villains" is going
to be a Survivor Fan's dream season. I can't wait for it.
American Idol fans better start preparing for the end of Simon
Cowell's run on the show. And the person who let this cat out of the
bag was Simon's Brother Tony. According to multiple sources, Tony
Cowell said this on his podcast called "Fame Game": "Meanwhile,
Simon prepares for a new season of ‘Idol,’ or should I say his last
season of ‘Idol’ – OK, I will, because it is. “As I sit here in the
sunny Caribbean with my family, a press statement is being prepared
which will confirm what everyone expected: Simon will leave ‘Idol’
at the end of 2010 to concentrate on bringing the American version
of ‘The X Factor’ to U.S. TV in 2011.”
That is a HUGE bombshell if true. I know Cowell loves to control how
information gets out, but if his brother leaked this months before
it happened this could be a huge blow to the Fox Franchise. Or,
looking at it cynically, the Cowell brothers let it leak on purpose
as a negotiating ploy to get Cowell on board for even more cash.
Either way, Simon Cowell is going to be on a lot of people's lips in
Block Party Quick Hits time:
--Congratulations to Nota, who won the Sing-Off.
--GSN has marathons of Family Feud, Deal or No Deal, and 1 v.100 to
tide you through the holidays.
--On December 31st, The Price is Right will have a "Best of 2009"
prize laden show.
--Wheel and Jeopardy get mobile updates in the 1st Quarter of 2010.
Catch 21 for GSN is a free Iphone App and XBOX Live members get a
free 1 v. 100 trial during Christmas week.
--Mark Burnett talks "Our Little Genius".
--CBS announced its midseason schedule. The 16th version of "Amazing
Race" returns on February 14th. As stated earlier, "Survivor: Heroes
vs. Villains" comes back on February 11th. And there will be a
best-of Survivor special called "Surviving Survivor" the week
--Condolences go out to the family of Alaina Reed Hall and Connie
Dixon who passed away this week.
--Joey Fatone, formerly of the Singing Bee, is going to be a father
for the 2nd time.
--Trista Rehn thinks that a lot more people are going on shows like
The Bachelor and the Bachelorette to get more public screen time.
"The show is a little tainted now," the 37-year-old mother of two
told E! Online. "People know the right things to say and do, and how
to act. When we were on it, it was more innocent, it came from a
pure place...I'm sure many people go on now to be a part of the
--In a story with a huge ick factor, Shane Sparks, a judge on MTV's
America's Best Dance Crew, has been arrested and charged with nine
counts of child molestation.
--This one is not so icky. Jamie Edmonson, who finished 2nd in
Season 14 of the Amazing Race is Miss January 2010 in Playboy.
--Fox has said no to the UK import "The Cube".
--February 1 brings us Season 2 of "The Cake Off" and "RuPaul's Drag
-- Donald Trump will host "Donald J. Trump's Fabulous World of
Golf," premiering April 26 on Golf Channel. Trump will host the
show, where pro golfers, athletes and celebrities will compete
head-to-head for their favorite charities on various Trump-owned
golf courses around the country.
Jason Block is currently making up his Team Russell shirt. E-mail him at