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January 20

It's an exciting time...all the reality programs are launching their latest series, we FINALLY got rid of "Screamin'" Jonathan and Victoria from Amazing Race, and it's the return of the *original* commentary column on GSNN -- so old that it started before this site even had this name -- "Prime Time Insites."

It's 2005...so let's just make things simple and call this little writing explosion "InSites." Each Thursday, I'll take you where few dare to tread: the land of the game show and reality contest. Having been given the perfect day to do such a column...each week I'll be giving my thoughts on three of the biggest series in prime time right now: "American Idol," "Survivor: Pulau," and "The Apprentice," with a scattering of other random thoughts thrown in.

For "Idol," I've been doing 'rankings' of the finalists each season... this year, I'll be held accountable as they're published here for all to see. That'll begin when the final 24 are named four weeks from now. One thing's for sure: this season of "Idol" looks like it will live up to the hype... the first episode was the third highest-rated non-sports program EVER on the network.

The new season of "Survivor" is still a month away too, so you won't be hearing much from me on that for a little bit...but when it starts, three people on the show are from my home state; and a fourth lives less than a half hour from where I was born. So I'll be doing some serious rooting, and you'll read all about it here.

That leaves "The Apprentice," which starts tonight. Longtime viewers of this webpage should be looking out for Kristen Kirchner, who we believe was a contestant on one of my favorite shows of the past, "Murder in Small Town X." She'll be on the "Street Smarts" team. Season Two contestants Jen M., Stacy, and Bradford appeared on MSNBC's "The Abrams Report" on Wednesday, and it seems the overall thought is that the "Street Smarts" team has the advantage. I'm just happy to see a Mark Burnett series not be men vs. women for once.

I wonder if NBC/Trump felt badly when Jen C. lost her real job after appearing on Season 2. What makes me wonder this is that Jen C. is the commentary person for Season 3 at NBC.com. http://www.nbc.com/nbc/The_Apprentice_3/jennifers_commentary/index.shtml .

The "baby" of the group in Apprentice 3 is 22-year-old Chris from the Street Smarts team. Expect a lot of comparisons between him and Andy from Season Two. My very early money is on Stephanie from the Book Smarts team, although no one will have a really good idea until we see them in action. It's probably a safe bet, though, that Stephanie will at least make it to week two: a man has been the first eliminated in both previous series.

Next week: We'll see if I have egg on my face over my "Apprentice" prediction. Also...whatever else comes to mind. This whole column-writing thing is like riding a bike: you never forget. Thanks for making GSNN such a huge success!

-JE

Jason Elliott can be reached at stormseeker@mchsi.com.

 

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