You might've noticed (and
if you did, thank you!) that there was no new column in
this space last week. Quite honestly, I didn't realize I
hadn't done one until Friday, when State of Play showed
up on the main page of GSNN. Oops! Well, to make up for
it, it appears this one's going to be pretty long. So
let's get it on!
The Week That Was:
On "The Apprentice"... I don't think it came as a
shock to anyone that, after walking off Task 2, that
Verna would be the one to quit "The Apprentice" last
week. The images of her walking aimlessly through the
Jersey Shore community where the show had set up shop
were nothing short of surreal. The images of Carolyn
talking to her and getting no response, seemingly, were
Verna is, to be honest, the anti-Stacie J. and anti-Omarosa
of Series 3. What I mean by this is that she was
portrayed as kind of "out there," just like Stacie and
Omarosa; but in a very different way.
It somewhat bothers me that folks like Verna, or Marlea
Stroman from "American Idol," go for these reality show
opportunities and then discover that it's not for
them... thereby depriving someone else of an
opportunity. I suppose if reality shows aren't exactly
your life's work (ahem... Sue Hawk) then it's entirely
possible that you don't know it's not for you until
you've already gotten started. So with that said, I'm
not knocking Verna, or Marlea, I'm just trying to reason
out for myself, and for you, why they would start in on
a process and then walk away from it. Both had good
reasons in their own minds and hearts for leaving, and I
have no problem with either deciding reality TV wasn't
Back to "The Apprentice." This season, so far, has got
to be the best yet, in my opinion. Yes, the corporate
pushing keeps getting worse and worse, but such is the
new era of product placement on TV. And yeah, I had the
BK Apprentice Burger (and it was good!)...and got in on
the free coffee offer last week. But to have a Project
Manager get in the boardroom and say, in essence, that
"Yes, Mr. Trump, you should fire me," is just wild. And
who knows what's going to happen this week.
But Danny was the right choice to go. Only Donald Trump
decides when the rules should be bent. But the worst
player right now is, by a mile, Michael. His statement
that his decisions should've been implemented (not
considered, but implemented) was over the line. Dude,
you're not the project manager on the task... and there
are seven other people on your TEAM. Get over it.
Michael's my pick to go this week.
On "American Idol"... I don't have a lot of
thoughts on "Idol" this week. The one thing I will say
is that I see why ratings traditionally have gone down
during the Hollywood Cut shows. (Although this year they
haven't yet... and FOX's "House" beat the "Amazing Race"
finale Tuesday.) Very few people who weren't in the city
auditions seemed to actually be shown, which considering
these people were good enough to make the cut from
100,000 to less than 200... is a shame. But I'll give
"Idol" credit... the story of Shunta Warthen, who got on
the WRONG BUS for the auditions... was worth missing out
on a few auditions for. I'm not sure if I've seen
anything yet that tells me that someone is definitely
the next American Idol (in other words, I'm not sure
I've seen a Kelly or Clay or La Toya yet). There's still
plenty of time though. I'm patient. But the fun won't
begin until a week from Monday when the Final 24 begin
competing. That also means you're just two columns away
from seeing my rankings.
On "The Amazing Race"... What is it about this
show that makes me dislike the winners almost every
series? Maybe this time, it's because I can't get the
yelling image of Freddy screaming "...rip 'em in half,"
or Kendra's degrading of those less fortunate, out of my
head. Even so, "The Amazing Race" is the best reality
series on TV right now, and probably the second-best of
all-time (behind the original "The Mole").
The contestants for TAR7 were formally announced today.
Of course, we'd already heard that Rob and Ammmmbuh
(Amber) from "Survivor: All-Stars" would be one of the
racing couples -- oh yeah, their wedding is going to be
televised too. Among the other teams, motivational
speaker/former Iraq POW Ron & former Miss South Carolina
Kelly would have to be the favorites. Older couple
Meredith & Gretchen and mother/son team Susan & Patrick
will be sentimental favorites. Viewers will have to
watch for the "Team Guido" factor with Lynn & Alex...
will they be as successful? Or as conniving? We're three
weeks away from finding out.
Meanwhile, next week, Jonathan and Victoria (TAR6) head
to Dr. Phil for a primetime special (not coincidentally
in the TAR time slot). Jonathan has said he views Dr.
Phil as "an interviewer" and neither he nor Victoria
think they need any help. Denial is not a river in
Egypt. And Dr. Phil won't be backing down. It's possible
this could be better than their time on the race
itself...if you can stand to watch them for another half
And CBS announced TAR8 and TAR9, which will each air
next season (apparently no TAR in the summer this time,
then). The eighth series will be a so-called "family
series," with four-person family-related teams, which
can contain kids as young as 12. This will be
interesting to see how it goes over. This is one of the
first times adults and kids have been combined on a
reality show for an entire series. The ninth series will
be a standard series, with the traditional two-person,
Odds and Ends: I promised you a preview of the
Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions in this
space. Fortunately, my colleagues here at GSNN are doing
a much better job of that than I ever could. But let me
say this: getting 145 past champions all together is
huge. And knowing that we'll be seeing such past greats
as Chuck Forrest, Tom Walsh, Brad Rutter, and Robin
Carroll... plus many other recognizable names and faces
I haven't even named here... makes this whole thing
exciting to watch. And it doesn't hurt that I live in
one of the first markets to see Jeopardy! each day.
Keep this in mind, too. If Rutter wins, he'll have more
than $3.25 million in Jeopardy! winnings. If Ken
Jennings wins, he'll have over $4.5 million. Even if Ken
finishes *second* in the tourney (and he's guaranteed to
finish no worse than third) he'll top $3 million.
Non-Game Program You Should Be Watching: This
week's NGPYSBW is "American Dad." It won't be on again
until May, when it'll join related show "Family Guy" on
the FOX schedule Sunday nights. But don't miss either of
these shows when they return... they're worth your time.
The opinions expressed in InSites are those of the
author only, and do not represent the opinions of any
other person, organization, or entity. Jason
Elliott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.