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The Trill of Victory, the Agony of the Feet - September 14

It's fall! Are you excited yet? I know I am. "Dancing with the Stars", "Survivor", the daily quizzers, and an end to this crazy summer weather in Carolina. I'm surprised that you're not ready for fall...

Well, even if you aren't, I have some premiere numbers for you in primetime, and here they are. First up, the reason why this is delayed...

Survivor Cooks...

So which side are you on in the great debate concerning "Survivor: Cook Islands"? Are you on the side that says that "it's just a game show and there are far more important things going on in the world"? Are you on the side that says "racism is not fodder for a game show"? Are you on the side that says "Hey, we have more minorities than we do white people this year! Let's bring it on!"? Are you on the side that couldn't give a rat's behind?

No matter what tribe of thought you ally yourself with, it all goes back to what was said in last week's column. I solely believe that Mark Burnett's sole purpose is, was, and always will be, was to generate a buzz around the show going into premiere week. Nothing more, nothing less. He didn't want to get people angry enough to write vitriols calling for the head of light entertainment. He didn't want to have to justify this position. He just wanted viewers.

Well, Mr. Burnett... Mission accomplished.

The show's premiere one week before the official start of the fall season racked up a time-slot winning 10.9/18 in the overnights, 17.71 million viewers, and a 6.3/20 among adults 18-49. Expect final numbers push that figure close to about what was scored last year with the premiere of "Survivor Guatemala" (which debuted to the following overnight ratings for households [11.2/18], viewers [17.78 million], and adults 18-49 [6.4/19] on Thursday, September 15, 2005), although you would've expected that with all the buzz flying around on the show, there'd be more viewers.

I guess in the end, the show is the show, no matter how you divide it up.

If there is a silver lining to all of this, it's that the Cook Islands "Survivor" premiere scored more than the Exile Island premiere, 10.9/18 in households over 9.9/15.

Dancing Rocks...

If Tuesday night and Wednesday night are any indication, we may be in for the best season of "Dancing with the Stars" yet.

The Tuesday show, in which we met all of the dancers and their partners, scored thusly according to Mediaweek: 14.3/22 in the overnights, 20.06 million viewers and a 5.7/15 among adults 18-49, handily beating the final numbers for the season 2 premiere in January, which scored a 12.7/18, 17.46 million viewers, and 4.8/12 in adults 18-49) by 13 percent in the overnights, 2.60 million viewers and 19 percent among adults 18-49.

As for Wednesday, which saw Tucker Carlson being rightly handed his walking papers on a silver platter, the showing of a 12.2/19 in the overnights, 16.31 million viewers and a 4.1/12 among adults 18-49 defeated all oncomers.

Truly "Dancing with the Stars" is a true rarity, a summer show that sells itself and becomes a success in the regular season. And rightly so, because it is a quality production, especially given its live performances, its once-in-a-blue-moon technical gaffes, and, well, Samantha Harris.

Syndie Scores...

For the week ending September 3, fortunes changed in the ever-fickle world of the game show in syndication. If you remember, last week, everything was up except "Wheel of Fortune", which was pretty steady. This week, the game show pariah was "Family Feud," down five percent from last year with a 2.1, still relatively par for the course as far as that's concerned. Meanwhile "Wheel" spun up one percent from last year with a 6.8, same as last week more or less. "Jeopardy!" is second with a 5.5, up 2 percent from last year, and up a tenth from last week. "Millionaire" was even on both fronts with a 6.8.

Keep in mind that these are all repeat showings. We won't get a definitive idea as to how the new season is faring for another two weeks. Sorry, gang.

The Weekly Rant, or high-definition thinking for low-definition screens.

John O'Hurley is the second coming of Richard Dawson.

Oh yeah. I totally went there. I'll say it again.

John O'Hurley is the second coming of Richard Dawson.

We all remember that when it came to the Family Feud, Richard was all business except when it came down to playing off of a contestant. And even when you did it, exude class as if to say.. well, I can't explain it properly, but I will paraphrase a quote made by little Stewie Griffin about Brian... "I'm the dog, I read Harper's and listen to NPR, but I'm not above chewing on grass clippings and chasing my own tail."

I probably completely screwed that line up, but the point remains, that's John O'Hurley in a nutshell... and that's also Richard Dawson in a nutshell.

Let's go back for a bit. Richard Dawson was one of the regular cutups who always had a quip no matter what the occasion on "Match Game". And then came "Family Feud," where he exuded class, especially with his poignant speech at the end of the show's run. Granted, he was often a pain in Mark Goodson's ass sometimes, but you never saw it. Or at least I never saw it.

Unless you're talking about the 1994-1995 season, but we'll just pretend that didn't exist. Hard to do, I know, but just follow me here.

Now here we have a classically trained actor/singer in John O'Hurley, who ran the gamut in show business - he was on soap operas, he did "Celebrity Spelling Bee", he was the moderator of "To Tell the Truth", he poked fun at his stature in car insurance commercials, he played Billy Flynn on Broadway, he played J. Peterman on "Seinfeld" - he pretty much did anything he could just because he can, and he proved that he was incredibly adept at doing it.

Did we mention dancing? Just like Dawson ran the gauntlet of what a person in the limelight can do, O'Hurley (or "O'Ho-ley,", as Gordon affectionately calls him) can do the same. And judging by this week's first Feuds, he can do it for as long as FremantleMedia will allow him.

Just as long as he doesn't end up falling for one of his contestants. Never mind the fact that his wife and unborn child may find it a bit, well, awkward, but that's a whole 'nother can of S&P beans right there.

Chico Alexander would also appreciate it if he didn't take a jab at whatever else was on at the time. E-mail him at


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