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Sold Survivor - December 15

Last week, CBS received the best news that they could hope for...

1) Jeff Probst was returning to Survivor after a new negotiation was put in place.
2) The final two episodes of the "toughest season yet" were among the most watched this week.
3) The finale of this show outpointed both Vanuatu and Palau.

But let's go into the second two...

2) The final two episodes of the "toughest season yet" were among the most watched this week. If you've been following the numbers, you know that CBS posted a cross-the-board win this week. The finale itself posted 21.18 million viewers, the penultimate show 20.21 million, and the reunion show, 15.21 million, all in the top 10 this week. In the prizes demographic, the three episodes swept. The finale was second for the week only by CSI with a 7.7/17. The Thursday show pointed similarly, a 7.1/19. The week's number 10 show in the demographic, the reunion, scored a 5.7/14. It should be noted that the Sunday finale, due to an NFL overrun, started at 8:23p ET.

3) The finale of this show outpointed both Vanuatu and Palau. A far cry from the past two finales, which only placed second amongst a then-unknown show by the name of "Desperate Housewives." This year, though, CBS had two factors working for itself... One, "Housewives" isn't the phenomenon it used to be as the writing has gone south (this coming from my sister, a big fan), and two, ABC decided to slot in a two-hour "Extreme Makeover Home Edition." In the face of an ever-mounting challenge posed by the Guatemala environs, well... the numbers speak for themselves.

Conclusions, as reported by Reality TV World, Survivor: Guatemala's finale was up significantly from last fall's finale of Survivor: Vanuatu, 7% in viewers, 9% in households (from 10.9/16), 8% in Adults 25-54 (from 8.6/17), 3% in adults 18-49 (from 7.5/16) and even in Adults 18-34. The performance represented the best Survivor's finale performance in viewers, households, and Adults 25-54 since Survivor: All-Stars' broadcast on May 9, 2004. The real acid test will be to see what happens during the "Exile Island" season, which I'm both looking forward to, and scratching my head about.

From the highest of the highs to the lowest of the lows, as we move to... The Amazing Race. The final show on Tuesday, which saw the Linzs cross the finish line for $1 million, but who saw them? Comparatively to the other seven seasons... not many people. The show itself pointed respectably, but not as spectacular as previously seen 7.4/11 in the overnights, 11.37 million viewers and a 4.6/12 among adults 18-49.

To compare, AR5's numbers, which saw Chip & Kim McAllister take the big prize, averaged 12.85 million viewers and posted an 8.2/13 rating/share in households, a 4.9/14 in Adults 18-34, and a 5.6/14 in Adults 18-49 in a season which ended during the fall of 2004. Again, not spectacular, but not at all terrible either.

AR6's finale, which saw Freddy Holliday and Kendra Bentley, dating models (all too common on this particular series), cross the finish line, saw 12.62 million viewers, a 7.7/12 rating/share in households, a 4.2/12 in Adults 18-34, a 5.2/13 in Adults 18-49, less than AR5, but still worth noting.

The biggest season to date, the Romber season of AR, which saw the reality-made couple go the distance, only to lose to Uchenna & Joyce Agu (something Gordon is bitter about to this day) had its finale averaged 16.01 million overall viewers, a 9.6/15 rating/share in households, and a 6.8/17 in Adults 18-49. Easily one of the show's best.

But points to CBS for trying something new... Let's not do it again, shall we? Or if you're going to do it, cast teams that we're actually going to like and put them in environs that are completely foreign. Come on, people... We're not dumb...

Onto syndication... The big three quizzers are still suffering from year to year declines, with "Wheel of Fortune" down 10 percent to an 8.8, "Jeopardy!" down by 26 percent with a 6.8, and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" down six percent to a 3.2. The good news: they're all up from last week, with Millionaire achieving a new season high.

The weekly rant...

We looked at the past, now let's look at the future. Next week, the big week we've been waiting for: Deal or No Deal. I've seen videos over at NBC.com, and from what I've seen, as much as I think I'm going to enjoy it, the game play's a little empty from versions in Holland and Australia. Usually, when I see someone talking about a show and repeating selling points like "pure luck, no trivia", I automatically think "Either this person has no idea what he's going into or we've got a serious problem."

But it looks aesthetically promising, and NBC has a lot of hope riding on this, judging from all the hype it's gotten. Let's hope it lives up to it.

Chico Alexander once scored the big $200,000 on the Flash game. E-mail him at chico@gameshownewsnet.com.


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