CBS vs. Probst on Survivor returnees; Seacrest’s popularity dropping; Style network gone, G4 survives

  • Jeff Probst is Survivor‘s showrunner and gets a lot of shit for his decisions, including from me, but as he told Dalton Ross, he doesn’t get his way when it comes to the kind of returnees the show casts: “If I had my way and I was the only decision maker on Survivor — which I am clearly not — I would have a lot of people from earlier seasons. There are tons of people I want to see play again, but the prevailing wisdom at the network is, we need recent players with bigger names. That’s what’s drawing people in. Clearly CBS and Les Moonves know what they’re doing,” he said. I wish they did, but in this case, I’m with Probst 100 percent. Fewer Coltons, more Gervases.
  • Million Second Quiz, the 24/7 Ryan Seacrest-hosted NBC game show that one review called “confusing and boring” hasn’t earned great ratings. I liked it better when it featured a physical challenge, was hosted by Marc Summers, and was called Double Dare. Anyway, its tepid ratings prompted Time magazine to look at Seacrest’s popularity as measured by his Q Score, and finds that “while everyone knows who Ryan Seacrest is, his popularity is still tied up with American Idol, and his fortunes in that arena depend on the show’s success.”
  • Style Network, home of Giuliana & Bill, Tia & Tamera, Jerseylicious, and other series will be replaced by the new Esquire Network later this month, which means that G4 will remain. Its reality shows may be cancelled, stay on Esquire, or move to E!, as is likely the case for Giuliana & Bill. Meanwhile, Oxygen president Jason Klarman will be replaced by Bravo president Frances Berwick, who will oversee both networks.
  • Big Brother beat The X Factor on Wednesday night, which I compared to different kinds of dwellings.
  • The Real World: Back to New York house is for sale for $22 million. Curbed has photos and a floor plan.
  • An America’s Got Talent semi-finalist masturbated for a porn site seven years ago.
  • TLC has renewed Who Do You Think You Are; the show just finished its first season on the cable network, which picked it up after NBC cancelled it.
  • Body painting is getting its own competition on GSN: Skin Wars will debut in 2014.
  • John Force Racing is looking for a network to revive Driving Force, the 2006-2007 A&E series about the drag racer and his family. The new show will have a new name and, USA TODAY reports, “focus on Funny Car driver Courtney, 25, and Top Fuel driver Brittany, 27, but also will include interaction with their father John and the rest of the team.”
  • Documentary filmmaker Saul Landau died this week. As his New York Times obituary says, he “aspired to marshal art and literature to illuminate social and political problems, and his point of view was almost always apparent. … He said he saw no difference between documentary and fictional films. In both, he said, a director manipulates light and sound to put across a vision.”
  • Footage of trucks crashing into a low bridge in Durham, NC, have been going around for years, ever since a smart person set up cameras to catch the frequent collisions–and created a companion web site to go along with all the videos. More recently, someone has compiled those into a video that, as a friend of mine said, feels like Wipeout with trucks. Watching this is the perfect way to lose some Friday stress:
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    about the writer

    Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.