Thursday, January 28, 2010

Survivor – The Greatest For a Reason

CBS recently threw a 10-year anniversary party in Hollywood celebrating what I consider to be the finest “reality” TV show ever – Survivor. Unless you live under a rock and have never have read this blog before or don’t know me, you are well aware what a Survivor Geek I am. Last week at the conclusion of “The Geeks Have Spoken!” blog, I promised to explain the two words that separate Survivor from the rest of the “reality” TV world. Based on the photo to the left of this paragraph, you have probably guessed what those two words are.

Jeff Probst.

That’s right, the two words that separate Survivor from the all other “reality” TV make up the name of two-time Emmy-award winning host Jeff Probst.

Probst has spent the last decade leading the tactical exploits of total strangers battling for a $1 million grand prize. When you consider that in the 10 years of Survivor, he has extinguished 276 torches, crowned 19 winners and hosted the last 15 Survivor reunion shows, it is plain to see that he is the face of Survivor.

It should be mentioned that prior to Probst, the congenial Bryant Gumbel emceed the first three reunion shows with a somewhat mundane effort. It seemed as if he was merely doing his job to help promote another CBS program.

Following Gumbel, we were subjected to the loudmouthed Rosie O’Donnell. CBS reasoned that because O’Donnell was a self-described reality-show addict, she would make a good replacement. Alas, her abrasive, self-serving personality made her stint as host a short one, lasting only the one season.

CBS came to their senses after the O’Donnell fiasco and made Probst the host for season five’s reunion show and has been there ever since. Obviously they realized that when you see Probst you think Survivor.

Other “reality” TV shows have come and gone and trust me, there have been many. How many you ask? The site Reality TV World lists no less than 812 seasons of “reality” programming. Don’t believe me? Click on the link.

The Reality TV World list, although a bit daunting, made me realize how many “reality” shows that I have forgotten ever existed. For crying out loud, there were shows that I had never heard of.

Even the longer running “reality” programs like The Amazing Race, American Idol and Big Brother don’t have a singular “face” that makes you instantly think of that show.

When I see The Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan, I think, “Who the hell is that?” When I see Julie Chen, I don’t think Big Brother. Rather, I think the CBS Morning News.

And don’t get me started on American Idol. The host, Ryan Seacrest is a no talent, overpaid bum. The Judges: Simon Cowell is Britain’s Got Talent, X-Factor, etc. Randy Jackson is the former bassist for Journey. Paula Abdul is now an inebriated has-been.

Last year Idol added Kara DioGuardi (who?) and this year replaced Abdul with the effervescent Ellen DeGeneres. Enough said. Not one of these six people is THE face of American Idol.

However, Jeff Probst is THE face of Survivor. That is what puts Survivor head and shoulders above the rest. Perhaps being a Survivor Geek and having an obsession for consistency clouds my judgment, but Survivor is the greatest TV show of the “reality” genre.

And simple two words are the reason why: Jeff Probst.

Enough Survivor talk. Well, until next Thursday. Sometime before then I will try to write something about softball or maybe even English Sue’s favorite, Arno! Until next time…from the booth.

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