Friday, October 28, 2005

The network that cried wolf

NBC loves hype. "Don't miss the final two minutes!" "The greatest half-hour in the history of television!" "A sexual experience so intense it could conceivably change your political views!"

At this point, I just tune that crap out, so when NBC began airing its sixteenth iteration of "Biggest. Boardroom. Ever!" promos for last night's "Apprentice," I barely noticed. I gave up on the show midway through last spring's disaster, and saw nothing in this year's first couple of episodes to make me want to come back.

Which is a shame, because from what I've been told (and what I've since read in recaps like this one), for once the hype wasn't BS. Instead of firing one incompetent at a time until he has to choose between the two least-objectionable contestants, The Donald decided to stop screwing around and canned four at once, leading to what sounds like the most uncomfortable cab ride of all time. A friend called it "a potentially show-saving move," and he may be right. The big objection to the last few seasons has been the massive number of contestants with the business sense of a coconut. If Trump (who claims to have hand-picked this cast, by the way) can't pick qualified people to start out with, the least he can do is get rid of the real morons as quickly as possible. I'll check out one of the CNBC reruns over the weekend, and may actually give the show one last shot.

At the very least, I appear to have missed the better Mark Burnett show last night, because "Survivor: Guatemala" just isn't doing it for me. All the players I like are being voted out, while the jerkwad alliance of Judd (Jersey represent!), Jamie and Stephenie should be around for a long time, even if none of them win. Plus, Danni's getting so scary thin that I'm afraid to look directly at her anymore. Lara Flynn Boyle probably outweighs her at this point.

Oh, and recent column links: a Wednesday mailbag dealing with ABC's high commercial load and the question of what all those producers listed in a show's credits really do; a review of Sunday night's terrific "Grey's Anatomy"; and today's grab-bag including reviews of "Vampire Bats," "I Shouldn't Be Alive" and "Masters of Horror."

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