TV Rants & Raves: “Survivor” wackos, “Bob Patterson”

The good, bad and the ugly on the tube this past week:


Survivor: Africa–wackos on safari

It didn’t take long for the castaways on Survivor: Africa to prove they’re the most mentally unbalanced group the show has offered thus far. Tom Buchanan of the Boran tribe has already threatened to take the life of fellow tribemate Clarence (“If I had a gun, I’d shoot you right now”). And the Samburu’s Linda has assumed the role of stern intellectual to such an extent it would make Alex Trebec squirm–can you say overcompensation? Producers should allow Prozac to be a luxury item. Industrial strength.


Upswing for baseball ratings

This postseason, Fox‘s baseball ratings have increased nine percent, and among men age 25-54 ESPN’s baseball ratings are up seven percent. That’s good news for Major League Baseball, which has been struggling in the Nielsens. What about football? Surprisingly, ratings for ABC‘s Monday Night Football have been lukewarm: figures are down nine percent thus far compared to last year. Perhaps the recent surge in patriotism has resurrected our original national pastime on TV?


Bob Patterson, meet Michael Richards?

It was supposed to be the rivalry of the season. NBC‘s Frasier battling ABC‘s Bob Patterson at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. However, after some early victories under Frasier‘s belt, ABC has retreated, throwing Patterson in the 9:30 p.m. slot on Wednesdays. Much like the competition between Friends and Survivor on Thursdays, it would have been interesting to watch the Frasier/Patterson duel continue. But ABC has sent a strong message: Jason Alexander‘s new sitcom just may end up in the same watery grave as Michael Richards‘ short-lived 2000 series. The ex-Seinfeld cohorts simply cannot carry their own shows. Obviously, Jerry knew that.


Fox Family’s Wonderful news

Beginning Nov. 5, Fox Family will air episodes of The Wonder Years at 7:30 p.m. every weeknight. The nostalgic series, previously syndicated on such networks as Nickelodeon and The National Network, has developed a near cult following, having tackled such issues as the Vietnam War, drug use, teenage sex and unhealthy obsessions with the Rolling Stones. While NICK and TNN ran their reruns at ungodly hours, Fox Family is finally airing The Wonder Years in a timeslot that allows fans to actually see it.


TOON takes spinach dip

Think you’ve seen every Popeye cartoon ever produced? Think again. Many Popeye shorts were never shown on TV–rather, they were tacked on to old movie reels distributed by Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios, remaining unseen for decades. Until now, that is. Cartoon Network has found and restored these long-forgotten black-and-white works, and will begin broadcasting them for the first time. This begins Sunday, Oct. 28, with a segment titled I’m Popeye, a historical look at the evolution of the popular cartoon character. Bravo, TOON.

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