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Survivor Hype

Saturday, February 10, 2001

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Where's Rudy when you need him? Planning to host "Combat Missions" on the USA Network, it turns out. "Survivor: The Australian Outback" could use an older contestant to show that age doesn't have to matter.

Retired police officer Maralyn "Mad Dog" Hershey, 51, was bounced this week after stumbling and slowing her tribe during an immunity challenge in which members were lashed together like a chain gang. Her ouster also was the first real evidence of an alliance among ringleader Jerri, Colby (whom Jerri is playing like a fiddle), Mitchell and Beaver County's Amber Brkich.

GUILT GEAR: After Maralyn was ejected, she turned over her "Mad Dog" ball cap to Amber. The braided brunette is emerging as a nimble athlete, a team player and a woman who could finish with some serious money.

START PACKING YOUR BAGS: Is it just us, or did Rodger look as if he was about to have a heart attack during that obstacle course? Does he really like that "Kentucky Joe" nickname? At 53, he's the oldest and not long for this TV world.

AND THEY LAUGHED AT SEAN'S SUPERPOLE 2000: Mike has fashioned a knife-tipped spear for hunting. "I am very, very determined to get a pig." More power to him. It seems as if the laziness (and hunger) quotients are higher this time.

PLAYER WE'D FEED TO THE CROCS: Aspiring actress Jerri, who's treating this like one long audition for "Sex and the City." Dessert? Jeff, the Internet project manager seen plotting with Alicia.

RATINGS RACE: Even the lure of Rachel turning 30 on "Friends" wasn't enough for NBC to win the 8 to 9 p.m. hour. NBC, which programmed a 40-minute "Friends" and a 20-minute "SNL" against "Survivor," came in second from 8 to 9 p.m.

KEL SPEAKS: Kel, booted last week, told National Review Online: "What I learned is in today's culture, you are guilty until proven innocent." He was accused of hiding and eating beef jerky but none was found. "I had to prove my innocence. That is always going to haunt me for the rest of my life. When people meet me, that will be one of the first things they think of."

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