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Survivor Hype

Saturday, March 31, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Our long national nightmare is over. Evil Jerri was canned, sent packing, told to hit the road, sent outta the Outback.

And America rejoices.

Well, almost everyone. Hometown Hottie Amber seemed shocked -- SHOCKED! -- to discover her bestest friend got the boot. I think we can add Amber to the Outback's endangered species list.

Even as we sing "Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead," there's a hint of sadness over Jerri's expulsion. The Outback won't be the same without its leading viper. Who else will drool so openly for Colby? Who else will run the Barramundi kitchen with an iron fist that would make Mussolini proud? Who else will utter such plainly insincere lines as, "Things come out of my mouth in frustration and stress, and I want to suck them back in because they're not things I would normally say"?

BEST LOOK: Jerri's face when Colby started doling out coral after the pair won an award challenge and got to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Smart guy Colby brought back a trinket for everyone. Jerri had nothing to give, but an expression that said "I'm sunk."

BEST LINE: "Most days she gets up in a good mood, but, oh baby, look out if she gets up in a bad mood," Rodger said as he cast a ballot for Jerri's dismissal.

READING "SURVIVOR": You can tell what won't happen by the way "Survivor" is edited. At 30 minutes past the hour, all the former Ogakors talked about voting Nick off, a sure sign Nick would win the immunity challenge, preventing him from being voted off.

"AND HELP HER WIN THE MILLION. AMEN.": A KDKA news promo suggested a report on the late news would feature a church group that prays for an Amber victory. I don't know about you, but my guess is God is a busy deity and prayers about a game show contestant must seem pretty trivial. Happily, the people interviewed never mentioned such prayers, which wouldn't help now anyway -- the show was filmed last year.

WHERE'S THAT OTHER SIDE? In interviews before the latest "Survivor" premiere, executive producer Mark Burnett and CBS Entertainment president Nancy Tellem both talked about Amber's self-described Jekyll & Hyde act: She can be sweet and nice, but she's also capable of conniving. So far we haven't seen it. Now that Amber is no longer on Jerri's leash, maybe that other side will emerge.

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