WCCO Survivor

Surviving the News in the Hometown Team's Summer of Self-Love



Santaniello's report includes a heartening affirmation of the moral worth of reality TV: "Thanks to Big Brother, Jordan says, her exotic-dancing days are behind her." In a flawlessly executed moment of synergy, Santaniello then notes that Jordan has landed a drive-time radio gig at the Point--WCCO's hip sister station. Santaniello closes her report with a programming note about the Big Brother finale, still more than a month away, whereupon co-anchor Don Shelby segues seamlessly ("speaking of television") into a story about Survivor's ratings triumph. And finally, Shelby offers an additional mark-your-calendar note: the re-runs begin in just three weeks!



Provocative Jordan interview runs immediately following Shelby's tribute to mentor and old-school journalist Dave Moore.



Immunity Challenge #11


When network star comes to town on a publicity tour, report on it, but maintain journalistic integrity



On August 31, following up on the Hometown Team's earlier stories that ex-Survivor Rudy--the crotchety ex-Navy Seal--may be Minnesota-bound, 'CCO anchor Don Shelby gets the scoop. "My guy Rudy from the real Survivor is in town and we were told he had dinner with Governor Jesse Ventura," Shelby tells an excited State Fair crowd.



For viewers curious about why WCCO fails to interview Rudy, Shelby explains that the Survivor outcast's agent demanded $1,000. "We took our thousand bucks and bought cheese curds instead," he says. It's unclear whether the ensuing round of applause from the State Fair crowd is for Shelby's hard-line journalistic stance or the prospect of free cheese curds.



Immunity Challenge #12


If network hit comes to the end of its run, concoct your own version, then dare to put it on the news



Two days after the Survivor finale, WCCO airs its own version of the contest, set at the Minnesota State Fair. Dubbed "Surviving the Fair," the segment runs for the duration of the fair and operates according to the same basic principles. There is no money at stake. The ultimate State Fair survivor, a former dairy farmer named Ron who has no lower teeth, must be satisfied with a year's worth of free concert tickets (supplied by the Point!) and a trip to New York to watch the taping of Letterman, The NFL Today, and MTV's live request show TRL (all CBS properties). The eight strangers on the WCCO rooftop compete in various bouts of fair-related gluttony (milk drinking, corn eating) and frivolity (cow washing, butter sculpting). As in the real Survivor, the contestants are divided into two tribes: Nature's Wrath, led by the Point's morning-show producer; and the Huddlemites, dubbed in honor of their captain, WCCO morning anchor Dave Huddleston. The Hometown Team provides both daily updates and full-blown feature reports about the contest. The final installment, a highlight reel of all the high jinks--runs an astounding seven minutes.



No bonus necessary.



Immunity Challenge #13


Incorporate network reruns into the nightly newscast



In the weeks following the synergy-gasm at the State Fair, WCCO viewers could hardly be faulted for suspecting that the Hometown Team had shot its promotional wad. But when CBS announced it would air daily rebroadcasts of Survivor beginning on September 15, the Team seizes the moment. So what if the Hometown Retailer is already discounting Survivor T-shirts? As City Pages goes to press, WCCO is running daily updates on the lives of the Survivor cast.



Weekend anchor John Reger follows a recent CBS-produced Survivor piece with seamless transition to Big Brother, which is "building toward the final episode on September 29." The Hometown Team then broadcasts footage featuring the winner from the U.K. version of Big Brother.

Ka-ching! Ka-ching!


Mike Tronnes, co-editor of Cursor.org, provided research assistance for this story.

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