Reality TV's final frontier

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Now that rats conjures up the image of possible political shenanigans, not what's for dinner on "Survivor," there should be hope that "reality TV" would take its place among the curios of Summer 2000, allowing us to go on to other things.

But wait, there's more - much more - coming. "Survivor" might transport viewers to a remote tropical island or Australia's outback, but what about going really remote like, say, to outer space?

"NBC launches Space Odyssey in 2001 with new reality drama that will select one American to travel to Mir Space Station," the TV network's press release read this week.

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"Destination Mir" will follow a group of Americans to Russia's Star City spaceport and watch as they train for a mission to the aging Russian space station. A single winner will board a Soyuz spacecraft for a catbird-seat peek at Earth from orbit.

In Britain, a new game show called "Jailbreak" challenges 10 contestants to break out of a specially constructed prison, helped by tips from viewers at home. A former prison warden heads a team of 30 that runs the facility just like a real prison and tries to prevent the "Jailbreak," says Reuters news service. "Prisoners" who are caught three times trying to escape must spend 24 hours alone in "the cooler" (whoa, is more rat-eating ahead?).

And yet more. CBS has bought "Race Around the World" for 2001, Variety reports. Eight pairs of teammates will speed to 11 cities in 30 days, performing tasks and trying to keep up.

Sounds to me like one of those "If it's Tuesday, it must be Brussels" tours.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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