When ‘live’ is really ‘Memorex’

Dear CBS:
At risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, or somebody who should just get a life, something about last Thursday’s final episode of “Survivor II: The Australian Outback” just doesn’t sit right with me.
No, it wasn’t Colby’s lame-brained decision to vote Keith out instead of Tina. Nor the fact the most exciting thing the last three did on their final day together was making silly little idols they later tossed into a waterfall.
It was a little something called credibility.
I’ll be honest, the little plot twist at the end was cool. You know, when host Jeff Probst grabbed the container holding the deciding seven votes and, instead of counting them right then and there, was whisked away by helicopter to open it once they all got back Stateside.
Talk about a cliffhanger!
My problem, oh wise ones at CBS, was when we came back from commercial to see the helicopter carrying Jeff and the “ballot box” flying in with the words, “Live from Los Angeles” prominently displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the image.
And, in fact, I believe the viewing public was led to believe the final vote would be revealed “live.” As in as we speak.
Well, if memory serves correct, the segment with the helicopter flying towards the studio in L.A. aired on the Duluth CBS affiliate around 8:45-8:50 p.m. Central Daylight Time. And, as I recall, a hint of daylight was still glowing outside my basement window here in Fort Frances at that time.
Going way back to high school geography, I know that Los Angeles is located west of Fort Frances (okay, southwest if you want to be exact). And I also know, going way back to high school science, that the sun sets in the west.
Thirdly, because we here in Fort Frances get BCTV, I know the programs it airs come on two hours later than advertised, meaning that 8:50 p.m. CDT translates into 6:50 p.m. out on the Pacific coast.
So why is it, then, that the “live” shot of the helicopter carrying Jeff and the final seven votes happened at nighttime?
Is it just me? Was not the helicopter making its dramatic arrival at the CBS studio with the blazing lights of L.A. as the backdrop? Was I hallucinating, or is Los Angeles in some kind of time warp whereby the sun sets there ahead of the middle half of the continent?
If the latter is the case, as a journalist, I wonder how we all missed that story?!
Look, I was no “Survivor” maniac. I didn’t spend my waking hours mumbling “Shrimp on the barbie,” “Fosters–Australian for beer,” “Paul Hogan rocks,” and “Barramundi rules.” But I did watch most of the episodes, and I was interested enough to find out who won the big bucks at the end.
I’m also not so naive as to realize a lot of editing–and scripting–went into producing such a show. But, c’mon, what idiot at CBS thought no one would notice that the “live” shot of the helicopter flying over Los Angeles occurred at what looked like midnight rather than early evening (PDT).
To think I actually believed credibility still meant something–even when it’s faked on TV. Thanks, CBS.
Mike Behan,
Fort Frances, Ont.
P.S. I would suggest Northwestern Ontario in the dead of winter as the setting for the next show but as someone pointed out, that wouldn’t allow for the women to wear skimpy outfits the whole time. Alas, guess we’ll have to settle for “Survivor III: The Florida Keys.”
Just make sure you hire someone who understands the concept of time zones for your dramatic finish next time around, or, hey, actually do it “live.”

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