Polar Opposites Highlight TV’s Return from Reruns

Next week shapes up as a really big week for couch potatoes everywhere.

First, your favorite network shows return after signing off with fall finales. By the way, were you allowed a “fall finale/see you in January” sendoff at your job? Must be nice – not to mention also having the option of going into summer reruns. But, I digress.

The main purpose of this blog is to note the stark contrast between a show returning Monday, The Bachelor, and the special week for a game show that made its TV debut over 50 years ago: Jeopardy! The former could kill your brain cells while the other most certainly will make you smarter.

The Bachelor, incredibly not a typo, returns for its 24th season of “finding love,” says creepy longtime host Chris Harrison. And what a shocker: Just two – TWO – of the “final rose” couples are still together (one married, the other dating). Based on this telling stat, rather than finding love, all those involved might have better luck Finding Nemo.

It’s amazing, especially with the #MeToo movement shedding so much light on sexual misconduct by top executives and even household media names, that this franchise just keeps rolling along. In fact, spinoff The Bachelorette returns for its 16th season later this year.

Yet, I haven’t heard even a whisper of concern from such powerful groups as the National Organization for Women (NOW). Have you?

So, starting Monday, 30 women will vie for the attention of one bachelor – an airline pilot who’s now resurrected from defeat in The Bachelorette. Naturally, the woman who did the rejecting, Hannah Brown, just happens to resurface to annoy the you-know-what out of this season’s contenders.  

As if all of that wasn’t enough, ABC made sure Hannah would also become a participant on Dancing with the Stars. Guess what? She won, no doubt exasperating other “celebrity” dancing contestants who weren’t searching for “love” but rather the nearest bottle of Advil or Tylenol. Even attempting to learn those dances is not easy.

So, who knew that southern belle Hannah was also a Ginger Rogers in the making? Frankly, here’s a tip to the producers: A hidden microphone backstage could have potentially made for quite an entertaining epilogue.

******

However, a polar-opposite competition follows on ABC Tuesday night. Taking a reality-show respite from the usual brain-numbing fodder, here comes something truly worth the hype.

Instead of 30 women, there will be three men competing. And instead of “looking for love,” the depth of their knowledge will be put to the test. While football has its Super Bowl, this would be the competitive equivalent for people who just seem to “know stuff.”

The three contestants are: Computer scientist Ken Jennings, owner of the winning-streak record of 74 straight games in 2004 and taking home $3.37 million; Brad Rutter, the TV host, actor and producer who became the top winner on any TV game show with over  $4.6 million; and James Holzhauer, the professional sports gambler whose “swashbuckling all-in” betting style laid the groundwork for this event. 

Last year, Holzhauer won 32 straight games – including the single-game record of $131,127. He also won the 2019 Tournament of Champions, defeating the person who ended his winning streak en route to taking the crown. His total winnings for the year topped $2.7 million.

The fearsome threesome will compete in a series of consecutive prime-time matches, and the first player to win three will pocket $1 million – and earn bragging rights as the greatest Jeopardy! player of all time.

Game on.

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