Q: Why is CBS changing the time slot and now the day of “The Amazing Race”? Why do the higher-ups keep trying to fix something that isn’t broken? —Jonnie
Andy says: Well, the problem is, “The Amazing Race” is broken, at least in terms of its ratings. Earlier this spring, the show moved to a later, “American Idol”-free timeslot when it returned for its ninth season. Although the show thankfully abandoned the experimental “family” format and returned to its roots — in addition to leaving the US — its ratings didn’t rebound.
Last week, only 9.2 million watched the show, its lowest ratings yet this season. That’s also a drop of more than 3 million viewers a week from the seventh season, which aired last spring.
Thus CBS moved it to Wednesdays at 8. That hour has less competition, and is usually “Idol”-free. We’ll know soon whether or not that experiment worked.
Gael says: "The Amazing Race" is definitely one of the most popular shows among people who write in to us. It's critically acclaimed, award-winning, and has an absolutely devoted following. And ratings were rising for a while. But it does seem that it's forever a battle for "TAR" to pull in enough viewers to impress network suits.
People write in often to ask us why we don't maintain a weekly chart for the show, as we do for others. And I'd love to add one, should we have time and staff. But the fact is it draws 9.2 million to "Survivor's" 16.2 million and "American Idol's" 31.7 million. Even Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" outdraws it, though not by that much.
So "Race" fans, keep encouraging those friends to tune in — preferably by the millions. I'd hate to see the show join the ranks of and wistfully invoked for years by those who loved it.
Q: What happened to ABC’s Extreme Makeover? Will it return? —Holly
A: The predecessor to ABC’s insanely popular “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” aired 53 plastic surgery-intensive episodes and gave birth to a new reality TV subgenre that included such gems as “The Swan.”
The show aired its last episode in the summer of 2005, and it doesn’t appear to be coming back. ABC didn’t return a call for comment by press time, and the show’s web site just says “The next episode of Extreme Makeover has not yet been scheduled.”
Considering the success of feel-good shows like “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and the waning popularity of exploitative gross-out shows such as ABC’s older makeover sibling has probably been retired for good. —A.D.
Q: I am looking for a show I caught last week and now can’t remember the name or the channel. It was about a bunch of poor young adults being paired with millionaires, and each week a pair gets voted off. —Cathy
A: Sounds like you mean which airs on the WB Fridays at 8 p.m. ET, hosted by Hal Sparks, of "Queer As Folk" and eight zillion "I Love the Whatevers" shows on VH1.
Think “Beauty and the Geek” only with poor and rich instead of geeky/smart and beautiful/dumb. Seven young people, worth from $15 million to $1 billion, and seven others, with debts ranging from $30,000 to $1200, are thrown together to live in a mansion, perform challenges, and see one pair sent home every week. The winning pair splits a $200,000 prize, which means a heck of a lot to the poor kids, but next to nothing to the others. ("Oh! Dinner." sneered a richie on the premiere.)
Warning: Unless you're in the Paris Hilton monetary class, the show is likely to have you throwing things at your TV in frustration at the inequality of income in the world. Kids who can barely pay rent and hold down multiple jobs find themselves living with people who wear $30,000 watches and wash their hair with Evian water.
And is there a law now in the higher-income circles that you can't teach your children humility and manners? The rich kids were obviously chosen for their giant egos as much as their bank balances. (Although at least one of the rich kids, T.R., that "we were all definitely hamming it up.") Sadly, the most down-to-earth rich kid, Kat Moon (daughter of Sun Myung Moon), worth an estimated $989 million, was voted off at the end of the first episode. —G.F.C.
Q: Is the most recent “Apprentice” episode rerun on MSNBC, and if so, when? —Carlyn
A: It's rerun on CNBC, not MSNBC, at 9 p.m. ET and midnight ET Sundays, according to . —G.F.C.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is MSNBC.com's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news.