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‘Free gas for life’ isn’t unlimited prize

Plus:  Are more seasons of  "Survivor" and "Amazing Race" due on DVD? What's the "Airline" theme song?
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We get some great questions each week, but we also get some e-mail that doesn't ask a question, just offers a comment on the state of reality TV. Before we get to the questions this week, here are two comments that came in this week and that we especially enjoyed.

"Why is it that 'Fear Factor' doesn't tackle fears? I am puzzled by that. I would like to see a group of people who are afraid of clowns, or people who are afraid of frogs. To me that is fear, the stunts they have are not fears, just outrageous stunts."    --Debbie

"Wow...I just saw 'Trading Spouses' and the bible thumper from LA needs to win the most outrageous reality moment in history. Send that women to a nunnery! (or a loony bin)."    --Ed

And remember, your question may have already been answered, so before sending it in.

Q: On "The Amazing Race" [recently], the team that came in first place won gas for life. What are the guidelines or restrictions they must follow?    —Rachel

A: When "Amazing Race" teams arrive in first place at a pit stop, host Phil Keoghan sometimes has great news for them. In addition to being the first team to depart on the next leg, they also receive prizes.

Often, the prizes Phil gives are trips, so that the team can travel after the race and be able to actually spend time and appreciate the places they visit. This season, the Bransen family -- a dad and his three daughters — arrived in first place at a pit stop and received what sounded like the coolest prize ever. Each family member received free gas for life from BP, which is one of the sponsors this season.

Of course, BP made sure that the Bransens don't supply all of their friends and families with as much gas as they want forever. Each Bransen will receive a gas card that is worth $1,200 per year, good for 50 years, TV Guide reported recently. Thus, as gas prices rise, they'll be able to purchase less and less gas. Who knows: In 50 years, $1,200 might buy a half-gallon of premium.

But the Bransens are probably not complaining. The prize has a value of $60,000 for each person, and is worth $240,000 in total.    —A.D.

Q: I am a huge 'Amazing Race' and 'Survivor' junkie, and I have finished the DVDs they have out. Any word on when we are going to get more? It seems like it has been a long time since a new 'Survivor' came out on DVD.    —Julie

A: The last "Survivor" to have its complete season released on DVD was the Australian Outback season, which came out in April. Before that, the original Borneo season and 2004's All-Stars season were released on DVD. I'd guess that they're releasing them in order of viewer demand, because they sure are jumping around. Anyway, next February (scheduled for Feb. 7), the Pearl Islands season is due out on DVD.

As for "Amazing Race," the first season came out in September. Look for season seven (that's the controversial Rob-Amber and Uchenna-Joyce season) to come out Dec. 20 of this year, just in time for holiday gifts. Or so you can run the controversial airplane door-closing episode over and over and let your visiting family vote on whether it was fair or not. That is truly the reality-show topic that will never die. (Don't write to us about it! Write to CBS!)    —G.F.C.

Q: What is the name of the catchy little ditty that is the current theme song for "Airline"?     —Katie

A:I tried to answer this last week, but realized late that "Airline" changed its theme song.

A representative for A&E says the current theme song is called "Closer to You (37,000 Feet)," was composed by Mike Palmer especially for the series. It cannot be purchased anywhere.

The former theme song was the John Denver-penned "Leaving on a Jet Plane." (Slate once questioned the song's choice as a theme song by pointing out Denver died in a plane crash, though it was an experimental small plane, not a jet.) The peppy version of the song that "Airline" used was recorded by singer Jimmy Coup. You can't buy that song anywhere, either, but you can check out Coup's Web site for more on the singer himself.    —G.F.C.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news.