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How come Survivors aren't starving these days?

How come the Survivors don't look as thin these days? Will "Project Greenlight" ever return? Plus: History "House" shows live on across the pond; reader comments.
/ Source: msnbc.com

Wondering about how a certain reality show pulled something off? Have a question about a certain contestant?

Whether it's "Survivor," "American Idol," "The Apprentice," "Real World" or another show, . Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, MSNBC.com's Television Editor, and Andy Dehnart, creator of ,will try to answer them.

Before you send in your question, — you may be able to get your answer right away.

Q: During the first few years of 'Survivor,' the contestants lost massive amounts of weight and really looked as if they were on the verge of starvation.  Has that changed?  The contestants no longer lose a lot of weight and seem to have a basic diet that was lacking in the first episodes.

A: The best way to answer that question is to look at the difference between the cast members during the last Tribal Council and then during the live reunion, when the winner is revealed. Besides having taken a shower and changed clothes, the contestants often look different because they've gained back the weight. (The most notable example ever was probably Colby from "Survivor Australia", who'd bulked up so much he looked like a different person.)

Still, the series has unquestionably downplayed the starvation angle in recent years, focusing instead on the mental game that's being played. The recent locations, too, have offered some natural sources of food. But there's still plenty of hunger among the cast members, including during "Survivor Fiji," when the tribe that didn't live in luxury spent a lot of time lying around talking about how hungry and thirsty they were.

Food shortages will be more apparent on this fall's "Survivor China." Jeff Probst tells Entertainment Weekly this week that "Food won't be as plentiful. In fact, we're giving them rice because I don't think they'd do very well without it."    —A.D.

Q: What was the deal with 'Project Greenlight's' cancelation? It was definately more informative and interesting than 'On the Lot's' 'American Idol'-ish approach. Is there a movement to bring it back?    —Jeff, Phoenix

A: "Project Greenlight" lasted for three seasons, surviving three box-office bombs and one network change (it moved from HBO to Bravo for its third season). And yes, it was a million times better than "On the Lot."

In 2005, executive producer Matt Damon said that the series could return if the third season's film did well. But alas, "Feast" was given only two late-night showings in theatres, and earned just $56,000 in the United States, the worst box-office performance yet for any film in the franchise.

Thus, the series is pretty much dead. If there is a movement to bring it back, it's not very visible; an has only gathered 372 signatures so far. However, there are threads of the series that live on through its cast. Most significantly, the screenwriters (Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton) and director (John Gulager) who won the third season are working on two sequels to "Feast."

In addition, the show helped launch a few stars. Most notably, Shia LaBeouf starred in the second-season film "The Battle of Shaker Heights," and went on to star in movies such as "I, Robot," "Transformers," and soon the fourth "Indiana Jones."    —A.D.

MORE ON HISTORY 'HOUSE' SHOWSLast week, a reader asked about applying for , such as "Manor House." We responded that it's been a long break between such shows, and we don't know of any more coming up.

A reader reports that U.K. residents may be a little luckier — they have continued to have such shows.

Said Paul: "Currently in the UK they are filming a 1920's period house about Welsh miners and a couple of years ago there was one called 'The Trench' about soldiers in WW1 conditions."

The first show Paul references, called can be read about here, but it looks like it will only show on BBC Wales.  If PBS picks any of these up, we'll be sure to let you know.   —G.F.C.

READER COMMENTS:
MODELS AREN'T AMAZING
"When will the producers of The Amazing Race realize that the reason their ratings have slipped is because they no longer feature real people, but aspiring actors/actresses/models? I would like to suggest ‘The Amazing Race: Real People’ edition and of course, I would love to volunteer to be on it."    —Anonymous

SHOW SUGGESTION
"How about a reality show on the sponge divers in Tarpon Springs, FL. Very unusual and interesting line of work."    —Jami, Tarpon Springs, FL

SABRA SHOULDN'T HAVE WONAm I the only "So You Think You Can Dance" fan who was shocked and stunned to hear the results that Sabra won the title of America's Favorite Dancer? I think that Danny, Neil, and Lacy were much more talented, much more expressive, much more entertaining, and much more versatile dancers during Season 3 of my favorite reality TV show. Isn't it a strange coincidence how executive producer Nigel Lythgoe crowned Sabra his favorite dancer during the final competition and how he let his opinion be known that he would prefer a woman to win this year?    —Tom

'IDOL' SHOULD CHANGE“Why doesn’t Idol use a voting limit like 'Dancing with the Stars'? It seems awfully unfair for the votes to be limitless.”    —Jerry

TRUMP IS SO OVER"Are people going to watch Donald Trump? Isn't he done yet?"    --MK

HATES REALITY"When will the networks EVER stop these inane, asinine, boring, reality farces? They must be really cheap to produce because nobody I know watches these dumbassed shows. Thank God for video stores; at least there is something to watch; even though I have to pay NOT to watch so called reality farces! It is a 6 way tie for first place for the worst one. What a joke!"    --Ken

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