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‘Pirate Master’ cancellation followed by tragedy

What happened to "Pirate Master"? And "Work Out"? Wasn't a "Dance" contestant supposed to return? And where are those cute "Meerkat Manor" residents?
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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,'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: Please tell us what happened to Pirate Masters. Was one contestant's suicide the reason for canceling the show? And what happens to the prize money when a show is cancelled?    —Debbie, California

A: CBS' "Pirate Master" debuted seven years to the day that "Survivor" debuted, and while the two shows shared a lot in common, the pirates were destined for a different fate: cancellation.

At the end of July, CBS pulled the plug, although the remaining five episodes are being every Tuesday.

Thus, the show, which has already been taped, will continue, just online instead of on TV, and the prize money will be awarded.

Ratings for the show dropped over time, as viewers didn't seem to connect with it as much as they had with "Survivor," even though both were produced by Mark Burnett. Visually, the show was perhaps even more stunning than "Survivor," but there was just one challenge per episode, and the game elements made it seem like a somewhat watered-down version of "Survivor," especially at first.

A few days after the cancellation, cast members and fans got even worse news: Contestant , who was the fourth person "cut adrift" on the show and was a district attorney in Reno, died that Friday of an apparent suicide. Cast members revealed their grief over her loss in online postings that weekend; despite having competed against one another, many remain very close.

Earlier, in a MySpace posting on a fellow cast member's page, Cheryl wrote, "Truthfully, I've lost the strong Cherl (sic) and I'm just floating around lost. And this frik'n show doesn't help because it was such a contention between Ryan and I and plus its not getting good reviews.....then I made National Enquirer today so I'm just hitting it big....the hits keep on coming." Ryan was her boyfriend, and he died from suicide earlier this summer.

In a statement, CBS said, "Everyone at CBS who knew her is shocked and saddened by the news of Cheryl Kosewicz's untimely and unexpected passing. We will remember Cheryl for her extraordinary energy and compassion and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends."    —A.D.

Q: What happened with "Work Out" on Bravo this season? Did they cut it short because of Doug's death?    —Amy, Cleveland

A: Setting aside for a moment the horrible tragedy that the "Work Out" cast endured this season, nothing happened to the show. It was not cut short, and completed its full season on schedule, airing from March through May.

In fact, the second season of "Work Out" aired eight episodes, plus a reunion, while season one actually had fewer episodes, with just six. Those are pretty typical lengths for Bravo's docudrama reality shows.

Trainer did die during production of the second season, and that probably influenced the editing of the whole season, which began with Doug learning of his illness and concluded with the trainers remembering him. That was an obviously unpredictable event, but the editors wove it in with the usual workplace drama from Jackie Warner's gym, which this season included a lot of making out with her trainer -- and former "Amazing Race" cast member -- Rebecca.    —A.D.

Q: Last season on "So You Think You Can Dance," there was a young blonde girl injured in the Vegas episode. I think she may have injured her foot or ankle. She was told that she would have an automatic in for the next season. However we did not see her this season. What happened?    —Pam

A: You mean Claire Callaway, the teenage ballerina from Brownsboro, Alabama, who was told by doctors not to dance on her badly bruised foot. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe did indeed tell her she could re-enter the competition without penalty this season. But at the recent "So You Think You Can Dance" panel at the TV critics' summer press tour, Lythgoe said that Claire was pregnant when this season came around and thus was unable to compete.     --G.F.C.

Q: Is there any word on when or if "Meerkat Manor" will return? I have checked everywhere and am finding no updates on this amazing show.    —Tom, New York

A: Flower and the tribe are back this week: "Meerkat Manor" returns at 8:30 p.m. ET on Aug. 10 on Animal Planet. Although many fans are , try not to get too attached to the cute little mob: the cable channel is already warning viewers that not all of the Whiskers clan will survive this season.    —G.F.C.

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