"If you can't beat 'em, mock 'em." That's the attitude NBC is taking with its Thursday night foe, Survivor. In a stunt that kicked off earlier this month, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has been pitting two celebrity survivor teams consisting of stars from '70s and '80s TV against each other. Like CBS's reality smash, one performer gets knocked off each week (in this case, Friday), but instead of a $1 million grand prize, the winner of this contest goes home with nothing more than bragging rights.
Members of the the Topanga tribe include Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family), Dawn Wells (Gilligan's Island), Alison Arngrim (Little House on the Prairie) and Gary Coleman (Diff'rent Strokes). Comprising the Cahuenga team are Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch), Charlene Tilton (Dallas), Jerry Mathers (Leave It to Beaver) and Adam Rich (Eight Is Enough).
The Topanga team won the first night's contest by finding a hidden cell phone. Last Friday's challenge was more akin to the real Survivor: Contestants consumed Spam, a brussels sprout, a fish eye, and a bug! "It's Danny's fault," chuckles Arngrim, aka Little House's nasty Nellie Olsen. "He joked to the producers, 'Are you going to make us eat bugs like on the real Survivor?' Thank God, I'm a vegetarian. I ate the fish eye; Danny ate the bug."
Arngrim admits that she's been drawing on her Nellie roots to make it to the final night. "I'm already taping promos where I say that I'll kill the other two when it gets down to three of us," she reveals. "It's going to come down to the women. Adam and Gary have already been voted off. That doesn't bode well for Danny and Jerry." Who's the toughest opponent? "Florence Henderson," she insists. "This woman does not fool around. She'll have you for breakfast!"