Vicious competition dominated television last week. After ABC added an extra night of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to counter CBS's Survivor, Americans had to choose between watching real people withstand Regis Philbin's questions and watching real people withstand adverse conditions and 15 other disagreeable castaways. Add to that ESPN's broadcast of the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, and the carnage of human ego was inescapable.
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE
HOST The irrepressible inquisitor Regis Philbin SETTING Orwellian studio in Manhattan ELIMINATED CONTESTANT Jim Faggiana, who mistakenly identified violinist Midori as a cellist VIEWERS TUNED IN To see if they're smarter than the contestants
HOST The somber camp counselor Jeff Probst SETTING Rat-infested island near Borneo ELIMINATED CONTESTANT Sonja Christopher, 62, voted off the island for being "weakest link" VIEWERS TUNED IN To see if anyone had sex
NATIONAL SPELLING BEE
HOST The officious "pronouncer" Dr. Alex Cameron SETTING Hotel ballroom in Washington ELIMINATED CONTESTANT Sean Conley, 12, who misspelled the word apotropaic VIEWERS TUNED IN To see if they're smarter than 12-year-olds