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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Jeff Probst, the Pope Needs You!

Well, radical rumors are swirling around the Vatican just a few days before the first Papal election in over 26 years. The latest one though is potentially good news for CBS. According to a well-placed source, who knows someone, who claims to be a janitor at the Vatican, the College of Cardinals have decided to discard (-inal) the entire election process and replace it with something more dramatic, that will continue to focus world attention on the church.

Yes, Survivor is coming to the Holy See! (Survivor: Vatican City is the expected title.) Hosted by Jeff Probst and co-broadcast by CBS and EWTN, the long running reality hit will incorporate the College of Cardinals as its cast for next season. Cardinals will compete in various events designed to test their physical, intellectual, and spiritual prowess. Games will include translating catechisms into Latin from various languages and back again, quoting scriptural chapter in verse from memory, prayer marathons, and also, reportedly, catching and wrestling a greased piglet to the ground in St. Peter's Square.

Also, in keeping with the traditions of the show, and church politics, will form tribes and vote each other out of Vatican City. Immunities on the show will not only protect individual Cardinals from being "voted off the city" but also will serve as protections against later excommunication. CBS hopes that this will promote a freewheeling, "Anything Goes" attitude amongst the Cardinals. (EWTN hopes it will mean they are all still members of the church when the new Pope takes office.)

Once the Cardinals have been whittled away to one, the white smoke will puff again from the roof of the Sistine Chapel (in HDTV, where available) and the new Pope will emerge, having outwitted, outplayed, outlasted (and in some cases, unfortunately, outlived) his competition.

Note: EWTN has guaranteed that none of the Cardinals will appear naked on the series, which would have been a ratings-breaker for both networks.


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