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'Survivor': Cuddling and cookies

There wasn't much screen time for our North Carolina cosmetologist on the second episode of "Survivor: Philippines." But we'll say this for young Dana Lambert — at least she's playing like she's seen this show before. That's not the case with some of her fellow players, whose gameplay was just dumb, dumb, dumb.

To wit, anyone with even a passing interest in "Survivor" knows that you don't align yourself, um, physically with the Sexy Young Thang you just met. But that's exactly what dopey bartender Malcolm does with this season's designated SYT, former Miss Utah Teen Angie. The two, at right, spend a lot of time cuddling up because they say they're cold. But their behavior is just putting big targets on both their backs.

It's also not wise to separate yourself from the rest of your tribe, but that's just what Lisa ("Blair" from TV!) does. The former "Facts of Life" star tells us she's always been a bit of a loner. (And here we thought she was tight with Tootie and Natalie.) On "Survivor," of course, going off on your own usually spells doom.

A slew of new daytime talk shows debut on Monday

Lots of new daytime talk shows debut today, with the most talked about being Katie Couric's new ABC show, "Katie." (Check out our Q&A with Katie from July.)

"Katie" is filmed live in New York City each weekday at 2 p.m. and then airs here at 3 on WTVD. Her first guest today will be Sheryl Crow, who wrote and performs the theme song for the show. Crow will talk for the first time about her recently diagnosed brain tumor. Also today, Jessica Simpson. Later this week, Aimee Copeland, Heidi Klum, Brene Brown and Jennifer Lopez.

Also debuting today are new shows from Jeff Probst ("Survivor") and Ricki Lake, and a retooled Anderson Cooper talk show called "Anderson Live."

"Anderson Live" will air at 11 a.m. on Fox 50; "The Jeff Probst Show" airs at 2 p.m. on NBC-17; and "The Ricki Lake Show" airs at 5 p.m. on Fox 50. "The Steve Harvey Show" debuted last week and airs at 4 p.m. on Fox 50.

Also returning with new seasons today: "The Talk" (2 p.m., WRAL) and "The Ellen Degeneres Show" (4pm, NBC-17).

So if you're at home today, good luck getting anything done!

Winston-Salem cosmetologist competes on 'Survivor'

A 32-year-old cosmetologist from Winston-Salem will join "Blair" from "The Facts of Life," a certified sex therapist, the former Miss Delaware and Major League Baseball's former National League MVP on the next season of "Survivor."

Dana Lambert told Entertainment Weekly that the competition, set in the Phillippines, could be problematic since she's not a strong swimmer: "I've never really swam in the in the ocean, so this will be interesting."

According to the magazine, Lambert has been through rehab for an addiction to amphetamines. As much strength as that must take, Lambert still recognizes that "Survivor" is going to be tough (and we don't just mean putting up with Jeff Probst): "Being on a deserted island is going to be hard no matter what," she said.

You can read more and see a video of Lambert at the EW.com site.

The new season of "Survivor: Phillippines" will start on September 19 on CBS.

'Survivor': I'm in charge here!

Our correspondent (and longtime "Survivor" afficiando) Alec Peters of Raleigh offers his thoughts on this week's episode:

All season, our castaways have confused running their mouths with “being in charge of the game.” Ralph did it when he decided it would be good to tell almost everyone at Zapatera that he had a hidden immunity idol. Then after the Redemption Island duel, when Russell, out of the game forever (please!), went for one last dig at his team, Ralph decided to share news of his idol with everyone there, including Phillip and Kristina from Ometepe. 

That’ll show Russell who’s really in charge! Phillip assured Kristina that he could use this knowledge and his covert federal agent skills to improve her position with Team Boss Boston Rob by promising Rob to give him this intel at the merge. Instead, all Rob had to do was ask once, and Agent Underpants was singing like a canary, while Kristina was on her way to Redemption Island.  Meanwhile, Ralph might was as well have told everyone in Nicaragua that he had a hidden immunity idol.

Then at the last Tribal Council, Krista decided she had nothing to lose and might as well call out the Zapatera Alliance of Six, which we haven’t seen give much thought to long-term strategy beyond throwing a challenge so they could oust Russell. She named the duos and triads in the group, and it didn’t appear to be lost on David that he was odd man out while Steve was working two different duos.  But taking a cue from Ralph’s playbook, Mike decided that Krista’s last gasp couldn’t go unanswered, so he assured Krista (and host Jeff Probst) that they have indeed been talking strategy -- just not when she’s around.  Because, well, she’s not in charge of the game. I couldn’t help but wonder if all of this was news to David.

'Survivor': Good sportsmanship, bad karma

It's Week 2 of "Survivor: Redemption Island," and producer Mark Burnett is up to all his old tricks. He's truly a master at misdirection in the editing room.

For example, when young Matt, right, the spiritual pre-med student, describes the Ometepe tribe as "Camp Harmony with Boston Rob," you know Rob will be unleashing holy hell within minutes.

When evil Russell says that hairy farmer Ralph is "the dumbest person on the face of the Earth," Ralph will soon do something brilliant.

And when certified crazy person (and former federal agent) Phillip declares that no one will beat him, prepare to watch him quickly lose. And to spout some nonsense about uniforms, gallantry and gorillas. Cause that dude is crazy!

'Survivor': Final thoughts on the season

Guess it stands to reason that the odd, disjointed, somewhat dull season that was “Survivor: Nicaragua” ends with an odd, disjointed, somewhat dull reunion show.

Most seem to agree that the best finalist -- lovable goofball Jud "Fabio" Birza -- won the million dollars. (Even if Chase Rice, the former Tar Heel football player, had to settle for second.) It also was nice to North Carolinian Jane Bright win the fan-favorite award and the $100,000 that comes with it.

But this season is not going to go down as one of the best. It may even be one of the worst. There were not enough really interesting players and too many ho-hum ideas. (Don't even mention that quickly aborted "Medallion of Power" mess.)

Thoughts from the reunion show:

'Survivor': And the winner of the Nicaragua season is ...

It’s the last hurrah for the somewhat disappointing “Survivor: Nicaragua” season, and one of our three Tar Heels, Chase Rice, is still in the running.

A strong physical player, Chase's main weakness is his wishy-washy behavior. His alliances with Shannon, Brenda and a fellow North Carolinian, Jane Bright, ended with him helping vote each of them out. "Chase has angered so many people that it is a wonder he is still in the game," host Jeff Probst notes as the finale begins.

Of course, the others in the final five also have their problem spots. Holly Hoffman, the swim coach who is the last woman in the game, initially flipped out and tried to quit. Then she made a lot of enemies on the jury. So has Matthew "Sash" Lenehan, the real estate broker who had side deals with just about everyone.

Jud "Fabio" Birza, the student, is likable but seems a little too goofy to win. Meanwhile, Dan Lembo, a real estate executive, hasn't made any enemies. Mainly because he's barely played the game. In challenges, Probst notes, Dan has been "ineffective or didn’t participate at all."

So can Chase, a former UNC football player, defeat Holly, Sash, Fabio or Dan? Don't read any further if you don't want to know.

Survivor host Probst on Raleigh's Sydney Wheeler

Raleigh's Sydney Wheeler got voted off Survivor: Tocantins this week, despite the fact that pretty much every male being associated with the show was totally captivated by her beauty and wanted to cry when she left (I'm pretty sure Joe did cry later).

Survivor host Jeff Probst, while obviously a fan of Sydney's model looks, had some "honest" stuff to say about her in his weekly blog on Entertainment Weekly's website:

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