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Vacation From Reality

The reality-show mainstays are all sputtering to the season’s close, which makes it a risky time for the networks. How can they ensure that fans like me won’t detox from the genre entirely? I’d consider the real estate maxim: location location location. Survivor doesn’t need help: Its producers already know to keep it foreign and beach-friendly. And fixing The Amazing Race is simple: Stop with the four-member family editions and get out of our own boring back yard. Hearing that teams have to go to Utah sounds as exciting as discovering you have to fly to Cleveland for an orthodontics convention; I want it two-person lean and Third World mean, with contestants in tears over squeezing onto a commuter train in New Delhi, or having their tuk tuk malfunction in Bangkok. America’s Next Top Model whacked its two juiciest and strongest troublemakers — Lisa and Kim — too early, leaving a boring and predictable final three. But aside from needing to give that husky-voiced wacko Janice Dickinson whatever it takes to come back as a judge, why not also sic her on a batch of feral Eastern European hopefuls: Didn’t a recent New York Times article note that Estonia is where all the top models are from anyway? And lastly, The Apprentice has already decided to shake things up next year by forgoing New York pavement-pounding for L.A.’s convertible-cruising business culture. The year after that? Head to China. Don’t they own America’s commercial future anyway?