The execs behind CBS’ ”Survivor” 2 and NBC’s ”Friends” are vying for prime time supremacy on Thursdays, in a battle for ratings worth way more than a million dollars. But the weekly Nielsen numbers can’t tell us as much about the outcome of this duel as the Web wielding public can.
Elisabeth Filarski already has roughly the same number of Yahoo! Clubs as Courteney Cox Arquette does, which goes to show that this rivalry will be as unpredictable as Colby and Jerri’s romance. And the supporters of the Kucha and Ogakor teams are just as passionate as the people who are infatuated with apartments 19 and 20. So which show’s websites will win big this season?
? MOST OBSESSIVE Despite accusations that the site is in cahoots with exec producer Mark Burnett, SurvivorSucks.com creator Paul Sims insists his ”Survivor” scoops came from scrutinizing every photo, advertisement, and quote for clues. ”I don’t anticipate getting much that way this time,” he says. For ”Friends” fans, meanwhile, fixation is a badge of honor. On the Good Friends site, there’s an Obsession With Friends page, with a bulleted list of telltale personality traits (No. 6: ”You are a webmaster of a ‘Friends’ site”). WINNER ”Friends”
? BIGGEST NEWSHOUND The age old Usenet newsgroup alt.tv. friends is still the Associated Press of the Central Perk crowd. The CNN of the outback is SurvivorNews.net, which tracks sources as far flung as Southern Illinois University’s Daily Egyptian (Kel Gleason’s an alum). WINNER ”Survivor”
? MOST DEVOTED The Holy Altar of Cox the Superb is a religious experience for followers of this cult’s rules, which include making Sept. 22 – the day ”Friends” premiered in 1994 – a ”Holyday.” And while KelGleason.comKelGleason.com and ElisabethFilarski.net do their best with annoying contestants, nothing as zealous as The Rich Dance – which shows Hatch dancing triumphantly – has come along yet. WINNER ”Friends”
? FUNNIEST The anti- ”Friends” contingent couldn’t seem to tear themselves away from ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” long enough to launch a worthwhile We’re Not ”Friends” campaign. But Survivornut.com is already selling paintings of Colleen’s scab encrusted leg and portraits of all the ”Survivor” 2 contestants. WINNER ”Survivor”
The envelope, please: With a five season lead, ”Friends” will stick together for now. But don’t underestimate those tricky ”Survivor” fans: Like Richard Hatch, they’ll do anything to win.
Read All About Survivor for EW.com’s comprehensive coverage.