My television watching habits are pretty basic.
An interesting ballgame, plenty of SportsCenter highlights, the local news, a good movie. Not much time to get involved in much else.
Oh ... and plenty of "Survivor."
I've been hooked since the second season. I hadn't watched the first season, which aired in the fall of 2000, until a local downtown bar had a huge party for the season finale. The CBS reality show was a massive hit, and 125 million people watched the final episode. After Richard Hatch claimed the first title, "Survivor" since has been must-see TV.
The 26th season of the show is under way, and it continues to be compelling, yet so simple. Throw a bunch of strangers on a remote island, have them vote each other off the island until one is left after 39 days. No rules.
The scenery is breathtaking and the challenges are entertaining, but the personalities make the show.
Boston Rob. Coach. Parvati. Russell. Cochran. Sandra. Colby. Big Tom. Phillip.
If you're a fan, you're nodding your head. If you're not, you've already turned the page.
After years of watching people outlast, outwit and outplay each other, it's time for "Survivor" host and producer Jeff Probst to indulge me and put someone with a local tie on one of the islands.
Hold on. Wait a second. Not me. No chance.
America doesn't need to see me shirtless with a farmer's tan on the beach chopping coconuts and building bamboo huts. Enjoyment while watching "Survivor" doesn't equal a willingness to participate. Plus, I already asked my youngest daughter (a fan of the show as well) if she would be the family member who comes to visit me on the island (a show staple each season). Her response: "Are you kidding?"
The folks at "Survivor" aren't idiots. The show has plenty of Joe Sixpacks and Suzy Homemakers, many of whom have fared well, but producers have made sure plenty of male models and pageant queens have been marooned on the island in recent years.
Lately, the pageant queens haven't done well. Hope Driskill of Jefferson City, Mo., was Miss Missouri USA 2011. She barely spoke and lasted seven days on the current show in the Caramoan Islands. Angie Layton, a former Miss Utah and a third runner-up in the Miss Teen USA pageant, lasted eight days last year in the Philippines. (She will be remembered for asking Probst for cookies.) Katie Hanson, a former Miss Delaware, was voted out eight days after Layton.
However, Ashley Underwood, a former Miss Maine, made it to Day 38 in Season 22 on Redemption Island. Amanda Kimmel, a former Miss Montana USA, was a runner-up in Micronesia and China, and Danni Boatwright, a former Miss Kansas USA and a Miss USA runner-up, won $1 million in Guatemala. So the queens have ruled before.
A former casting director from "Survivor" once told the "Reality Blurred" website that ideal cast members "have really strong opinions, they know who they are, they have a foundation, they've worked, they're in college or a fraternity. ... The perfect contestant exudes sex, conflict and humor."
So how about Miss Illinois Megan Ervin?
She's from a small town (Rushville, pop. 3,192) and a college student with an engaging personality, so she should do well socially around camp. Ever seen her work a crowd? She's just as captivating talking to 7-year-old girls begging for an autograph or shooting the bull with 60-year-old businessmen who want photos taken with her.
She's a former basketball player and was a high jumper during her high school days, which means she should do well in challenges. The fact she won a preliminary competition in the lifestyle and fitness -- also known as the swimsuit -- category at this year's Miss America pageant proves she's certainly physically fit.
If show producers are determined to meet a quota of at least one pageant queen each year, why not Ervin?
How about it, Jeff?