.Trucker Susan Hawk wasn't the only one to go ballistic on Survivor's finale night. About 15,000 Comcast Corp. cable subscribers watching CBS in Philadelphia did, too. A modulator failed, causing an outage that disrupted only CBS' signal during Survivor: The Reunion between 10:15 p.m. and 11:10 p.m. Aug. 23, Comcast spokesman David Shane explained. Luckily, Comcast had staffed up just in case, so it was able to quickly field subscriber complaints and repair the glitch, he added. That Bryant Gumbel-hosted hour drew "only" 39 million viewers nationally, down from nearly 52 million who saw the tribal council give Richard Hatch the $1 million. CBS' Philly affiliate, KYW-TV, reran the hour special after its late newscast.
.Speaking of Survivor, it looks like Hatch-dubbed "King Rat" by New York Daily News front-page headline writers-and Rudy Boesch will be among the castaways stretching their 15 minutes of fame. The former will be a presenter at MTV: Music Television's Sept. 7 Video Music Awards event at Radio City Music Hall. (That's not welcome news to actor Richard Hatch, who starred on ABC's old Battlestar Galactica series, recently rerun on Sci Fi Channel. He told TV Guide Online last week that he's miffed. Maybe that's why our newest millionaire has lately begun using the name Rich Hatch?) Meanwhile, Rudy will play a gruff old Navy guy-in other words, himself-on CBS' JAG. By the time that episode repeats on USA Network, viewers will scratch their heads and say, "Who is that guy, anyway?"
.Moving on to rats and snakes of a different sort, some people will do anything for a piece of Hollywood memorabilia. First, there was the Academy Awards fiasco, with shipping-dock workers stealing 55 golden Oscars. Then felons hijacked Everybody Loves Raymond screening tapes made by a duplication house so the sitcom's producers could mail them to Emmy Award voters. But if crooks want to snatch this year's Emmy statuettes, they will have to become invisible. That's because the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has decided to hide the winged trophies in plain sight. For the first time, the 27 Emmys yet to be presented (the non-televised creative award ceremony has already been held) are on public display at Universal Studios Hollywood. They will be there-under guard-for the oohing and ahhing pleasure of the unwashed masses until shortly before ABC's live Sept. 10 telecast. That's as close as most of us will ever get to them.
.In a PR version of Turner Network Television's Bull, two top publicists from Bob Gold & Associates jumped ship to form their own PR shop. Long Beach, Calif.-based Jeffrey Rosenberg and Suzanne Wright hit the phones last week, looking to sign up clients in the interactive-television space, which Rosenberg said would be their focus. At Gold, the duo represented accounts like ICTV Inc. and Canal Plus U.S. Technologies.
. A& E Network's Biography Magazine is publishing its readers' "top 20 favorite TV characters of all time" in its September issue The boomer-centric list started with 1960s characters. The top five, based on more than 30,000 responses, are Alex Keaton (played by Michael J. Fox on Family Ties); Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy); "Hawkeye" (Alan Alda on M*A*S*H); Rose (Betty White on The Golden Girls); and Fonzie (Henry Winkler on Happy Days). Meanwhile, A & E is about to ask students to write essays by Nov. 1 on the real-life person who made the biggest impact on the world in 2000 as a tie-in to its year-end Biography of the Year special. Let's hope it's not Rich Hatch. Two grand-prize winners will get $5,000 savings bonds.