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A 'SURVIVOR' CONTESTANT FROM WNY

The man barking orders for the Samburu tribe on "Survivor: Africa" has a Western New York connection.

Frank Garrison, a former staff sergeant in the U.S. Army who now is a telephone technician near Watkins Glen, is a 1976 graduate of Lake Shore Central School. He was born in the Netherlands, his mother's native country, and moved to Western New York as an infant.

His mother, Janett Garrison, lives in Angola and said her son has always loved the outdoors and is an avid fisherman and hunter. He has two sisters who still live in Western New York and two brothers who also were in the service.

Garrison's military attitude was certainly evident in the premiere episode. He made quite an impression, ordering his tribe mates around and barking at them when they were standing around and doing next to nothing.

His demeanor irritated other tribe members, one of whom asked what branch of the service he was in.

"The American Army for Freedom," said Garrison.

Naturally, his mom defends his attitude.

"Frank is a good person, very intelligent. Like all my kids," she said. "He has to give orders and I don't think some of the girls and the guys like it. But he's right. You're out there to do a job. I thought he did a good job. You cannot play games. You are in danger and you have to be prepared to do things. You're not in Hawaii. You are in the wilderness."

Like all Americans, Janett Garrison doesn't know who wins the latest contest and how long her son lasts.

"He said, "I can't tell you, Mom, watch the show,' " she said.

While CBS promos have claimed America is once again fascinated with this reality series, the ratings for the premiere episode were down significantly and it was beaten head-to-head by the NBC sitcom, "Friends."

CBS reran the premiere on Wednesday. But that strategy was a loser locally, perhaps because the premiere did so much better here (18 rating) than it did nationally on Oct. 11.

On Wednesday, the repeat only had a 6.3 local rating and finished third in its time slot to "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" on NBC and "2 0/2 0" on ABC. It did beat Atlanta's victory over Arizona in a National League playoff game on Fox.

The second episode Thursday had tough competition - playing opposite a Bills game with Jacksonville.

e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com

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