By Mike Hughes
Gannett News Service
"Survivor: Africa," 7 p.m.; and "Survivor: Africa Reunion," 9 p.m.; CBS. When the last "Survivor" edition ended CBS had only three finalists. Stretched over two hours that left way too much time for somber soul-searching. Now, for the season finale, it reverts to the plan from the first edition with four finalists. One will be voted out in the first hour; another hand-picked by the winner of the immunity challenge is ousted in the second. That leaves two finalists. Just before 9 p.m., we'll learn who was chosen (by the final nine survivors) to win $1 million. So far, this has clearly lacked the excitement of the first two. We can blame some of that on the site. In the past, there was some room to splash and play and loosen up; this time, under the searing African sun, people could do little except sweat, scheme and survive. And we can blame more on the choice of contenders. "Survivor" works best when some people a Susan Hawk, Rudy Boesch, Jerri Manthey, Michael Skupin work on sheer instinct. This time, people seemed cool and calculating.
"Friends," 7 p.m., NBC. To help Rachel shake her despondency, Joey takes her on a pretend date, which starts to seem quite real.
"Figure Skating: U.S. Championships," 7 p.m., ABC. Here's the male half of the U.S. Championships, which will choose the three U.S. contenders at the Olympics. The lineup includes two people who were there last time Todd Eldredge and Michael Weiss.
"Will & Grace," 7:30 and 8 p.m., NBC. First is a rerun of the episode that included guest shots by Camryn Manheim and Cher. Then comes a new episode with Lesley Ann Warren as the mistress of Will's father.
"Frontline," 10 p.m., PBS. Here's a look at the complex 1997 case of a robbery and shooting in North Carolina.
"Victoria & Albert," 7 p.m., A&E. In the terrific opener we saw the teenaged Victoria (Victoria Hamilton) shakily become queen. In this second half, we see the emergence of Prince Albert (Jonathan Firth). A German nobleman, with little money, he became an outspoken force.