Reality Check: CMU student sent packing from 'Nerds'

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It is a debate that spans centuries and galaxies: Which is the better nerd universe, "Star Wars" or "Star Trek"?

The cast of "King of the Nerds" (TBS, Thursdays) embraced this challenge this week with the enthusiasm of an NBC "Today" host in Sochi, Russia, studying up for a competition that took place before a live audience and (gasp!) guest judge Billy Dee Williams.

If you must ask his place in "Star Wars" lore, you would have no business being on this show or so it would seem. One of the Midas Touch members -- a med student -- really didn't know and was faking his part of the debate really well until he stupidly admitted the ruse.

This gave the win to Titans of Rigel, and despite her former teammates' attempts to keep Katie Correll safe from elimination, the Carnegie Mellon University ETC student was put on the hot seat. To be precise, it was a spelling bee in a library. (One nerd pointed out that libraries are a nerd natural habitat.)

Alas, she wasn't quick enough to buzz in on the final question and was sent home. This being "King of the Nerds," Ms. Correll was blown up via CGI, leaving a big purple splotch on the steps of Nerdvana.

There were Orcs, a Jersey Devil and a Chupacabra, all sorts of strange creatures on "Face Off" (Syfy, Tuesdays). The artists were teamed in pairs to create cryptids: creatures of lore from around the world.

Tyler Green, a graduate of the Tom Savini Special Make-Up Effects program at the Douglas Education Center in Monessen, and partner Chloe Sens drew a Mapinguari, which had to have one eye in the middle of its head as well as a mouth at the stomach. It also had to have hair, which almost always looks cheesy. But they nailed the challenge, impressing the judges with a monster that was frightening yet somewhat of a cool throwback to sci-fi of the '60s. Judge Glenn Hetrick said he'd love to see Captain Kirk fight it (it was a very "Star Trek" week on TV).

For those who like their reality television extra mindless, there is CMT's "Party Down South," which throws together a bunch of young folks of varying degrees of attractiveness. They are at a beach in South Carolina, and it's amazing how quickly a few beers can make friends of strangers.

But there is trouble in paradise. TMZ reveals the cast members want raises for seasons two and three; reportedly, they each got $500 per episode. Although CMT reportedly offered to double the salaries, at least one woman, Mattie Breaux, is threatening to quit.

Maria Sciullo: or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.

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