Survivor’s Big Tom Buchanan is back on ‘Family Beef’

Big Tom and family on National Geographic Channel's ‘Family Beef’ at 9 p.m. Photo: Facebook/Family Beef

WASHINGTON, August 7, 2013 — Big Tom Buchanan was a standout contestant on “Survivor: Africa” and “Survivor: All Stars.” Although he didn’t win either time, his amicable nature and comedic demeanor endeared him to his teammates and the TV audience.

The third time TV came knocking it was in the form of a reality show about life on his family’s 2000 acre cattle farm. After two stints on “Survivor,” this idea probably sounded like a cake walk to Big Tom. All he had to do was let National Geographic film three generations of Buchanans as they went about the business of running a family farm.

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But reality TV is a double edged sword. On the one hand there seems to be a need for drama that often puts the casts in ridiculous positions. On the other hand the lack of drama means the gap must be filled with humor, preferably from unique characters. It’s a lot to ask from the major networks, and even more from basic cable.

But Big Tom has proven he has the ability to steal the show. His fun loving and quick witted personality is a result of the interaction with the people around him the most. If Big Tom’s family is anything like him, the result could be a truly entertaining show.

“Family Beef” is about a part of America that is disappearing fast; the working family farm. Once considered the backbone of America, the family farm gave way to the corporate farm and the lure of suburbia a long time ago.

But, in recent years the hectic pace of our techno driven society has people questioning the direction of their lives. A multi-generational and self sufficient farm may be a thing of the past, but more people every day yearn for just such an existence.

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With all the reality shows on TV that celebrate bad behavior and ridiculously contrived drama, let’s hope “Family Beef” lives up to all of our expectations. Let’s hope it confirms what we already suspect, that a simple life with a hard working family is not a curse, but a blessing.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

8 p.m.

ABC: The Middle: (Repeat) After being fired from the car dealership and vowing not to take any job that comes her way, Frankie goes to tech school to get a real career; Axl begins his senior year of high school; sophomore Sue mentors a freshman.

CBS: Big Brother: (New) The Power of Veto competition is held.

FOX: MasterChef:  (Repeat) The home cooks complete a tag-team sushi challenge.

NBC: America’s Got Talent: (Repeat) Twelve acts perform at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

CW: Arrow: (Repeat) Oliver and Diggle learn that Deadshot is still alive and that his next target is Malcolm. Meanwhile, Oliver struggles to balance his new relationship with McKenna and his duties as Arrow.

8:30 p.m.

ABC: Last Man Standing: (Repeat) When Vanessa hires a new housekeeper, the topic of immigration comes up, leading to Ed checking the green cards of Outdoor Man employees; Kristin finds a new way to make money.

9 p.m.

ABC: Modern Family: (Repeat) Jay and the family plan to celebrate New Year’s together at a hotel in Palm Springs, but the hotel doesn’t meet their expectations; Alex and Haley are faced with challenges as they try to watch the kids back at home.

CBS: Criminal Minds: (Repeat) A serial killer whose crimes closely match those of a murderer from 30 years ago is pursued. Meanwhile, the team learns that someone is tracking their cases and replicating crimes the unit is solving.

NBC: America’s Got Talent: (Live) Four acts advance in a results edition.

Fox: MasterChef: (New) Eliminated contestants get a chance to cook their way back into the competition.

CW: Supernatural: (Repeat) Benny is beat up by vampires and calls Dean for help. Meanwhile, Sam reflects on the life he left behind with Amelia.

9:30 p.m.

ABC: The Neighbors: (Repeat) Debbie and Jackie go to a hip new club in hope of feeling more desirable; Marty and Larry Bird come to Amber for makeovers.

10 p.m.

ABC: ABC’s The Lookout: (New) Reports on consumer products and spending are featured.

CBS: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: (Repeat) David Phillips attends his high-school reunion and discovers that the prom queen has been murdered.

NBC: Camp: (New) As temps climb sky-high, life around Camp Little Otter heats up big time!

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Voodoo Sharks: Sharktweeto at 8 p. m. on DSC

BBQ Crawl at 8 p.m. on Travel Channel

Elbow Room at 8 p.m. on HGTV

Diggers at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on NGC

Top Ten Sharkdown at 9 p.m. on DSC

Million Dollar Listing New York at 9 p.m. on BRAVO

Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy at 9 p.m. on History Channel

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo at 8, 8:30 and 9 p.m. on TLC

Royal Pains at 9 p.m. on USA

Paranormal Witness at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Franklin & Bash at 9 p.m. on TNT

Family Beef at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on NGC

Love Thy Neighbor at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on OWN

Mystery Diners at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Futurama at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central

Top Chef Masters at 10 p.m. on BRAVO

How the Universe Works: Expanded Edition 2 at 10 p.m. on SCI

Great White Serial Killer at 10 p.m. on DSC

The Bridge at 10 p.m. on FX

Necessary Roughness at 10 p.m. on USA

Hot in Cleveland at 10 p.m. on TVLAND

The Exes at 10:30 p.m. on TVLAND

Shark After Dark Live at 11 p.m. on DSC

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

Grease on AMC

Click on ENC

Labyrinth on FLIX

Taken on FX

Casting By on HBO

District 9 on IFC

The Darkest Hour on SHO

Dog Day Afternoon on SUND

War Horse on TMC

Later tonight:

Die Hard 2 on MOMAX

Sling Blade at 9:30 p.m. on SHO

The Haunted Mansion at 9:50 p.m. on ENC

Meet the Fockers at 10 p.m. on HBO

Double Indemnity at 10 p.m. on TCM

Norma Rae at 10:15 p.m. on SUND

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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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