Monthly Archives: June 2007

Ox Notes: June 13, 2007

Donald Trump is developing a new reality show called Lady or a Tramp, which sends party girls to charm school. The report at Variety says, "Trump will exec produce the show and possibly come on air to evaluate contestants’ progress." Possibly? As if there’s anything they can do to keep Trump off-camera and away from chicks.

George Takei and Wil Wheaton have launched a new online contest where fans can write and vote on scenes for a story called "Kirk vs. Picard." Follow this link to the official site, which features a video of Takei and Wheaton introducing the contest.

The Palm Beach Post featured an amusing behind-the-scenes account of the Sopranos finale party. Apparently, John Ratzenberger crashed the party: "I was in town to buy a boat, so I figured why not."

In other news of Dancing with the Stars alums, Joey McIntyre is going to be a dad. One of Joey’s tourmates this summer, Cheryl Burke, will be answering fans’ questions submitted to People.com.

Also, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Apolo Anton Ohno have been named to People’s Hottest Bachelors 2007 list, and the magazine’s website features a video of Maks demonstrating his most effective seduction technique: speaking in his native Russian.

Ox Notes: June 12, 2007

Update: Frankie Abernathy’s mother confirms that Frankie passed away on Saturday. She was 25 years old.

NBC announced that The Biggest Loser’s return on September 11 will be preceded by a Where Are They Now special edition on September 4. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the contestants were motivated enough to keep the weight off without a hyperactive trainer breathing down their necks.

Also this fall, Smallville will be getting a new female character: Supergirl. My hope is that they already have some idea what they want to do with this character, and won’t have to shoehorn her into episodes (*cough* Lois).

And rumors are swirling that Real World: San Diego cast member Frankie Abernathy may have died over the weekend. MTV hasn’t confirmed the news, but her struggles with cystic fibrosis were chronicled during her time on the show.

Ox Notes: June 11, 2007

I just realized that I missed the new Brian Regan stand-up special that debuted on Comedy Central last night. Luckily, the special will reair on Tuesday night at 10 EST. In the meantime, enjoy this TV Guide interview with Brian.

If it seems like every news network has spent the last week covering the Paris Hilton jail saga at the expense of real news, Variety confirms that they have. At The Huffington Post, Marty Kaplan explains the difference between real news and celebrity news — apparently, it all has to do with your amygdala (or "lizard brain").

Speaking of lizard brains, Big Brother will expand its reach when the show returns to CBS on July 5. CBS will air live footage of the houseguests from midnight to 3 a.m. EST on the Sho Too cable channel. Since it’s on cable, nudity and profanity are okay — but the feed will be cut if any of the participants says anything that violates music copyrights.

Big Brother 8 debuts in its historic 8 EST time slot, bumping Pirate Master to 9 p.m. that night. After that, Pirate Master moves to its new, permanent home on Tuesday nights at 10 EST, following the Tuesday night Big Brother episode.

Pirate Master: Episode 2

Tonight’s episode of Pirate Master did a lot to explain the current political climate in America. The TV pirates proved that people are remarkably tolerant of crappy governance.

The episode began with Captain Joe Don assigning some key roles on the ship. Sean’s bartending experience earned him the role of Cook, and wily auto parts salesman Jay was chosen to be Bosun (or Boatswain, if you prefer the proper spelling).

Bosun is essentially the lead crewman, or as Jay put it, the pirate equivalent of a union representative. Jay hoped the job could help him win favor from both captain and crew, while Joe Don hoped Jay would serve as a kind of spy.

Then it was time for breakfast: disgusting gruel with hair in it for the crew, and bacon, fruit, and rum for the captain and his two officers, Ben and Cheryl. Watching Joe Don chow down as they swabbed the deck served only to annoy the hungry crew.

Finally, it was time for this week’s treasure hunt. The rules were that the captain and his officers would head the Black Team, and everyone else would draw colored marbles to see if they were a part of the Black or Red Team. If the Red Team found the treasure first, they would install a new captain, and Joe Don would be out.

Teams swam to shore, but weak swimmer Kendra held up the Red Team. They were further slowed down on a long uphill run by the pokey giant, Christian, and Joy, who fell and injured her knee.

The Black Team raced ahead to a pit of snakes, where dreadlocked seventh level chaotic evil sorcerer Azmyth dove in and found a clue box. Inside the box was a "compass plate," an etched piece of metal that, when placed upon a nearby altar, would point the way to the next treasure.

Azmyth placed the compass plate upon an altar and used his magical powers — which arise from his dreadlocks — to find the location of the buried treasure.

Upon returning to the pirate ship, the Black Team learned that they’d found $45,000 worth of gold coins — half of which went automatically to Captain Joe Don. He was given the option of choosing two new officers, but he kept Ben and Cheryl, who split a quarter of the loot. The rest of the team got $2250 each, with no bonus for Azmyth, even though he did all of the work.

Just to keep the crew on his good side, Joe Don decided to give the members of the Red Team a little cash: $200 each. Needless to say, the crew was more insulted than they were grateful.

Then Joe Don offered his bosun, Jay $2000, as "a reward, not a bribe." Jay didn’t care what it was, but planned to keep the gift a secret so as not to upset his crewmates.

So, out of his $42,500 haul, Joe Don gave away $3400 — and actually thought he’d been generous.

When it came time for the captain to assign "The Black Spot" to three crew members before Pirates Court, he and his officers reasoned that they could deflect any hostility toward themselves onto the three pirates who’d performed the worst in the physical aspects of the challenge: Joy, Kendra, and Christian.

And their plan actually worked! Despite a bunch of mutinous chatter, Christian lost to Kendra in a vote of 5-4. No one even cast a vote for Joe Don. In their minds, the crew must have thought it better to eliminate someone who might cost them money in the future, rather than getting rid of the guy who was already robbing them blind and working them like slaves.

It’s going to be very hard to feel any kind of sympathy for these idiots if they keep putting up with Joe Don’s bullshit. Then again, Joe Don’s superior attitude is funny, and part of me really wants it to continue.

Next week, Louie vows revenge on Joe Don for the ouster of his pal, Christian. And, since Joe Don revealed at Pirates Court that he gave money to Bosun Jay, Jay uses some of the dough to buy Sean’s support.

SYTYCD 3: Vegas Round, Final Cut

After a final solo round, the judges eliminated sixteen contestants right away, leaving thirty-four still in the running. Unlike most of her fellow contestants, who were happy to have made it as far as they did, weepy Olivia was angry that she was forced to do so much work and spend time with people she hated, only to be cut.

Then the judges retired to deliberate over who to cast in the Top Twenty. When announcing their results, it would’ve been nice if the judges varied their responses a little bit. But, without fail, if they started their comments positively, the contestant was out; if the comments began negatively, the contestant was in.

The final spot in the boys’ top ten would go to either Hok or Twitch. Nigel said that both of them were kind of lousy at stuff other than hip-hop. The guys had become buddies during the course of the auditions, so they were both going to be sad no matter who made it. The spot went to Hok, and not my guy Twitch.

The final girls’ spot would go to Kristen or Lacey. Since two ballroom dancers had already made the cut, Lacey felt her chances were slim. But she made the final cut and had a hard time trying not to be ecstatic in front of Kristen.

The Top Twenty are as follows: Anya, Cedric, Ashley, Danny, Faina, Dominic, Jamie, Hok, Jessi, Jesus, Lacey, Jimmy, Lauren, Kameron, Sabra, Neil, Sara, Pasha, Shauna, and Ricky.

Ox Notes: June 7, 2007

Bob Barker filmed his final episode of The Price Is Right on Wednesday — throwing all of my dad’s retirement plans into utter chaos. Somehow, I don’t see my dad becoming a big fan of The View.

Barker’s most enduring legacy may be a bill that he recently helped pass in the California State Assembly, requiring that all pet dogs and cats be spayed or neutered. Dealing with unwanted pets costs California $300 million annually.

ABC is using the end of the summer to burn through shows they shelved during the season, including the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted game show Set For Life and the anthology series Masters of Science Fiction.

And apparently ABC’s celebrity racing show Fast Cars & Superstars is one big commercial for Gillette. Reality Blurred has the full cast list for the show, which premieres tonight at 8 EST.

SYTYCD 3: Vegas Round, First Cut

There seemed to be one theme present throughout the Las Vegas round of So You Think You Can Dance: if you don’t move on to the next round, your life is over. Wednesday’s body count was pretty high.

The judges kept hammering that point home, repeatedly telling contestants, "This is your life!" If that wasn’t bad enough, dancers who earned two out of four possible votes from the judges were brought back to "Dance For Your Life" in another solo routine, which determined if they would continue.

And it seemed that every eliminated contestant cried like this was the last opportunity that they’d ever have to dance — as if their careers were over if they didn’t beat incredible statistical odds and win So You Think You Can Dance. There’s just something creepy and sad about seeing teenagers think their dreams are dead just because of one audition.

Ah, who am I kidding? Overdramatizing everything that happens in your life is what being a teenager’s all about.

The first round of competition was a pretty straightforward Hip-Hop round, followed by a partnered Ballroom round. The third round was a Contemporary routine choreographed by Mia Michaels, and I have to agree with Shane Sparks, who said, "I don’t know who’s doing it good." I think it’s safe to say that contemporary dancing is not my specialty.

The contemporary round brought an end to the Lindy Hop couple that I liked, and nearly spelled the end for Twitch, my favorite dancer in the competition. But Twitch saved himself with a funny solo to the best song James Brown ever wrote: "Get Up Offa That Thing." The performance had Mary Murphy in stitches, and her insane laughter had me in stitches.

Finally, the 63 contestants left at the end of day two were split in to 15 small groups, each of which had until the next morning to choreograph a routine to a randomly chosen song. It didn’t seem particularly fair, because if you were the lone ballroom (or ballet) dancer in a group of hip-hoppers, you weren’t dancing, so much as trying not to look like a total doofus.

For good or ill, Olivia — the girl who cries all…the…time — moved on to the final round. The last fifty contestants will have to perform one more solo tomorrow night before the field is narrowed to twenty finalists: ten men and ten women.

So, who are your favorites thus far? Have any stars emerged yet?

Ox Notes: June 6, 2007

In advance of the Top Chef 3 premiere next Wednesday, Bravo is featuring a special competition between contestants from the two previous seasons. 4-Star All-Stars airs tonight at 10 EST, and there are preview clips available at Yahoo! TV.

Perry Farrell blames Dave Navarro and his duties on the now-defunct Rock Star for breaking up Jane’s Addiction. Farrell’s new band, Satellite Party, features former Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, who’s been MIA since 1992.

Something to add to your summer reading list: Neptune Noir, a collection of essays about Veronica Mars edited by show creator Rob Thomas.

And, finally, the cartoon Thundercats is going to be a live action film. Since the project was just announced by Warner Brothers, none of the parts have been cast. Do you have any suggestions? Perhaps Michael Clarke Duncan as Panthro, Patrick Stewart as Jaga, and Dakota Fanning as WilyKit?

Ox Notes: June 5, 2007

During Eva Longoria’s stint as host of the ALMA Awards, which airs tonight at 9 EST on ABC, she went through 18 different outfits. She wore a little — and I mean little — red dress for the show’s opening number: a salsa dance with Mario Lopez.

Another show airing tonight is the premiere of the second season of America’s Got Talent, with new host Jerry Springer. Producer Simon Cowell has cast judges to play remarkably similar roles to the judges on American Idol: Piers Morgan returns in the role of cranky Brit, Sharon Osbourne is overly nice with everyone but Morgan, and David Hasselhoff will presumably refer to all of the contestants as "dawg." The show airs on NBC at 9 EST.

Slate features an interesting, Sopranos-inspired essay on why mafia hitmen leave their guns at crime scenes. Also at Slate, Sopranos writer and executive producer Terry Winter answers questions about the most recent episode. Be forewarned: both articles include plot spoilers.

Ox Notes: June 4, 2007

Fox is hoping to score big tonight when Hell’s Kitchen returns for its third season. Anything to make up for the dismal ratings of On The Lot, which will now air only one episode per week instead of two.

Fans of Friday Night Lights will enjoy this essay by showrunner Jason Katims. It’s actually a good read for anyone interested in how a TV show is produced.

If you think you learned enough about being a producer from reading Katims’ essay and you’d like to pitch your own TV series to the networks, try using this TV Show Pitch Generator to find ideas for your pilot.

For example, how about this for a sci-fi series: "A neanderthal who is secretly gay is the last person on Earth, along with a forgetful taxidermist who eats inanimate objects. Stars Slim Pickens and Shaquille O’Neill." It couldn’t be any worse than On The Lot.