Ox Notes: July 30, 2007

Mary Murphy said in the latest TV Guide backstage report from So You Think You Can Dance that she was surprised that Jamie went home instead of Lauren, even though Lauren’s Hip-Hop routine with Pasha was her favorite performance on Wednesday night.

At recent auditions for Rob Mariano’s new reality show Tontine, it was revealed that, in order to participate in the show, the cast will have to put their own life savings into the $10 million prize pot (the network will make up the rest). Additionally, the show will film for 100 days, making me wonder if a 1-in-15 shot at $10 million is really worth the risk of winding up with nothing.

Today coanchor Matt Lauer would have no problem coughing up his life savings to take part in Tontine — not with a yearly salary of $12 million, according to TV Guide’s list of Which TV Stars Earn What. The most surprising entry on the list was Judge Judy, who earns a reported $30 million per year from her TV show. I had no idea that networks could make so much money from those daytime commercials for personal injury lawyers and motorized wheelchairs.

Finally, more sad news for Pirate Master. The fourth pirate eliminated, Cheryl Kosewicz, was found dead on Friday, apparently having committed suicide. She’d written a variety of blog posts recently about the frustrations of coping with her boyfriend’s suicide last month and the show’s sinking ratings.

Fans of the show will have to wait until the next episode of Pirate Master is released online tomorrow to see how CBS addresses Cheryl’s death, as there is currently nothing posted about it on the show’s home page.