Monthly Archives: February 2008

Ox Notes: February 29, 2008

Oddsmakers are predicting ice skater Kristi Yamaguchi to win Dancing with the Stars 6. Marissa Jaret Winokur and Steve Guttenberg are considered the longest shots to win.

ABC announced yesterday that DwtS will be back for a seventh season this fall.

ABC is also reportedly interested in picking up Scrubs after it ends its run on NBC.

The Futon Critic has a list of development updates, included news on a new project by writer Shaun Cassidy called Inseparable.

Fox is working on a Family Guy spinoff starring Peter Griffin’s pal, Cleveland Brown. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cleveland and have been known to spend long periods of time imitating his voice. But sometimes peripheral characters are best left in the periphery.

NBC’s recently axed Quarterlife is making a stop on Bravo before heading back to the Internet.

If you’ve filed your taxes and received your refund already, head over to Clothes Off Our Back to bid on one of their many celebrity auction items donated for charity. I’m considering bidding on a gift bag donated by Kate Walsh just to so I can find out what mint chocolate chip ice cream-scented shampoo smells like.

Last night’s episode of Lost was my favorite since the first season, probably because it touched on a theme used in many episodes of Star Trek.

And I think I finally have a favorite member of the Fans tribe on Survivor: Micronesia. Tracy preyed on Joel’s paranoia and managed to manipulate him into doing exactly what she wanted, and he didn’t even have a clue.

Now her alliance with Kathy and Chet, neither of whom are physically or mentally well suited for the game, is in a position to call the shots for the Fans tribe — or would be, except that it looks like there’s a tribal shakeup coming next week.

Ox Notes: February 28, 2008

Survivor’s Yau-Man Chan told TV Guide that he’s rooting for Jonathan, Ami, or Ozzy to win, now that he’s been eliminated from the game. What, no love for Eliza?

Dancing with the Stars 6 contestant Kristi Yamaguchi told the Modesto Bee that the hardest part about participating in the show is going to be leaving her two young daughters at home in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I’m totally bummed that Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon turned down an invitation to compete on DwtS. I mean, look at these moves:

It’s back to the Internet for Quarterlife after a terrible debut performance on NBC on Tuesday.

CBS has plans to air four mixed martial arts specials on Saturday nights throughout the year.

Speaking of Saturday nights, there are plans for a Saturday Night Live stage show in Las Vegas, starring former cast members like Jon Lovitz and Martin Short.

Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher have teamed up to produce a new reality show.

Project Runway will start casting designers for Season 5 in March. PR star Tim Gunn is one of the celebrities who’ve taped public service announcements for NBC’s "The More You Know" campaign. The new PSAs roll out on March 1, and the Futon Critic has the complete list of celebrity participants.

America’s Ballroom Challenge 3 Finale

The final four couples each performed two dances, a short routine and a long routine. Tomas Mielnicki & J.T. Thomas’ Argentine Tango was my favorite of the short routines, followed by Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova’s Standard Tango. The performances by Jose Decamps & Joanna Zacharewicz and Andrei Gavriline & Elena Kryuchkova were good, but not thrilling.

Arunas & Katusha’s long routine was my favorite of the second round. All of the other second round performances were entertaining and polished, but Standard routines seem to really stand out in the finale, because the style is so different from the other three disciplines.

Andrei & Elena’s long routine was my favorite performance of theirs in three seasons of America’s Ballroom Challenge, if only because it’s the only one I can recall where they didn’t use clothing as props — her skirt converts from short to long, she’s wrapped up in his coat, she’s wrapped up in his suspenders, etc. I find them much more enjoyable when they drop the Cirque du Soliel stuff and stick with ballroom.

The judges ultimately rewarded first place to Andrei & Elena, in part, as co-host Ron Montez stated, because they’ve been together much longer than the other couples. Arunas & Katusha finished in second place, followed by Thomas & J.T. and Jose & Joanna.

The finale included a number of exhibition performances as well. Valentin Chmerkovskiy & Valeriya Kozharinova performed a Jive, although Val’s penchant for flashy solo moves makes me wonder if he’d be happier if he didn’t have to share the spotlight with a partner.

Tony Dovolani & Elena Grinenko gave a farewell performance in which they eschewed their signature Rumba for the Robot, of all things. I’ll be disappointed if Tony doesn’t work some pop-n-lock into his routines with Marissa Jaret Winokur on Dancing with the Stars.

But the highlights of the night were the two farewell performances by Max Kozhevnikov & YuliaZagoruychenko. The performed an exciting Matrix-inspired showdance, and they reprised their "Hip Hip Chin Chin" routine. Max & Yulia, you will be missed.

Ox Notes: February 27, 2008

Dancing with the Stars pros Cheryl Burke and Julianne Hough told People that the biggest challenge rehearsing for this season is compensating for the tall stature of their new partners, Cristian de la Fuente and Adam Carolla, respectively. If they’re having trouble, I can only imagine what Kym Johnson must be going through, working with the 6’6" Penn Jillette.

Perhaps Louis van Amstel’s new instructional DVD set, Learn to Dance Like the Stars, might have some tips for Cheryl and Julianne. The 8-disc set will retail for $119.99 when it’s released on April 8.

ABC will air a Bachelor "Where Are They Now?" special on March 10, one week before the season premieres of DwtS and The Bachelor. The network hopes to give a boost to new comedy Miss/Guided by airing a sneak preview of the show on March 18, right after the second night of DwtS competition.

The Emmys are considering adding an award for Best Reality Show Host. DwtS host Tom Bergeron is my pick, but I wouldn’t blame them for giving the inaugural award to Jeff Probst in honor of his 16 seasons of service on Survivor.

The final episode of America’s Ballroom Challenge 3 airs tonight on PBS. The top four couples will each perform a short and long routine to determine the winners, and retiring couples Tony Dovolani & Elena Grinenko and Max Kozhevnikov & Yulia Zagoruychenko will give farewell performances.

Yesterday, on the same day that the writers officially approved their new contract with the studios, CBS chief Les Moonves said that the strike may have ultimately saved the networks money by forcing them to change the way they develop new shows.

Reality Blurred has a recap of how last night’s episode of Big Brother dealt with the recent hospitalization of two contestants. Meanwhile, justice prevailed outside the Big Brother house: slur-spewing contestant Adam has been fired from his job with the United Autism Foundation.

Finally, more news about the making of Jimmy Kimmel’s "I’m F—ing Ben Affleck" video. Kimmel told People that the car sporting the "Honk If You’re F—ing Ben Affleck" bumper sticker driven by Harrison Ford in the video is Ford’s actual car.

Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, who was as amused as I was by Huey Lewis’ cameo in the video, explained to MTV that participating in the shoot was a no-brainer: "Who would [turn] down the chance to do some homoerotic song that has Brad Pitt in it?"

Ox Notes: February 26, 2008

Sunday night’s Oscars were the lowest rated in the awards show’s history, drawing fewer viewers than this season’s American Idol premiere.

A spokesperson for the Academy told Us Magazine that actor Brad Renfro’s omission from the list of industry folks who died in the last year was an "editing decision." Posters in the article’s comments thread mentioned several other big names left out of the montage, including the great Robert Goulet.

TV Guide has the scoop on how Jimmy Kimmel managed to get so many stars to appear in the video for the song "I’m F–king Ben Affleck," which debuted on his post-Oscar special. Rebecca Romijn, who appears in the video, told Us, "It was so exciting to help celebrate their love for one another. They make a beautiful couple."

One of Penn Jillette’s preparations for competing on Dancing with the Stars 6 includes getting Botox treatment, at his wife’s request. Marlee Matlin will be wearing a special hearing aid during the competition.

DwtS host Tom Bergeron says of the upcoming season, "I don’t have a clue how this is going to play out."

Former DwtS contestant and occasional professional boxer Floyd Mayweather is getting paid $20 million by the WWE to wrestle a man 16 inches taller, and who outweighs Floyd by nearly 300 pounds.

The judges for Lifetime’s dance competition, Your Mama Don’t Dance, are Ben Vereen, Cris Judd, and Vitamin C.

The Futon Critic has a list of yesterday’s TV development news, including updates on the status of Lipstick Jungle and Women’s Murder Club. Also in the works is a new Paris Hilton reality show, in which she auditions potential new best friends.

Online series Quarterlife makes the jump to network TV tonight, debuting on NBC at 10 ET. The premiere episode goes on sale today at iTunes, as well.

Ox Notes: February 25, 2008

Three weeks to go until the premiere of Dancing with the Stars 6, and Monica Seles sounds a little nervous: "I’m a tennis player. I don’t know a tango from a mango."

Just as I feared, there’s a good chance that Penn Jillette’s routines with Kym Johnson may include magic tricks.

On the other hand, I couldn’t be more excited about one of this season’s Results Show performers: Def Leppard!

If you’d like to own a bit of DwtS memorabilia, designer Randall Christensen has the ladies’ dresses he created for seasons 2, 3, and 4 available for purchase at his website. Just be prepared to shell out about $3000 per dress.

The Futon Critic has a handy list of all of TV development news from last week, including Jesse L. Martin’s departure from Law & Order.

As if the houseguests’ penchant for offensive comments wasn’t enough reason to detest Big Brother, the producers just added a new reason. When hypoglycemic contestant Amanda knocked on the production crew’s door to report feeling sick after being forced to eat nothing but gruel for a week, producers ignored her. She eventually had a seizure, and it was up to a fellow contestant to press an emergency button to summon paramedics. The cameras, of course, continued broadcasting live on the Internet.

A few weeks ago, Sarah Silverman debuted a video on Jimmy Kimmel Live in which she confessed to boyfriend Kimmel, in song form, that she’s been "f**king Matt Damon" behind his back. If you haven’t seen the hilarious video, it’s available here.

Last night, as a part of his post-Oscar special, Kimmel debuted his own retaliatory video. The absurdity of the video is heightened by the fact that tons of A-list celebrities were in on it. The language is censored, but the video’s content may make it unsafe for work. Enjoy.

Ox Notes: February 22, 2008

CBS is following NBC’s lead and will make episodes of classic TV series like Star Trek and Melrose Place available for free on the Internet.

Despite the promise of an acting career after her run on Dancing with the Stars, Season 2 finalist Stacy Keibler is still stuck making guest appearances on ABC shows. This time, she shows up in the season finale of October Road.

HBO has nabbed the rights to the Iraq war documentary Taxi to the Dark Side, after the Discovery Channel announced plans to shelve the film until 2009. HBO will premiere the doc in September, just ahead of the presidential election.

China has extended the primetime ban on the biggest threat to Chinese culture: SpongeBob SquarePants.

A reporter for the Village Voice went undercover to a taping of Iron Chef America and discovered that there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors involved in the show. Well, mostly just smoke.

This afternoon, Anthony Bourdain will announce the winners of the first Golden Clog Awards at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Bourdain and his pal, Michael Ruhlman, created the awards for achievement, or lack thereof, in a variety of food-related categories.

Saturday at noon ET, MTV turns its network over to the guys from Jackass for 24-hours of stunt-themed programming. Jackass ringleader, Johnny Knoxville, has recovered in time for the event after tearing his urethra trying to back-flip a motorcycle.

Zap2It has a recap of last night’s episode of Survivor: Micronesia. I wasn’t expecting the vote to go down the way it did, and I’m not sure Cirie made the right strategic move. She went from swing vote to agenda-setter in no time, which should make everyone on her tribe nervous. The fact that she’s not an asset during challenges makes it that much easier to eliminate her. (Or maybe now she’s in charge of the whole game; I don’t know.)

The challenges this week were fantastic. Mud pit pseudo-capture-the-flag was exciting to watch, and nature timed a downpour perfectly to highlight the consequences of losing a Reward Challenge and being the tribe without a tarp to sleep under. The coconut basketball Immunity Challenge was also fun because it allowed Jonathan to do some hilarious trash talking. The longer Penner sticks around, the happier I’ll be.

Ox Notes: February 21, 2008

ABC announced its spring plans, which include five new episodes of Lost, debuting on April 24.

Variety reports that the networks are eager to get hit programs back on the air, as new scripted shows haven’t performed well recently.

Critical darling Friday Night Lights is on the chopping block again, but NBC is working with other networks and cable outlets to share broadcast rights for a possible third season of the show.

CBS plans to trivialize divorce with a new game show called Splitsville, in which divorcing spouses compete against one another to win pieces of their communal property.

Survivor: Micronesia’s most recent castaway, Mary, spoke with People and TV Guide about the tribe of Fans and her romance with Ryan from Survivor: Pearl Islands.

If you didn’t catch the special Dancing with the Stars episode of Oprah this morning, you didn’t miss much. All of the former champs, except Apolo, performed with their partners, and Derek Hough taught a housewife who looked like Jennie Garth how to dance like Jennie Garth.

The Season 6 cast came out for the last ten minutes of the show, and Oprah only spoke with Priscilla Presley, Kristi Yamaguchi, Marlee Matlin, Penn Jillette, Jason Taylor, Mario, and Steve Guttenberg.

The highlight of the brief Q & A period was Steve Guttenberg feigning surprise that he’d be expected to dance, saying that ABC told him he’d signed on for The Bachelor.

People has a clip from the episode, as well as an interview with Marlee Matlin, in which she says essentially the same stuff she said on Oprah.

Priscilla Presley is understandably garnering more media attention than the other cast members at this point. But, based on the brief interviews she’s given this week on Oprah and Good Morning America, I’m not sure that’s going to last. She’s been soft-spoken and boring, and that doesn’t work in the short-answer style of interviewing that most shows employ.

Priscilla’s going to have to get enthusiastic and funny real fast if she expects DwtS viewers to vote for her for reasons other than nostalgia. Those qualities might even be more important than her dancing.

America’s Ballroom Challenge 3: International Latin

This was an episode of America’s Ballroom Challenge even Optimus Prime would love.

The International Latin round began with a farewell performance by Max Kozhevnikov & Yulia Zagoruychenko. Max dressed as an Indian brave, and Yulia dressed as a turkey — a very sexy turkey. It was a terrific final performance that made me even sadder that they won’t be competing together anymore.

Then it was time for the group dance round. Co-host Ron Montez praised Anna Trebunskaya & Pavlo Barsuk as an up-and-coming couple to watch, and Anna’s dress was fabulous. But the judges awarded them sixth place, and named Andrei Gavriline & Elena Kryuchkova the winners.

Things got interesting in the showdance round. Vaidotas Skimelis & Jurga Pupelyte did an authentic disco-era cha cha that was my favorite performance of the night. But the judges gave them second place, and awarded first to Ilya Ifraimov & Nadia Goulina for their Transformers-inspired routine. I’m not sure what was funnier, the clips of Optimus Prime saying, "Transformers, roll out" that peppered Ilya & Nadia’s music, or Ron Montez saying, "It looks like they’re going to attempt to do a little paso doble…robot style."

Because of their first place finish in the group dance round and their fourth place finish in the showdance round, Andrei & Elena will represent the International Latin division in next week’s America’s Ballroom Challenge finale.

I don’t want to get my hopes up until I see something official on, but there was a clip of Max & Yulia performing another dance in the finale preview. A second farewell performance? Could I be so lucky?

Ox Notes: February 20, 2008

People has a special feature on the Dancing with the Stars 6 contestants, along with some well-chosen quotes from the participants. Steve Guttenberg, on his love life: "No girlfriend. No wife. We gotta hook the Gutt up. The Gutt needs a date!"

When DwtS returns on March 17, former contestant Mel B will serve as a guest correspondent for Access Hollywood.

There’s no need to wait until next month to watch ballroom dancing on TV. Tonight’s episode of America’s Ballroom Challenge features the International Latin championship. DwtS pro Anna Trebunskaya is one of the competitors, and Max Kozhevnikov & Yulia Zagoruychenko give a farewell exhibition performance.

Also on TV tonight, Discovery has a special 100th episode of Mythbusters, in which Adam & Jamie test some of MacGyver’s most creative escape methods.

Ahead of this evening’s Project Runway reunion special, TV Guide interviewed the four remaining contestants.

Fox updated its spring schedule to make room for new episodes of Bones and House. And NBC said that it will be changing to a 52-week programming schedule in order to offer season and series premieres throughout the year, instead of concentrating them in the fall.

I’ve never watched the MTV sketch comedy show Human Giant, but with list of guest stars that includes Will Arnett and David Cross, I’m inclined to check out the second season when it debuts on March 11.

Variety’s Brian Lowry blasts TV news outlets for acting as though they’re merely commenting on the presidential elections, and not influencing them by endlessly repeating gossip about the candidates and speculating on their electability.

NBC announced its plans to offer free episodes of vintage TV shows online on several websites. At last, I’ll be able to catch up on TekWar.