Monthly Archives: March 2008

Ox Notes: March 19, 2007

Survivor fans, take note: A new episode of Survivor: Micronesia airs tonight at 8 ET/7 CT — instead of in its usual Thursday night timeslot — to make way for college basketball. People has an interview with Jonathan and Chet. Jonathan elaborated on his medical situation and explained some of the strategic moves that didn’t make it on air to Reality TV World.

Also on TV tonight is finale of Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet III on MTV. Although the contestants spend most of the time when they’re not competing in challenges getting drunk, show producers say they don’t actually provide the contestants with booze. Producers just provide the contestants with money so that they can buy the booze themselves.

Competing directly with American Idol dealt a serious blow to Dancing with the Stars’ ratings; last night’s show was watched by an average of 16.8 million viewers, down from 20.9 million the night before.

TV Guide and People have backstage reports from the show, and Entertainment Tonight correspondent Helio Castroneves interviewed all of the ladies. Mel B is still struggling as a correspondent for Access Hollywood; during her interviews, she accidentally made Monica Seles and Shannon Elizabeth cry.

People has an article about new pro dancer Fabian Sanchez, and TV Guide has a video interview with Monica Seles and Steve Guttenberg, filmed before they took the floor this week.

There’s plenty of Dancing with the Stars gossip making headlines today. Marissa Jaret Winokur tells People that a surrogate is carrying her first child for her and her husband, Judah Miller.

And Star Magazine reports that Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke were caught having an affair during the recent DwtS tour, an allegation that the Season 2 champs’ reps deny.

The Miss USA Pageant is being taken over by former DwtS contestants. Marie Osmond will host the pageant with her brother, Donny, and Heather Mills will serve as one of the judges.

Variety announced some of writer Rob Thomas’ plans for his upcoming Beverly Hills, 90210 spinoff, including making the cast more multicultural than the original series. That shouldn’t be tough. Having one African-American extra walk through the background of a single shot would make the new show more multicultural than the original.

DwtS 6 Premiere: The Women

Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough — Cha Cha Cha
Shannon has a fantastic body, and Derek did his best to make her look good. The choreography was fun and flirty, and it allowed Shannon to show some natural grace. The performance needed refining, but this couple has some real potential.

Len Goodman said, "Great start to this evening. You didn’t straighten your legs, so you lost a little bit of hip action." Bruno Tonioli called Shannon a "sexy minx," adding, "You’ve got great legs, so learn how to use them." Carrie Ann Inaba told Shannon, "You have such great energy, and such confidence."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30

Monica Seles & Jonathan Roberts — Fox Trot
Tough tennis player Monica’s bubblegum pink dress was girly, if not flattering. She spent several bars of the intro sitting on the steps, perhaps indicating of a lack of confidence on Jonathan’s part. Monica looked uncomfortable throughout the performance, and she moved awkwardly, as well.

Bruno suggested to Monica, "Engage the center of the body." Len said, "I liked all that story that you told," but he agreed with Bruno: "Lift it to shift it, and move round that floor." Carrie Ann told Monica, "The energy that you used in tennis — you have to move the space. It’s not so different than you think."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…5, Len…5, Bruno…5 = 15/30

Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — Cha Cha Cha
Simple, bland choreography sunk this routine. Marissa had very little to do, and it was hardly recognizable as a Cha Cha Cha. Tony, wearing shiny pants that made him look, in the words of Tom Bergeron, like a "macho oil slick," seemed to underestimate his partner’s ability.

Carrie Ann said, "I don’t think there was enough content for a Cha Cha." Bruno liked Marissa’s "eye-popping pep and personality." Len addressed Tony: "This girl’s got more talent than that showed."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…6, Bruno…6 = 18/30

Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel — Fox Trot
There is nothing about Priscilla that says "62." She looked confident and moved effortlessly. On top of that, she completed a death spiral without breaking a hip. A surprisingly strong opening performance.

Len enthused, "It was a proper Fox Trot. No gimmicks, no props." Bruno agreed: "This was an uncompromising, smoking hot Fox Trot." Carrie Ann told Priscilla, "You just proved to so many people that age is just a number, because you were the queen of that dance floor."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas — Fox Trot
As the music began, Mark immediately spun Kristi into a dip, just to make sure that everyone knew they came to win. Kristi’s beautiful extension was accentuated by a glamorous gold dress, and Mark looked dashing in his tux. Already, they look like a pair of champions.

Bruno cheered, "Absolutely wicked! Timing! Precision! For the first round, one of the best performances I’ve ever seen." Carrie Ann said, "You made it look effortless." Len, struggling to find something to criticize, told Kristi to work on her pivots.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30

Fabian Sanchez & Marlee Matlin — Cha Cha Cha
Marlee & Fabian put any doubt about her ability to dance to rest with this routine. Marlee was always in time with her partner and the music, and she danced with great enthusiasm.

Carrie Ann echoed the enthusiastic studio audience: "That was almost unbelievable. You are so fluid, you move with such ease." Len said, "You had great choreography. Just try to control your arms when you dance." Bruno noted, "I counted all the way through, and you hardly missed a beat."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…8 = 22/30

Judges’ Leaderboard:
27 — Kristi & Mark
24 — Priscilla & Louis
22 — Marlee & Fabian
21 — Shannon & Derek
18 — Marissa & Tony
15 — Monica & Jonathan

As with the men, there appears to be a clear front runner among the women. Kristi has a significant lead over the other celebrity dancers. But Priscilla, Marlee, and Shannon showed real potential, and they should make the competition very interesting. I’m splitting my votes between the four of them.

Monica is way out of her comfort zone and probably doesn’t have as much time as she would need to embrace dancing. Unless she shows some major improvement in her next performance on Monday night, she should be the first woman to go.

Marissa is in a tough spot. She may not have ballroom experience, but she has danced before, in front of live audiences even. Her problem seems to be Tony. His choreography was unfathomably simple, given Marissa’s experience level. He focused too much attention on himself, perhaps misguidedly assuming that it would ease the pressure on Marissa.

Tony needs to start trusting Marissa and challenging her with more challenging choreography. If he doesn’t, they’ll be out before they even get started.

Ox Notes: March 18, 2007

There’s naturally plenty of Dancing with the Stars news after last night’s Season 6 premiere. But first…

CBS will air Secret Talents of the Stars on April 8. I planned to blow off the show until I read that George Takei is in the cast, and his "secret talent" is singing country music. Suddenly, the show is a must see for me.

NBC is getting into the food competition biz, tapping genius chef/madman Marco Pierre White to host The Chopping Block. White’s contentious relationship with Mario Batali is detailed in the book Heat by Bill Buford, which I mentioned last week, because it features one of the contestants from Top Chef: Chicago.

Things have gone well for some members of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy crew since the show ended its run; Ted Allen is a part of the Top Chef family, and Carson Kressley has a show on Lifetime. Sadly, however, Jai Rodriguez has been relegated to hosting a dog grooming competition on Animal Planet.

Project Runway’s Tim Gunn stops by tonight’s episode of The Biggest Loser to make over the contestants. The show starts at 8 ET on NBC, so I plan to catch an hour of it before the women hit the floor for part two of the Dancing with the Stars 6 premiere.

Last night’s men’s competition was watched by 20.9 million viewers. The women face a daunting challenge tonight: the first hour of DwtS is up against American Idol, for the first time in show history.

Before last night’s competition, Adam Carolla told MSN, "I think it’s pretty clear to everybody that there’s a separate competition going on between me, Penn Jillette and Steve Guttenberg. I fully expect to win the Clumsy Oaf Division."

People has details on the stunning black dress Samantha Harris wore last night, as well as a What You Didn’t See report from backstage at the show.

TV Guide has its own backstage report from the show, and Entertainment Tonight has a report by special correspondent Helio Castroneves.

Access Hollywood had its special correspondent, Mel B, file a report from last night’s show, and her charming lack of professionalism makes the video fun to watch. Mel repeatedly mentions her Top 3 Men, and only near the end of the video does it become clear that she’s talking about picks she made before the couples danced. She’ll get the hang of this journalism thing yet.

Before she dances tonight, Marissa Jaret Winokur stopped by the set of Entertainment Tonight to talk about rehearsals.

See everyone here tonight for our live in-show DwtS chat, starting at 9 ET/8 CT.

DwtS 6 Premiere Week: The Men

One dancer stood out from the crowd, as the men took the floor for the premiere of Dancing with the Stars 6.

A group performance by the DwtS pros kicked off the evening. Since Maksim Chmerkovskiy wasn’t around to wear a vest with no shirt underneath, Tony Dovolani and his hairless chest happily took on that solemn duty.

Penn Jillette & Kym Johnson — Cha Cha Cha
Kym was initially struck by how much shorter she is than Penn. Making the show’s first ever reference to Pompeii, Penn said, "If there were a volcano and we were preserved, archaeologists in the future would assume that you were my dinner."

Penn enthusiastically slid across the floor during their Cha Cha, only he did it on his belly instead of his feet. The big guy can move, but not smoothly. There’s plenty of room for growth. Mercifully, he limited the magic tricks to pulling some flowers out of his vest at the end of their routine, presenting the artificial buds to Kym.

Len Goodman told Penn, "I thought you captured the flavor of the Cha Cha Cha. Your problem was your feet." Bruno Tonioli agreed: "It was like watching a trailer for ‘Shrek Goes Cha Cha Cha’." Carrie Ann Inaba commended Penn for his "great energy…great attitude."

Judges Scores: Carrie Ann…5, Len…6, Bruno…5 = 16/30

Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska — Fox Trot
The teasing began as soon as pro football player Jason announced that he’d be ballroom dancing on TV: "My poker friends gave me a tutu. A pink one."

For a big, macho guy, Jason is surprising fluid in his movements. And his wide wingspan highlights his great extension. Most importantly, he and Edyta looked like they were having fun together.

Len joked with Jason, "You are a good looking guy. It’s like looking in a mirror," before adding, "You’ve got great posture. Now you’ve just gotta try and act the dance a little bit." Carrie Ann said, "I love the detail with your hands." Bruno recommended "a little bit more drive. Romance. Heat."

Judges Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…8, Bruno…7 = 22/30

Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke — Cha Cha Cha
Upon learning that Cheryl was his partner, Cristian cheered, "I have a chance to win!"

Cristian’s stellar footwork made his hunched posture look that much worse. But once Cheryl applies some of the same posture correcting techniques that worked on Drew Lachey, Cristian will be in great shape to succeed in the competition.

Carrie Ann told Cristian, "You gotta watch your shoulders." Bruno added the visual, "It looks like you’re riding a bike." Len warned Cristian, "Work on it for next week. You’re doing the Quickstep. If your posture’s no good, you’re gonna get terrible marks."

Judges Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30

Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough — Fox Trot
As they rehearsed, Adam asked Julianne, "Are there any dances that favor the guys with the rolled shoulders and the low self-esteem?" Dances that require chemistry could be a problem, given Adam’s concern about their age difference. He told Julianne, "I feel like your dad’s watching the show, and I’m gonna try to suck his daughter into my groin. I was raised better than that."

The dance started out a little slow, and Adam’s posture was stiff. But halfway through the routine, Julianne included a choreographic masterstroke: she made Adam high kick. This made him laugh, which loosened him up for the last few measures of the performance.

Bruno said, "There is a lot of work to do." Len told Adam, "Your footwork was good. You’ve gotta just relax a little bit." In response, Adam asked Len, "I’m supposed to get in a 9-piece suit in front of 25 million people and relax doing something I’m horrible at?" Carrie Ann said, "You had these moments when I thought, ‘Ooh, almost’."

Upon receiving their scores, Adam told Julianne, "Good news! You can hit the road and promote the country album early this year, ’cause there ain’t gonna be no three-peat in your future, honey."

Judges Scores: Carrie Ann…5, Len…5, Bruno…5 = 15/30

Mario & Karina Smirnoff — Cha Cha Cha
Things were going well in rehearsal until Karina had to have surgery on a herniated disc in her neck.

Karina looked to be in tip-top shape during their performance. None of the men are even in the same league as Mario, and despite his protests to the contrary, I think his experience dancing hip-hop is an asset.

Carrie Ann exclaimed, "Dang! You can dance!" Len warned Mario about his "heel leads," which is Len code for "I couldn’t find anything else to criticize." Bruno asked, "Karina, do you have a monopoly on hot Marios?"

Judges Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Steve Guttenberg & Anna Trebunskaya — Fox Trot
Steve is a fan of the show, and he was a little starstruck when he met Anna. He remained upbeat during practice: "I’ve nailed the Fox Trot in my mind, and now my body just needs to get on board."

Speaking of Steve’s body, dude is ripped for a guy about to turn 50. He started off a little stiff and slow, but he just looked so damned happy to be out there that you can’t help but root for him. His potential started to show as the routine progressed and he relaxed a bit.

Bruno said, "It started a bit shakily. It was a little bit like a graduation from the Billy Ray Academy of Dance." Carrie Ann told Steve he was "charming," but warned, "Watch your musicality." Len said, "Your smile is infectious. You’ve gotta work on your technique, but as a performance, it was really, really good."

Judges Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…6, Bruno…6 = 18/30

Before the show concluded, Tom Bergeron chatted with the female stars, who will dance Tuesday night. He gave Marissa Jaret Winokur and Shannon Elizabeth a hard time for allegedly betting on what the judges would say after each of the men’s performances.

Judges Leaderboard:
24 — Mario & Karina
22 — Jason & Edyta
21 — Cristian & Cheryl
18 — Steve & Anna
16 — Penn & Kym
15 — Adam & Julianne

Mario was undoubtedly the standout performer of the night. But all of my votes are going to Adam Carolla for one simple reason: Kenny Mayne.

Kenny, you may recall, was a terrible dancer. He was the first celebrity eliminated from Season 2, and his partner, Andrea Hale, never returned to the show. But he’s since hosted several hilarious editions of Dance Center.

So, based on what we know about Kenny now, would you still have voted to keep Tatum O’Neal on the show instead of him? Giselle Fernandez? MASTER P?!

People, this is our chance to right the wrong we all unwittingly committed against Kenny Mayne four seasons ago. SAVE ADAM CAROLLA! Only one mediocre dancer can go home each week, and there are several to choose from. Let’s keep the funny guy around, at least for a few more weeks.

Ox Notes: March 17, 2008

Today’s post is an all Dancing with the Stars edition of Ox Notes. Season 6 premieres tonight at 8 ET, with either the best or worst cast ever, depending on which newspaper you read.

If you’re still unfamiliar with some of the cast members, TV Guide’s All Things Dancing with the Stars blog has star bios. And, of course, there’s plenty of information at the official ABC DwtS website.

ABC’s DwtS site offers a couple of new features this season, including weekly dance tutorials with Carrie Ann Inaba, and insights into the pro dancers’ fitness regimes.

Throughout the season, fans of Monica Seles will be able to keep up with her on a special blog at the Tennis Channel’s website.

Based on recent interviews, Marlee Matlin, Cristian de la Fuente, and Jason Taylor sound ready for their dance floor debuts. And DwtS pro Mark Ballas told People that his partner, Kristi Yamaguchi, is "very pretty to watch in the ballroom."

Tonight’s show will feature performances by the six male celebrities, and the six female celebs will dance tomorrow night. Next week, all twelve couples will perform on Monday, and scores and votes from that night will be combined with the scores and votes from this week.

During the season’s first Results Show next Tuesday, one male and one female celebrity will be eliminated from the show.

Based on everything but their actual dancing ability (in other words, tonight I’ll find out I’m wrong about pretty much everything), here are my preseason rankings for this season’s couples.

The Men
6. Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough
5. Penn Jillette & Kym Johnson
4. Steve Guttenberg & Anna Trebunskaya
3. Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska
2. Mario & Karina Smirnoff
1. Cristian de la Fuenta & Cheryl Burke

The Women
6. Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough
5. Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani
4. Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel
3. Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez
2. Monica Seles & Jonathan Roberts
1. Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas

Given that Julianne Hough has mentioned in several interviews how clumsy Adam Carolla is, this seems like the couple who could be in the biggest danger tonight. But Julianne is very popular, and she might also be clever enough to find a creative way to work around Adam’s inherent awkwardness.

Tomorrow night, Shannon Elizabeth and Marissa Jaret Winokur should both be nervous, given the star power of the women they’re competing against. Marissa’s a Broadway actress, so she could have a leg up on Shannon in terms of dance ability. I think Shannon has the more charming partner, but I’m not sure that will be enough to ingratiate her to an audience made up largely of older adults who probably didn’t see American Pie.

My early prediction for the finale is that Kristi Yamaguchi will edge out Cristian de la Fuenta for the win. But, just like my predictions for which couples will be first to go, they don’t mean anything until I’ve seen the couples dance.

Which couples do you think will be first to go? Who are your early favorites to win? See you all tonight during the chat!

Ox Notes: March 14, 2008

Last night’s episode of Survivor: Micronesia was a doozy. Even though I knew it was coming, I teared up when Jonathan Penner had to leave the game for medical treatment. And I can’t believe Chet ruined a chance at one of the biggest blindsides ever, passing on the chance to make himself a Survivor legend. Instead, he’ll forever be remembered as that useless beauty pageant guy.

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas (no, not the guy from Matchbox 20) has two cool projects in the works. He’s reviving his short-lived show Cupid for ABC, and the CW has commissioned him to write a Beverly Hills, 90210 spin-off.

Nickelodeon is working on a couple of interesting projects of its own. The kids’ network has plans for a dance competition show for teens, and is preparing to launch a multiplayer online green game to promote environmental awareness.

Cast members of Battlestar Galactica will present a special Top 10 List on Late Night with David Letterman on Wednesday, March 19, presumably to help promote Tuesday’s release of the BSG Season 3 DVD.

I just noticed a totally kick-ass feature at They have a complete list of Amazon sales on TV show DVD sets that is updated hourly, and can be sorted by the percentage discounted off the suggested retail price, with a minimum of 35% off. As of this writing, there are 279 titles available for 50% off or more. Sweet!

Evil Dead director Sam Raimi is working on a new horror reality show for the CW. 13, which debuts this summer, will eliminate contestants through a series of scary challenges.

This show sounds an awful lot like MTV’s Fear, which tortured willing young adults by sending them to supposedly haunted locales and making them sit alone in the dark for hours at a time. Believe it or not, it was exceptionally entertaining to watch contestants freak themselves out.

Take, for example, my favorite contestant, Holly. One of her challenges at a haunted military academy involved enduring a mild electrical shock. Her whiny valley girl voice made her exaggeration of the pain and minimal understanding of electrical conductivity all the more memorable: "I hope nothing’s physically wrong with me. I have piercings on my body and stuff." (Quote is at the 5:00 mark in the video below.)

I hope to see you all on Monday night for our first Dancing with the Stars live chat of Season 6. A post at the MOIB homepage will direct you to the chat, and we’ll discuss the show live during the East Coast broadcast, which starts at 8 EST. West Coasters and those outside the U.S. are welcome to join in if you just can’t wait to find out what happened on the show.

Can’t wait to talk to you on Monday night!

Ox Notes: March 12, 2008

Marlee Matlin was interviewed during rehearsal for Dancing with the Stars 6, and said, "We’re all challenged in some way. … The only thing I can’t do is hear." Her partner, new pro Fabian Sanchez said, "She’s got a natural rhythm. She’s on time every single time."

MOIB reader Marina recommends these two articles featuring photos of Marissa Jaret Winokur rehearsing with her partner, Tony Dovolani, and preparing their interview segments for the show. And this article about Mario contains information about the charity he founded to assist young people with drug-addicted parents.

Nick Lachey is looking to remake Fame as a reality show for MTV.

Online video service Hulu is now up and running.

Joel, the most recent castaway voted off of Survivor: Micronesia, told TV Guide that he is a big fan of Cirie, even though she’s the one responsible for getting him voted off.

Another Survivor: Micronesia contestant, Jonny Fairplay, has been asked by a judge to provide more information as to why he feels Fox Reality Channel is to blame for Danny Bonaduce (justifiably) body slamming him at the network’s awards show.

The contestants for Hell’s Kitchen 4, which premieres on Fox on April 1, have been announced.

The best competitive cooking show on television — Top Chef — debuts its fourth season tonight on Bravo. Guest judge Ted Allen spoke with TV Guide about this season’s Chicago setting, and admitted, "If I were in this cast, I would be the first one kicked off."

An article about Top Chef: Chicago reveals that contestant Manuel Trevino may be better known to some viewers by his nickname, Memo. He was the sous chef at Mario Batali’s Babbo, the restaurant featured in Bill Buford’s book, Heat. The book is a great read, and I might have to break out my copy and revisit it during the season.

Ox Notes: March 11, 2008

Marissa Jarrett Winokur gave an interview recently in which she talked about fighting for her spot in the cast of Dancing with the Stars 6. And reigning DwtS champ Helio Castroneves disclosed the advice he gave to one of Winokur’s competitors, Jason Taylor.

In a Salon interview, DwtS vet Mark Cuban started out talking about having hip surgery weeks before dancing on national TV, but ended with some insights into how technology has changed the way we watch sports on television.

MSNBC announced that the afternoon news show helmed by DwtS vet Tucker Carlson has been officially dropped in favor of Race for the White House With David Gregory.

Britney Spears is scheduled to appear on an upcoming episode of How I Met Your Mother.

Production permits for scripted TV shows have been slow to pick up since the end of the writer’s strike, although the number of permits for new reality shows remains high.

I wish the permit for TLC’s new show Date My House, hosted by former Bachelor Bob Guiney, had been denied. The show, in which Guiney helps makeover houses before prospective buyers go on a "speed date" with them, just sounds stupid.

Another new reality show in the works will follow Motley Crue front man Vince Neil as his lives with and cares for his elderly parents. No network has picked up the show yet, and I kind of hope it stays that way.

MTV is working on a few new music-themed reality shows of its own. The one I’m most looking forward to is Rock the Cradle, in which the children of rock stars compete to see which of the offspring is the best singer.

This may be one of the few MTV shows that parents would want to watch with their kids, and kids might need their elders around to explain who the competitors’ famous parents are. I’d bet my acid-washed jeans that most 15-year-olds aren’t into Kenny Loggins, Joe Walsh, or Eddie Money — even though they should be.

Ox Notes: March 10, 2008

The Dancing with the Stars pros are hitting the interview circuit, one week ahead of the DwtS 6 premiere. ABC has an interview with Cheryl Burke, and a CBS news story excerpted segments from CosmoGirl’s cover story on Julianne Hough.

Results from a survey by Spike TV and show that Cheryl and Julianne are two of the reasons why men say they watch Dancing with the Stars.

Former DwtS champ Apolo Anton Ohno medaled at this weekend’s short track speed skating world championships.

Things aren’t going so well for another former DwtS contestant. MSNBC has plans to cancel Tucker Carlson’s daily news show, Tucker.

After Elton has an interview with Project Runway 4 runner-up, Rami Kashou. And the Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan has a juicy interview with Tim Gunn, who has strong opinions on "sourpuss" PR 4 contestant, Victorya Hong.

WE’s new reality show/documentary, High School Confidential, debuts tonight, promising sex, drugs, and teen pregnancy within a group of Kansas high school students.

The Futon Critic has a roundup of info on new shows in the works at various networks.

Reruns of some old WB favorites like Gilmore Girls will be coming back when the network relaunches as an online network.

Late night talk show’s have lost about 20% of their viewers in the last year.

A couple in New York were married by comedian Kathy Griffin over the weekend. If only I’d had the foresight, I would’ve asked Snarf from the Thundercats to officiate my wedding.

Ox Notes: March 7, 2008

Christian Siriano is all over the place after winning Project Runway 4. People has another interview with him, and he explained his fierceness scale to TV Guide. The PR 4 finale was watched by 5.18 million viewers.

Fellow designer Jack Mackenroth, who left mid-season due to illness, told People he’s thinking about returning for Project Runway 5, even though Tim Gunn and Christian think it might not be a good idea.

The fourth season of The Deadliest Catch returns to Discovery on April 15. The crews of the Northwestern, Time Bandit, Cornelia Marie, and Wizard will be back for the upcoming season, along with the crews of two new boats: the North American and the Early Dawn.

VH-1 announced plans for four more new reality shows in 2008. Celebrity Rehab wraps up its first season on VH-1 tonight, with an episode Reality Blurred describes as so honest that it’s as compelling as it is hard to watch.

Lost producer Carlton Cuse was likewise a little more honest than I wanted him to be when he explained to TV Guide how the show’s make-up crew created a fake beard for Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) out of Cusick’s own beard hair. Yuck.

Last night’s episode of Survivor: Micronesia was brutal. Immediately after choosing new tribes (Zap2It’s recap includes the lineups of New Malakal and New Airai), teams competed in the most dangerous challenge in the show’s history, and all for the reward of a steak BBQ.

Pairs of players from each tribe were tied together by a rope, and each pair took turns chasing another pair from the opposing tribe through a wooden obstacle course. As competitors ran through the muddy maze, navigating over, under, and around the wooden beams, it was almost impossible to avoid injury.

Jason’s rope got tangled and he slammed into a tree. Parvati slipped and got a fat lip. Ami twisted her knee. A stick punctured Jonathan Penner’s leg. And Joel refused to give his partner, Chet, time to stand up after slipping, and instead dragged Chet behind him, slamming Chet’s head into wooden beams along the way.

Penner returned to camp with only a gauze bandage over his clearly painful leg wound. Later that night, a doctor was dispatched to camp to disinfect the wound and close it with three stitches. Penner participated in the Immunity Challenge, but previews for next week’s episode show medics diagnosing him with an infection that they say could become fatal without treatment.

While the rule has been that, if you have to leave camp for medical treatment you’re out of the game, don’t the producers bear some responsibility for causing the injury? Were the challenge testers so good (or timid) that none of them got hurt when running a trial of the course?

The circumstances of Penner’s injury are clearly not the same as when Michael Skupin fell into the fire during Survivor: Australia. An injury that occurs as a result of bad planning on the part of production is not the same as an accident that just happens at camp.

I admit that I’m partially upset because my favorite player is the one who’s injured. But I’d feel the same had Chet sustained a concussion during the challenge and needed to be kept under medical observation. The producers got exactly what they wanted when dumb lummox Joel began dragging Chet around like a sack of potatoes (and I admit that I laughed the whole time), and they bear some responsibility for the outcome.

Now that I’ve gotten my rant out of the way, props to Cirie for being the most calculating and persuasive player to ever play the game. After losing immunity, her tribe seemed set on getting rid of the useless Chet. Cirie immediately realized that targeting the weak players would soon put her in danger, so she Jedi-ed Ozzy and Amanda into thinking that Joel needed to go, instead. Now, Cirie not only has Chet as a buffer, but she also got rid of the player who thought her most expendable.

Cirie’s not looking too far ahead, and she never runs with a plan unless she has an airtight explanation for why her teammates should believe it’s the only way to go — even though she’s really only acting in her own best interest. She’s amazing, and I hope that it’s a long time before Ozzy realizes she’s been manipulating him all along.