Monthly Archives: June 2008

Ox Notes: June 16, 2008

Top Chef: Chicago winner Stephanie Izard has been besieged by interviewers since her victory. MSN, People, and the Chicago Tribune all interviewed the chef. The Trib also posted video of an online chat they did with Stephanie, who told the A.V. Club that contestants kill time in the "stew room" while the judges deliberate by "playing with the Gladware."

Fox has signed Jason Bateman to a one-year TV development deal.

Gossip Girl‘s Jenny Humphrey character may get her own spin-off series.

Mel B’s skimpy outfits on Dancing with the Stars no doubt prepared her for her new career as an underwear model.

NBC has moved up the premiere of its poorly cast Celebrity Family Feud to June 24 at 9 ET, putting it up against the debut of one of my most highly anticipated summer series, I Survived a Japanese Game Show. Raven-Symone versus Wayne Newton, or a game called "Chicken Butt Scramble" — the choice is obvious.

I Survived a Japanese Game Show should benefit from a lead in by another new game show premiering that night called Wipeout. If you’ve watched anything on ABC in the last month, you’ve probably seen the promos with contestants jumping onto giant red balls and falling helplessly into the mud. I am not exaggerating when I say that I laugh out loud every time I see one of the commercials.

Just in case you’re not familiar with the show, here’s a preview of ABC’s Wipeout:

Ox Notes: June 12, 2008

I confess: I was planning on skipping this season of So You Think You Can Dance. I’m still a little burnt out from the unbearably long episodes of Dancing with the Stars 6, and I thought summer would be a nice time to do some reading. But I flipped through the channels last night and fell victim to SYTYCD‘s secret weapon: Mary Murphy. I’d forgotten how hilarious she is, and now I’m doomed.

In case you missed the show, here are links to videos of the performances: Susie & Marquis, Kourtni & Matt, Comfort & Chris, Chelsea & Thayne, Chelsie & Mark, Rayven & Jamie, Katee & Joshua, Jessica & Will, Courtney & Gev, and Kherington & Twitch.

I’m very happy with the results of the Top Chef: Chicago finale. has a blog post about the finale by judge Ted Allen, as well as an interview with the winner.

Don’t forget, you can chat with Top Chef finalist Stephanie today at 1 p.m. CT, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Even though he didn’t make it to the finale, Top Chef: Chicago‘s Spike is still a winner. His restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery, is scheduled to open in Washington D.C. by June 24.

Hoping to capitalize on the success of Top Chef, Bravo has two new food shows in the works, including Top Chef Junior and an untitled project starring celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

The matchups for NBC’s Celebrity Family Feud have been announced, eliminating any desire I had to watch the show. Kathie Lee Gifford and family vs. Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman and family? That’s the best you could do, NBC?

Marlee Matlin is writing a book, set to be released some time in 2009.

The A.V. Club has an interview with the always hilarious host of The Soup, Joel McHale.

SAG president Alan Rosenberg told Variety that he doesn’t think the union will have a new contract in place before the current one expires on June 30.

Yahoo! has a well-considered Summer Viewing List of TV shows on DVD, including suggestions for further viewing: "If you like Arrested Development, also check out Curb Your Enthusiasm." The list is full of great shows, although I recommend skipping Wonderfalls, one of the "also check out" suggestions under the entry for the excellent Freaks & Geeks.

This isn’t TV news, but People has a video featuring the new lead singer of Journey — a guy from the Philippines that the band found on YouTube. The singer, Arnel Pineda, sounds exactly like Steve Perry.

I’m taking tomorrow off. Have a great weekend!

Ox Notes: June 11, 2008

The Top Chef: Chicago finale airs tonight at 10 ET on Bravo. I’m rooting for Stephanie to win, and so is the rest of Chicago. She recently did an interview with the Chicago Tribune, and she will be video chatting with fans of the show at the newspaper’s website on Thursday at 1 p.m. CT. You can submit questions for the chef here.

Stephanie’s fellow Top Chef: Chicago contestant, Antonia, spoke with People about getting cut just shy of the finale.

The hosts of Top Chef are getting nearly as much press as the contestants. Salon has an interview with Tom Colicchio, and the Los Angeles Times interviewed Padma Lakshmi.

Frequent Top Chef guest judge Ted Allen will host Food Detectives on the Food Network. The new show — which sounds like a culinary version of Mythbusters — premieres on July 29 at 9 p.m. ET.

Foodies out there might be interested in this MSNBC article about up-and-coming Chicago chef Grant Achatz and his battle with tongue cancer.

Also on the tube tonight, the Top 20 dancers of So You Think You Can Dance 4 take the stage. OK! Magazine interviewed judge/producer Nigel Lythgoe, who says the breakers are the dancers to watch this season. Leave a comment below if you’d like me to open up the MOIB Chat Room during tonight’s show.

It’s a slow day for news about that other dance show, Dancing with the Stars. Mario Lopez was recently seen driving the Oscar Meyer wiener mobile, and Marissa Jaret Winokur still isn’t ready for the birth of her first child.

MSN had a neat article about TV’s Hall of Shame — shows that aired two episodes or less before getting canned. I wonder if The Mole will be added to that list; The Mole’s second episode lost 16% of its viewers, giving it an audience of 3.97 million.

Ox Notes: June 10, 2008

Members of the Writers Guild joined SAG members at a solidarity rally yesterday, where speakers urged SAG members with dual membership in AFTRA to delay voting on AFTRA’s new contract with the studios. However, SAG’s own leadership is split over the new anti-AFTRA strategy.

I’m waiting to see if The Mole‘s ratings improved on last week’s dismal numbers. After watching last night’s new episode, I realized that part of the problem inherent in the format is that viewers have no way to predict who will be eliminated, nor any idea why the eliminated player was sent home. Reality Blurred suspects that unlikeable players like Paul might also keep viewers from investing in the show.

Reality Blurred also has a list of the reported cast members of Celebrity Rehab 2, which inexplicably includes police brutality victim Rodney King.

Brody Jenner of The Hills is looking to add a member to his entourage via an MTV "dating" show titled Bromance.

Speaking of MTV shows, Shane Sparks says his duties on America’s Best Dance Crew won’t keep him from participating in So You Think You Can Dance. Sparks is choreographing a group hip-hop number for the June 17th episode of SYTYCD.

The second season of America’s Best Dance Crew premiered on Saturday, featuring the Xtreme Dance Force — a group of guys who honed their craft on the mean streets of north Naperville (assuming that a street with a Gap Baby store on it can also be mean). Vote for the boyz from my ‘hood here.

Another SYTYCD choreographer, Tyce Diorio (whose real name is Keith), made his debut as a judge on last night’s premiere of TLC’s Master of Dance. The show, hosted by Dancing with the Stars vet Joey Lawrence, got a negative review from the Boston Herald. The first two half-hour episodes will rerun on Sunday night at 9 ET.

DwtS vet Stacy Keibler has joined the cast of ABC Family’s Samurai Girl. And DwtS pro Cheryl Burke is looking forward to taking her first vacation in three years.

Sharon Osbourne has reportedly signed on for the next edition of the U.K.’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Bill Moyers, host of the best news program on television, will appear on tonight’s episode of Countdown with Keith Olbermann (MSNBC, 8 ET) to talk about being ambushed recently by a producer for Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor. Several news outlets were on hand to record the naive producer get politely, but decisively, owned by Moyers. It’s worth watching the below video just to see the producer slink off after having his ass handed to him in front of about a dozen reporters.

Ox Notes: June 9, 2008

MOIB reader Amy alerted me to a news release from IMDb in which Cybill Shepherd is quoted as saying, "I love ballroom dancing. I’ve been offered Dancing With the Stars and I’d love to do it. I’m sure I could do it." Shepherd’s publicist has since told the New York Post, "She’s not going to do it."

DwtS 6 contestant Mario told BuddyTV that he wishes would’ve gotten more constructive criticism from Len Goodman, instead of comments designed "to get the crowd to laugh."

Even with the boost Dancing with the Stars has given to ballroom dancing’s popularity, it would still take at least 12 years before ballroom dancing could become an Olympic sport.

The Chinese government is backtracking on promises it made to the International Olympic Committee, leading to headaches for the international networks and news outlets planning to broadcast from Beijing. The government has imposed strict new security measures, delaying shipments of camera equipment and adding mountains of paperwork just weeks before TV crews need to be in place for the August Games. posted a list of the So You Think You Can Dance 4 Top Twenty, along with a few of the more colorful dancers who didn’t make the cut.

Patrick Swayze will continue with his cancer treatment as he films the new series The Beast for A&E.

Rather than focus on fighting with the studios during contract negotiations, SAG picked a fight with AFTRA, urging the 40,000 actors with dual membership to delay approval of AFTRA’s contract with the studios.

The winner of the third season of The Next Food Network Star, Amy Finley, opted not to renew her contract with the Food Network after only six episodes, in part because bloggers were mean to her. Amy, I’m sure those bloggers will have a whole new respect for you now that you’ve decided to quit, effectively undermining the whole premise of the show right as a new season begins.

Ox Notes: June 6, 2008

According to Jeff Probst, there have already been some production problems on the set of Survivor: Gabon. A shipping container filled with $100,000 worth of food went missing, and the crew may have set up camp in a hippo’s territory.

The Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan interviewed Tim Gunn about the two upcoming seasons of Project Runway.

Writer Joel Stein spent a day running errands with Jason Bateman for a cover story for Best Life Magazine. The piece is hilarious, and a must-read for Arrested Development fans.

I don’t know why I find this so amusing, but Jackie Chan owns a Segway dealership in Hong Kong.

Dancing with the Stars 6 contestants Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez stopped by the International Center on Deafness and the Arts to teach some dance moves to students. Matlin made her stage debut in the 1980s as Dorothy in the center’s production of The Wizard of Oz.

Fellow DwtSers Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke stopped by Disneyland to pose for publicity photos while wearing Indiana Jones hats.

Karina Smirnoff told OK! Magazine that she and Mario Lopez have officially broken up.

A couple of weeks after being eliminated from DwtS 6, Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough filmed a spoof-version of a Fox Trot, pretending as though they didn’t realize they’d been voted off of the show. It’s an amusing way to kick off the weekend. Enjoy!

Ox Notes: June 5, 2008

Dancing with the Stars pro Edyta Sliwinska told the Palm Beach Post that her Season 6 partner, Jason Taylor, was never distracted during rehearsal by his strained relationship with the Miami Dolphins.

Another DwtS pro, Karina Smirnoff, will model an outfit designed by Project Runway 3 finalist Michael Knight for a charity fashion show to benefit UNICEF, as part of Bravo’s A-List Awards. The awards show airs next Thursday.

DwtS fans in Ohio can head to the Fred Astaire Studio in Canton on Saturday to take part in a pair of dance workshops taught by Tony Dovolani.

Joey Fatone and Mel B. are bringing a vocal competition show called The Singing Office to TLC on June 29.

Brigitte Nielsen is filming a show for German television in which she’ll undergo a series of cosmetic surgeries because, "the secretiveness in Hollywood is annoying."

Nielsen’s show actually fits in nicely with what Variety describes as the growing television trend of portraying mothers more realistically.

Jimmy Kimmel brings the first in a series of primetime specials to ABC tonight at 8 ET/CT.

Swingtown also makes its debut tonight on CBS at 10 ET. The show is set in a ficticious Chicago suburb based on the actual suburb of Winnetka, and the Chicago Tribune has a map of Winnetka locales referenced in the show. Chicago musician Liz Phair wrote Swingtown‘s score.

Ox Notes: June 4, 2008

Apparently, I was part of a small group when I watched the season premiere of The Mole on Monday night. The show debuted to an audience of only 4.73 million people.

Ahead of tonight’s new episode of Top Chef: Chicago, People has an interview with Spike, who incidentally shares his name with a cockatiel my friend, Kelly, owned in fifth grade. Restaurateur Rick Tramanto gave the Chicago Tribune the scoop on the frozen scallops in his cooler which ultimately doomed Spike.

Original Survivor winner Richard Hatch is appealing his tax evasion conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Speaking of stars in money trouble, Ed McMahon’s $6.25 million Beverly Hills home is facing foreclosure.

At George Takei’s upcoming wedding to Brad Altman, Chekov will serve as best man and Uhura will be matron of honor.

OK! Magazine has Dancing with the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff’s makeup removal secrets.

Variety posted an article on why TV writers don’t pen shows with main characters who are writers.

Don’t read this article about cheesy ’80s TV theme songs unless you want to have the Silver Spoons theme stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You have been warned.

Ox Notes: June 3, 2008

As shows vie for Emmy nominations, Variety listed some possible contenders in the reality TV categories. Just don’t expect to see many nominations for celebreality shows. Another Variety article proposes that the proliferation of reality shows has made viewers more discriminating about what they watch.

I’m a discriminating viewer in my own right — so long as you don’t count my regular viewings of Wheel of Fortune, It’s Me or the Dog, America’s Funniest Home Videos, and decade-old Frasier and Star Trek: Voyager reruns. Uh, anyway, I was impressed by last night’s season premiere of The Mole. I especially enjoyed when the contestants voted on who amongst them was the biggest whiner, only to have the whiner put in charge of all of the decision-making for the day. Zap2It has a recap of the episode.

Harold Perrineau spoke with to clarify some of his public comments about the Lost season finale. I hope that the show’s writers are taking his comments seriously, because he’s got some good ideas.

Billy Zane has been cast as a lawyer on the poorly-titled new ABC show Finnegan.

The Futon Critic has a list of celebrities scheduled to appear on CBS’s Password, including Dancing with the Stars veterans Shanna Moakler, Sara Evans, and Monique Coleman.

Frequent Daily Show guest and Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria debuted an international news show on CNN this weekend, aptly titled Fareed Zakaria — GPS. He spoke with TV Guide about his new program, which won’t preclude him from future appearances on The Daily Show. Here’s his most recent appearance, from January 14, 2008:

Ox Notes: June 2, 2008

MOIB reader Deb noticed that Dancing with the Stars pros Tony Dovolani, Elena Grinenko, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Julianne Hough, Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, and Fabian Sanchez are scheduled to perform on June 12 at Dancing with Desire 2008, a competition held by Fred Astaire Studios Florida.

DwtS 6 runner-up Jason Taylor said in a press conference yesterday that he plans to play football for one more season.

As the winter TV season comes to an end and series go dark for the summer, MSN has an article on the worst series finales ever.

The Mole returns to ABC tonight at 10 ET, with a slightly revamped format that the network hopes will make the show more interactive.

The summer TV season is off to a rocky start for reality shows, most of which are earning lower ratings than last year.

Networks took another hit last week when U.K. TV show buyers looked at the few completed pilots out there and opted not to pick up any new shows planned for fall. Typically, networks film pilots and use the money made from sales to foreign markets to finance filming subsequent episodes.

NBC is already worrying that Jay Leno won’t go quietly when his contract expires in 2009. And why would he, when he consistently beats David Letterman in the ratings?