Monthly Archives: February 2009

Ox Notes: February 26, 2009

Last night’s Top Chef New York finale was a real let-down after an entertaining season. Even judge Toby Young blogged that he thought Stefan should’ve won. I think Hosea could give Season 2’s Ilan some competition for Most Forgettable Top Chef Winner Ever.

There’s plenty of entertaining post-finale content at Bravo’s Top Chef website, including video of Stefan admonishing Bravo for, among other things, giving Carla a Toyota Venza in the previous episode instead of a hybrid vehicle. There’s more video of Carla and Hosea, Q&A with Stefan and Q&A with Hosea, and blog posts by judge Gail Simmons and finale participant Richard Blais.

We have our first official Dancing with the Stars 8 injury. Jewel revealed on her blog and to Entertainment Tonight that she’s had to forgo practice for several days because of tendinitis in her knees.

In other DwtS news, TV Guide interviewed Season 8 contestant Denise Richards. And DwtS pro Mark Ballas starts the new season with a new girlfriend, American Idol‘s Joanna Pacitti.

I just realized that I forgot to record America’s Ballroom Challenge last night. Did you watch it, and if so how was it?

The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation is reuniting for the March 29 episode of Family Guy. The episode is part of a March sweeps month (moved back from February because of the DTV switch) that will feature more reruns than previous sweeps months.

Jerry Seinfeld is developing a marriage-themed reality show for NBC.

People interviewed the latest duo kicked off The Amazing Race, Linda & Steve, who have an unusually healthy perspective on the way their footage was edited for the show.

Fans of The Amazing Race will appreciate a lengthy Q&A Variety did with show producers Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri. Their answers are thoughtful and never defensive when responding to criticism. Doganieri even referenced the incident which provided the name for this website. It’s a must-read for serious TAR fans.

Ox Notes: February 25, 2009

Top Chef New York crowns its winner tonight on Bravo at 10 ET. I’m pulling for Carla or Stefan — anyone but boring Hosea. Time has an interview with Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio.

Also on TV tonight is the season premiere of America’s Ballroom Challenge on PBS. This season features a new host, actress Jean Louisa Kelly, as well as two Dancing with the Stars vets among the first round finalists. You can find your local PBS listings here.

In other Dancing with the Stars news, ET caught up with Cheryl Burke at her TV Guide cover shoot.

FOX gave the fifth season of So You Think You Can Dance a May 21 premiere date.

In TV development news, The CW renewed six shows for next season, including Gossip Girl and Supernatural. And NBC is considering bringing back I’m a Celebrity — Get Me Out of Here, even though it didn’t do so hot the first time the network tried it.

Michael Cera finally signed on to appear in the Arrested Development movie.

Conan O’Brien’s announcer for his new gig as host of The Tonight Show is none other than Andy Richter, his original Late Night sidekick.

Variety’s Brian Lowry wrote about the increasing opportunities for talented older actors and actresses on network and cable TV shows.

I’ve finally found a reason to watch Hell’s Kitchen: Little Gordon. Gordon Ramsay says the nine-year-old miniature Gordon will appear on an upcoming season of the show. Watch and enjoy:

Ox Notes: February 24, 2009

Ox Notes is back! Time to catch up on TV news that I missed during my week in the Florida sun.

I’ve been really happy with the first two episodes of both Survivor: Tocantins (which gained viewers in its second week) and The Amazing Race 14. I know it’s immature, but I’d be content if Mel spent the rest of the season wandering the globe complaining, "My groin!"

As The Bachelor nears its season finale, spoilers about Jason’s decision have popped up on the Web. In his EW blog, Bachelor host Chris Harrison addressed the rumors but didn’t give a satisfying answer as to why the show would need to film a second "After the Final Rose" special — unless the rumors are true.

The sinking U.S. economy is forcing networks to scale back their pilot orders. However, new shows are still in the works for comedians Joel McHale and Adam Carolla.

Networks can always save money by programming more low-cost chat shows, and Variety’s Brian Lowry has good advice for aspiring celebrity talk show hosts, including the reminder that non-celebrities will be watching the show: "Not everyone can relate to the inconvenience associated with parking your private jet."

The Screen Actors Guild rejected the producers’ "last, best and final offer" because it aimed to curtail the union’s future bargaining power.

ABC released the official photos of the Dancing with the Stars 8 couples. Please tell me Ty Murray isn’t going to dance wearing a cowboy hat every week.

Julianne Hough wrote that watching her boyfriend and DwtS 8 partner, Chuck Wicks, try to dance is "really hilarious." Fellow pro Lacey Schwimmer told People that her Season 8 charge, Steve-O, is a "workhorse."

In an interview with TV Guide, DwtS 8 contestant Nancy O’Dell explained perfectly what gives Olympians and other athletes an edge in the dance competition: "The experience of doing something physical in front of so many people under so much pressure."

O’Dell also mentioned that she’s warned her husband not to vote for NFL star Lawrence Taylor while she’s on the show, telling him, "You don’t have to go to bed with him at the end of the night. You have to sleep with me at the end of the night!"

Ox Notes: February 12, 2009

ABC published the complete list of pairings for Dancing with the Stars 8 today:

  • Chuck Wicks & Julianne Hough
  • Denise Richards & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
  • Steve-O & Lacey Schwimmer
  • Nancy O’Dell & Tony Dovolani
  • Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas
  • Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke
  • Belinda Carlisle & Jonathan Roberts
  • David Alan Grier & Kym Johnson
  • Jewel & Dmitry Chaplin
  • Lil’ Kim & Derek Hough
  • Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower
  • Lawrence Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska
  • Steve Wozniak & Karina Smirnoff

Nerds everywhere are trying to find ways to help Woz win DwtS 8.

My fellow nerds will also be excited to learn that the Battlestar Galactica prequel film, Caprica, will be released on DVD on April 21. Caprica the series debuts on SciFi in 2010.

BSG‘s Tahmoh Penikett talked with Zap2It about his new series, Dollhouse, which debuts on FOX this Friday night at 9 ET.

The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan gave a sneak preview of TAR 14, which debuts Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.

Debuting tonight at 8 ET on CBS is Survivor: Tocantins. EW filmed what happened when their writers called Jeff Probst to clarify how to correctly pronounce Tocantins.

ABC and CBS announced more pilots in the works at their networks.

Bravo is working on a spin-off of Top Chef called Top Chef Masters, which will feature famous chefs competing in Quickfire and Elimination Challenges for charity.

I’ll be stunned if Eric Ripert does not appear on Top Chef Masters. He told People that Stefan is his pick to win Top Chef New York.

Bravo’s website has blog posts by last night’s TCNY judges and dinner guests Toby Young, Jacques Pepin, Wylie Dufresne and Susan Ungaro. There’s also a Q&A with Fabio that contains gems like: "I challenge anyone to reply the potatoes of my grandma."

I’m leaving the chilly Chicago suburbs for a sunny Florida vacation tomorrow. Ox Notes will return on Tuesday, February 24.

Ox Notes: February 11, 2009

As SAG gets ready to resume contract talks with the producers, Variety examined the lingering fallout from last year’s WGA strike.

Last year’s creative hiatus may claim one more victim, if the guild decides to discipline Jay Leno for writing his Tonight Show monologues during the strike.

Performer Nick Cannon has replaced Jerry Springer as the new host of NBC’s America’s Got Talent.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, has posted love-themed episodes of shows like Friends, Gilmore Girls and Smallville to their website and made them available for viewing online through February 17. Then, from February 18 through March 1, the site will highlight episodes about breakups as a cure for your "Love Hangover."

The Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan reviewed the new version of The Electric Company.

Ahead of tonight’s new episode of Top Chef, here are links to People and TV Guide interviews with ousted cheftestant Jamie.

Dancing with the Stars co-host Samantha Harris and Season 7 competitor Ted McGinley offered their thoughts on the DwtS 8 contestants to OK! Magazine.

DwtS 8 competitor Nancy O’Dell will reveal the identity of her pro partner on today’s edition of Access Hollywood.

On last night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Steve-O revealed that he’ll be dancing with Lacey Schwimmer this season. If you’ve never heard Steve-O’s crazy voice before, it’s worth watching the video.

Ox Notes: February 10, 2009

TV Guide asked Dancing with the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy what he thought about Season 8 contestant Chuck Wicks being paired with his girlfriend, DwtS pro Julianne Hough, for the competition. Maks replied: "I don’t want to start the season with a usual Maks rant, so I’m going to plead the fifth on that pairing!"

Maks’ Season 8 partner, Denise Richards, told People that she’s afraid of "forgetting everything right before going on live."

DwtS 6 champ Kristi Yamaguchi assessed the Season 8 contestants for Us Magazine.

Star Trek fans might want to watch tonight’s episode of Leverage at 10 ET on TNT. It’s directed by Commander Riker and stars Data and Quark. "Shields up. Go to red alert!"

Networks are announcing their plans for the future, including a reality show featuring self-help guru Tony Robbins on NBC. ABC and CBS are working on new reality shows of their own, though CBS seems to be focusing more on new scripted fare for the fall season.

The CW is jumping on the vampire bandwagon with its new scripted show, Vampire Diaries.

TLC announced that it’s dropping Trading Spaces, long after it stopped being the compelling show that put the network on the map.

Reality Blurred has interviews with Survivor: Tocantins contestants Taj Johnson-George, Stephen Fishbach and this season’s likely villain, Sierra Reed.

DwtS 8‘s Steve-O is scheduled to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight, and hopefully the identity of his partner will be revealed. I’m guessing it’s Lacey Schwimmer. Who do you want to see the stuntman paired with?

DwtS 8 Casting Call

ABC has announced the celebrity cast of Dancing with the Stars 8:

You can check out the competitors’ official bios at ABC’s DwtS website. Incidentally, earlier on Sunday, a poster at the website Suvivor Sucks posted a rumored cast list that was 100% correct.

Update: ABC’s website confirms that Chuck Wicks will dance with his girlfriend, Julianne Hough (an offer ABC probably made in order to get her back this season). On today’s Good Morning America, Denise Richards met her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

I learned from an insider that Gilles Marini will dance with Cheryl Burke. And I’ll be surprised if married couple Jewel and Ty Murray aren’t paired with married pros Alec Mazo and Edyta Sliwinska (though MOIB reader Daniela noticed that ABC’s press release only mentions three real life couples, and Alec & Edyta would make four).

Another of the pairings will presumably be revealed on tonight’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, with the rest of the couples announced on Thursday. One of this season’s two new pros is So You Think You Can Dance 4‘s Chelsea Hightower.

My initial impression of the cast is zzzzzzzzz…. Oh, sorry. Must’ve dozed off there. Why couldn’t ABC shelve DwtS for the spring, build up some hype and get some real stars for a fall season?

 Are you as totally underwhelmed by this cast as I am? If not, who are you rooting for?

Ox Notes: February 5, 2009

One of Top Chef New York‘s top contenders was sent home last night. The winning and losing chefs spoke with about the challenge at Le Bernadin.

Bravo’s website also features Q&As with guest judge Eric Ripert and former judge Gail Simmons (who loved the challenge as much as I did), as well as blog posts by judges Tom Colicchio and Toby Young.

If you live in D.C., this weekend is your chance to see Tiffany "New York" Pollard act in The Vagina Monologues with Survivor: Tocantins contestant Taj Johnson-George.

Reality Blurred interviewed Survivor: TocantinsBrendan Synnott.

MSN has a photo gallery of the best TV office environments.

As you probably suspected, most people eat junk food while watching The Biggest Loser.

Former Dancing with the Stars contestant Vivica A. Fox will host a dating show called The Cougar on TV Land starting on April 15.

The Bob Saget sitcom Surviving Suburbia debuts on April 6 on ABC, following the Monday night edition of Dancing with the Stars.

For the duration of DwtS 8, I propose we nickname Cheryl Burke "Disco Abs" in honor of her new workout video.

Since the cast of Dancing with the Stars 8 will be announced on Sunday night, I’ll have a special DwtS edition of Ox Notes on Monday where we can discuss the new cast. E! has an article about all of the celebrities rumored to be on the show, with the most likely suspects being Denise Richards, Steve-O, Lawrence Taylor and Jewel. Not exactly the A-list (or B-List) group I was hoping for.

Ox Notes: February 4, 2009

Casting for Top Chef 6 begins this weekend. In the meantime, Top Chef New York‘s Jeff McInnis isn’t handling his elimination well. He sounded bitter in interviews with E! and People, where he said: "My opinion about Tom Colicchio’s food is that it’s extremely boring."

In Dancing with the Stars news, OK! reports that Jackass‘s Steve-O is definitely a part of the Season 8 cast.

DwtS pros Mark Ballas and Derek Hough are releasing an album on March 10, the day after Season 8 premieres.

ABC keeps messing with the revamped version of Rob Thomas’s Cupid. The series premiere has been moved back to March 31, and the final episode order has been reduced to seven after network execs reportedly didn’t like a couple of the story outlines submitted by the writers.

Variety’s Phil Gallo writes about the unique arrangement CBS has to integrate music into episodes of NCIS. An upcoming two-disc NCIS soundtrack features 16 previously unreleased tracks.

Variety also features a psychologist’s analysis of House‘s eponymous lead character, Dr. Gregory House.

Ditsy Girl Next Door Kendra is moving out of the Playboy Mansion and getting her own show on E!. If you’re not familiar with the flaky exhibitionist, this safe-for-work video of Kendra extolling the virtues of Olive Garden is an appropriate introduction:

Ox Notes: February 3, 2009

ABC will announce the cast of Dancing with the Stars 8 by revealing the stars’ names one-by-one throughout the course of the network’s Sunday night primetime lineup on February 8. I think I’ll wait until Brothers & Sisters ends and then check out ABC’s DwtS website for the full cast list.

One of the names expected to be on the DwtS 8 cast list is former NFL-er Lawrence Taylor.

Karina Smirnoff recently underwent knee surgery, though the DwtS pro told E! that she’ll be ready to start training with her new partner on February 10.

In other ABC news, producers of The Bachelor flew in special trainers from Seattle to keep Jason Mesnick buff for his shirtless scenes.

More than 95 million people watched Super Bowl XLII.

Reality Blurred interviewed Survivor: Tocantins contestants Joe Dowdle, Jerry Sims, Debra Beebe and Tyson Apostol. Any favorites among these four castaways?

Variety’s Brian Lowry thinks American networks should follow the British model and keep TV shows’ seasons short, especially since most series never make it to the 100 episode mark needed for syndication.

Even shows I really like, such as Battlestar Galactica, have a few filler episodes each season that are so bad they’re almost unwatchable. On the other hand, my favorite series ever, the U.K.’s Peep Show, films just six episodes per season, and each episode is terrific.

I’d rather watch several good shows with shorter seasons each year, instead of a few uneven series with twenty or more episodes each. How about you?