Monthly Archives: May 2009

Ox Notes: May 28, 2009

ABC has the cure for Dancing with the Stars fans already experiencing Tom Bergeron withdrawal. The DwtS host will emcee tonight’s primetime finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at 8 ET.

American Idol contestant Danny Gokey is campaigning for a spot on Dancing with the Stars 9. I don’t think it’s gonna happen, Danny. The only reality show talent ABC poaches from FOX are contestants from So You Think You Can Dance.

TV Guide recapped last night’s episode of SYTYCD.

Tonight at 8 ET, CNBC will air a special on the vast influence of Oprah Winfrey called The Oprah Effect. The Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan reviewed the special, which deals with the hidden dangers of Oprah’s public approval.

TLC announced that Jon & Kate Plus 8 isn’t going away anytime soon. The current season is 40 episodes long, and nearly 10 million people watched Monday’s season premiere.

EW has the scoop on the new season of Project Runway.

This interview with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the creator of Designing Women, is pretty interesting for what she reveals about how the TV industry has changed since the 1980s.

Variety has an article about how the current recession has shaped the fall 2009 TV season.

Last night marked the return of my beloved Wipeout. An intrepid MSN reporter ran the course for a piece she wrote about the show. She didn’t bite it quite as bad as this guy did in the premiere:

Ox Notes: May 26, 2009

It’s summer in TV land, when news slows to a trickle. Therefore, I’ll usually post new Ox Notes only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, until we get closer to the fall TV season.

You can keep tabs on summer series premiere dates with Zap2It’s Premieres and Finales Calendar. The website posted reviews of two new shows premiering tonight, Mental on FOX and Hitched or Ditched on The CW.

And, of course, Wipeout premieres on ABC Wednesday night at 8 ET.

A new season of Jon & Kate Plus 8 debuted on TLC last night, and critics weren’t impressed with the latest episode in the increasingly uncomfortable-to-watch series.

Fans of The Bachelorette will want to read host Chris Harrison’s blog for his take on last night’s episode.

Zap2It’s Harper’s Island recapper, Andrea Reiher, seems positively gleeful about all of the show’s gory deaths. So am I.

While flipping through the channels this weekend, Greg and I wondered exactly what Ion Television is. The answer: a broadcaster in financial trouble.

My brother will be outraged to learn that Disney is planning to remake its 1986 live-action sci-fi flick Flight of the Navigator.

In other sci-fi remake news, ABC released a promo trailer for its remake of the ’80s alien invasion mini-series V. While the promo clip below looks cool and stars Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell, I don’t know how they’ll be able to improve on this scene from V: The Final Battle.

Ox Notes: May 21, 2009

Ox Notes is back from vacation; did anything happen while I was gone?

Catching up on the most important Dancing with the Stars 8 commentary, here’s a link to the final Yahoo! Buzz Sessions of the season (the excellent post-Finale episode is the last one on the list). Judge Carrie Ann Inaba blogged about the season finale for EW.

Survivor: Tocantins also ended while I was away, so here’s a link to host Jeff Probst’s final EW blog post. Reality Blurred interviewed three of the final four: Stephen, Erinn and Taj.

So You Think You Can Dance premieres tonight on FOX at 8 ET. Judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy talked to TV Guide about the new season.

As soon as this summer season of SYTYCD ends, a new one begins in the fall, putting FOX’s dance show into direct competition with Dancing with the Stars.

The networks have all announced their fall schedules. EW has a cheat sheet that lists the fates of current shows, while Zap2It posted cool grids of the night-by-night schedules for NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW.

NBC’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! couldn’t cast indicted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich because a judge wouldn’t allow him to leave the country to film the show. So, naturally, they cast Rod’s wife, Patti. Wait…huh? I live in Illinois, and even I don’t know enough about Patti Blagojevich to want to watch her on TV. Why does the network think anyone outside The Land of Lincoln will care?

With another season of DwtS in the books, it seems fitting to end this post with a vid of Season 8 champs Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Ox Notes will return on Tuesday, May 26.

DwtS 8, Week 11: The Finale

With four wins in the first seven seasons, athletes have had a great track record on Dancing with the Stars. Would Shawn follow in the footsteps of previous jocks and win the mirrorball trophy, or would Gilles or Melissa be able to even the score?

The performance-laden DwtS 8 Finale began with Lady Gaga singing "Let’s Dance."

The bulk of the evening was taken up with performances by the couples eliminated earlier in the season. An easily overlooked highlight was the announcement that Anna Demidova beat Mayo Alanen in the Pro Dancer Competiiton, earning Anna a spot in the Season 9 cast.

Former DwtS contestant and "Roastmaster General" Jeff Ross roasted this season’s finalists, asking of Melissa, "Wouldn’t it be ironic if she came in second on this show, too?" (Unfortunately for Melissa, she wouldn’t even be that lucky…)

Then the finalists re-performed their best routines for one last set of judges’ scores (all 30s, of course). Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas kicked things off with a reprise of their Cha Cha Cha.

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani danced their Samba.

And Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke performed their Argentine Tango.

While the final scores were tabulated, Lady Gaga took the stage again to sing "Love Game."

Finally, it was time to announce the results. Melissa & Tony came in third, which was no real surprise. After Melissa got to say some final words, the winning couple was announced: Shawn and Mark, who beat Gilles and Cheryl by only a 1% margin.

That gave professional and Olympic athletes a 5-3 edge over non-athletes on Dancing with the Stars. It also evened the score between men and women, 4-4.

DwtS 8, Week 11: Performances

The Dancing with the Stars 8 finalists gave it their all, as they tried to impress the voters one last time.

The competition started with all three couples facing off against one another in a Paso Doble. The judges awarded scores to each couple individually.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas — 28

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — 29

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke — 30

Then it was time for the Freestyle Round.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas — 30

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke — 28

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — 27

Judges’ Leaderboard (60 points possible):

58Shawn & Mark, Gilles & Cheryl

56Melissa & Tony

While I liked all of the Freestyles, I think Shawn & Mark gave the most energetic performance. However, I’m giving at least a couple of my votes to Melissa & Tony. The judges have been inconsistent in the way they’ve scored the couple in recent weeks, and their comments haven’t been constructive. It’s as though they’ve been holding Melissa to a different standard, but never explained what that standard was.

I think the trophy will go to Shawn or Gilles, but I want to give Melissa a fighting chance.


Ox Notes: May 14, 2009

If you want to know why the Dancing with the Stars finalists seem stressed during the last weeks of the season, it’s because they get stuck doing dumb things like magazine photo shoots about what kinds of food they like. And those photo shoots are filmed by Entertainment Tonight. Sorry, Melissa & Tony.

Catching up on some other DwtS news, Us chatted with Ty Murray, Gilles Marini spoke with OK! and People filed a What You Didn’t See report from the set of Tuesday’s Results Show.

In Carrie Ann Inaba’s latest blog post for EW, she wrote, "I’m not saying that Melissa doesn’t work hard." That sentence, placed within a rambling paragraph about how talented people sometimes have bad work ethics, can mean only one thing: Carrie Ann thinks Melissa doesn’t work hard.

Tuesday’s DwtS Results Show was watched by 14.06 million people, though its ratings among 18-34 year olds were only slightly better than those of The CW’s 90210.

OK! Magazine is giving you the opportunity to participate in a workout with Lacey Schwimmer on May 30.

Reality TV World posted lengthy interviews with The Amazing Race teams Victor & Tammy and Jamie & Cara that I’ll get around to reading later this afternoon.

Friday night’s episode of Storymakers on AMC features director Judd Apatow talking about just how much male frontal nudity moviegoers are willing to sit through before walking out of the theater.

The Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan argues that NBC’s new Amy Poehler comedy, Parks and Recreation, is actually less funny than Joey, the network’s Friends spin-off starring Matt Le Blanc. Wow.

I’ll be on vacation next week, but I’ll try and post brief editions of Ox Notes on Tuesday and Wednesday with links to DwtS interviews. In the meantime, I leave you with Keyboard Cat (contains some coarse language):

Ox Notes: May 13, 2009

After last night’s Dancing with the Stars Results Show, the contestants chatted on camera with ET, The Insider and Access Hollywood. Print outlets OK! and People were also backstage.

Gilles Marini was especially chatty, telling OK! about his new acting role and revealing too much to E! about his, um, extracurricular activities.

Former DwtS contestant Paulina Porizkova was reportedly fired from America’s Next Top Model for having a big ego. There’s only enough room on that set for one big ego, and that ego belongs to Tyra Banks.

Interviews with The Amazing Race 14 contestants continue to hit the Web. TV Guide has interviews with Jamie & Cara and Luke & Margie, who also did an interview with (thanks for the tip, Jen C).

FOX has renewed Lie to Me for a second season and picked up two pilots for the fall.

While you may be sick of the profusion of Jon and Kate Gosselin affair/break up stories, it is interesting to think of all the money and free stuff they stand to lose if they split up and force the cancellation of Jon & Kate Plus 8. Will $75,000 per episode and free Disney World tickets be enough to keep them together?

Finally, here’s a clip of Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower’s farewell appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

DwtS 8, Week 10: Results

With one week left, the only question that remained was whether Ty’s fan support could propel him into the DwtS 8 finals.

Musical guest Raphael Saadiq kicked off the night, accompanied by his own dancers.

The judge’s encore went to Shawn & Mark for their Tango. Then former DwtS champs Helio Castroneves, Brooke Burke and Drew Lachey offered some generic comments about this season’s final four.

The next performance of the night was part of the pro dancer competition. This week, finalists Mayo Alanen and Anna Demidova performed two dances with one of the current DwtS pros. Mayo was first up, dancing a Tango with Kym Johnson.

Anna was next, performing a Quickstep with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

The competition took a break for the winning routine in ABC’s online Design-a-Dance contest, a Quickstep performed by Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, Julianne Hough and Lacey Schwimmer.

Then Mayo & Kym were back to Cha Cha Cha.

Anna & Maks returned with a Samba.

The judges unanimously favored Anna’s routines, with Len threatening to "show [his] bum in the supermarket" if she doesn’t come back next season.

Finally, it was time to announce the results. Gilles & Cheryl and Shawn & Mark were told they were safe.

Ultimately, Melissa & Tony wer saved, and Ty & Chelsie were let go. I wonder how close they really were to making it into the finals.

Ox Notes: May 12, 2009

If it wasn’t for the MOIB chatroom and the Yahoo! Buzz Session, I’m not sure I’d be able to endure all of the filler that comes with Dancing with the Stars. This week’s Buzz Session highlight is Joey Lawrence’s claim that Gilles Marini cries tears of Evian.

The Insider and ET had cameras backstage after the DwtS Performance Show. The contestants also chatted with Us, OK! and People. People wants to know who got screwed worse by the judges last night, Melissa Rycroft or Shawn Johnson.

Between DwtS rehearsals, Gilles & Cheryl had to attend the opening ceremony for a new Cheryl Burke Dance studio in Laguna Niguel, California.

In other celebrity TV news, AMC’s Storymakers announced its guest list, which includes Cameron Diaz and Judd Apatow. And CBS announced airdates for the remaining episodes of Million Dollar Password.

This past Sunday night, Tammy & Victor won The Amazing Race 14. The siblings talked about their victory with TV Guide and People, and host Phil Keoghan blogged about the finale for EW.

Sorry, Lauren Graham fans. NBC isn’t picking up her pilot, Legally Mad.

Believe it or not, American Gladiators: The Movie is coming to a theater near you. I say it’s about time. I mean, how am I supposed to appreciate the athletic prowess of behemoths like Wolf and Nitro without knowing their backstories?

DwtS 8, Week 10: Performances

This was one of the most disappointing Dancing with the Stars Semifinals ever. But it wasn’t because of the dancing…

With only four couples left, producers struggled to fill two hours of show time. The evening started with a pro performance.

Apart from that one performance, the first half-hour of the show featured nothing but the couples talking about their previous dances. It was boring and demonstrated how little faith ABC has in any of the other shows in its lineup. Otherwise, why else would they expand an hour’s worth of material into two hours?

Ballroom Round

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke — 30

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas — 30

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — 28

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower — 25

Before the Latin Round, there was more filler about the stars’ families and hometowns. This kind of material is fine for the finale, but it was like an anchor on the (already bloated) show this week.

Latin Round

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke — 30

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — 27

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas — 26

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower — 23

Leaderboard (out of 60)

Gilles & Cheryl — 60

Shawn & Mark — 56

Melissa & Tony — 55

Ty & Chelsie — 48

My frustration with the excessive amount of filler rubbed off on how I felt about the performances, and I was underwhelmed by the dances. I’ve enjoyed this season until now, but this gratuitous episode reminded me why I sometimes think about abandoning the show altogether.

That said, the judges’ scores made it clear which couples they would like to see in the finale. But will Ty’s low scores spur his fans into a voting frenzy? Are Melissa and Shawn safe?