Where to be and what to watch...
By Mark Lasswell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/24/2005 8:00:00 PM
Monday, April 25
Oxygen, also known as The Women’s Channel That Isn’t Lifetime, launches a reality series tonight (8 ET) hosted by Linda Kaplan Thaler, the marketing maven behind the AFLAC duck. Making It Big is sort of “Apprentice Nice,” with young professionals questing after a chance to work with an “icon” in their chosen field. The show has “no ill intentions toward the contestants,” says Oxygen programming chief Debby Beece, who refers to the six-part series as “reality that doesn’t bite.” Thaler talks about “nurturing” and “mentoring” and “a refreshingly honest look at how women conduct business.” The professions depicted include such wellsprings of supportive, backstabbing-free sisterhood as entertainment reporting and fashion design. Aaafffflaaaac!
Tuesday, April 26
Oxygen gals, hide your eyes: Bravo’s Project Runway, which provides extremely distorted glimpses of the fashion industry as a hotbed of desperate, clawing, whirring-scissor ambition—and talent too!—is casting its second season this month. The reality series has an open call for designers today in New York City at the Banana Republic store in Rockefeller Center. While shoppers try to push past applicants to get at the khakis, and furtive guys stand around hoping host Heidi Klum will show, Bravo brass will be upstairs at 30 Rock in the executive boardroom, running an un-upfront. After weeks of excess as networks tried to wow advertisers and the press with gaudy parties, the Bravo folks are showing admirable restraint, running media roundtables today with network execs, and just making individual presentations to ad types. But sharpen up your elbows: Lunch is a buffet, old chum.
Wednesday, April 27
Ohio: Still a battleground state! OK, maybe the “battle” amounts to thumb-wrestling when it involves Patrick “I Brake for Accused Nazi War Criminals” Buchanan and Dee Dee “Still Milking It” Myers sharing the same stage at a gathering of cable industry types. But Pat & Dee Dee’s right/left chatter today at the “Legislative Luncheon” of the Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association in Columbus will make this group’s annual meeting seem fabulously riveting…compared to most state-level cable events.
Thursday, April 28
Not sure how this happened: The WB, formerly a magnet for self-absorbed, mopey teenagers, is now a destination for chortling good ol’ boys? That’s the situation on Thursday nights—especially this one, when Blue Collar TV (8 p.m. ET), starring comedians Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy, is joined in the lineup by the one-hour special Mobile Home Disaster (9 p.m. ET). Think “Extreme Makeover: Trailer Park Edition.” The kids on Summerland would rather die.
Friday, April 29
In 1995, NBC launched a drama about military lawyers, wasn’t impressed, canned it the following spring. But producer Donald Bellisario happens to be ex-military, he had a soft spot for the show, and so he took it over to CBS. Now a decade removed from its TV debut, JAG (with David James Elliott and Catherine Bell as Judge Advocate General legal eagles) is finally ending its run with tonight’s season finale (9 ET). Given that the show was a reliable top-20 ratings performer for years, old-timers deep in the bowels of Rockefeller Center may be prompted to grimly reminisce about the good old days when CBS was just picking up NBC scraps.
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