By Mark Laswell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/21/2005 8:00:00 PM
Monday, Aug. 22
The old line on “ultimate fighting”: A disgusting spectacle of human cockfighting, not fit for television. New line: A riveting display of martial-arts skills by talented athletes! Oh, and a healthy ratings-grabber for Spike TV. The Ultimate Fighter (season two premiere, 11 p.m. ET) is, inevitably, a reality series that pits 18 mixed–martial-arts fighters in a competition—livin’ together, fightin’ each other—to win a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization. UFC welterweight champ Matt Hughes helps the guys hone their skills in jiu-jitsu, karate, boxing, judo and not hogging the shower. Meanwhile, in Denver, the FCC demonstrates that it’s not all about scolding naughty broadcasters and wrangling over the big digital switcheroo: FCC regulators are the featured panelists at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials’ 2005 convention. Keynote addresser at Thursday’s closing banquet: FCC Commissioner Michael Copps.
Tuesday, Aug. 23
With the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles installing 42-inch plasma screens in guest rooms, it would have been a scandal if the DisplaySearch marketing firm had scheduled its HDTV Conference 2005: The Future of Television anywhere else. The two-day event starts today and will be carried on high-def–fanatic Mark “The Benefactor” Cuban’s HDNet channel.
Wednesday, Aug. 24
Last week, the New York Post’s Page Six reported that Entourage’s Jeremy Piven is buying a penthouse condo in New York with a teak hot tub on the roof deck. Tonight, Piven is reading erotica in a Svedka vodka promotion at Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce ersatz speakeasy in L.A. Hot tub? Porny prose? Do the math: Life must be good as Ari Gold. By the way, for this “private, exclusive and dimly lit evening” with “friends and Hollywood insiders,” the media check-in is at 6:30 and red-carpet arrivals at 7.
Thursday, Aug. 25
The Martha Stewart post-prison juggernaut begins in earnest. Ms. Stewart and collaborator/executive producer Mark Burnett will unveil the sets of both her upcoming Martha syndicated chat show and NBC’s The Apprentice: Martha Stewart at Chelsea Television Studios in New York this morning. The Q&A session/panel discussion will be fed by satellite to NBC affiliates and non-NBC affiliates carrying Martha, plus there’s a conference-call hookup for journos who can’t attend. Live, satellite and phone—sort of an omnimedia event.
Friday, Aug. 26
Are you like us—do you scan the New York Times’ “Corrections: For the Record” column to see what’s being retrofitted in all the news that’s fit to print? On Aug. 9: “A Critic’s Notebook article on Saturday about the film The Aristocrats misspelled the surname of one of its creators. He is Penn Jillette, not Gillette.” Apparently, it’s pretty easy to mix up the razor-blade company’s name with that of the magician who sounds like he swallows razor blades. The other day, we got a press release from Comedy Central touting tonight’s “The Aristocrats” Friday Night Stand-Up (8:30 ET), hosted by “Lewis Black, Paul Provenza and Penn Gillette.” Is that the best the man can get?—Mark Lasswell
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