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With Alex Weprin, John Eggerton and Jim Benson

Mean 'Queen’ Joins Attack of the TV Bees

Primetime television is fairly abuzz with bees these days: Scripps National Spelling Bee on ABC, The Singing Bee on NBC, plugs for Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie—even the nasal-allergy–fighting Nasonex bee is ubiquitous. Now a new bee is looking to join the swarm.

Last week, Endemol USA, the powerhouse behind Deal or No Deal and Big Brother, issued a casting call on Craigslist for Queen Bees, a new reality series that engages “strong-willed, outgoing” young women in a quest to rule the hive.

According to the ad, wanna-bees must be 18 (but “appear to be no more than 21”) and willing to shack up for four weeks—on camera—in a Los Angeles house.

“Does everyone want to be you?” the ad asks. “Do you get whatever you want, whenever you want it?” Step right up! Are you “self-involved,” “manipulative” or “judgmental.” Apply now! Are you like “Regina from Mean Girls“ or “Omarosa from The Apprentice?” Bring it on!

Nature can be so cruel.

FCC Back In CBS’ Face

A stinging appellate court rebuke and other legal challenges may have hobbled the FCC’s indecency and profanity enforcement. But the commission appears to have found a way to keep making its point to CBS, thanks to a consent decree signed back in November 2004.

According to the decree (which then-parent Viacom signed to erase all but the Janet Jackson indecency complaint), CBS must suspend relevant employees and launch an investigation if the FCC issues a notice of apparent liability (NAL) for indecency.

On June 27, the FCC sent a letter to CBS asking if it has taken such steps since March 2006, when the commission levied a multimillion-dollar fine against CBS-owned stations over a December 2004 airing of an episode of Without a Trace. (The episode featured a “teen orgy” scene.)

When the Parents Television Council charged CBS in August 2006 with violating the consent decree by failing to take such action against KUTV Salt Lake City, the network said it concluded that KUTV “had presented nothing indecent and that none of its employees had done anything wrong.”

But, in its June letter, the commission reminded CBS that the requisite suspension and investigation should follow the NAL, not a final finding of indecency, which is still under appeal. Should the FCC find that CBS violated the terms of the decree, it could designate KUTV’s license renewal for hearing. (CBS is selling KUTV, but the FCC has yet to OK the transfer.)

CBS won an extension, until Aug. 10, to respond to the letter but issued a statement saying that it will “make clear why we believe we have lived up to the consent decree” and that “we are confident our position will be affirmed that the [Without a Trace] episode was not indecent.”

Prior History

Jury Duty, the syndicated court show debuting this fall, has summoned an eclectic mix of luminaries to sit in judgment of their not-so-luminous peers. Among those set to fulfill their civic responsibility are Phyllis Diller, Bruce Vilanch, Ed Begley Jr. and Kevin “Hercules” Sorbo.

But one name in particular caught our attention: Todd Bridges, who played Willis Jackson on sitcom Diff’rent Strokes from 1978 to ’86.

Bridges, you may recall, had a few drug- and gun-related brushes with the law as he made the perilous journey from child star to former child star. But he has redeemed himself in recent years by traveling the country and speaking to kids about drug use, negative peer pressure and his religious beliefs. He even once rescued a woman who fell from a wheelchair while fishing.

He has also cropped up on several TV shows, including Skating With Celebrities, Celebrity Boxing, Fear Factor and game show 1 vs. 100, where he failed to answer the question “Which month has an extra day during a leap year?”

We can only imagine how a defendant on Jury Duty might react after hearing Bridges deliver a guilty verdict: “What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”

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