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ABC Hopes 'Stars’ Book Has Write Stuff

ABC has found a novel way to teach all of us how to channel our inner John Ratzenberger: a Dancing With the Stars workout book.

Along with the title’s promise, Dancing with the Stars: Jive, Salsa and Tango Your Way Into the Best Shape of Your Life offers a behind-the-screens look at “the phenomenon” that is the reality hit. Readers get an exhaustive index of the judges’ scores for each individual dance from each individual episode, and the back-story of its contestants’ and judges’ lives and wardrobe choices.

The glittery tome also includes seven chapters of fitness routines, with such titles as “Paso Doble Thighs, Buns and Hips” and “Jive Dancing: Quick Feet and Great Legs.”

The book, from HarperCollins, comes out Sept. 25. It supplements other ABC promotional efforts for the show, including elevator wraps in malls and dancers in star costumes in Times Square, as well as items for sale at ABC.com such as video games, a cardio dance DVD, a travel mug, posters and a picture frame.

To promote the book, season-three hoofer Joey Lawrence and one of the show’s pros, Elena Grinenko, are hosting signings at bookstores in New York and Los Angeles this month and next. Sadly, a HarperCollins spokesperson says no live demonstrations are planned.

Singing'Soprano’

A familiar voice will ring out when cable channel NY1 News unveils the music video “15 Years—We’re New York One” this week. None other than Dominic Chianese—known the world over as batty Uncle Junior on The Sopranos—lends his pipes to the tune.

Chianese, who describes himself as a high baritone (what, not a soprano?), notes, “I’ve been singing for 50 years! I was a singer before I was an actor,” with a credits list that includes Oliver on Broadway, folk in Dylan-era Greenwich Village, country at the Grand Ole Opry, and Italian favorites at countless Gotham boites.

Performers represent each of New York’s five boroughs in the NY1 anniversary tune, with Chianese singing for the Bronx. His involvement was hatched when he conducted a Sopranos-related interview for the station. That his daughter, Sarah, is managing the publicity for NY1’s anniversary specials didn’t hurt matters.

Sarah says showbiz runs in the family: Her actor brother Dominic also appeared on The Sopranos. “My family has enough men onstage,” she says. “I’d rather be behind the scenes.”

Dominic Sr. shot his part of the video at what might have given him an Uncle Junior flashback: the Bronx County Courthouse. But unlike the Sopranos’ season-three finale, no one pelts him with dinner rolls during the performance.

A New 'Start’ For ABC.com

ABC.com wants staffers to throw themselves into their work—literally. The network recently debuted the ABC.com Daily Show, a short-form weekday Webcast written and hosted by a rotating roster of young staffers. The show—shot Monday through Friday in the cubicles of the site’s L.A. offices—is designed to highlight ABC’s programming and ancillary online offshoots, while showcasing young employees who perhaps have their sights set on that other Daily Show.

In the works for several weeks, the Webcasts are an effort to stir more visitor traffic, since it’s impossible to give equal Web time to features, said Alexis Rapo, Vice President, Digital Media, ABC Television Network.

The show is neither ad supported nor promoted beyond its own site for now, but the network is working on ways to integrate sponsors as well as readying versions that would work on mobile phones or personal Web pages, according to Rapo. Episodes posted so far have featured a comely trio of ABC.com producers kicking to clips from new fall shows, press conference interviews, and chit-chat about office politics and, in more than one installment, bathrooms.

The show is going for a “quirky relatability,” says Rapo, that “presents content in a way viewers can connect with.”

If cubicle humor can make Dilbert a star, ABC’s young Web performers might just have a shot, too.

With Michael Malone and Anne Becker

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