Monday, July 11
At last, the era of dead-singer-replacement reality TV is here! Rock Star: INXS premieres on CBS (9 p.m. ET), hosted by ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro and Brooke Burke, formerly of E!'s Wild On travel series. Fifteen contestants vie to become the lead singer for the Australian band INXS, a position once occupied by Michael Hutchence, who died in 1997. Later this month, UPN launches its dead-singer-replacement reality TV show, R U the Girl With T-Boz and Chilli, those two being the surviving members of TLC after the 2002 death of Lisa Lopes. Producers with Xerox toner in their veins will be watching all this very closely, fine-tuning their pitches for Rock Star: Skynard! and R U the Guy With Run DMC.
Tuesday, July 12
When we heard that the NBC soap Passions was teaming up with the American Red Cross for a co-promoted event in Los Angeles, it seemed like a bit of a stretch. Emotional catastrophes? Red Cross to the rescue! But no, the show is unveiling its summer storyline, “Passions: Disaster!,” which will see a series of natural disasters throw the town of Harmony into chaos (sob!). Tonight at the Universal Studios CityWalk Cineplex, fans lining the red carpet—or at least skeevy passersby—will strain for a glimpse of Passions' McKenzie Westmore. We'd advise the Red Cross folks to monitor the Television Critics Association gathering today at the Beverly Hilton hotel, where a PBSPioneers of Primetime press conference herds together Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks, Jerry Lewis, Mickey Rooney and several other not-shy Pioneers for what we hope does not turn into “Excuse Me, I Was Talking: Disaster!” (For more on TCA, which runs through July 29, see page 8.)
Wednesday, July 13
An ABC flackogram poses this question: “What would you do with a teen who curses at you, breaks the law in your house and doesn't listen to anything you say?” Well, we usually just tell her, “The kids go to bed at eight, and we'll be back before midnight. Byeee!” But that's not what the network had in mind. Six families turn over their adolescent miscreants to Brat Camp (two-hour premiere, 8 p.m. ET), which follows the teen horrors as the folks at the SageWalk wilderness school attempt what they call “intense intervention.” But wait: Taking a 10-mile hike with a 40-pound backpack while a TV camera crew records your every wheeze—isn't that The Amazing Race?
Thursday, July 14
Listen for the sound of cellphones chirping at dawn: Emmy nominations are announced at 5:30 a.m. Pacific. Tonight, ABC News brings us Hooking Up (9 ET), a five-part documentary series that offers, well, let them tell it: “an intimate look at the sometimes bewildering, often hilarious, and occasionally frightening world of online dating.” In another couple of years, TV examines the sometimes frightening world of blogging. A decade from now: podcasting.
Friday, July 15
TLC (that's The Learning Channel, not the T-Boz'n'Chilli thing) unveils Million Dollar Agents (10 p.m. ET), a title that made us groan: not another self-referential show about Hollywood. But this is actually about the Miami real estate market. Whew! That's good, because a certain exquisitely self-referential-show-about-Hollywood, HBO's Entourage, taught us everything we need to know about agents. Now let's hug it out.
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