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ABC Feels Good About Reality 'Ex’ Factor

You’re recently divorced. Having a hard time. Suddenly, you see Marla Maples, Angie Everhart and Shar Jackson descending on you. Another episode of Fear Factor? No, it’s a new ABC project, The Ex-Wives Club, the latest incarnation of the feel-good reality genre.

Premise: Semi-famous ex-wives help folks coming off a bad divorce or break-up, offering everything from makeovers to financial advice. Think The View meets Queer Eye.

For those keeping score at home, Maples’ ex is Donald Trump, and Everhart’s is Ashley Hamilton. Everhart is also the near-ex of Sylvester Stallone, to whom she was once engaged. Jackson was just Kevin Federline’s girlfriend, but she was pregnant when he left her for Britney Spears, so that sort of qualifies.

The show, which will feature both men and women looking to bounce back from their marital misfortunes, comes from Glassman Media, producer of Three Wishes, the NBC Friday-night reality show in which Amy Grant bestows aid on the “deserving,” as the network emphasizes. NBC recently picked up Three Wishes for six more episodes (making it an 18-wish deal?).

The Ex-Wives pilot was shot last spring, and now ABC has ordered casting for five episodes. It could be ready for midseason if the network wants to rush, but a source tells us ABC schedulers don’t see an opening before next summer.

ABC.com is soliciting applications to be on the show, and a casting-call tour is under way (next stop: Hue restaurant in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 17).

The online casting call promises that, if selected for the show, “You will be spoiled, pampered and showered with gifts worth thousands of dollars!” Wait, isn’t that what Trump told Maples?

Grier’s Up

Comedian and actor David Alan Grier, perhaps best remembered as Damon Wayans’ other half of the circle-snapping, flamboyant movie-critic duo on the groundbreaking 1990-94 Fox sketch-comedy show In Living Color, could soon be hosting a talk show for Fox’s Twentieth Television.

Twentieth declined to comment on whether it is talking to the actor (we hear that there’s a firm pilot commitment, but it hasn’t been shot yet). To succeed, Grier would need to convince programmers at the Fox O&Os and stations beyond the core launch group that he has the chops for talk-show TV.

After seeing plenty of multi­talented performers, many with big names, fail as hosts over the years, stations have become somewhat immune to chat-show pitches. Especially after having to listen to the banished talent later admit that conversing with guests is not as easy as it looks—particularly when it requires them to appear riveted by a starlet’s description of her latest straight-to-video epic. But given that Grier possesses a master’s degree from Yale’s School of Drama, in addition to scores of dramatic and comedic acting credits, he might be just the man for the job.

Icahn on 'Moron’ CEOs

Carl Icahn is best known for hostility, not humor. But last week, he took some time off from attacking Time Warner, his latest target, to do some standup in New York.

He joined other financial chiefs at Carolines on Broadway for the club’s Funny Business night (this one was part of the New York Comedy Festival).

Icahn didn’t single out Time Warner in his half-hour of recollections about buying stock in a company, campaigning for big changes, then selling out when the stock goes up. But he did go after CEOs. “It’s anti-Darwinian: survival of the unfittest,” Icahn said. CEOs are simply former college fraternity presidents who advance in companies because they’re too dim to be threatening, he said.

“Now, the CEO of a company doesn’t want anybody under him smarter than him. Because if the guy’s smarter than me, he’s a threat. So he will only let these guys come up who are a little dumber. This guy keeps moving up and up and up. The CEO retires, and this guy becomes CEO. So by definition, you’re going to have morons running companies.”

Amusing, especially the way Icahn delivered it. We wondered if perhaps he had Time Warner Chairman and CEO Dick Parsons in mind, given his broadsides lately at the competence of the company’s executives. So we asked him after the show.

“No, no, no. I like Parsons,” Icahn said. “I’m on a comedy show. Come on, I’m not talking about each specific company, I’m not talking about Parsons.” Okaaay...

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