In response to FOX’s seven-minute expansion of American Idol last week, ABC is expanding Dancing with the Stars’ performance episode to three hours.
The network will also add two additional results shows, airing on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 10 p.m. “We asked for the extra time because we just couldn’t fit everything into our results shows on Tuesdays,” a producer said. “It’s really important that we create the maximum amount of suspense so our audience will stay up past lights out at their nursing homes.”
Producers for ABC’s Lost have been hired to write additional dialogue for hosts Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris, and they told TV Guide’s Michael Ausiello via their direct Dixie cup phone that they will infuse the hosts’ dialogue with deep mysteries and references to philosophers, thereby ensuring that viewers both tune in and think they’re watching something that’s better than it actually is. Executives at ABC aren’t worried that the Lost’s showrunners will be spread too thin between this project, writing Lost, and helping Entertainment Weekly hype their show.
“We trust in their vision, which has only caused a few million viewers to leave the show every week—that’s damn good for ABC. Plus, it’s not like we actually plan or preview any of the other shit we put on the air,” an ABC executive said.
FOX executives are reportedly considering responding by expanding American Idol to five nights a week. Other plans considered include running Breaking News alerts on the FOX News Channel that use adjectives and completely objective question marks to subtly suggest that only terrorists watch ABC shows, or forcing their way into every home in America, turning the TV set to FOX, and smashing the remote. “No decision has been made,” a spokesperson said.
Because the newly expanded performance shows on Mondays will overlap with The Bachelor’s timeslot, The Bachelor will be moved to ABC’s web site, where it will play automatically when any page loads, thereby increasing its ratings beyond just Chris Harrison’s immediate family. “The Bachelor will help our emerging web site monetize its blogspots, which is important for user-generated Web 2.0 page views,” said an ABC.com senior technical producer and vice president of marketing.
Sanjaya Malakar, having made it to the top nine on American Idol 6, has dropped out of the show. He said in a statement that he was leaving for “personal reasons” unrelated to the competition.
An insider, however, said Sanjaya’s departure came after he read interviews with Chris Sligh, in which Sligh said he almost quit. A friend close to Sanjaya said, “He wanted to at least be able to do one thing better than everyone else.”
Sanjaya’s departure won’t be addressed on Tuesday’s show; instead, he’ll be replaced by a new contestant, Antonella Barba. “The American public has such a short attention span that it’s easy to just replace Sanjaya and pretend Antonella has been there all along; as long as we talk about her presence with conviction, no one will realize that we just changed contestants, especially not the media,” a source said.
Other contestants had grown increasingly jealous about the press Sanjaya is receiving. “Why does he get all the attention?” one contestant said on condition of anonymity. “Our personalities are dynamic; just look how we smile every week while standing next to Ryan Seacrest. Plus, our karaoke experience is much more extensive.”
Other reports from the set said Sanjaya wanted to perform John Cage’s song 4’ 33” this week, but producers said no because it’s Washed-Up Singer with an Album to Promote Week. The song he selected, which consists of four minutes and 33 seconds of silence, was designed to please pro-Sanjaya fanjayas and anti-Sanjaya fanjayas, in addition to the judges and audio engineers on the show.
After searching around the country for cast members with career goals for The Real World 20 and finding no one who met their criteria, casting producers have recruited seven strangers who will live together in Hollywood.
Those seven people, who MTV called “diverse” and “representative of kids’ hopes and dreams today,” include a college dropout, a recovering alcoholic, a dipsomaniac, a professional escort, a video game player, and a nymphomaniac drunk with anger management problems who gives hand jobs for crack. Several were previously considered for the casts of Laguna Beach and Flavor of Love.
The show will be filmed in Los Angeles for the second time, but instead of a house, the show's location will be a rehab facility. To ensure drama, cast members will sleep in the same bed, because they’ll be chained to one another and to the facility itself.
“What better way to fix something that’s fundamentally screwed up than to send it to rehab?” one source inside the production said. “Plus, we’re often accused of not supporting our cast members, even though we give them free Wendy’s and medical treatment after other cast members punch them. Here, they’ll get the help they need, and our cameras will get the footage they need.”
“It’s the perfect transition between our existing format and the show’s early years, which aired when my parents were teenagers,” the source continued. “We didn’t want to alienate 12-year-olds who watch the show and aspire to grow up to be like our current cast members, who are such strong role models for facing adversities such as having to buy their own liquor and defending themselves against the mentally ill people we put in the house with them. But we also want those people who used to watch in the 1990s, if they’re still alive, to come back and watch again and connect with the reality of America’s youth.”
Upon learning of the new cast, which was leaked to a blog published by the show’s producers, one fan expressed disappointment on his MySpace page, writing, “My freinds and me don’t want to have careers and current events and stuff shoved down are throats!! If you don’t like it, don’t watch it & STOPP making my read about it. I dont’ pay for cable to be forced to think about ideas I dont like.”
To fill its Wednesday night at 10 p.m. slot during the times during the year when new episodes of Project Runway, Top Chef, Top Design, and Shear Genius are not available, Bravo will air Project Top Gay.
The show was created, the network said in a press release, because “our shows are such different, unique, separate properties that we wanted to find a way to unify them.” Despite the name, people of all sexes and sexual orientations will compete to promote Bravo’s other reality series. “Our show’s stereotypes don’t really depend upon the actual sexual orientation of our cast members,” an insider said. “But we wanted that title because with Queer Eye going off the air, we need a new way to pander to straight America’s preconceptions of gay people.”
The show will be hosted by Bravo’s Andy Cohen, who currently serves as the network’s vice president in charge of self-promotion and name-dropping blogging. He will also host the after show, write the show’s official blog, edit the series, design the logo, work the craft service table, and moderate the Bravo-owned Television Without Pity message boards 24/7 to ensure that posters who use negative adjectives, know as “trolls,” have their access to the site banned, their electricity turned off, and their pets fed Menu Foods products.
Each episode will feature two challenges, the first of which will find the contestants reenacting moments from previous shows. For example, contestants might dine at Red Lobster while speaking only in Santino’s Tim Gunn-searching-for-Andrae voice, haze a fellow contestant and then edit the footage so that it covers up the reality of those events, or throw a fit about their laundry. They’ll also help design BravoTV.com while blindfolded, just like its actual designers, and edit the site’s blog posts into pages with seven words each. Then they’ll write press releases proclaiming that the site delivers an astonishing 82 billion page views an hour.
Jonathan Adler will serve as a judge, primarily because he came up with the show’s witty new catchphrase, “Nanny nanny boo boo, you lose.” He’ll tell those who aren’t eliminated, “You’re so gay today, you can stay, hooray!”