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Not All Jasons Are That Cruel
February 25

Also available as a podcast. Click to listen!

We start this week with the news that rocked the reality show world and that is the finale of the Bachelor. To flash back, Jason Mesnick was the runner-up on Season 4 of the Bachelorette. The single father/divorcee was chosen to be this season’s Bachelor and immediately gained a fanbase after being left at the altar by DeAnna Pappas.

This season, Jason’s buzz was strong and the ratings rise reflected that. In fact, this past Monday’s season finale was the 4th highest in Bachelor history. Jason chose Melissa Rycroft and everyone thought that everyone would live happily ever after. On the "After The Final Rose 2" ceremony this past week...Jason publicly broke off his relationship live on camera with Melissa and decided to give it a go with the woman he broke it off with in the finale, Molly Malaney.

And boy did the interwebs go nuts. Jason’s less than manly decision and reaction to it (allegedly crying 12 times during the breakup) turned Jason from fan favorite to evil cad in one fell swoop.

Jason claimed he was forced into the public breakup. He related to, "There were things I needed to tell her in person, and I was not allowed to see her. That was part of the deal. I signed up for it in my contract. Your relationship is—good and bad—in front of everybody."

And host Chris Harrison tries to clear up some of the rumors. He told E! Online: "People think we wanted to pull this stunt off, but we didn't! This isn't good for us. I mean, the ratings were insane and all that, but we would've much rather had him end up with Melissa and have them get married. In the long run, that's a better story for us."

He continues: "Melissa obviously knew [about the breakup]," Harrison clarifies. "She was not blindsided. She didn't think everything was great and show up that day to talk about the wedding date and then realize she was going to be dumped. She was pissed and angry, but she wasn't blindsided. Not that it makes it any better for anybody, and I totally understand why people are still mad, but she wasn't the complete unsuspecting little lamb that you might think."

So, what’s my take? Did Jason want to do this in private as he claims? I don’t think so. I truly believe that he took advantage of his "contract" and it made for excellent television. Mind you, Fleiss and company are orgasmic over the ratings and controversy that it is bringing to the show. As for the decision itself...I still think it was bogus. If he KNEW that he didn’t like Melissa and wanted to go with Molly. I think he had an obligation and a duty to tell Melissa and the producers what was going to happen...contracts. His image takes a big hit here.

But the best part of all this...Jillian Harris, the 3rd place finisher...becomes the Bachelorette on May 18th. Huge ratings will be guaranteed.

Another UK quiz scandal is breaking out. According to the BBC, the University Challenge winners for this season Corpus Christi College, were disqualified as it was found out that they had a contestant that was no longer a student.

But the new winners, University of Manchester, say their victory has been "tarnished" after their opponents were disqualified.

Henry Pertinez said he and his team members were unhappy at their "victory by technicality" in the BBC Two quiz.

Corpus Christi member Sam Kay, from Surrey, was a student at the college in the earlier rounds of the competition but was working as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers by the time the final was filmed. Viewers watched as Mr. Kay said he was studying chemistry.

On Monday, the BBC and the program's makers, Granada, said they had "no choice" but to transfer the title because "students taking part must be registered at their university or college for the duration of the recording of the series".

Mr. Pertinez, 27, told BBC News: "It's a sad unfortunate situation really so it's kind of tarnished what was a really excellent series and a fantastic final. "It's certainly more empty than if we'd won it on the night."

Team captain Matthew Yeo, 25, said: "I think our friends and family and supporters all feel much the same as we do that it's been a very sad occasion as well.

However, not everyone is happy with the decision of the BBC. Bamber Gascoigne, 74, who presented University Challenge on its original ITV run from 1962 to 1987, said: "First of all, to fail to produce a series of University Challenge, based on university life, not within a single university year, is pathetic. "Apparently, they normally record the early rounds at the end of one year in May and the later rounds at the beginning of the next year in November. "He said that, during his time on the show, "we recorded the entire series within one academic year and this problem never could arise".

Current host Jeremy Paxman, who has presented the show since it was revived for the BBC in 1994, said the episode had been "mildly embarrassing" but that "rules are rules".

Unfortunately for Mr. Gasciogne, his gripe I believe is a network one. The rules seem clear to me, and well, the title should have been stripped. Sad, but true.

Speaking of cheaters...we see a marathon cheater on the Biggest Loser. Contact Music reports that Dane Patterson, a former contestant on NBC's The Biggest Loser, did not in fact run a 26-mile marathon in 3 hours, 53 minutes as claimed. Late last week, the producers of the show admitted that Patterson, after running 17 miles, received a ride from a field producer working on the show, who drove him to the 20-mile mark. At a news conference on Monday, Dane said that he had accepted the ride because he was aware that the contest closed at 6 hours and that the show wanted to show him completing the race. As it was, he completed it in 5 hours and 53 minutes, then, he said, went back and ran the three miles that he had missed. "I apologize for stating that I ran the entire marathon before I actually ran the whole 26 miles," he said. "I am proud of the feat of just running 26 miles in one day." You cheated.

On American Idol over the last two weeks, the last 24 of the 36 sang for their supper. Week 2 saw 12 singers that were absolutely brutal. Alison Iraheta, Adam Lambert and Kris Allen advanced by default. None of these three in my opinion have a shot in hell of winning. And this past week, a lot more good singers got a shot as Lil Rounds, Jorge Nunez and Scott McIntyre led the field and made the field 9.

In the Wild Card Round (which we will have results next week...along with the first loser of the top 12) we have: Ricky Braddy, Megan Joy Corkrey, Tatiana Del Toro, Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud, Jesse Langseth, Jasmine Murray, and Von Smith. I think Jasmine Murray and Matt Giraud took the spots of Ju’not Joyner and Felicia Barton if you ask me.

I told you about the American Idol Experience at the Disney Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World a couple of weeks here are the details of how it works. Park guests age 14 and older audition before a Disney "producer" who will judge singers based on their ability to sing and perform in front of an audience. As with the auditions for the television show, initial auditions will be a cappella. Selected singers will advance to a second round, where they select from a song list provided by the producers and audition again, this time with pre-recorded music; to ensure that guests hear a wider variety of songs, singers may only select songs that have not previously been chosen that day. Those who pass the second audition will be scheduled into one of the preliminary shows each operating day.

The attraction features a number of preliminary shows each day, with one finals show in the evening. At each preliminary show, guests perform before a live audience inside the attraction's main theater, designed to resemble the television show's stage. Using electronic keypads at their seats, the audience will then vote for their favorite singer, who will return for the final show of the day.

The last show of each operating day will feature the winners of that day's preliminary shows. Again, the live audience votes for the performer they like the best. Each day's final winner will receive a "Dream Ticket" that will allow him or her to bypass the queue at one of the regional American Idol auditions for the television show, provided he or she meets the show's age and residency requirements. If the winner is not eligible, he or she will be allowed to transfer the "Dream Ticket" to another person, or save the ticket until the age limit is met.

This is a pretty cool way to do this. And a great tie in to the American Idol franchise.

Celebrity Apprentice 2 debuted on March 1st...and nothing has really changed...and that’s a good thing.

We had men vs. women as the Men’s Team (KOTU-Kings of the Universe) competed against the women’s team (Team Athena) in a cupcake baking and selling contest. This was the challenge I had said myself and Gordon Pepper were involved in. And yes, we did buy a $20 cupcake. It does feel good to have helped in raising a combined $125,000 to God’s Love We Deliver. To remind you the men’s team consists of: Andrew Dice Clay, Brian McKnight, Clint Black, Dennis Rodman, Herschel Walker, Jesse James, Scott Hamilton and Tom Green. The women are: Annie Duke, Brande Roderick, Claudia Jordan, Joan Rivers, Khloe Kardashian, Melissa Rivers, Natalie Gulbis and Tionne T-Boz Watkins.

In episode 1, the challenge was won by Team Athena, and Dice was rolled out of the competition after he didn’t help bake cupcakes (and the cupcakes tasted really bad) and didn’t really want to be there. Good for Trump. The show didn’t feel like 2 hours, and I will be back to see what happens every Sunday night.

Interesting change for Season 13 on America’s Next Top Model. According to, for Season 13 the show will be waiving the minimum height requirement of 5'7" tall. The show's long-time casting director, Michelle Mock-Falcon said, "Since the show started, we've always had girls under 5'7" asking and begging, quite frankly, Tyra to please give them a chance," "I mean, she would get stopped in the street, in restaurants, anywhere, by girls asking how they can do it being as short as they are. We've been thinking about it for a while now, what a great opportunity to give these girls that opportunity. The show is all about opportunity...." But will these girls seriously have the opportunity to work after the show ends? "Kate Moss is a prime example," she says. "Tyra knows a stream of supermodels that are under that size and are very successful, so she said, 'Why not?' It's gonna be all about the face and the package as a whole."

About time. Not all models are 5'7" and up. Let’s see what it brings this fall.

We have an anniversary coming up. And it’s one of the most famous and infamous in game show history. This is the 25th Anniversary year of what has come to be known as the "Michael Larsen" incident on Press Your Luck.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Larsen was a resident of Lebanon, Ohio and was obsessed with the show Press Your Luck. He had worked for a time in research and development at NCR, before he was downsized and began working for Chrysler. After breaking his leg in an accident, his brother, James Larsen, said that Michael began driving an ice cream truck. [Michael] was very intelligent," James said, adding Lawson figured out the most profitable routes and times for his ice cream truck business that he operated in Dayton. "He wanted to run a fleet, but couldn't find reliable help."

But he became well known for breaking the patterns on Press Your Luck. Through meticulously taping and rewatching the show frame-by-frame, Larsen was able to determine certain squares that never showed a "whammy" and a pattern to guarantee successfully landing on those boxes. On the day he appeared, Larsen was in last place after the first round. In the second round, he went on an unprecedented run, taking 40 spins without hitting a "whammy," consistently hitting spins that held cash prizes plus granted him additional spins, meaning he could play virtually forever.

"He forgot his exit strategy," James said. "He only remembered the pattern to get more spins. Anytime you watch him and he wins a trip, that's pure luck." By the end of his run, Larsen had won $110,237 in cash and prizes, including two tropical vacations and a boat. "You can like him or not like him, but you can't help but admire what he did," host Peter Tomarken noted in the 2003 documentary "Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal" (which you must seek is the best thing GSN has ever done documentary wise).

But his story doesn’t end happily. Once, when trying to win a radio contest where players had to match up the serial number of a dollar bill read over the air, Larsen withdrew tens of thousands of dollars in one dollar bills, only for the money to be stolen from his house. He lost most of his money in other schemes and died in 1999 of throat cancer.

This story is an amazing story of rags to riches to rags. He was a unique character who made game show infamy. And you know what, he legally broke the system. Again, try and seek out the 2003 GSN Documentary. It is well worth your viewing.

And Finally...the dumbest move of the last two weeks wasn’t Jason Mesnick...but the Screen Actors Guild. reported that The Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors with a vote of 73% to 27%, SAG voted against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers' "last, best and final offer dated February 19, 2009." SAG's Board admitted they entered the negotiations last week with AMPTP by "sending an unmistakably clear message that we were ready to make a deal" and basing negotiations on the terms of the previous contract offer from AMPTP dated June 30, 2008. According to SAG, the AMPTP brought in a last-minute, surprise by adding a new term of agreement extending the contract to 2012, or in other words, the new contract would take effect on the date of ratification and not retroactively from the previous June 30, 2008 contract date. SAG's Board described the new term of agreement as "regressive and damaging and clearly signals the employers' unwillingness to agree to the deal they established with other entertainment unions." SAG further stated it intends to "successfully complete these negotiations and get the industry back to work as soon as possible. The AMPTP has clearly stated their need and desire for financial certainty and industry peace. This new proposal does the exact opposite and will only result in constant negotiating cycles and continued labor unrest."

The AMPTP sent forth this statement following SAG's statement:

"The producers' offer is strong and fair -- and has been judged to be strong and fair by all of Hollywood's other major guilds and unions. We have kept our offer on the table -- and even enhanced it -- despite the historically unprecedented economic crisis that has clobbered our nation and our industry. The producers have always sought a full three-year deal with SAG, just as we negotiated with all the other unions and guilds, and have offered SAG a way to achieve an earlier expiration date without contributing to further labor uncertainty. We simply cannot offer SAG a better deal than the rest of the industry achieved under far better economic conditions than those now confronting our industry."

I am shaking my head at this. Just because they wanted a unified date of 2011 with all the other unions so that they can truly shut down Hollywood in 2 years, they are willing to flip the bird at the AMPTP? I am not the AMPTP, and if I were I would be acting like the 900 pound gorilla they think I am. But as of now...the AMPTP is doing NOTHING. Which is the truly smart move. Let SAG twist in the wind until they come back begging for a deal.

Random Newsbits:

– Congrats to "Slumdog Millionaire" for winning 8 Oscars including Best Picture. And Dev Patel and Danny Boyle will play the UK Version of Millionaire for charity.

– Darryl McDaniels a/k/a DMC of Run-DMC is hosting "The Kings of Rap" a positive-themed rap competition reality series.

– Justin Timberlake and Fremantle debut "The Phone" an interactive adventure competition on MTV on April 21st.

– The 2nd Season of the Gospel Singing Competition "Sunday Best" debuts on BET on March 8th.

– ITV Yorkshire cuts 180 jobs.

– Garnier sponsors an American Idol finale contest.

– Singapore broadcasts some Comic Relief themed episodes of "Don’t Forget The Lyrics".

– Sharon Osbourne, in a surprise to no one, gets sued by Megan Hauserman after the incident on the Charm School Reunion Special.

– Alex Trebek is an honorary grand marshal of the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington DC.

– Michael Davies is looking for "America’s Strongest American."

– "Real Chance of Love 2" is casting.

– "High Stakes Poker"’s first episode of Season 5 is placed on Youtube.

– Shah Rukh Khan hosts the Indian version of "The Moment of Truth".

– Ed McMahon is rumored to be ill.

– Drew Carey is recovering from Pneumonia and cancels a week of taping.

– ABC signs on for "Crash Course" and plans to pair it with "Wipeout" this summer.

-- Chris Tarrant may leave "Millionaire" after his contract expires in 2010. He might want to reconsider as his new game "Colour of Money" gets skewered by British Critics.

– Jade Goody’s condition worsens.

– CBS renews Survivor for cycles 19 and 20 in the 2009-2010 season with Jeff Probst at the helm. Congrats to Mark Burnett and the gang.

– Top Chef ends it’s season with it’s highest ratings ever. And Padma Lakshmi shoots a commercial for Hardee’s.

– Phil Keoghan rides his bike across America to raise money to battle Multiple Sclerosis.

– Jewel may be out of Dancing with the Stars before it even begins with tendonitis in the knee.

– Bob Barker writes a letter to move a Edmonton, Alberta, Canada elephant to a US Sanctuary.

– John O’Hurley moves his Spamalot tour to San Francisco May 22-July 5.

– INXS responds to and denies comments made by JD Fortune saying he was dumped by them in an airport. Fortune is now broke and living in his car again after being selected as their lead singer in Rock Star:INXS.

– Bob Eubanks gives Carnie Wilson his blessing as host of the Newlywed Game.

– Clay Aiken is cut from RCA.

– Isaac Mizrahi and Kelly Rowland will host "The Fashion Show" on Bravo.

– "Coach" Ben Wade gets fired from the Southwest Baptist University Soccer Team as he didn’t tell his school he was going to be on Survivor: Tocantins.

– The Price is Right and Hell’s Kitchen head to the Mac.

– The Biggest Loser’s casting tour will include the "Fattest Cities in America", according to J.D. Roth.

– The Cougar is Stacey Anderson, on TV Land’s "The Cougar" premiering April 15th.

– Katherine McPhee plays...a singer on CSI NY.

Jason Block is not AT ALL cruel, just so long as you let him do his thing. E-mail him at