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March Madness with Multitudes of Models Mauling Each Other
March 17

Also available as a podcast. Click to listen!

Before we get into the March Madness with Models...let’s start with a huge charge lobbed at the producers of “Dancing with the Stars”. It was done by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. In a blog post called Technically Incorrect, he claims in a Facebook email post that the voting numbers are rigged.

"The producers play games to get viewers and don't disclose the numbers. If they disclosed the numbers, it would be less of a game, but still suspect. If tomorrow, they claim I'm in the bottom 2 dance teams, including viewer votes, I believe that it's an outright lie," he said.

He continued the bomb throwing with this: "I called it fake about 20 times today on camera," he said. "Each time in the same sentence as whatever comment they wanted about doing a dance off tomorrow. That way, they couldn't edit it easily to say what they wanted. They kept trying to get me to say what I'd do if I was in the dance off without using the word fake." He continues: "They will have some small video tomorrow of me saying things that I strongly told them I don't believe. They will also shoot me in a one hour rehearsal tomorrow with my partner, but I'll keep calling the idea of my being in the bottom 2, after audience participation, a lie."

He concludes: "I'm sure they want me in this dance off to get higher Tuesday ratings, and they have preplanned it so that I win. If my leg acts up tomorrow, they will either have to announce another pair as being the lowest or send me home, and I don't think they will give me up. It's hard to get all this out politely, challenging the truthfulness of reporting of our dance team positions. But I am who I am, and I speak my mind and hate these unethical twists. I'm not after any Hollywood existence."

Wow. Now, we all know that Steve Wozniak has as much of winning the thing as I do. But let’s take the seriousness of the charge. Do I believe that the show itself is I don’t. I have no doubt in my mind that shows like this(and American Idol) take enough security risks to make sure that the votes are accurate. If a game show scandal like the 2007 UK Phone Scandal happened here...the results would be crippling.

HOWEVER....I DO believe that Wozniak is correct in saying that the vote totals should be released week to week. There will always be a segment of the population that will believe that any reality show is rigged(from the voting perspective) and that the producers will unduly influence who goes on. Releasing the vote totals week to week will not only show who is most popular, it will also keep a more honest and open look at the process.

So, in this least to me, Woz is half right. I don’t think it’s rigged...but we DO need to see the votes. Every week, every time...and as soon as possible.

Speaking of votes, you in America this week thought that Alexis Grace was not up to the tour as her lackluster performance of “Jolene” got her out of American Idol this week, with no judges save. This was country/Grand Old Opry week as Randy Travis became the first mentor of the season. We had a controversial take on “Ring of Fire” by Adam Lambert and Anoop Desai’s performance of “Always on My Mind” was amazing. I think Michael Sarver and Megan Joy have to watch out as we have Motown week this coming week...also remember it’s Wednesday and Thursday as President Obama has a press conference this week.

Let’s get into the Model Melee as last Saturday we had thousands of aspiring models wanting to apply for the next cycle of America’s Next Top Model.

According to the New York Daily News...the ordeal began Saturday afternoon when a disabled BMW overheated and started smoking, sparking madness. Folks in the crowd began yelling, "Fire!" and "There's a bomb!" and all hell broke loose. The driver of the Beemer was Sedrick Myrtil, a student at upstate Binghamton University. "People were really freaking out about the smoke," the 21 year old said. "There was pandemonium, and the cops got really upset about my car."

Signs of chaos were obvious hours before the stampede, complained one mother whose daughter suffered a concussion during the melee and spent the night in the hospital. "There was no organization," the mother said. Police tried to calm the crazed crowd on W. 55th St., but the small number of officers there struggled to gain control.

"The producer of the show didn't notify the NYPD, so there were no cops specifically assigned there," a police official said Sunday. "They needed to alert the police before the event." New York City Mayor Bloomberg agreed: "If you're going to have an event where there's the remotest chance that the crowd is going to be bigger than you expect ... call the precinct and make sure they know."

On Monday, Tyra Banks said this: "To all the Top Model hopefuls who were affected by the New York casting, we are doing everything we can to make sure that ALL the girls who weren't seen, get an opportunity to audition—we'll update you on our plans very soon," read a bit of Tyra Mail ."It is so important to me to redefine beauty, and make sure that everyone gets a fair chance to pursue their dream," she said. "I am beyond excited for Cycle 13; for the first time ever, young women 5'7" and under have a shot at becoming America's Next Top Model! I encourage each girl to come out ready to rock the runway and show off their fiercest pose. I'm rooting for all of you!”

Let me cut through the spin for you. First of all, the CW, ANTM, and the producers did not coordinate well. You need to have enough cops and enough protection to make sure violence and chaos does not ensue. Secondly, this reminds me of a situation 7 years ago...when fights and riots broke at the Rio Hotel when free tickets were given out for the tapings of the 30th Anniversary special of the Price is Right. There were thousands of people...very few security guards and a lack of organization. This was an absolute shame for the thousands of aspiring models whose chance was ruined by a small group of hooligans. If these miscreants can’t handle waiting on can they handle the real world of modeling competition, judgment and criticism?

Let’s hope the producers coordinate better to make sure an incident like this doesn’t happen again. You don’t see this happening at American Idol, do you?

It just became spring...but we are talking summer! First to release their schedule is NBC. Let’s see what isn’t going to be here... "Last Comic Standing" ,"Nashville Star" "Celebrity Circus," "Celebrity Family Feud," "Fear Itself," "The Baby Borrowers" and "American Gladiators." “Momma’s Boys” is also expected to be gone.

So let’s get some description of some shows that will be on:

“I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! (debuting June 1) is the adaptation of the UK hit where ten celebrities are dropped into the heart of the jungle to face challenges designed to test their survival skills. Winner gets a donation to their charity.

"America's Got Talent" will kick off its fourth season over two nights on Tuesday, June 23 (9 10 p.m. ET) and Wednesday, June 24 (9 10 p.m. ET).

And Finally, “The Great American Road Trip” which we spoke about last week, debuts July 1 and takes eight families across America to compete in challenges.

Speaking of America’s Got Talent...fellow WLTI member Gordon Pepper and I caught an edition of the NYC Auditions for Season 4. We don’t spoil here....but here’s what we can tell you.

–Nick Cannon was competent as host. The session we saw...he didn’t do much except pump up the crowd. He did look good as he was dressed up for the occasion.

–The judging continued to be spot on. Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff are back for Season 4...and they really did a good job with all the acts both good and bad (and believe me there were a LOT of bad).nks.

–Last year, we were the first to see 4 yr old Kaitlyn Maher. This year...there was one act whose story and performance blew the audience away. This particular person, in my opinion, has a shot to win the whole thing.

More details after the show is broadcast in a few months. And next week, I will give you a primer as what acts did right...and wrong in the auditions.

I didn’t know it...but the asterisk has gone worldwide....we had the 2nd UK Deal or No Deal winner of 250,000 pounds in the form of 21 yr old student Alice Mundy.

But this is how it was done. Alice struck a deal for 17,500 pounds in the middle of the game. But they played the game out and the board was left with 1p(one pence) and 250,000 pounds. The host Noel Edmonds received a phone call from the banker and put out the Ultimate Banker’s Gamble. She was offered to give back the 17,500 pounds she dealt for to open the box(#8). She had stated earlier she wouldn’t with the 1p on the board.

But she did, didn’t swap her box, and became the 2nd winner.

Yes it was an emotional and cool moment...but it would be nice if we had winners that won the game via a truly normal edition of gameplay, wouldn’t it?

A quick note about the Tournament of Champions on Jeopardy. We have our three finalists with Larissa Kelly, Dan Pawson and Aaron Schneider are in the finals. This is going to be one of the most competitive finals in a while. But I have been on Larissa Kelly’s bandwagon all year. She has been fantastic all tournament long and impressively dominant. I can’t wait to see them compete. But put your money on Larissa.

Let’s finish the week with the Block Party Quick Hits:

–Condolences go out to the families of Natasha Richardson and Ron Silver who both died this past week.

–NBC has Greenlit “The Sing Off” where a cappella groups compete against each other. NBC is biting off it’s own competition show “Clash of The Choirs”. They also are going to attempt to bring to the US, the UK Classic “Have I Got News For You.”

–Wheel of Fortune debuted March 19th on the Playstation Network.

–Dancing with the Stars: We Dance hits the Nintendo DS and the Wii.

–Quaker Oats is sponsoring a “Top Chef: The Tour 2" which debuts in New York on March 27th.

–The BBC Signs “Total Wipeout” for 2 seasons...including a celebrity edition.

–GSN promotes the Newlywed Game on the “Ellen Show” with Ellen and her wife Portia De Rossi playing the game.

–“The Great American Road Trip”, which we talked about earlier, has started casting.

–Brooke Burke, who won Dancing with the Stars signs on to promote Jell-o.

–In his new book, “God Bless America: Misadventures of a Big Mouth Brit," Piers Morgan claims he made $16,000 US for the three weeks of the show he shot last year. The book, is being serialized in the Daily Mail before its release.

–The 5th place act of Britain’s Got Talent...Escala...releases its debut album May 25 (they are a string quartet).

–Two contestants on the UK version of Paris Hilton’s BFF get into a brawl.

–American Idol trading cards are released.

–Alex Trebek defends Jeopardy’s place on the CBC on a CBC Talk Show “Tout le monde en parle” by saying..."I think Jeopardy has a place anywhere because it is universal in its appeal," he said. "You have clues about Canada, you have a Canadian born host and I think that's fine." "Wheel, I don't know ... ," he added, joking that he would sound out its host, Pat Sajak, about the possibility of taking up Canadian citizenship. He also hosts “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister” which debuted on March 18.

–Gethin Jones is the host of Sky1's Sell Me The Answer...

–The Apprentice UK and it’s host Sir Alan Sugar addresses the UK Recession with A “Buy British” challenge.

–In this week’s elimination...Belinda Carlisle goes home...but Steve-O is added to the walking wounded with pinched nerves in his back.

–Carol Volderman takes her name off a real estate development firm.

–Drew Carey chats up the CBS Early Show about his hosting gig on Price and the Seattle Sounders FC.

–“The Fashion Show” debuts May 7 on Bravo.

–“The Amazing Race” had a casting call on March 21st in Baltimore.

–Chris Tarrant is arrested for an alleged assault.

–Survivor Gabon cast members reunite for a charity event organized by Susie Smith in Charles City, Iowa to benefit the marching band.

–Cat Cora and her wife are both pregnant with twins...but they will be delivered three months apart.

Jason Block wishes he could've been there for the madness. E-mail him at