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A Light Week
July 14

Also available as a podcast. Click to listen!

We start this week with a couple of catch up items. America's Got Talent is in full swing, and America has been introduced to a lot of talented acts. Of course, there have been a lot of clunkers that we had to wade through to see people like Kevin Skinner. When Gordon Pepper and I attended the New York City auditions this past spring, we saw a lot of acts that could have made it to Las Vegas but didn't.

So the Block Party wants to give some advice to the people who will audition for next year, as this year's ratings are monster. This is what you should and shouldn't do if you get to audition in front of the judges:

1. BRING YOUR "A" GAME. After they got "X"'d or didn't get to the 2nd round, we heard at least 10 acts say something to the effect of, "Bring us back, we know we can do better." You have 90 seconds to show the world what you got. If you can't bring it then, why should they pass you.

2. LOOK THE PART. When you are out there, you should look professional. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it, but look clean. There were at least 3 dance acts that had tattered and/or mismatched costumes. This is a national audition, not a local competition where you can get away with that.

3. BE UNIQUE. If your act is magic, do something different than the usual disappearing/reappearing trick. If you sing, blow them out of the water. If you dance, bring it hard and fast. You have to bring something to the table that the judges have not seen before, or do it so well that they have to pass you.

4. HAVE A STORY. We all know this is a talent competition, but the back stories do help. Last year, 4 yr old Kaitlyn Maher just wanted to audition and she made it to the finals. This year, we have a group who sang their mom out of a coma and a chicken catcher who sings country. If you can combine your life with your talent, you can make it to the top 40.

The audition rounds are still going on as of this writing and will continue for most of July. I can’t wait to see what America has in store for us.

Summer also brings us the hiatus of "The Price is Right". Season 37 is pretty much over, and Season 38 has already started taping. Let's look back at the year that was.

The first half of the season was brutal. The show was going through a monster transition as executive producer Roger Dobkowitz left the show after 36 years. Syd Vinnedge and Mike Richards were brought on, and Price was trying to find its footing. Drew Carey was putting his stamp on the show and a lot of times didn't hit the mark. His hosting was still a little rough, and the "Drewcases" weren't funny, made Rich Fields look bad, and the celebrity appearances didn’t make sense. We didn't want to see a pie fight or a hockey fight with the Los Angeles Kings.

The bottoming point was the perfect showcase bid in late 2008. Drew was skewered for his lack of emotion, and the show realized it had to do something on many fronts.

And you know what, it did. The 2nd half of the season had touches that made a lot of sense. Long time director Bart Eskander left the show and was replaced with R. Brian DiPirro. You may know him as the director of Deal or No Deal, among other shows. The directorial and visual style of the show changed and it was fun. There was a moment where Brian took the video feed from a video camera prize and spliced it with the normal feed and made Cover Up a unique experience.

The prize rotation got blown up. If there was an unwritten foreign car ban, it is totally gone now as we have seen Hyundais, Mazdas, BMWs, Toyotas, Scions, Hondas in the prize mix. We have seen more unique and different prizes such as a trip to the biggest swimming pool in the world, a VIP trip to Vegas, among other. The gadgets have become modern too as we have seen laptops, iPhones, iPods, and a ton of videogame packages added.

Another nice touch is when musicians play the instruments they are giving away. We have seen representatives from Ibanez Guitars and Zildjian cymbals bang away and shred on guitars. 1/2 Off creator Mandel Ilagan was shown playing a Grand Piano. The celebrity appearances in the 2nd half made sense, including Sarah Fisher giving away a VIP Indy 500 Trip, and Jim Nantz giving away a trip to the Final Four.

Theme editions were fun too as we had couples, country music, expectant moms play for prizes. They didn't take away from the gameplay and it was fun.

The peak of this year was the April Fool's Day edition. It was laugh out loud funny and the attention to detail was brilliant. You had to watch the show twice to get all the bits.

Drew did improve in the 2nd half of the year. However, he needs to continue to learn the rules of the game. That is his one major flaw. By now, he should know the names and the rules of all the games he plays. It seems at times that he either doesn't care or is too flippant. He has to work harder on that.

But through his blog and his Twitter, he seems genuinely excited for the changes in Season 38. He has praised the crew and Mike Richards, who is now the solo executive producer.

And you know what, I am excited too. A new season of Price always brings me hope. I hope the show continues to evolve into the vision of the show they want it to be, without alienating all the fans from Seasons 1-36. I want Drew to succeed because if he does, the show does as well. I like the fact they are doing contestant searches. I like the new set changes. Season 38 is going to be fun.

Season 37 was the true transition year for Price. Now Drew has a lot of work to go to make it his own. Let's see if he can do it.

Finally we have a true definition of a media ho. According to the New York Post, Wes Hayden went on the Bachelorette for one reason and one reason only. And that was to promote his new album! He had been accused of both having a girlfriend and only signing up for the ABC reality dating show to publicize his album. And Wes confirmed the allegations after getting dumped by "Bachelorette" Jillian Harris during the final four's trip to Spain.

"[I'm] the first guy ever on 'The Bachelorette' to make it to the top four with a girlfriend," a visibly drunken Hayden said during his farewell limo ride. "I'm goin' back home, I got my dog waitin', and I'm pushin' my new single," the 31-year-old aspiring musician told the camera. And during the rose ceremony he said that if he doesn't get a rose, "you know I'll be back home havin' lots of sex."

And finally Wes said this: He was "cutting off the chains" to go out and party as a free man. "I'm in Spain . . . everybody's gonna know my name," he said.

Block Party Quick Hits Time:

-- Condolences go out to the family of Steve McNair, former NFL Quarterback and star of Pros v. Joes who was murdered this past week.

-- Big Brother debuted July 9th on CBS, Showtime, Twitter, CBS Mobile and other formats.

-- Project Runway debuts its cast for Season 6 on August 20th.

-- Top Chef: Las Vegas debuts August 26th.

-- The Great American Road Trip moves to Monday Night after a horrible debut this past Tuesday.

-- For The Love of Ray J 2 starts casting after Cocktail and Ray broke up...awww.

-- The celebrity episodes of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" are being burned off. And the celebrities will be Larry the Cable Guy playing for the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation; Jack Hanna playing for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Partners in Conservation; Star Jones, playing for East Harlem School at Exodus House; Bill Goldberg, playing for The Progeria Research Foundation; Sugar Ray Leonard, and Dean Cain, playing for the Lollipop Theater Network. And the syndicated version is looking for newlyweds.

-- Big Saturday Night is going through some formats after August. The comedy bits didn't work. That's why.

-- On the Australian Dancing With the Stars, we had a blind Paralympian named Gerrard Gosens do a routine with Jessica Raffa.

-- Mark Burnett gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

-- Season 4 of America's Best Dance Crew debuts on MTV August 9th.

-- The UK is getting the beta of 1 v. 100 on July 10.

-- Paula Abdul is hopeful about returning for Season 9 as Kara DioGuardi marries.

-- Bruno Tonioli hosts "Show and Tell" a dance series for where readers of dance with stars such as gay actors Chad Allen and Robert Gant, the drag performer Lady Bunny, the transgender actress Candis Cayne (“Dirty Sexy Money”) and the actress Marissa Jaret Winokur (“Hairspray”). Their dance lessons were filmed at Balliamos Dance Studio in West Hollywood, Calif., where same-sex couples dance along with mixed-sex couples.

-- Jeopardy is looking for bright kids for its Kids Week shows! If your child is especially bright, and was born between 3/17/1997 and 3/16/2000, here's your chance to get him or her on the show. Go to for details and the test will be Tuesday, August 4th at 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT/ 6:00pm MT/ 5:00pm PT). There will be no other testing dates or times set up, so make sure that you and your child are available.

-- TV Land is rumored to be shooting Celebrity Mr. and Mrs. in NYC.

-- Fred Roggin is leaving GSN Live.

This could be Jason Block's big chance to be a big host for a big network. E-mail your resume request to