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VH1 is returning an American TV classic to the airwaves with a breath of the new millennium...

But first they need to cast it. That's where you, the viewing public, come in.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Todd Newton
Cohosts: Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, Danny Bonnaduce

Josh Weinstein, Nancy Matalon, Mary Jo Slater, Tim Palmer
EP: Jeff Margolis
Packager: Jeff Margolis Productions, Sony Pictures TV, VH1
Airs: Sundays at 9:00pm ET on VH1

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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

"That Was Then, This Is Now: The Finale" - October 17

From thousands of auditions to 32 hopefuls to 8 finalists to one family. Welcome to what we like to call in the business... the home stretch. Which means, of course, we get the Idol-style fillerrific finale show.

Todd Newton is on the red carpet watching the starts file in two by two, first the Keiths David Petruzzi and Leland Grant. Then the Dannys, Spencer Tuskowski and Keaton Savage. Then the Lauries, Alexis Mero and Emily Stone. And finally, the Shirleys, Suzanne Sole and Mary Kay Twargowski. Okay, out of the red carpet... and into the pressure cooker.

Before we get into final results, some stats... nearly 1 million votes were cast. Not that bad for basic cable, really. Original cast members not seen presenting this show: four, five if you count Chris Partridge #2. We'll see three of them tonight.  Recall elections: according to Danny, zero. The votes are in and the result is final.

And speaking of Danny, he's here to announce his successor, as we have Spencer and Keaton... in a lucha libre fight? That'd be interesting to see... Throw in a fire ring and I'm SO there. Both Keaton and Spencer now have matching faux-hawks in their recap clip. Spencer's back to tips as he and Keaton take the stage one more time for "Shop Around". But who did the audience buy as Danny Partridge? There can only be one...

"Spencer... It's my duty to tell you, Spencer... THAT YOU ARE THE NEXT DANNY PARTRIDGE!"

Okay, I'm 0 or 1, but at least America got a taste of the faux-hawk. And Spencer's thought? "Oh my God. I think I peed my pants. Keaton's the best man in the world, and it sucks to see him go." Right up there with Fantasia's "I broke my shoe!" but otherwise, touching.

But now, Spencer needs someone to look over his shoulder, a focal point, if you will. It's time for either Alexis or Emily to take up the reigns of Laurie Partridge in... well, it's just a plain ol' catfight. Alexis' main weakness was her acting. Emily says that Alexis' voice more than makes up for it. They take the stage for "We Belong". But does the role of Laurie belong to Alexis or Emily? Emily or Alexis? Todd?

"Alexis... Alexis, I'm sorry to say that it's time to say goodbye to you." Emily Stone, believe it, you are the new Laurie Partridge! She keeps babbling on about how great Alexis is, as is wont to do with a person in her position.

So we're halfway down, and two castmates to go, but first, call it a family reunion of sorts. Remember our co-hosts Shirley, Danny, and David? Well, they're about to reunite with former castmates Brian "Chris #2" Forster - he's still short - and Suzanne "Tracey" Crough. Now in the beginning I had a bit of an issue about not having a new Chris or a new Tracey. Well, Brian and Suzanne come to the rescue as they announce the already-been-cast duo of Anthony Skillman and Hannah Lee Dworkin as Chris and Tracey. And of course it wouldn't be the cast without the original Reuben Kincaid, Dave Madden. I liked him best on "Laugh-in" myself. We get the montage of him being put through veritable hell by Danny.

So does Dave have a new actor up his sleeve? As my cohort in crime Gordon would say, "Uhh..... no." All we get is the hint of "a popular actor." Other than that, Dave says you'll have to wait until the show premieres to find out.


Shirley is up next with... Shirley! Time to pass the mic (and the mop) to Mary Kay or Suzanne... Correction: THIS is the catfight. Suzanne thinks Mary Kay is sweet. Mary Kay thinks Suzanne is funny. Both profess to be... bad ass mothers... Both take the stage for "Son of a Preacher Man", and both get into character. But who did America choose to take the reigns as, with due respect to Kelly Packard who played bass for "California Dreams" before making it big, the first lady of sitcom rock'n'roll?

"Suzanne... Suzanne, if you would, I'd like you to look straight into that camera... and thank all of those VH1 viewers for making you the new Shirley Partridge!" And all she can do at the moment... is laugh. And hug the original Shirley, of course. She is overwhelmed as she gives props to Mary Kay.

And now, it's on Todd and David, the Keith that can never be replaced, to name the next Keith Partridge. Ladies and gentlemen, it's the main event... llllllllLLLLLET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE! Heh, just had to throw that in. Leland doesn't think that David is much of a competitor. David... also thinks he's not that much of a competitor. One more time for Leland and David as they sing "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing". Both are good at lead singer, but who WILL be lead singer?

"David Petruzzi... I'm sorry, David, you're going home." Ladies and gentlemen, it's all about Leland! Very emotional, Leland just... cries. To recap, it's Leland Grant on lead vocals and guitars as Keith, Emily Stone on keys and guitars as Laurie, Spencer Tuskowski on bass as Danny, Suzanne Sole on keys as Shirley, Anthony Skillman on drums as Chris, and Hannah Lee Dworkin on the tambourine as Tracey. All six take the stage to perform the first original single, "Love Can Start a Revolution". We'd post the video here, but the RIAA would have our hides. Frickin' townies. The original cast join the new cast for a string of original PF hits to close us out. But can the new cast pick up where they left off? We'll find out soon enough. Show drops in November. Keep an eye out for it.

Can I go home to watch Best Week Ever now? You got the clacky thing (*clapboard drops*)? Aaaaand CUT!

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