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The Age

NETWORKING

Author: PAUL KALINA
Date: 01/03/2007
Words: 588
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Green Guide
Page: 2
Mills' busts a move

Take a controversial celebrity in need of a makeover and a show looking for the novelty factor, and what you get is Heather Mills (pictured) on the US version of Dancing with the Stars. The soon-to-be ex-wife of Beatle Paul McCartney will become Dancing's first contestant with an artificial limb when she joins the latest series of the ballroom dancing competition later this month. Other celebs include boxing champion Laila Ali (daughter of Muhammad Ali), singer Billy Ray Cyrus, former 'N Sync boy band member Joey Fatone, TV host Leeza Gibbons and Vincent Pastore, the fondly-remembered Big Pussy Bonpensiero on The Sopranos.

Reddie Everywhere

Usually it's the commercial channels that become snippy about talent showing up on the competition. But this time it's the ABC that has decided to "rest" Red Symons from The Einstein Factor during the 12-week run of Australia's Got Talent, which plays simultaneously on Seven in the Sunday 6.30pm slot. As Symons pointed out to Networking, his aggregate audience would have been 2.6 million; make that 3 million if Nine had scheduled a repeat of 20 to One. TV's favourite smarty pants assures us he'll return to The Einstein Factor, where he won't have to don the black outfit Seven insists he wear for his turn as the talent show's most caustic judge.

Brother bother

Prime Minister John Howard said "get this stupid program off the air" and it seems scores of Australians similarly disapprove of Big Brother. A review of BB ordered after last year's infamous "turkey slap" incident has triggered a flurry of emails from concerned mums and dads to the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The majority of submissions (they can be read at acma.gov.au) are from individuals calling for a crackdown. One of the more interesting submissions comes from Tim Brunero, who spent 100 days inside the BB bunker in 2005. Brunero argues that the show reflects society and its members' behaviour and that to call for the show's demise "is to deny that inappropriate behaviours occur in the real world". The submission by the Australian Screen Directors Association questions the review itself, pointing out that as the turkey slap was streamed on the internet, the concerns that have been raised fall outside the Commercial Television Code.

What's bad for cop show

Nine programmers have pulled out the axe and are chopping liberally. First to be cut from the schedule was The Code, to be replaced with new episodes of What's Good for You. The Sigrid Thornton-hosted health program was one of the surprise performers last year, averaging close to 1.4 million national viewers. Nine says further episodes of The Code have been commissioned and insists it will return later this year. But it seems unlikely the dumped Kings of Comedy will return, same for Justice which lasted just eight episodes.

Homicide Bourne again

An announcement from Seven on the commissioning of its new police drama series, City Homicide, is expected shortly. A pilot was shot last year and it's understood that network bosses are very pleased with Shane Bourne and Nadine Garner in their roles as members of a close-knit police unit. The series features 12 to 14 key characters, allowing plenty of scope for storytelling.

Domestic bliss

Further joy at the Seven bunker last week with news that America's ABC network has signed Desperate Housewives and its creator, Marc Cherry, for another four years. According to Variety, the studio has negotiated deals to retain all the key cast.

 
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