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March 2009 Archives

Double elimination weilded its ugly sword tonight as Holly Madison and Steve "the Woz" Wosniak were voted off "Dancing with the Stars" in a very awkward double-elimination.

Awkward because as bad as their dancing was, it's hard to be the first couple voted off -- and then have to stand their until their "loser mates" are announced. Ugh. Has this show lost all its senses? Enough with the gimmicks! Just give us the voting results and send one couple home. The audience didn't know whether to cheer or sneer or boo or cry. What a way to end an episode. What a downer.

Here's to next week, when we're hopefully back on track with more dancing --- and a single-elimination results show.

Oh, and as for Steve-O, you're "DWTS" days are probably numbered, seeing as you were the third celeb in that "bottom three" tonight.

'Dancing' says bye-bye to dance-off

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Why does it seem like "Dancing with the Stars" is making it up as it goes along? No dance-off tonight, folks! Nope, instead of that ill-conceived embarassment-fest, the show is resorting to its "double-elimination night." Ten minutes to go. So far, two of my three predictions have made it to the "bottom 3."

Stay tuned.

Live Chat during "American Idol" begins at 6:45 p.m. CST!

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Looking back at 'ER' before the big finale

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Can you tell which season of "ER" this cast photo is from? (File)

As "ER," Chicago's favorite hospital drama, wraps up this week -- 8 p.m. Thursday (after a one-hour retrospective) on WMAQ-Channel 5 -- indulge in our series all about the show, it history and its Chicago roots. All those links are below, not to mention the other posts here with videos.

What are your favorite memories about the show? Favorite characters, scenes, seasons? And what on earth will you do without it after Thursday night? Comments below ...

Why is "ER" set in Chicago? Thank "St. Elsewhere"

"ER" gave real docs a taste of their own medicine

I owe half my life to "ER," fan says

"ER" staff's relatives steal the show

Where exactly is County General? Nobody knows

U of C copters deliver realism to "ER"

Clooney or not, "ER" is a prankster's paradise

The episodes few fans can forget

The kiss that lingered

The show's almost as realistic as spending a night in the ER

A fever chart for "ER" originals' careers

"ER" viewers saw Clooney as Dr. Feelgood

Future stars cut their teeth practicing in "ER"

"ER" outlasted a slicker rival: "Chicago Hope"

"ER's" past, present and suture

Season summaries:
Season 15
Season 14
Season 13
Season 12
Season 11
Season 10
Season 9
Season 8
Season 7
Season 6
Season 5
Season 4
Season 3
Season 2
Season 1

How much will you miss "ER"?

MTV orders four more seasons of 'Real World'

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MTV has ordered four more seasons of its once-groundbreaking reality series, "The Real World."

In other news: "The Real World" is still on.

The current season, "The Real World: Brooklyn," airs its finale on Wednesday. The next round, "The Real World: Cancun," is currently shooting.

NBC's green efforts translate to savings

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Lots of PSAs on NBC about going "green," sure -- but the move toward environmentally-friendly business practices saved the network $2 million last year.

NBC Universal has been promoting environmentally friendly efforts on its TV shows and in practice, looking for reduced power costs and telling its executives to lay off the bottled water.

In addition to the savings, the company says its polls show NBC's image as a "green" network is being recognized by viewers. Although it hasn't translated into ratings success, the company believes it's a smart strategy for the future.

TV Talk Today: Tuesday's chat-show lineup

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A selection of guests scheduled on today's talk shows:

'Dancing with the Stars' spells perfection G-I-L-L-E-S

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It was a night of perfection on "Dancing with the Stars" as sexy, tall, dark and handsom, actor Gilles Marini danced the Argentine Tango and set the ballroom on fire. Ok, not literally, but you get the picture. And what a picture it was. Gilles and partner Cheryl Burke could do no wrong with their passionate, fiery,dramatic and beautifully stylized AT. The dance stopped the show. Marvelous.

At the other end of the spectrum, Steve Wosniak, Steve-O and alas Holly Madison were proof positive the show needs a triple elimination tomorrow night instead of the scheduled double-elimination. Yikes! I still can't decide who's worse! The ballroom has been clearly divided in two this season----- you've got the top tier, and then the very bottom. Guess where our aforementioned trio reside?

Equally superb in this fourth week of competition were Melissa Rycroft and Lil Kim. Both ladies, Melissa with her joyous Lindy Hop and Lil Kim with her sexy sexy Argentine Tango really set the barre for good dancing.

Shawn Johnson proved there really is a difference between athleticism and great dancing; her Lindy Hop was full of "tricks" as the judges stated (Olympic-caliber gymnastics would have been more accurate), but very little dancing. Shame on pro partner Mark Ballas for not giving her more actual choreography to work with. Shawn has proven she really can dance, Mark!

That clown Steve-O (yes, that was him rehearsing in full circus clown regalia) brought out a very good point about the judges' scoring system: They all said he was better than last week, and yet gave him a lower score than he got LAST WEEK. He didn't get it, and neither do I. And what kind of shoes was his pro partner Lacey Schwimmer wearing? Not cute at all.

And I can't let this week go by without carrying the torch for Ty Murray one more time! His Lindy Hop was fun and lively and he deserves to stick around another week. He is the most improved dancer, working his way up that leader board one step at a time.

And LT (that's Lawrence Taylor, of course)... this just wasn't his week. But I'm not counting him out yet. And Julianne Hough needs to realize, she may be coo-coo crazy over the moon for Chuck Wicks, but that will only get him so far in this competition. He's got some moves, but he needs to step out from behind her shadow. Note to Julianne: This competition is about Chuck.

And last but not least, David Alan Grier has come on like gangbusters! I think he'll make it through to another week.

Prediction for Tuesday's elimination? Two of the tiresome trio (Steve-O, the "Woz" and Holly) will be going home. Count on it.

Spiaggia chef talks Obamas on 'Martha Stewart'

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Chef Tony Mantuano shared a recipe from Chicago's Spiaggia restaurant on today's "Martha Stewart Show," but when host Martha Stewart began asking about his famous patrons -- President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama -- Mantuano became a bit tight-lipped.

As Mantuano and Stewart made the Italian dish, Ravioletto, which recipe is found in The Spiaggia Cookbook Eleganza, Stewart asked him about the Obamas' favorite manu item. Mantuano's only answer: "Pasta."

But Mantuano refused to answer what wines the Obamas drank while dining at the restaurant, located at 980 N. Michigan Ave. He did say, however, that since the Obamas dined at Spiaggia on election night, he has received a number of requests from Italian winemakers to sell their wines to the restaurant so the Obamas might try them.

Stewart asked if someone was on hand to taste the meal before it was served to the Obamas, to which Mantuano explained that someone does watch carefully as the meal is prepared.

Also during the show, Mantuano briefly discussed the opening of his new restaurant in the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. The 140-seat facility is scheduled to open in May 2009 in conjunction with the new Renzo Piano-designed building for the museum, according to the institute.

Mantuano told Stewart he may name the restaurant after the designer, but was still deciding.

As Stewart took one bite after another of the Ravioletto, she asked if the pasta-filled dish covered with brown butter would be on the menu of the new restaurant. Mantuano said it might.

J-Hud and Ellen get loud in the bathroom

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Ellen DeGeneres invited Chicago singer Jennifer Hudson into her bathroom for a duet.

Ellen's Bathroom Concert Series has thus far featured each end of the sentertainment spectrum, from Carol Burnett to another bunch of Chicago-area natives, Fall Out Boy.

How gay could 'Desperate Housewives' get?

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File this one under plot lines we'd like to see.

On last week's episode of Starz's improvisational comedy "Head Case," "Deserate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, Kevin Rahm and James Denton all appeared as themselves.

The joke: Cherry wants Mike Delfino (Denton) to have an affair with Lee McDermott (Rahm) on the show, but Denton doesn't agree.

"Head Case" therapist Elizabeth Goode (Alexandra Wentworth) is, of course, on hand to help Denton overcome his resistance. has a pretty good recap of the episode along with a few clips from the show.

Though it's all done for laughs, it wouldn't be the first time the series has flirted with same-sex issues. Rahm plays one half of a stable, gay couple on the show's Wisteria Lane and a recent episode even had series regular Teri Hatcher (Susan Mayer) exchange a same-sex kiss with guest star Swoosie Kurtz.

With the show currently No. 7 in the ratings, it's doubtful Cherry and crew will be desperate enough anytime soon to try such a plotline on the real show.

TV Talk Today: Monday's chat-show lineups

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A selection of guests on today's talk shows:

The woes continue for "DWTS" champ Helio Castroneves. Yikes! Maybe he could E-bay the mirrorball trophy for some fast cash!


MIAMI -- The IRS says Brazilian race driver and "Dancing With The Stars" winner Helio Castroneves owes more than $2.3 million in taxes.

That testimony came earlier today from IRS agent Joann Levitt in Miami federal court. Levitt said the total comes from unreported income and improper deductions from 1999 to 2004.

Castroneves, his business manager-sister and a Michigan lawyer are charged with tax evasion and conspiracy. Levitt is the final prosecution witness after nearly four weeks of testimony. Next it will be up to the defense to put on a case for the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and his co-defendants.
The defendants deny wrongdoing. Castroneves has said he relied on professionals to handle his finances.

'Dancing with the Stars' claims another injury

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The curse of "Dancing with the Stars" continues. Hot on the heels of the awful Shawn Johnson stalker incident, and injuries to Steve-O, Steve Wozniak, Gilles Marini (as well as pre-show injuries to Nancy O'Dell and Jewel), now comes word from E! News and that Playboy playmate Holly Madison has incurred a rib injury during rehearsals.

The site reports:
"Dancing With The Stars contestant Holly Madison has suffered a rib injury during rehearsals for the ABC show.

TV Dancing With The Stars.jpg

Holly Madison and partner Dmitry Chaplin perform on "Dancing with the Stars" earlier this month. AP

Speaking to E! News, a publicist for the former Girls Next Door star revealed that she had first hurt herself while training for last week's samba routine.

"After experiencing pain in her rib area, Holly received medical attention. While she is not suffering from a broken rib, she does continue to feel a great deal of discomfort and was prescribed pain medication," said a representative.

However, the Playboy model, who survived last week's dance-off, is adamant that she will have recovered in time for her next performance.

"She is committed to the show and her partner Dmitry and will rest when she can. She fully hopes and, at this time, expects to dance on Monday," added the spokesperson.

Madison is the latest in a string of celebrities to have sustained injuries preparing for this season's competition. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, "Jackass" star Steve-O and actor Gilles Marini have all suffered knocks in training."TV Dancing With The Stars.jpg

Stevie Wonder on 'Idol': 'I love you, Barack Obama!'

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During Stevie Wonder's medley of Motown hits last night, he gave a shout out to the President: "I love you, Barack Obama!" (at about 5:46 below).

And then later in the medley, gave the same shout out to the show: "I love you, 'American Idol'!"

Here's the video ...

'Idol' is a fake! Lip-syncing confessed

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Do we still care about lip-sync "scandals"?

Sigh, well, here's another one: "American Idol"! Lip-syncing! The horror!

Perez Hilton is reporting:

" 'AI' reject from season one, Justin Guarini, isn't too happy with this year's group performances. Guarini is currently the co-host of 'Idol Wrap' on the TV Guide Network. And what he said recently has some fans in an uproar.

Justin told everyone, 'Every single year we can't stand the group
performances. I know they can't stand it either. And I think what makes them
even worse now is that they're lip-synched. They're really prerecorded now.' "

"Idol" producers were quick to deny, saying through a rep, Manfred Westphal, said "The Idols don't lip-sync, period."

That was Tuesday. By Wednesday, Westphal confessed to the New York Times: "Due to extensive choreography and to balance their voices with open mikes against a screaming audience, the Idols do sing along to their own prerecorded vocal track during the group
performances only." He said the singers don't lip-sync during solo performances.

So ... that means part of "Idol" is basically ... fake?

Once again, do you care? Do tell.

TV Talk Today: Friday's chat-show lineups

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A selection of guests scheduled on today's talk shows:

Will Dial Idol be right a second week in a row?

| No Comments | No TrackBacks, a website that posts the results of monitoring busy signals to the Dial Idol lines on "American Idol" has come out with their latest predictions for tonight's results show.

According to the site:
The top three contestants based on the number of busy signals encountered are: Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta and Danny Gokey.

The bottom three: Scott MacIntyre, Megan Joy Corkrey and Michael Sarver. Due to the site's margin of error, they were unable to official make the call that Sarver is out.

It was a similar situation last week when the site had Alexis Grace at the bottom of the list. Grace was eliminated later that night from the show.

"American Idol Results Show" live chat

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Shawn Johnson stalker details paint eerie portrait

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"Dancing with the Stars" has had its share of scary dance/injury moments. But nothing compares to the news about Shawn Johnson and the sicko stalker who has apparently been following her across the country. AP has uncovered more details about the Shawn Johnson stalker incident. Very creepy indeed:


LOS ANGELES -- Prosecutors charged a man Thursday with stalking "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Shawn Johnson, saying he drove from Florida in a car found with loaded guns, duct tape and love letters to meet the 17-year-old Olympic gymnast.

The Los Angeles Country district attorney's office charged Robert O'Ryan, 34, with one felony count of stalking and two misdemeanor counts of carrying a loaded gun in a vehicle. He was scheduled to appear for arraignment Thursday in Superior Court, where prosecutors said they would request his bail be raised from $35,000 to $220,000.

Authorities said O'Ryan was arrested Tuesday after he tried to jump a security fence at CBS Studios, where the ABC show is filmed. Police later searched his car and said they found a shotgun and handgun -- both loaded -- as well as duct tape and love letters.

A restraining order requested by Johnson's parents said she was "in fear of her life" and was issued Wednesday against O'Ryan. A statement by Johnson's mother, Teri, states that she was told by police that O'Ryan believed he was meant to have a child with her daughter.

If convicted, O'Ryan could face up to four years in prison. Court records do not indicate whether he had a lawyer.

Johnson, of West Des Moines, Iowa, won one gold and three silver medals at the Beijing Olympics and is one of the remaining celebrity contestants on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

"We are confident that it will be handled appropriately by all involved," said Johnson's publicist Sue Madore in an e-mail. The show added in a statement that appropriate authorities were handling the matter.

Shawn Johnson stalker officially charged

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks is reporting that the stalker of "Dancing with the Stars" celeb Shawn Johnson has been officially charged with "one felony count of stalking and two misdemeanor counts of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle." The site is also reporting that "he 17-year-old has a new personal bodyguard, who's already been spotted shadowing her around town. Sources tell TMZ that Shawn's protector is an off-duty police officer."

People Shawn Johnson.jpg

Here's the full story from (or you can link to it at

Shawn Johnson's alleged stalker, Robert O'Ryan, has just been charged with one felony count of stalking and two misdemeanor counts of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

TMZ broke the story that O'Ryan was arrested Tuesday on the CBS lot -- during a "Dancing with the Stars" rehearsal -- after security confronted him and found out he had two loaded firearms in his car, along with duct tape and love letters to Shawn.

He is currently being held on $35,000 bail. With the charges just filed by the L.A. County District Attorney, prosecutors will ask that bail be upped to $220,000.

In the charges, the D.A. claims O'Ryan "willfully and maliciously" harassed Shawn Johnson and made "a credible threat with the intent that SHE be placed in reasonable fear for HER safety..."

O'Ryan allegedly drove from his home in Florida to meet Johnson, with whom he felt a psychic connection.

The world is a crazy place. Now comes the official word that "Dancing with the Stars" celebrity Shawn Johnson is being stalked. According to reports, the guy's name is Robert O'Ryan and he was arrested and allegedly found to be in possession of duct tape and a gun. No confirmation on those details from authorities. "Good Morning America" reported that the Olympic gymnast and her family have known about him for quite some time and they approached authorities about a restraining order.

Here's the latest from AP.


LOS ANGELES -- A restraining order has been issued against a man authorities say tried to break onto the set of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" to meet Shawn Johnson.

Court records show an order was issued against Robert O'Ryan, who was arrested by Los Angeles police on Tuesday. According to documents that accompanied the restraining order application, O'Ryan was stopped by security at CBS Studios, the lot where "Dancing With the Stars" is staged, after he jumped on a fence on Monday afternoon.

Police later searched his car and found a shotgun and handgun -- both loaded -- as well as duct tape and love letters.
A sworn statement by Johnson's mother, Teri, states that she was told by police that he believed he was meant to have a child with her daughter.
Johnson, 17, is a gold medalist in gymnastics, and one of the celebrity contestants on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."
She is "in fear of her life," her parents' attorney wrote in a restraining order application.
The application had sought protection for Johnson's partner, Mark Ballas, but he was not included in the restraining order issued Wednesday.

Her parents requested and were granted the restraining order on Wednesday. A hearing on whether to grant a lengthy restraining order will be held April 14.

O'Ryan, 34, is being held on $35,000 bail on suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm in public (a felony). Court records do not indicate whether he has a lawyer.

The records state that he told security guards and police that he packed up all his belongings and traveled to California from Florida in the hopes of being with Johnson.
A report by security guards at CBS Studios states that O'Ryan was carrying an expired concealed weapons permit.

A call placed to an ABC spokeswoman was not returned Wednesday.

Courtesy of our friends at

Matt Giraud - "Let's Get it On" by - Marvin Gaye
Kris Allen - "How Sweet it Is" by - Marvin Gaye
Scott MacIntyre - "You Can't Hurry Love" by - Supremes
Megan Joy Corkrey - "For Once in My Life" by Stevie Wonder
Anoop Desai - "Ooh Baby Baby" by - Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
Michael Sarver - "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" by - Temptations
Lil Rounds - "Heatwave" by - Martha and the Vandellas
Adam Lambert - "Tracks of my Tears" by - Smokey and the Miracles
Danny Gokey - "Get Ready" by - Temptations
Allison Iraheta - "Papa was a Rolling Stone" by - Temptations

Seems fairly predictable. Your thoughts, guys?

Join us for Live Chat during "American Idol" tonight!

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TV Talk Today: Wednesday's chat-show lineups

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A selection of guests scheduled on today's talk shows:

'Dancing with the Stars' bounces Bond girl

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Not even 007 could save Denise Richards from herself, make that her own awful dancing (could she play with her hair just a little bit more while dancing?). When it came down to the bottom two on the leaderboard, it was Richards and Hef's old flame Holly Madison who had to dance for their supper. Or at least the chance to return next week.
Judge Len Goodman still proved he had lost his sanity when it came to judging the dance-challenged Richards, declaring once again that her dismal dancing was a job well done. NOT. Madison's dancing prowess exhibited a wee better playfulness, but at least she actually has some degree of chemistry with her pro partner Dmitry. Richards and partner Maks Chemerkovskiy couldn't even bear to look at one another.

But the night's biggest AHA moment came early on, when the "safe couple" pronouncements were being handed out. One by one, the top-coring pairs were declared safe to dance another week: Melissa, Shawn, Gilles, Lil Kim. And then there was Steve Wozniak, whom everyone had written off (yours truly, included) who heard the words NOBODY could believe: Steve and Karina you are safe (or something to that effect; I can't remember as I think I passed out). I thought Tom Bergeron was going to pass out, truth be told. And Bruno looked like he needed someone to throw a bucket of water on his face to bring him out of shock.

In case you missed it, the night before, the Woz scored an abysmal "10" out of a possible "30" for one of the worst scores in the show's history. Was there ANY way he was NOT going home tonight? Well, here's to his legions of computer geek fans who awarded him enough votes to outvote the judges who were so cruel to him on Monday night. Hmmmm. Maybe they've come up with some super computer/phone program that allows them to vote a billion times in the blink of an eye?

Just goes to show you, viewer votes really do count. Boy do they count!

Next week: two new dances are introduced, the Argentine Tango, and the Lindy Hop. Cool! I've been a huge fan of the AT because it is sooooo dramatic and steamy hot (when danced correctly, mind you). BTW, LOVED the video with Cloris Leachman and Corky Ballas demonstrating (sort of) the basics of both dances.

Original webisodes of 'In the Motherhood'

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If you were a fan of the Web series "In the Motherhood," understand: Chelsea Handler is not in the TV remake.

Now that it's gone from the Web to ABC, "In the Motherhood" is no longer a guilty pleasure. The series of sketches that were a defiant mom's darkest confessions is now ... a mainstream sitcom, with all that implies. It's got snappy writing and superior stars, but treat yourself to these original Internet pleasures, via YouTube:

Episode 1

More after the jump ...

Late-night wars: Welcome, George Lopez

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Comic George Lopez is getting into the late-night talk show game.

TBS says Lopez will start a new talk show in November. It will air Monday through Thursday at 10 p.m., and Lopez promises an outdoor street-party atmosphere.

TV Talk Today: Tuesday's chat-show lineup

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"Live With Regis and Kelly" (9 a.m., Channel 9): Actor Kiefer Sutherland.

"The View" (10 a.m., Channel 7): Actor Kevin Bacon; actress Spencer Grammer.

"The Bonnie Hunt Show" (2 p.m., Channel 5): Actor Tom Cavanagh; model Tyson Beckford.

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" (3 p.m., Channel 5): "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi; musician M.C. Hammer.

"Late Show With David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., Channel 2): Actress Mary Tyler Moore; actress Blake Lively; music group White Lies.

"The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (10:35 p.m., Channel 5): Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; actor Bill Hader; musicians PJ Harvey and John Parish.

"Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" (11:35 p.m., Channel 2): Actress Virginia Madsen; actor Jason Ritter; music group Chicago.

"Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (11:35 p.m., Channel 5): Journalist Rachel Maddow; actor John Cena; musician Gabriella Cilmi.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" (12:05 a.m., Channel 7): Actor Zach Braff; actress Cheryl Hines.

Dueling Steves need to depart the ballroom

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If only double-eliminations were possible.

Let's face it, there's no way Steve Wozniak and Steve-O are gonna win "Dancing with the Stars." They have given it their all, but now it's time to exit the ballroom with grace. Kudos to the Woz for earning a "10" the lowest score in the history of "DWTS." Way to go. And Steve-O,well what can I say? He makes Master P look good. Gee, wonder what two dancers are ending up in that awful "Dance Off" Tuesday night?

At the other end of the spectrum, major kudos to Gilles, Melissa, Shawn, Lil Kim, Lawrence for outstanding performances! Looks like the season is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in "DWTS" history. And here's to Ty Murray for giving it his best game --- and for "saving" partner Chelsie from what could have been a very bad fall. It was as smooth a moment as you're apt to see in a professional ballroom anywhere.

Here's to the results show....
Prediction: The Woz is outta there.

Will Wozniak return to 'Dancing with the Stars'?

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Rumors are swirling about that Apple co-founder and ballroom dancer extraordinaire (not) Steve Wozniak is suffering from a severe pulled hamstring and may have to withdraw from competing on "Dancing with the Stars." This is hot on the heels (pun intended) of the Woz's outburst last week claiming the voting was, uhm, fixed. He quickly apologized.

The curse of "DWTS" is alive and well. Which raises the question, do these folks warm up, stretch before stepping into the rehearsal halls? Also, will physical fitness become a requirement for future contestants? Ballroom dancing is a sport, and no matter how graceful a celeb appears on the red carpet, they are going to be working muscles they never knew they had once they sign up for "DWTS." Let's face it, there are precious few of us who could step into that grueling rehearsal schedule and not sustain an injury.

Will keep you posted.


Twitter ... tweeting ... twatted? Was it a slip of the mouth when Stephen Colbert told "Today" show host Meredith Viera that he's "twatted" before, or was he looking for a few laughs?

Either way, the slip which aired live on the show got quite a few giggles from the show's crew and from the Twitterverse.

Click here to watch the video

American Idol live blog

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Take it with a grain of salt, kids (though, the site claims it correctly predicted who was going home 97 percent of the time last season, I seem to remember them being less accurate).

Most surprising: Anoop Desai jumped to second place according to the site.

Bottom three: Megan Joy Corkrey, Allison Iraheta (?!?) and Alexis Grace.

Site says it's too close to call, but Grace had the least amount of busy signals.

We'll see if they're right at about 8:50 tonight.

Of course, we'll be chatting throughout the hour-long show beginning at 8 p.m. Join us, won't you?

Is dance-off a good thing for 'Dancing with the Stars'?

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So it's the morning after the big 'Dancing with the Stars' first official "dance-off" between the two lowest-scoring couples. I dunno. On the surface, it seems like a new, fun, exciting premise. But looking back, it's really kind of annoying, or maybe just too perplexing.


Keep in mind folks, it's not an "additional" set of judges' scores, it's a WHOLE NEW SET of scores, which means the judges can decide if they want to downgrade or "upgrade" a couple based on a second performance. So, are the trio of judges getting the vote that really counts? I know it's also based on viewers' votes, but if the show is going to resort to a dance-off between the bottom two couples, then they should reveal the number of viewer votes each couple got, as well as the judges' new scores.

For example, let's say Belinda had a million fewer viewer votes than Steve Wosniak going into that dance-off, what was the point? There is no way the judges' new score of 17 is going to push her past the Woz in the standings at that point, especially if, like last night, he also gets a score of 17. So what does the dance-off accomplish? What's next? Applause-o-meters for the studio audience?

Belinda Carlise and partner Jonathan Roberts await their fate Tuesday night on "Dancing with the Stars." AP

Belinda Carlisle go-gos off of 'Dancing with the Stars'

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Can't say I was REALLY surprised that Belinda Carlisle was the first celeb to exit the ballroom on "Dancing with the Stars" tonight. I had my money on Steve Wozniak. Guess there are way more geeks out there voting than Go-Go's fans.

It came down to Belinda and Steve in the first-ever "dance-off" of the bottom 2 couples on results night. Both showed little improvement over their dances of the previous night. (They chose the dance they would dance, by the way). I'll miss Jonathan Roberts... he's one of the more stylish among the pros.

Jewel turned in a gorgeous "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" during her guest appearance (hubby Ty Murray was probably beaming backstage). Newbie pros Chelsea and Dmitry provided a stunning dancing accompaniment. It was the evening's showstopper (no offense to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy who rocked the ballroom earlier in the night).

BIG surprise was choreographer Michael Rooney --- son of legendary actor Mickey Rooney--- who choreographed the evening's big ensemble number. Proud papa was seated ringside giving his son a standing-o.

Speaking of hyphenates, Steve-O was back in the ballroom admitting he was a moron for attempting the frontward flip last night that landed him in the hospital. Hmmm. Steve-O admitting he was stupid. Stop the presses!

Seems to me there should have been a third couple in that dance-off, and that was Steve-O and Lacey Schwimmer. I realize he got hurt Monday night, but he didn't technically dance (and yes, the rules state they have to be judged on their dress rehearsal performance). I just think it would have been more fair to have the three of them fight for a chance to return.

Here's to next week!

American Idol Live Chat

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Watching American Idol tonight? Live blog with us.

Steve-O not yet cleared for 'Dancing' return

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LOS ANGELES -- A dancing stunt knocked down Steve-O.
The reality star was forced to skip Monday's "Dancing With the Stars" after falling on his back during a dress rehearsal earlier in the day.

TV Dancing With The Stars.jpg

He landed flat on his back after a failed front flip, smashing his spine into the microphone pack all performers wear. The 34-year-old was already nursing a pinched nerve in his back.

The funnyman didn't break any bones, said dance partner Lacey Schwimmer, but he hasn't yet been cleared to dance on future episodes.

Steve-O and partner Lacey Schwimmer danced the night away on the first night of competition. It's uncertain at this point whether the injured celeb will return to the show.

Judging goes haywire on 'Dancing with the Stars'

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Is it just me?
Methinks that Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno need "instant replay" capabilities regarding their comments and subsequent judging. Tonight's show was proof positive they don't realize what they've said and how they've scored dancers as the night goes on.

Case in point: Rodeo cutie Ty Murray was overwhelmingly lauded by the trio of judges extraordinaire for what was truly a fine turn on a quickstep. Huge improvement over last week and really a nicely executed routine. It was one of the few really "wow" moments of the night. Score? A measly 20! Make that a 7-6-7 from Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno, respectively.

Two dances later, Steve "The Woz" Wozniak attempted a quickstep that just looked painful (he was suffering from a foot injury after all) and the judges rightfully took him to task. Score: 17! Make that 6-5-6. Are you kidding me? That dance didn't deserve anything higher than a 5 across the board. There's no way Ty was just 3 points better on the night.

One dance later, the coosome twosome of Julianne Hough and main squeeze Chuck Wicks attempted a salsa that was just pathetic. The judges positively scolded the couple, chastising Julianne for "doing all the work" while Chuck just stood there. Score? 20. Make that a 6-7-7. Again... are you kidding me?

What goes on in the land of ballroom dance judging?

Of course, this was the night that saw the possible departure of yet another celeb. Steve-O might have really injured his back seriously following an ill-attemp at a forward flip during the dress rehearsal with partner Lacey Schwimmer. He still earned a 14 for his feeble dance (injury not withstanding) that was judged via videotape of the dress rehearsal. Ty's dancing was way better than a six-point spread over this debacle.

In the "no surprises" category, dancer Melissa Rycroft (yes, the jilted bachelorette can't downplay the fact that she has had extensive dance training, ballroom or not) scored a 26 for her sexy salsa with Tony Dovolani. But it wasn't sexy enough as frontrunner Gilles Marini nabbed a well-deserved 27 for his "Clark Kent/Superman" -inspired quickstep. Good for him! It's nice to see a non-dancer at the top of the heap.

Tuesday night: Can you say ELIMINATION?
Prediction? The Woz is going home.

Top Model auditions end in brawl

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Several people were arrested Saturday after chaos broke out at an "America's Next Top Model" audition in New York. What would Tyra say?

TV Talk Today: Monday's chat-show lineups

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A selection of guests on talk shows today:

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" (9 a.m., Channel 7) "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest; designer Valentino.

"Live With Regis And Kelly" (9 a.m., Channel 9) Comedian Drew Carey.

"The Bonnie Hunt Show" (2 p.m., Channel 5) Actress Amy Brenneman; actor Jason Ritter.

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" (3 p.m., Channel 5) Actress Portia de Rossi; "American Idol" singers Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez.

"Larry King Live" (8 p.m., CNN) Judge Judy Scheindlin.

"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (10 p.m., Comedy Central) Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Robert B. Myers.

"The Colbert Report" (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) Author Neil Gaiman.

"Late Show With David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., Channel 2) Actor Nicolas Cage; talk show host Rachel Maddow.

"The Tonight Show With Jay Leno"
(10:35 p.m., Channel 5) Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus; comedian Jim Norton; music group Randy Rogers Band.

"Charlie Rose" (11 p.m., Channel 20) Journalist Gwen Ifill; Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman.

"Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" (11:35 p.m., Channel 2) TV host Regis Philbin; music group the Upper Crust.

"Late Night With Jimmy Fallon"
(11:35 p.m., Channel 5) Actor Gary Sinise; actor Colin Hanks; music group Public Enemy.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" (12:05 a.m., Channel 7) Comedian Don Rickles; musician Ben Sollee. (R)

We're not quite sure what to say about this video from a Tupelo, Mississippi NBC morning show, so we'll let "The Breakfast Song" speak for itself:

TV Talk Today: Friday's chat-show lineups

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A selection of guests scheduled on today's talk shows:

Jim Cramer gets advice from another Stewart

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CNBC's Jim Cramer (left) beats some dough -- o!, the irony -- on today's "Martha Stewart Show."

CNBC's Jim Cramer has been getting the beat-down from "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart for a week. Stewart has used clips of the manic money man to point out Cramer's advice to buy Bear Stearns stock ... shortly before the company's debacle. Stewart's also been asking the general question: If we have a 24-hour financial news network, why didn't any of these analysts and experts clue into the country's financial meltdown before it happened?

Today, Cramer got financial advice from another Stewart ... Martha! Clips coming shortly; meanwhile, we have this transcript ...

Kanye on 'Idol' -- did he fake it? do you care?

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A day after his appearance on "American Idol," the Web is predictably buzzing with opinions about Kanye West's performance of his song "Heartless" on the show.

It may come as a shock to some of Kanye West's most fervent devotees, but his "American Idol" performance was taped last night before the show went live.

TV Talk Today: Thursday's chat-show lineups

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A selection of guests scheduled on today's talk shows:

Live blogging 'American Idol' results tonight

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TV Talk Today: Wednesday's chat-show lineups

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A selection of guests scheduled for today's talk shows:

Matt Giraud

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plays piano and sings "Human Nature." It's raspy and he has a few pitch problems. Was it enough to push him though another week? Probably.

"You are a talented guy and I hope I see you for many, many weeks," DioGuardi said.

With Jackson's "Rockin' Robin."

She ends the song with a "caw, caw."

"You have a way of putting your signature on everything you touch," DioGuardi said.

"What a stupid song choice," Cowell said. "The vocals weren't very good, the dancing was verging on ridiculous. The whole performance was just clumsy and awkward."

Adam Lambert is next up with "Black or White." It was an over-indulgent and glorious mess, but hot damn was it entertaining.

"That was, to me, in a totally different league to anything else we've seen and heard tonight," Cowell said. "To make Michael Jackson work you got to be over the top and be comfortable with it and it was an original version."

Jorge Nunez never can say goodbye; judges not so sure.

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"Never Can Say Goodbye" and it's a total R&B snooze fest. He's got a great voice, you just wish he did something different with the arrangement.

"This wouldn't have been the song I would have chosen for you," Jackson said.

"DioGuardi calls him out for not being emotionally connecte.

"I don't feel you were yourself," Abdul said.

"It was so old fashioned, actually I couldn't wait for it to end," Cowell said.

He does absolutely nothing with the arrangement. I'm guessing the judges are going to call him out for that.

"When you pick a song, it's your gift to show the world what you got. I think this song is untouchable. Everything else sounds like karaoke," Abdul said.

"It looked a bit stupid. It was like somebody trying to be like Michael Jackson and failing," added Cowell.

"It's not the kind of song you should be doing. It didn't work for me," Jackson said.

"Since you can sing, we didn't get to see you do any variation on the thing," DioGuardi says. Four universal pans and not even a compliment from Paula about what he's wearing. They really don't want this guy to go any further. Yikes.

He plays the guitar on "Do You Remember the Time?"

If only he could remember the key. Parts of the song were painful. Oh, well. There's one contestant every season who sticks around for weeks based on looks alone.

"One things for sure, the girls love you," says Kara "cougar" DioGuardi. For the second time of the night, she's glad a contestant is playing an instrument.

Cowell chastises him for mentioning his wife in the "getting to know" segment.

Allison Iraheta got her start singing in a Latin supermercado. She sings "Give in to Me." She's this season's Amanda Overmyer: bluesy rock vocals and funky hair.

"It was a good performance. It's very clear you know what kind of artist you want to be," Cowell said.

"You're one to watch in this whole thing," Jackson said.

Murray picks "I'll Be There." It's a relatively sedate performance. She's got a good voice (though she had a few pitch problems), but there's not a lot to the performance.

"I was impressed. It's a tough song to sing after Michael and Mariah [Carey]," Randy Jackson compliments her.

Abdul is actually the one to call her out for being pitch-y. Wow.

Almost at the half-way point and the show thus far has been underwhelming, IMHO.

Danny Gokey

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1983's "P.Y.T."

It's all too shout-y for me, but he works the crowd.

"The true mark of an artist is when you can hear somebody even with your eyes closed and know exactly who they are," Paula Abdul says. "I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're on your way to the finals."

"We're only three contestants in on the first show and you've already won," Cowell retorted sarcastically. He did go on to praise the vocals ("brilliant").

Michael Sarver follows with "You Are Not Alone." He's also got a pretty powerful set of pipes. No one has really made any major blunders thus far tonight.

"You're not the best singer in this competition, I think you know that," Cowell said. "You made up for it with passion, heart and you gave it 110 percent."

Scott MacIntyre keeps the faith

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MacIntyre sings a soft falsetto for most of "Keep the Faith" (from the gloved one's album "Dangerous"). It's not his best performance, but it's an inspirational song by a visually impaired guy.

DioGuardi gets the song choice: "...that wasn't the most obvious Michael Jackson song. I'm not sure if everybody knew that song, but what I liked about you choosing it's your message. This hopefully message you deliver."

And, so it would seem, does Cowell: "It's find being artistic, just not on this show," he says, dismissing the song choice because it isn't well-known enough.

Lil Rounds is first up

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Her top looked like it came from a modified prom dress circa 1986. She belted "The Way You're Making Me Feel" with enough gravel in her voice that gives the song some fresh sass.

"I hope we get to hear you on the radio," gushed Kara DioGuardi.

"I was a little bit disappointed, because I thought it was a bit of a lazy song choice," Simon Cowell said. "I thought the second half was better than the first and I hate what you're wearing."

Scott MacIntyre is up after the break

Two Idol finalists will be eliminated tomorrow

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The theme tonight is the music of Michael Jackson. Simon dropped the bomb that two of the contestants will be eliminated tomorrow night (eliminating the need to add another week due to the addition of the 13th contestant).

Paula finally upstages Kara

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At least in the fashion department.

Randy and Simon look like they're both ready for a day of chores. It's not like they need to impress anyone at this point, right?

(Un) Lucky 13

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After single-handedly (and unintentionally) rekindling the feud between fans of the Season Seven Davids thanks to my review of David Archuleta's concert Sunday, I'm back blogging Season Eight!

A co-worker was asking for my predictions on a front-runner. I politely declined as the front-runner rarely ends up winning the title (prove me wrong, Gokey. Prove. Me. Wrong.). Instead, I told her who I like:

Of the guys: Jorge and Adam
Of the gals: Lil and Jasmine

I tend to root for the underdog, though (I'm still loving me some Amanda Overmyer; her album is now available on iTunes, Chille).

Your favs and thoughts on front-runners?

TV Talk Today: Tuesday's chat-show lineup

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A selection of guests scheduled on today's talk shows:

'Dancing with the Stars' season 8 a mixed bag

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Season 8 of "Dancing with the Stars" holds so much joy, laughter and promise, thanks in great measure to a very "level" playing field. Everyone seemed so new to the ballroom process and it wasn't until Gilles Marini's sexy Cha Cha and Shawn Johnsons' gorgeous waltz did the ballroom truly erupt into applause. Oh what fun it is to see everyone with their guard down, rhinestones flying and spandex stretching.

And then, the sky fell. There was "Bachelor" reject Melissa Rycroft who danced last and who proved that anyone with ballet and professional cheerleading in her background will leave the rest of the pack saying, HUH? Which leaves me asking, WHY? Is this ABC's way of making things right with the jilted bachelorette? This is the third reality show for the fetching brunette; seems you can make a career out of starring on reality shows.

Back to our story...
Until the end of hour two, it was night of goofs and gaffes and pretty much celebs being totally out of their comfort zones. And that's what made "DWTS" one of the most charming shows on television. Case in point, Steve-O, who proved even a Jackass can waltz, or at least attempt to waltz. Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson proved even an athlete trained to hide emotions in competition can emote beautifully while waltzing; she scored one of the night's biggest ovations with her gorgeous turn on the dance floor with partner Mark Ballas. The petite 17-year-old (the youngest competitor ever) might very well prove to be one of the season's biggest contenders.

Note to the judges, Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli: Listen to what you're saying. All three were guilty of some ridiculous scorings tonight, starting with their way-too-low 14 for rodeo champ Ty Murray. Good god, the cowboy is COMPLETELY in another world here and he was as charming and competitive as any of them. Later, the trio of judges couldn't help but rip into practically every move made by Playboy playmate Holly Madison (who signed on when Jewel bowed out) just a week ago, only to turn around and reward her silly Cha Cha with an 18. A little while later, it was Denise Richard's awkward Cha Cha that earned her all sorts of criticism (and most of it was not nice) from the judges, who promptly rewarded her with an 18. (She and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy have just about no chemistry, at least after the first week). There is no way that Holly and Denise were better than Ty or even NFL great Lawrence Taylor who snagged a mere 16 for his Cha Cha (that incidentally featuerd a whole lot more Cha than either Holly's or Denise's).

Chuck WIcks and his main real-life squeeze Juilanne Hough were saccharine sweet during their romantic waltz, earning a well-deserved 20, but there was a lot of bickering during the rehearsal stages judging from the video that rolled. Let's see if their relationship can take it.

Which brings us to Gilles Marini (whose adorable son watched ringside). Yes, he was naked in the feature film "Sex and the City," but he oozed more sexiness tonight ---- fully clothed and shaking his hips to beat the band --- than he did in any gratuitous nude scene from the film. Somebody get Carrie Ann Inaba a cold shower, btw!

Credit Denise Richards with the first tears shed of the season. The little darling just couldn't take mean old Maks' criticism/instruction during rehearsals. Boo hoo hoo. Credit Karina Smirnoff with wearing even less clothing than Edyta Sliwinska. Credit Belinda Carlisle with looking eerily like a younger Priscilla Presley. Credit Lil Kim with putting on a good face in the wake of all those stupid prison jokes that are likely to continue to surface as the season goes on. Credit David Alan Grier with exhibiting the greatest number of expressions possible during one waltz

The leaders at the end of the night? Gilles and Cheryl (who's looking quite slimmed down this season). The bottom of the leaderboard? Alas, it's Apple computer geek Steve Wozniak (score for the night, 13) who proved geeks really can dance. Not.

Charm returns to 'Dancing with the Stars'

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Proof positive this season of "Dancing with the Stars" is a complete throwback to seasons one and two. The playing field is relatively level... EVERYBODY is out of their comfort zones, which is what was so charming about this show in its earliest incarnation.
Bravo to the producers for smart casting at last!!

Of course, Shawn Johnson seems like she's already poised to be a force this season after her beautiful waltz. And then there's sexy Frenchman Gilles Marini who danced the Cha Cha Cha with partner Cheryl Burke. Frankly, the man could dance the Twist and make it ooze sexiness!

And then there was Steve-O in all his Jackass glory. To quote the, uhm, actor: "I wanted to put my foot in the waltz's butt." Well said Steve, well said. (He only scored a 17, btw).

Ashlee's moving in to 'Melrose Place'

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Ashlee Simpson (left) with Pete Wentz shared the stage at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards last fall. Will Pete follow his wife to "Melrose Place"? (AP file)

Ashlee Simpson-Wentz is moving into "Melrose Place."

The singer-actress has been tapped as a lead on the CW's "Melrose" update, returning to series television seven years after landing her breakthrough role on "7th Heaven."

Castroneves' tax woes continue

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"Dancing with the Stars" darling Helio Castroneves' tax trial continues Tuesday. Here's a recap from the Associate Press, in case you missed the details.

AP Legal Affairs Writer
MIAMI -- To this day, race car driver and "Dancing with The Stars" winner Helio Castroneves hasn't seen a single dime of $5 million in licensing money he was promised under a 1999 contract with Penske Racing. It's either been parked at Penske or is still idling in a Dutch investment account.

'Dancing with the Stars' all set

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The lineup has been completed. Holly Madison (Hugh Hefner's ex and Playboy mag favorite) and the jilted bachelorette Melissa Rycroft will have her sweet revenge on the bachelor-who-will-remain-nameless with her super-high profile gig on "Dancing." This is her third foray into reality television, following "The Bachelor" and "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team."

The rest of the pack remains the same.

In an interview with executive producer Conrad Green last week, the savvy Brit revealed the changes in the "look" of the show.

"The dance floor is wider, there are two sweeping staircases.... we've added seats to the gallery (700 instead of 500)," Green said. "The backstage area is much more filmable, so it all feels more like a proper theater."

Reports say Steve "the Woz" Wozniak has lost 30 pounds already... just from the rehearsal weeks!! Stay tuned.

"Dancing with the Stars" curse strikes again

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Multi-platinum singer/songwriter Jewel and "Access Hollywood" host Nancy
O'Dell have withdrawn from Season Eight of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars"
citing injuries. Jewel was diagnosed with a fractured tibia in both legs,
O'Dell a torn meniscus. The injuries were sustained while training for the

Jewel and partner Dmitry Chaplin

nancyodell-tonydovolani.jpg Nancy O'Dell and partner Tony Dovolani

Jewel and O'Dell will appear on the season premiere of "Dancing with the
Stars," MONDAY, MARCH 9 (8:00-10:02 p.m., ET) to address their injuries. The
women were paired with professional dancers Tony Dovolani and Dmitry
Chaplin, respectively. Additional changes to the cast will also be announced
during Monday's premiere.
--Sun-Times staff

TV Talk Today: Thursday's chat-show lineups

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A selection of guests scheduled on today's talk shows:

It's back to TV for 'High School Musical 4'

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Get ready: they're making a "High School Musical 4"!

But wait -- before you crease your Zac Efron posters again ... this installment in the hit TV-to-movies franchise is (a) back on TV and (b) probably won't star any of the first three movies' hotties ...

Justin Timberlake on Jimmy Fallon

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More video from the Jimmy Fallon late-night debut ...

Tendonitis running rampant on 'DWTS'

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Jewel is not the only victim of tendonitis on Season 9 of "Dancing with the Stars." Seems hunky hunk Gilles Marini has suffered his own battle with the ailment (co-celeb Jewel is the latest to be injured) following an injury to his "groin area" during rehearsals. The actor credits "the medicine" with helping ease the pain tremendously. Ouch!

The "Dancing with the Stars" 'curse' is back in full-force this season!

Jewel on steroids for "Dancing with the Stars" injury

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Jewel's tendonitis has the singer totally bummed. She blogged late last week that she's turned to steroids to get through the pain:

"I guess I really over did it on the rehearsal front! My knees have been hurting so badly that I finally broke down and talked to [boyfriend Ty's [Murray's] knee doctor yesterday. He said I have tendonitis in my knees and that I have to start a course of medicine to try and bring the swelling down. Yuck! It's mainly my left knee, and I can't believe I hurt it so badly... Ty warned me I was over doing it, and now he got a big ol' 'I told you so' in."

Jewel mug.jpg

[The blog continues]
"The worst part is that I can't rehearse for the next couple days. It was just so fun to dance 8 hours a day- especially considering I only had 3 weeks to cram not only for my first dance- cha cha, but to learn the fundamentals of about 6 other dances that I will have to know. But now I'm just worried I won't even be able to dance! Hopefully these steroids will really do the trick and I can keep bad flare ups at a bay in the future."

Here's hoping she's 100-percent by show time next week!

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