Monday, June 30, 2008

Reality recap

Interesting Sunday night for our local reality stars.

Shane had a heck of a week on "Next Food Network Star" - maybe even taking over the favorite slot. I know I said Adam was the favorite last week, but I burn toast, don't trust my cooking acumen.

Once he got to pick the beef wellington, it was all over. It was a dish right up his alley, plus something that could be scaled down fairly easily. You could tell they were really stretching to pick out some negative comments from the judge's table.

Meanwhile, over on "Design Star," Matt Locke falls from grace. Although I gotta say, that thing he produced looked a lot better than it had any right to:That's supposed to be an abstract of a Buddhist temple, by the way. If he had been able to incorporate some parchment and bamboo, maybe it all would have worked. Or crossed the line into absolute hideousness. And not that Michael didn't deserve to go, but Tracee's thing was clearly worse. I mean, for a high school musical, it was a top-notch effort, but as a professional product? Come on.

You could tell they were foreshadowing with Michael the whole show. Actually, his room looked better than I thought it would, but it was a conceptual trainwreck. It's like he's never watched HGTV before. I mean, really, just because he knows what an upscale Spanish nightclub really looks like doesn't mean that's an acceptable design for the show.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Sports Animal going country?

That's the latest rumor. Sorry sports fans. Congratulations, Merle Haggard fans.

If I were KRDO, I'd turn 1240 AM back into a sports station, stat.

UPDATE: It's official - classic country. And it'll have "Don Imus in the Morning" in the, err, mornings. And check out the call letters: KCS. Takes you back, doesn't it?

DOUBLE UPDATE: I hadn't realized that Clear Channel flipped KGHF (1350 AM) to the old KDZA. That leaves southern Colorado completely without sports radio, right?

It also raises the question of what CC is plotting for the Jet (107.9 FM), because it was pretty close to KDZA's sound when it started. Maybe they just see it as a check against KKPK (92.9 FM), which has been chewing up the ratings pretty much since it signed on.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Reality roundup

So Shane had a big week on "Next Food Network Star." The judges gave his food the best comments he's gotten all season - which is all the more impressive given that he was trying to combine marshmellow creme and fish.

I was a little surprised they booted Nipa. I mean, she was pretty bad in this challenge, but her Midwestern-Indian thing is a niche that's totally missing from the network and she had a good personality. I'd say Adam is still the front runner, despite his pratfalls in the galley this week, with Jennifer and Shane in the second tier.

Meanwhile, over on Design Star, our own Matt Locke is now clearly the man to beat. Michael Stribling certainly thinks so, and if anyone is catty enough to sniff out the top dog, it'd be him. That said, I really didn't like their room this week. It was very mid-80's excess to me. Very cold.

I think D. Paul got the shaft. His room was maybe boring, but pretty nice compared to Tracee's trainwreck. I even thought he was dead on about visually lowering the ceiling, even if it did take too much time. I think what we've got here is another case of the judges keeping the contestant everyone hates just for the drama. It's very Omarosa-esque. Which is too bad, because, like Omarosa, it's a tired, tired reality show cliche.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Free TV ... not so much

An alert from the Better Business Bureau:

BBB Warns of Company Taking Advantage of DTV Confusion by Misleading Consumers

Nationwide Advertising Campaign Falsely Promises Free TV and Free DTV Converter Boxes

BBB is alerting consumers to beware of a misleading advertising campaign by an Ohio-based company called Universal TechTronics. Ads are running across the U.S. promising free television channels, services and digital TV converter boxes, but are really a bait and switch tactic that prey on consumers’ lack of knowledge about digital TV conversion requirements.

A BBB investigation found that Universal TechTronics is peddling “five-year warranties” for $59 that must be purchased with their “free” digital TV converter boxes. With shipping and handling fees rolled in, the total cost per box is nearly $100. BBB believes that these are the same boxes consumers can buy in electronics retail stores across the country using $40 U.S. government coupons that make the total cost to consumers about $20 per box.

“The bottom line is that these ads confuse and mislead consumers,” said Carol Odell, BBB of Southern Colorado Executive Director. “Unfortunately consumers who do respond may find that not only will they not receive free products and services as implied by the ads, but they will end up paying more than they would have by taking advantage of the really good deal being offered through the DTV coupon program.”

Universal TechTronics’ ads imply that their converter boxes are free and will provide free channel reception, similar to the type of services consumers receive through cable or satellite providers. Ads state, “No Bills: New ClearView TV receives free channels, no need to pay for cable to get the new digital picture quality and sound,” and “Public to Get Free TV Without Gov't Coupon!” Additionally, the ads use the term “Miracle ClearView TV” to disguise the product and further deceive consumers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nielsens - business as usual

It probably says something that the noon news is the most exciting part of the ratings race.

KOAA continues to dominate the rest of the day, although KKTV had a strong 10 p.m. showing. KRDO was second in mornings.

But about those noon ratings...

KKTV and KRDO were tied, with KOAA third. KRDO took the lead with desireable 25-to-54-year-old viewers (the demographic is desireable, not necessarily the viewers themselves. Although I'm sure they're very nice).

If you're curious, KOAA's expose on District Attorney John Newsome didn't spike its ratings much. That's par for the course, said Ethan Beute, KOAA's creative services director.

"Aside from a Super Bowl or the 'American Idol' finale, no single event is going to move the ratings," he said.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tony D boxed out from the Sports Animal

Although I'm not a sports radio guy myself, I'm still sad to hear Tony D was dropped from KKML (1300 AM) "The Sports Animal" on Monday for budget reasons.

So now Colorado Springs, a city of half a million people, is completely without a local sports radio show. Sure, there's sports on the radio, local, regional and national, but there's not a place to talk about it anymore.

That just seems wrong to me.

Anyway, I always thought Tony D did a nice job jumping from local to national issues and keeping the show moving right along. I hope he finds a soft landing somewhere.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Local four-legged celebrities

Colorado Springs dentist Ray Armstrong will be on the "Today" show on Friday for "Take Your Pet to Work Day." Well, actually, I'm not sure how much airtime Armstrong will get. I think Rylee and Tika will get most of the attention. Those are the Yorkies that belong to one of Armstrong's dental hygenists, Kaylyn Sievert. The dogs come to work every day and often curl up in dog-loving patients' laps while they're having their teeth cleaned.

The "Today" show filmed the segment last week, spending three hours in the chair, so to speak. The segment is supposed to air in the 8-9 a.m. hour on Friday. Rylee and Tika will be watching from their dog beds at home because the office is closed on Fridays.

Reality show redux

TV will pick up a little tonight as Showtime launches the new season of "Weeds" and "Secret Diary of a Call Girl."

In the meantime, I thought I'd check in with some more thoughts on local reality contestants Matt Locke on "Design Star" and Shane Lyons on "Next Food Network Star."

Locke continues to dominate on his show. This week he came up with a sort of four-poster canopy bed for four, with a loft on top. Building stuff is really his forte and judge Vern Yip called it perhaps the best solution to a bedroom challenge he's ever seen.

What was really impressive was not just the design, but that Locke was able to pull off construction in just eight hours. I mean, this was a really nice, really finished looking piece of furniture.

I do wonder, should Locke actually win this thing, if a show about building objects will fly. HGTV really leans much more to room design and house hunting. They've tried some building shows - there was that one with the two brothers rebuilding junk - but they haven't gone anywhere. Of course, Locke seems to have a better aesthetic sense than those guys.

Meanwhile, Blue Star cook Shane Lyons is coming a little more into his own on "Food Network Star." He's got his concept ironed out - French cuisine without the fuss - and his presentation skills are excellent. But, and this is a big but, he doesn't look like he's having fun on screen. The judges harped on it.

And, I have to say, that's how he comes across in person, too. Not that he's a jerk, but he seems like a pretty serious guy. He's serious about cooking, which is good, but he's serious when he's cooking, which isn't as good for a TV show.

He was on a kid's comedy show for three seasons ("All That" on Nickelodeon), so maybe he just has to let go a little bit and get into a better spot.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Matt Locke looking tough on "Design Star"

Last week, I wrote about Springs native Matt Locke trying his hand on HGTV's "Design Star." In the premiere, which aired Sunday, but I didn't catch until last night, Locke blew away the other contestants with his display board. I can't really describe it, other than it was really, really cool and professional.

The devil's in the details, though. The first challenge for the designers is to build their own house on a lake shore in Nashville. In a week. Entertaining, but weird. Locke built his own house in Palmer Lake, but, as he said in the episode, "I built my own house, but it took me eight years."

Also, Locke said he wears a respirator when he's working with power tools because of allergies. That's not going to help his presentation skills.

So we shall see.

Also, Springs native Shane Lyons is still hanging tough on "Next Food Network Star." And, last I checked, still serving up the good stuff at the Blue Star. I was a little concerned for him, since he cried in the opening episode and had the judges talking about how young he is (he's 20), but he's light years ahead of some of his competition in presentation skills.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Duncan on "Tonight"

I was out of town all weekend, so I'm just catching up with Christopher Duncan's "Tonight Show" appearance on Friday. Seems like they gave most of the good lines to the Bush impersonator. Actually, the whole bit kind of lagged - they should have been able to come up with something a little sharper the day before Hillary officially left the race. They don't have the clip up yet, but I'll link to it when they do.

Meanwhile, you can see Duncan's previous "Tonight Show" appearances on his web site,

Friday, June 06, 2008

Face/Off Office style

Thursday, June 05, 2008


In today's Gazette, I had a story on Christopher B. Duncan, a Mitchell high grad and actor who is enjoying a career high playing Barack Obama on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Duncan might even be considered to play Obama on the big kahuna, "Saturday Night Live."

With that in mind, here's a story on SNL's current Obama. Who, to my mind, really doesn't fit the bill.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sports programming note

This is interesting, I had no idea he was living in the Springs...

Former San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants pitcher, and current Colorado Springs resident Dave Dravecky is the subject of FSN LIVE’s “Spotlight” segment Thurs., June 5 at 10:00 p.m. MT.

Marc Stout sits down with Dravecky to talk about his playing days in California before and after Dravecky was treated for a cancerous desmoids tumor in his pitching arm in 1988.

Less than a year after having half of his deltoid muscle removed, Dravecky was pitching in the Giants minor league organization and in August 1989 he made his return to the major leagues. In just his second start after returning, Dravecky began feeling a tingling sensation in his pitching arm. In the sixth inning, after allowing a homerun and hitting a player, Dravecky threw a pitch that snapped his humerus bone and ultimately ended his playing career. Later on during the season x-rays revealed that cancer had returned and after two years of his arm continuing to deteriorate, Dravecky had his left arm and shoulder amputated.

Dravecky is now a motivational speaker based in Colorado Springs and run’s “Dave Dravecky’s Outreach of Hope.” Below are excerpts from Stout’s interview with Dravecky.

ON CHANCES OF RETURNING TO BASEBALL AFTER FIRST CANCER SURGERY: “Doctors said, ‘Outside of a miracle, you’ll never pitch again.’ Those were the words out of our doctor. My makeup is such that I said, ‘You know, that’s what they are saying, but I don’t know what the end result is going to be and in order to find out, I have got to at least try.’”

ON BREAKING HIS ARM DURING GAME AGAINST MONTREAL EXPOS IN 1989: “There was a loud crack in my left ear and all I remember was going down and (Giants teammate) Will Clark saying, ‘Breathe, Dave, breathe,’ because apparently I was going into shock.”

ON ISSUES HE FACED AFTER HAVING HIS ARM AMPUTATED: “I was really wrestling with my worth. I was a baseball player. To define your worth as a baseball player all you have to do is turn to the back of your baseball card, look at the statistics and realize that this is what defines our worth. Now there isn’t a baseball card so who is Dave Dravecky and what is he worth?”

A replay of FSN LIVE airs Fri., June 6 at 5:00 p.m. MT.

Paging Mr. Archuleta, please report to the salt mines immediately

OK, obviously I was not at any point a David Archuleta fan this season, but this seems awfully harsh of the Idol folks. It's a thank-you concert for charity, you knobs.