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News 05/20/2006

In reality TV news: Janusz Liberkowski, a 52-year-old mechanical engineer from San Jose, CA, who created the Anecia Survival Capsule spherical safety seat, took home the $1 million grand prize on ABC's "American Inventor" Thursday night after beating out an Ed Hall's electronic table-top game that teaches kids spelling and vocabulary, Erik Thompson's detachable vest to help athletes improve their catching skills, and Francisco Patino's double traction bicycle.

Duane "Dog" Chapman, star of A&E's "Dog the Bounty Hunter," tied the knot with longtime sidekick Beth Smith in Hawaii on Saturday. The couple have been together for 16 years and have two children. In some unfortunate related news, Dog's daughter, Barbara Katy Chapman, 23, was killed in a car accident near her home in Fairbanks, Alaska...a day before the wedding, a spokesman said Saturday. She was one of 12 of the bounty hunter's children.

Conan O'Brien tapped to host the 58th Annual Primetime Emmys on Aug. 27, marking his second time as the event's emcee.

"Dancing With the Stars" dancer-wrestler Stacy Keibler landed in the hospital Tuesday after suffering a mild seizure. According to her rep, she was released in good health after undergoing some routine testing.

Maury Povich is asking a court to dismiss a $100 million sexual-harassment suit against him. In her court docs, producer Bianca Nardi claims she was forced to wear provocative clothing, endure a barrage of sexual remarks, and watch porn, plus carry the workload of another producer who was having "an intimate and sexual" relationship with Povich.

Christie's will host the first official studio auction of memorabilia from all five "Star Trek" television series and 10 movie spin-offs this fall, giving dedicated Trekkies the chance to acquire such cultural gems as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard's jumpsuit.

Martha Stewart is putting Turkey Hill, her four-acre farm in Westport, Connecticut, on the market for $9 million. A realtor told the Wall Street Journal that the kitchen remains the same as it was 25 years ago, when Stewart founded her catering business there.

NBC has revealed the judges for its upcoming reality competition, "America's Got Talent": Brandy, David Hasselhoff, and British media figure Piers Morgan.

News 05/18/2006

In reality TV news: Elliott Yamin, a 27-year-old from Richmond, VA, became the latest "American Idol 5" casualty Wednesday on the FOX talent show, leaving Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks to battle it out in the finals. Also on Wednesday, "hippie" best friends BJ Averell, a 26-year-old online tutor from Los Angeles, CA, and Tyler Macniven, a 25-year-old filmmaker from San Francisco, CA, won the million-dollar prize on CBS's "The Amazing Race 9" after logging more than 59,000 miles to finish first. "Frat boys" Eric Sanchez and Jeremy Ryan came in second, and long-distance daters (and now engaged couple) Yolanda Brown-Moore and Ray Whitty came in third. Third on Wednesday, Danielle Evans, a 20-year-old babysitter from Little Rock, AR, was the winner on UPN's "America's Next Top Model 6" finale. Finally on Wednesday, Dave Martin, a 40-year-old from Long Beach, CA, was eliminated on Bravo's "Top Chef." Tiffani Faison and Harold Dieterle will cook it out against one another in the season finale next week.

FOX more or less sticking to what it knows with its new fall lineups by renewing 16 shows and keeping them on the same nights they aired this season. The net unveiled three new dramas, two new comedies, and two midseason shows, plus "On the Lot," the unscripted brainchild of Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg and "Duets," the latest project from Simon Cowell.

The CW revealed its first ever fall lineup and, as foretold by Mediaweek, is breathing new life into "7th Heaven" for an 11th season, despite rumors of the show's demise. There was a 11th hour renewal for "Reba" for 13 episodes as well, though it will most likely air in midseason (the network stood to lose around $20 million on a two-year deal, made by the WB before the beginning of this current season, if it was canceled.) The network is also book-ending "Veronica Mars" and "The Gilmore Girls" on Tuesday nights, and is launching one new comedy and one new drama.

NBC's "Will & Grace" came to a close Thursday after eight seasons of exploring every nook and cranny of the platonic love that can exist between a gay man and his straight female best friend.

FOX's "That '70s Show" signed off Thursday after eight seasons and 200 episodes of bell-bottomed comedy. Fittingly, the gang's TV tenure came to an end as the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, 1979, when they'll fondly send their characters on to endure the scrunchies, pegged jeans, leg warmers, and teased hair of the '80s.

Mischa Barton told "Access Hollywood" that her character, Marissa Cooper, dies on Thursday's season finale of "The O.C.," seemingly confirming rumors that she is leaving the show (she did indeed die in the finale.)

News 05/17/2006

CBS launched just four new series for the fall...three new dramas and one comedy. The network renewed 18 of its 2005-2006 shows, including six freshman series.

"American Idol" is making a number of the season five contestants' performances available for purchase via AmericanIdol.com for 99 cents a pop or $1.99 for video downloads.

Lew Anderson, who played the final Clarabell the Clown on "The Howdy Doody Show" through the series' last episode in 1960, died Sunday of complications of prostate cancer. He was 84.

Frankie Thomas, who became famous in the 1950s for his starring role in the TV children's show "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," has died. He was 85.

News 05/16/2006

In reality TV news: Tammy Trenta, a 33-year-old wealth manager from Edison, NJ, got fired Monday on NBC's "The Apprentice 5," leaving Allie Jablon, Roxanne Wilson, Lee Bienstock, and Sean Yazbeck as this season's final four contestants.

ABC has revealed its fall lineup, with six new dramas and six new comedies on the slate, including "Brothers & Sisters," starring Calista Flockhart, "Day Break," starring Taye Diggs, and "Big Day," starring Marla Sokoloff. In an apparent effort to keep the Peacock down, the network is moving "Grey's Anatomy" to Thursday to compete with NBC's highly anticipated new drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." ABC also revealed the identity of the next "Bachelor": Prince Lorenzo Borghese, a 33-year-old cosmetics entrepreneur. The ninth edition of the matchmaking series will be filmed in Rome.

Simon Cowell picked Taylor Hicks to win "American Idol 5" during an appearance on Monday's "Tonight Show." Cowell said he was betting Hicks would triumph over Katharine McPhee in the final two, meaning Paula Abdul's favorite, Elliott Yamin, would be the next to go. Meanwhile, Daniel Powter, whose hit song "Bad Day" has been used as the soundtrack for the "Idol" goodbye montages over the course of the season, will perform live on the performance finale May 23. Finally, Kellie Pickler's ex-con father, Clyde, has asked his probation officer for permission to accompany his daughter to the "American Idol" finale in Hollywood, per the New York Post.

Thieves stole the approximately $10,000 worth of Christian Dior shoes, sunglasses, handbags, and perfume Paris Hilton purchased her mother, Kathy, for Mother's Day, after a delivery person set them down outside the home while ringing the bell.

Original "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch was sentenced to four years, three months in prison Tuesday for tax evasion and perjury.

George Crile III, a CBS News producer for more than 25 years who wrote the bestselling book Charlie Wilson's War and made the controversial Vietnam documentary "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception," died Monday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Manhattan. He was 61.

News 05/15/2006

In reality TV news: Aras Baskauskas, a 24-year-old yoga instructor from Santa Monica, won CBS's "Survivor: Panama" and claimed the $1 million prize Sunday. Baskauskas said he planned to use the money to open his own yoga studio.

In its latest bid to recapture its "Must See TV" title, NBC unveiled its fall lineup, which includes newcomers "Friday Night Lights" (TV show version of the 2004 theatrical football film), Tina Fey's "30 Rock," Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and "Sunday Night Football."

Oprah Winfrey is postponing her "Legend's Ball" special that was supposed to air Monday so as not to conflict with President George W. Bush's speech, also scheduled for Monday. In case you wanted to go ahead and reprogram your TiVo, Winfrey's special now is airing May 22 instead.

CBS has selected 20 former players as finalists for the upcoming all-star edition of "Big Brother." The players won't learn whether they've made into the house until the show's live July 6 premiere, when eight of them will be abruptly sent home.

Eva Longoria has topped Maxim's Hot 100 for the second year in a row.

MySpace.com will begin to sell episodes of FOX's "24" next week, according to the Wall Street Journal.

All news gathered from E! Online and other sources

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