By ED BARK
Already a fixture as a Fox News Channel commentator, Sarah Palin added another pelt to her belt Thursday when TLC announced its intent to carry Sarah Palin's Alaska.
The eight-hour documentary series is a joint venture of Discovery Communications and reality maestro Mark Burnett. His reality series include Survivor, The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and the recently defrocked Our Little Genius, which Fox declined to air after a behind-the-scenes scandal involving information given to the show's pre-teen contestants.
Palin, who earlier guested on a Season 6 episode of TLC's American Chopper, says, "I look forward to working with Mark to bring the wonder and majesty of Alaska to all Americans."
Burnett in turn says he "can't think of anyone more compelling than Sarah Palin to tell the story of Alaska."
There's no air date yet.
***Everybody's gotta have a dance show, and now CBS has one, too.
Got to Dance, which of course is based on a hit British series, welcomes contestants of "any age, group size and style." A host, judges and an audition schedule haven't been announced yet.
ABC currently is enjoying bounteous ratings for its 10th edition of Dancing with the Stars, which launched on Monday. Another season of Fox's So You Think You Can Dance, which recently held tryouts in Dallas, will premiere on May 27th.
NBC doesn't have a dance competition series yet, but hoofing and puffing are allowed on its America's Got Talent, which as previously noted is taping shows in Dallas on Thursday and Friday of this week before returning to the Peacock on June 1st.
***Showtime's Nurse Jackie and United States of Tara, which just started their second seasons on Monday, already have been renewed for third seasons, the network announced Thursday.
The series respectively star Edie Falco and Toni Collette in the title roles. Collette won last year's Emmy for best actress in a comedy series.
***Masterchef, the latest kitchen concoction from acerbic cook Gordon Ramsay, will premiere July 29th on Fox. The show attempts to turn amateur chefs into "culinary masters," with contestants eliminated weekly. Joining Ramsay as judges are Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot Bowles.
By ED BARK
Wizened Miley Cyrus, all of 17, will be the the first "mentor" on this season's American Idol.
The remaining 11 contestants, only one of them younger than Cyrus, will be schooled in the art of singing a No. 1 Billboard hit on the Tuesday, March 23rd edition. Cyrus then will do "When I Look at You" before one of them is sent home Wednesday night.
Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato (he and his brothers own a home in North Texas; her mother was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader) are also scheduled to perform on Wednesday's eviction hour.
Previous Idol mentors have included Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rogers, Tony Bennett, Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton, all of them old enough to be Miley's grandparents.
In contrast, one of this season's remaining competitors, Fort Worth's 27-year-old Casey James, is almost old enough to have fathered Miley. The show's only two remaining teens are Aaron Kelly, 16, and Katie Stevens, 17.
***HBO and Showtime have set new season premiere dates for two of their top attractions.
HBO's True Blood will launch its third season on Sunday, June 13th. The fourth and final season of Showtime's The Tudors will start on Sunday, April 11th.
***From some of the creative team behind The Tudors, here comes the new Starz series Camelot, due sometime in 2011.
There's no casting yet for Camelot, which is being adapted from the 15th century book Le Morte d-Arthur, by Thomas Mallory. It will be shot in Ireland.
Starz currently is enjoying ratings success with its bloody well done Spartacus: Blood and Sand series, where graphic violence and nudity come to play on a weekly basis.
***Here comes Jerry Springer again, this time as the host of GSN's new dating game show Baggage.
The network says it's "filled with laughs, romance and startling secrets." The premiere date is Monday, April 19th.
TV Bulletin Board (Fri., March 19) -- ABC pirates Amanpour while CNN prepares to set sail with new John King show
By ED BARK
Bypassing several prominent in-house candidates -- including Nightline's Terry Moran and White House correspondent Jake Tapper -- ABC News has tabbed longtime CNN mainstay Christiane Amanpour to be the new host of its Sunday morning This Week program.
Amanpour's hiring comes at a time when ABC News is preparing to cut several hundred of its employees as part of a "fundamental transformation" in the way news is gathered and reported.
Amanpour won't take over This Week until August, with Tapper serving as interim host. In an email to ABC staffers, news president David Westin said that Amanpour will add an "international perspective" to the program.
"Christiane will bring the international and the domestic together," he said. "Our audience has come to us for years to see differing points of view expressed in intelligent and compelling ways; now the different points of view will be expanded beyond partisan politics alone."
Meanwhile at CNN, partisan politics will be on the frontburner when the new John King, USA premieres Monday, March 22nd at 6 p.m. central.
The network bills King, USA as "America's home for informative, hard-hitting and, even, fun political news and conversation."
The one-hour program will air on weeknights, with the following Campbell Brown building a bridge to CNN's other King in residence -- Larry.
By ED BARK
TV Land already has assembled its gaggle of honored shows and stars for the network's eight annual awards ceremony.
The cast of Everybody Loves Raymond will reassemble for the first time since co-star Peter Boyle's death to receive the Impact Award. Plus, Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd -- but so far not Kate Jackson -- will pay tribute to the late Farrah Fawcett while accepting the Pop Culture Award.
Fox's Glee is getting the Future Classic trophy while Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks are each getting a Legend Award. The show will be taped on April 17th and air April 25th on TV Land.
***Red hot, retro-cool Betty White is getting another pair of star turns. The 88-year-old TV pathfinder will be hosting the May 8th edition of NBC's Saturday Night Live, making her the oldest ever to do so. And she'll also play a school librarian on the season finale of ABC's The Middle, which will air on a still to be announced day in May.
***CBS has rehired Undercover Boss for next season after launching it after the Feb. 7th Super Bowl to the tune of 38.7 million viewers. The show has been a breakout Sunday night hit for the network despite having to go against both the Winter Olympics and the Oscars after its big splash premiere.
***Summer's most-watched show, NBC's America's Got Talent, will be coming to Dallas on March 25-26th in its search for new contestants. The network says that host Nick Cannon and judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel (replacing David Hasselhoff) will attend each taping.
The venue is The Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Avenue in Dallas. For more audition information, go here. And for info. on obtaining tickets, go here.
By ED BARK
NBC has made it a foursome with its Thursday night comedies, green-lighting Community, 30 Rock and The Office for next season after earlier giving Parks and Recreation a reprieve.
The Office is still the Superman of this group, averaging a modest 9.4 million viewers this season while Community pulls in 5.9 million.
Fox's Fringe, another Thursday night attraction, also is coming back. The sci-fi series is getting a third season of "endless possibilities," as Fox puts it, even though its ratings fall markedly from the network's Thursday night lead-off hitter, Bones.
Fringe, which has been on hiatus, will return on Thursday, April 1st with eight new episodes.
***In something of a surprise, former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Melissa Rycroft will not be the new co-host on ABC's Dancing with the Stars despite appearing with incumbent Tom Bergeron during last week's prime-time announcement of Season 10's new celebrity cast.
Season 7 champ Brooke Burke instead is getting the nod, ABC announced on Good Morning America Monday. The new season launches on Monday, March 22nd.
***CBS' little-watched The Early Show will rear-end viewers on Wednesday, March 10th when co-host Harry Smith undergoes a live colonoscopy while CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric reports from the scene.
Couric, who lost her husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer in 1998, has since become a public advocate of regular checkups. Her on-air colonoscopy, in 2000, supposedly sparked a 20 percent increase in procedures done around the country.
By ED BARK
Summertime's most-watched series, America's Got Talent, will return for its fifth season on Tuesday, June 1st, NBC announced Friday.
Nick Cannon is back as host, but scratch "David" (Hasselhoff) from the above photo. He's been bounced in favor of Howie Mandel, who will join holdover judges Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne.
NBC also said that Last Comic Standing will launch a Season 7 on Monday, June 7th, with new host Craig Robinson. And "encore" episodes of Law & Order Criminal Intent will begin airing on Sunday, June 20th after first premiering in March on the NBC Universal-owned USA Network.
NBC has two new scripted series for the summer, too. 100 Questions, starring Sophie Winkleman as a single woman looking for love online, premieres on Thursday, May 27th. The drama mystery series Persons Unknown will start on June 7th following Last Comic Standing.
Friday Night Lights, which recently ended its fourth season run on DirecTV, will reprise those episodes beginning Friday, April 30th on NBC.
***The CW has renewed its longest-running series, Smallville, for a 10th season. The network's other official renewals to date are The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Gossip Girl, 90210 and America's Next Top Model.
By ED BARK
Another cringe-worthy, nausea-inducing edition of ABC's The Bachelor climaxed Monday with studly Dallas pilot Jake Pavelka proposing marriage to scandal-tinged Vienna Girardi, who immediately accepted.
Pavelka then did what any self-respecting Bachelor-ite does these days -- agree to be a contestant on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, which returns on March 22nd with its 10th edition.
The latest batch of celebrity hoofers was announced during The Bachelor, with former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and Bachelor/Dancing alum Melissa Rycroft joining host Tom Bergeron for the festivities.
Rycroft, famously jilted on an earlier installment of The Bachelor, finished third on last spring's eighth Dancing. She then was named a correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America.
Rycroft's appearance with Bergeron fueled speculation that she'll be replacing Samantha Harris as the show's co-host. Harris announced she's leaving the show to devote more time to her co-hosting duties on The Insider, a syndicated rag mag that makes even Entertainment Tonight seem like the Encyclopedia Brittanica. ABC hasn't officially anointed Rycroft yet.
Back briefly to The Bachelor, where Pavelka handed Girardi the show's final rose while stationed high atop Jade Mountain in picture-perfect St. Lucia.
He earlier lowered the bloom on a seeming Tess Trueheart named Tenley Molzahn. His parents and siblings unanimously had sided with Molzahn and found Girardi to be snippy and vacuous. But Pavelka in the end settled on the woman whom US Weekly recently lionized in a "Vienna's Double Life" cover story that included dish on "Dirty dancing in bars for tips" and "A secret celebrity fling," etc. To be fair, Molzahn also got an after-thought mention in a "What Tenley's Hiding" blip at the bottom of the cover.
Pavelka told Bergeron Monday night that his fiancee is "on board 150 percent" with the idea of his teaming up with a sculpted, oft-scantily clad pro dance partner. Specifically, that'll be Chelsie Hightower, who will be returning for her third go-around on Dancing.
Here are the 10 other celebrities and their pro partners:
***Reality show star Kate Gosselin, recently of TLC's stormy Jon & Kate Plus 8 (with pro partner Tony Dovolani
***Recently crowned Olympic men's figure skating champion Evan Lysacek (with Anna Trebunskaya)
***Loquacious Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco (with Cheryl Burke)
***Aging, oft-married sexpot Pamela Anderson (with Damian Whitewood)
***Former Beverly Hills, 90210 bad girl Shannen Doherty (with Mark Ballas)
***Ex-moon lander Buzz Aldrin (with Ashly Costa)
***Scandal-prone ESPN host Erin Andrews (with Maksim Chmerkovskiy)
***Comedian/actor/host Niecy Nash (with Louis Van Amstel)
***Soap star Aiden Turner (with Edyta Sliwinska)
*** Former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger (with Derek Hough)