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Model Mouth: Looking at the Six Finalists Left on "Top Model"

I've completely fallen under the spell of this season's Top Model . Sure, Miss Jay irritates me more than ever (good god, the ruffles) and I'm never sure why Natasha is the one to read out the Tyra Mail clues, but, thanks to the girls of ANTM ,Wednesdays have become more than just the home of my beloved Lost . It's now down to the final six contestants. I've got my favorites, as I am sure you do too, along with those that I can't really figure out how they got onto the show, nor how anyone thinks that they could possibly win this thing. (Ahem, Jael.) A brief aside: what the hell was Tyra wearing last week? While the editors wisely kept us guessing just what travesty the Bankable one decided to throw on this week (I couldn't help but notice that every shot of her was a long shot, surrounded by close-ups of the other judges, the girls, and, hell, the floor rather than a tight shot of her), I was blown away by the sheer ugliness of whatever it was that she ha

Second Gear: Another Look at FOX's "Drive"

Sometimes I am a glutton for punishment, especially when it comes to a television show that I really do want to like but, for whatever reason, just doesn't meet my expectations. I know I shouldn't keep watching, but I keep giving the program in question one more chance to lure me in and win me over. Such is the current battle I'm engaged in with FOX's new drama Drive . More than anything, I really did want to like this freshman series, even after announcements that FOX would be splitting the season into two puzzle pieces. After all, it has an amazing cast, populated by some of my favorite actors: Nathan Fillion ( Firefly ), Amy Acker ( Angel ), Melanie Lynskey ( Heavenly Creatures ), etc. And it was co-created by Tim Minear, a longtime Joss Whedon collaborator who has brought us some memorable--if short-lived--series such as Firefly and Wonderfalls . Right? Right? After seeing various versions of the pilot over the past few months (the original with Ivan Sergei in t

Casting Couch: Hupp In, Parker Out at FOX

Eleventh hour pilot recastings aren't so rare (see the cases of Action News --a.k.a. Back to You --or Company Man for details), but it's rather sad when the reason behind recasting has nothing to do with your performance. Jana Marie Hupp ( Ed) has been cast in FOX's currently untitled Victor Fresco comedy pilot (formerly known as Deeply Irresponsible ), about a 10-year-old overachiever who can't cope with life in his stressed-out, dog-eat-dog family but whose life is turned around when his eccentric, womanizing grandfather (Tom Conti) comes to live with them. Hupp will play the boy's mother, Susan, who repeatedly finds herself crying in her sleep. She replaces Andrea Parker ( Less Than Perfect , The Pretender ) who was originally cast in the role (the first casting lock for the pilot, in fact) but who has had to drop out of the project, due to laryngitis. Ouch. Personally, I love Victor Fresco ( Andy Richter Controls the Universe ) and thought that this was a

Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: "The Amazing Race" Heads to Hong Kong

Why is it that Mirna consistently manages to get under my skin week after week? I wish I could channel some Zen-like calm and push her out of my thoughts but, no matter what I try, I can't get her shrill, irritating voice out of my mind. For those of you with an aversion to Mirna (like yours truly), this week's episode of The Amazing Race offered no respite from her particular brand of hypocrisy and oddness. I'm still not sure why Dustin and Kandice (a.k.a. the "Yield Queens," according to Mirna) deciding to use the Yield last week against competitors Eric and Danielle wasn't playing the game morally, but the manipulative Mirna trying to get them bumped off a flight (or get themselves bumped up the waitlist) wasn't low-handed. Or that Danny and Oswald had the temerity to use the Fast Forward rather than just "play the game." Why do the rules only apply to the people Mirna doesn't like? I've said it before and I'll say it again: the

Showtime Renews "Tudors," "American Life," Offers Look at "State of the Union"

Proving that it's never too early to think about next year, Showtime has given early renewals to two freshman series and ordered production on a third. The pay cabler announced that it has ordered second seasons of its tights-and-fights costume drama The Tudors , starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and the Ira Glass documentary series This American Life . Season Two of The Tudors will bow in 2008, with 10 episodes all written again by series creator Michael Hirst. Production on the second season, which will recount the marriage of Henry VIII to the doomed Anne Boleyn and the birth of their daughter (and future British monarch) Elizabeth, begins in May in Dublin. Six episodes of the brilliant documentary series, This American Life , featuring Ira Glass and his crew touring the nation in spite of everyday stories from everyday folk, have been scheduled for next year as well. Meanwhile, Showtime has ordered a new series from British comedy doyenne Tracy Ullman. The order for State of

Off the Leash: "The Office" and "30 Rock" are the Perfect Antidote to a Day's Work

My name is Jace and I am addicted to NBC's Thursday night lineup. Sure, there are some hiccups here and there ( My Name is Earl is in dire need of help and Andy Barker P.I. was no replacement for the genius that is 30 Rock ), but watching that "Comedy Done Right" lineup each week is one of the highlights of my viewing week. Last night's installment was no exception with a back-to-the-basics episode of The Office and yet another hilarious episode of zany 30 Rock . On The Office ("Safety Training"), we saw a storyline that got the series back to its original leitmotif: the struggle of white collar office workers. Here, that initial conceit was juxtaposed with that of the plight of the blue collar warehouse workers, following an accident involving Darryl, a ladder, and a prank-loving Michael that resulted in Darryl being on crutches. The following safety training (performed first by Darryl in front of the baler in the warehouse and then by a monotone Toby

ABC Drops "In Case of Emergency" for Repeats of "Lost"

These days, to say the networks are getting as trigger-happy as a character on Lost is a bit of an understatement. With only one episode left to air, In Case of Emergency has been pulled off of the schedule, effective immediately. The news comes as a bit of surprise as the freshman series, which starred David Arquette, Jonathan Silverman, Greg Germann, Kelly Hu, and Lori Loughlin, aired its penultimate episode last night. In terms of ratings, it tied for last place in the hour with a repeat episode of The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Doll . (Ouch.) To fill the void left by the now-departed In Case of Emergency , ABC will fill its timeslot next week with a repeat of last night's episode of Lost (following a second window strategy employed earlier this season). Encores of Lost will fill the timeslot for the remainder of the season. More Lost ? Bring it on, ABC.