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TV Reviews: MTV follows newlywed pop stars; Smoking Gun tries out

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Because nothing's better for a relationship than to have cameras follow you around during the first year of marriage, pop stars Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey (of 98 Degrees) invited MTV to tape their everyday lives for "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica."

Pop stars Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson's first year of married life will unfold on MTV's "Newlyweds." (Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press)
Click photo for larger image.

"Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica"

WHEN: 10:30 tonight on MTV.
STARRING: Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson.

Bonus for MTV: The pair can contribute songs to the show's soundtrack!

Clearly, the music television channel is hoping to replicate the one-time success of "The Osbournes," and "Newlyweds" offers more of the same train wreck TV. If you hate these "reality" shows, this one won't win you over; if you're an addict, prepare to get another fix.

In the premiere episode, airing at 10:30 tonight, Nick comes off as the sane one, but Jessica seems like a spoiled princess with no self-discipline.

"Do you even know if there's, like, maids for celebrities?" she asks a friend.

It seems Jessica is incredibly lazy, with no power to clean up after herself. Even laundry is a daunting task.

"It's fun putting it all in, but then afterwards you have to fold it," she complains.

Nick is a neat freak who complains about his wife's inability to move used clothing from the floor to the clothes hamper. If the marriage ends in divorce, a tape of this episode might come in handy for his lawyer.

By the end of the premiere, Jessica has taken baby steps forward: "I'm working on hanging up my towels after I take a shower."

'Smoking Gun TV'

Mo Rocca
Will host "Smoking Gun TV."

Click photo for larger image.

"Smoking Gun TV"

WHEN: 8 p.m. tomorrow on Court TV.
HOST: Mo Rocca.

Usually investigative Web site makes network executives nervous. Smoking Gun uncovers the scandalous backgrounds of reality show stars, reveals mug shots of celebrities under arrest and posts contracts that show just how demanding some divas can be (green M&Ms only backstage!).

Now Smoking Gun is getting into bed with TV programmers for its first special on Court TV. Court documents make for fun, prurient reading, but they don't lend themselves naturally to TV.

So it's no surprise that "Smoking Gun TV," hosted by Mo Rocca of "The Daily Show" and airing at 8 p.m. tomorrow, is a mixed bag. It puts its worst foot forward -- Rocca recounting the contents of legal papers from celebrity divorces -- but quickly improves.

In one segment, Rocca attempts to remake himself in the likeness of Nick Nolte from an arrest mug shot. In another, the show re-creates the crime of a teenage California girl who stole a steak from a grill, "a crime neither rare nor well done," Rocca says.

The show brings to mind "TV Nation" by way of a late-night comedy show, especially when Rocca reads letters of complaint about Mount Rushmore sent to a congressman. It's dubbed "Let Freedom Whine."

The "Smoking Gun" transition to TV begins tenuously, but the further it dares to stray from the Web site's celebrity crime bread and butter, the funnier it gets.

Rob Owen can be reached at or 412-263-2582. Post questions or comments to under TV Forum.

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