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TV Notes: X- rated reality show to offer porn contract

Monday, November 10, 2003

A new reality TV show asks the question: "Can YOU Be a Pornstar?"

Mary Carey, the porn actress who ran for California governor in the recent recall election, is among the hosts, joining fellow adult-film stars Tabitha Stevens and Ginger Lynn.

Silhouette Productions announced that it will shoot seven one-hour shows, with plans to start broadcasting on iN DEMAND Networks and other pay-per-view channels on Jan. 8.

A group of 28 women will compete for a one-year contract with a major adult video distributor and a cash prize of $100,000.

"It's going to be an R-rated version for pay-per-view," said Harry Feingold, chief executive officer of Silhouette Productions.

"It's like 'Paradise Hotel,' when they go behind the scenes," he said, referring to the Fox network reality series about young people trying to seduce each other. "Everybody wants to know what's going on. Well, here you see it."

In each episode, four women arrive at a house in Los Angeles for photo shoots, interviews and "surprises," according to Silhouette. Viewers will help pick eight finalists for a 90-minute finale.

The statement promised "uninhibited nudity and sizzling sexuality," while the show's official Web site said it would feature "Real people having real sex!"

"Pay-per-view gives us the freedom to take reality television where it has never gone before," Feingold said. "The last stigma today for audiences isn't renting adult films, it's admitting it, and this series offers viewers a fun, behind-the-scenes look at the star-making process in a multibillion-dollar industry."

He added that the show is designed "not just for men, but for wives and girlfriends who enjoy both reality TV and adult entertainment."

(Anthony Breznican, Associated Press)

CBS fills 'Reagans' slots

Faced with a four-hour hole in its key November sweeps schedule after yanking "The Reagans," CBS said it is plugging in series reruns.

The miniseries about former President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, was set to air Sunday and Nov. 18 but was pulled amid a barrage of conservative criticism that it distorted his character and achievements.

On Sunday, CBS will repeat a two-part episode of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" from 9 to 11 p.m. On Nov. 18, reruns of "CSI: Miami" and "Without a Trace" will air.

Sweeps periods, used to set advertising rates, are highly competitive and tend to feature specials or first-run series episodes, often with eye-catching guest stars.

One of the programs the CBS reruns will face is the American Music Awards on ABC on Sunday.

"The Reagans" was moved to pay cable channel Showtime, a corporate cousin of Viacom-owned CBS with about a fifth of CBS's audience. An air date has yet to be announced.

Critics of the film, who based their concerns on news reports about the script and a few minutes of film sent out by CBS, praised the network's decision. They had blasted the film's fairness and timing, airing as Reagan, 92, struggles with Alzheimer's disease.

Others, questioning attacks on a film that had yet to be seen publicly, said it appeared CBS had capitulated to political pressure and set a dangerous precedent.

Some argued it was a business decision, noting that Viacom is awaiting federal action on rules to restrict ownership of local TV stations. Viacom needs help from Republicans in the White House and Congress who might not like seeing Reagan portrayed negatively, they said.

(Lynn Elber, Associated Press)

CBS chief defends decision

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves says he pulled the miniseries "The Reagans" from the network's lineup this week because "it wasn't the movie I promised the public."

Speaking to a group of students and faculty at Yale University, Moonves made his first public comments about yanking the miniseries, which caused a storm of protest about the way former President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, would be portrayed.

"We had promised the public that we would do a fair version of the Reagans' life," Moonves told his audience, according to the New Haven (Conn.) Register. "We would show the warts, but we would show the good stuff, too. Upon seeing the finished product, I felt the movie was quite biased against the Reagans."

Moonves echoed a statement the network made in announcing it was dumping the series, saying the fact that CBS is a broadcast network that uses public airwaves played a role in the decision.

"As a broadcast network, we feel it's a public trust," he said. "We have a news division. We do have to be fair in what we show, and a pay-cable network can be a little bit more biased in what they show. It can be an opinion piece. We can't do that."

Moonves acknowledged being in a tough spot in making the call.

"Obviously there was a lot of pressure from the right before they had even seen the movie -- that it was 'the lefties in Hollywood' that were doing the slam on Reagan," he said. "And after we made the decision, the creative community is saying we buckled under to the right. So it was one of those decisions where, no matter which way we turned, it was the wrong decision."


Hughley to host 'Liar'

Reveille, the production company that brought "Coupling" to America, is hoping for better luck with its next import.

The Universal-based company has teamed with FremantleMedia ("American Idol," "Cupid") on a U.S. version of the British game show "Liar." It's in line for a mid-season debut on CBS, with comedian D.L. Hughley hosting.

"Liar," which debuted on the BBC last year, is a variation of the old game show "To Tell the Truth." Six people on stage claim to have shared a similar experience, but only one of them is telling the truth. The audience will get the chance to question the contestants and pick the person they think is telling the truth.

If the audience guesses right, it splits a cash prize. If one of the liars fools them, that person goes home with the money. Hughley will be on hand to keep things moving and make fun of everyone involved.


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