MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

Season 21's first eliminee is a Lt. Col. Army nurse-turned-goat rancher from Montana

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 16, 2010 12:32PM
Photo Courtesy CBSOn yesterday's "Survivor: Nicaragua" season premiere, unsuspecting sweetie Wendy Jo DeSmidt-Kohlhoff -- who admits she's a bit of a chatterbox -- was the first to get voted of the Island by the over-40 set.

Ironically, goat rancher Wendy thinks it might have been her play-it-close-to-the-vest strategy that bit her in the ass. "I didn't want to toot my own horn," says the nurse and Army vet, a former Lieutenant Colonel. "I thought that might make me seem like too much of a threat."

Instead, she came off as overly innocuous -- and perhaps ineffectual. So when former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson strategically offered up her name as one of the two weakest players (the other being himself -- very smart, that Coach), the rest of the group bit. And Wendy Jo had to go.

We caught up with her to talk strategy, Jimmy Johnson calling her weak and who she'd like to see win.

On Her Military Past: "I actually didn't tell people because I thought it would make me seem like more of a threat. But then I started learning that everyone was talking about themselves and asking people things. And I thought, well I can't bring it up now. It's too late. And they'd be like why is she telling us now. It wasn't going to behoove me at Tribal. It was way too late."

On Her Tribal Council Speech: "Tyron reacted negatively to it. I don't know why. That was just something to say. People had already made up their minds. I don't know why he thought what I said was so terrible. Except for the age thing. I shouldn't have used that as an example. Everyone was talking about it. But nobody asked me. Nobody asked me anything. And I didn't want to to toot my own horn. I was trying to play it close to the vest -- because if you tell too much now, it could hurt you later. It's about making it through the first few challenges. But I think I should have talked more, shared more about myself and told them about my background. They wouldn't have thought of me as a weaker person. It probably would have helped if I had revealed some of my background up front."

On Jimmy Johnson Calling Her Weak: "I don't know why they thought I was weak. I was doing a lot of work carrying bamboo and all that stuff. I did a lot weaving, but that was because other people weren't doing it. It's a tedious job, but it needed to be done. I should have tooted my own horn more. But when you're trying to figure out who to vote out first and you don't know anything really about anyone, that's the hardest vote. You have to go by what little you think you know, which may or may not be true. I think it was an easy thing for Jimmy to say and the rest of them to go with. I think he was very smart in naming himself along with me. Was he talking physical strength? Did he think Eve was stronger than me? Or did she just say more about herself? I'm tall. I can lift higher. I can't even imagine why he would think I was weaker than Eve."

On Her "Survivor" Experience: "I didn't get what I wanted. I didn't get to feel hungry, I didn't get to show what I could do in the individual challenges. I knew I could have really done well on those. I really wanted a chance to prove what I could do. I'm pretty disappointed in how it all turned out. But it was amazing, the little time I did get to be there. I liked being on the older tribe. I felt like it put us on a level playing field. And it was fun meeting everyone. I'd like to see Jane take the title this year. But I don't know who actually will. I have no idea. And I think it's really too soon to tell."
 

The season's first eliminee is not happy to be a 'Top Model' guinea pig

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 16, 2010 11:52AM
A 19-year-old from Queens with plenty of attitude, Anamaria Mirdita certainly didn't go into cycle 15 expecting to be the first girl cut. In fact, she expected to go home with the title.

Instead, she was sent packing by Tyra Banks and the other judges -- who included designer Diane von Furstenberg as a guest -- for being shockingly thin. In fact, Tyra told the season's first eliminee that "it might not hurt to eat some avocado and a little bit of bread with some butter on it so that you can book jobs and project an image that doesn't feel like you're hurting your body, do you understand?" Ouch.

But the wannabe poser insists she's not suffering from an eating disorder. "I'm not saying that I wasn't too thin," she says. "But they really blew everything out of proportion. It was a made for TV moment.

We caught up with her talk about dieting, her 'Top Model' competition, and whether she'd ever do reality TV again.

Were you surprised to be the first one to go home? You seemed like you went on with a lot of confidence.

Yeah, I definitely seemed a bit over-confident on the show. I was very surprised because I was picked first during casting week and then I'm the first to go during the actual show. I feel like I had a lot more potential, to tell the truth, than a lot of the girls there. So I wasn't really expecting it. But you can never really tell who's going to win and who's going to go home.

Were you surprised by their reaction to your weight at that point? Wouldn't they have noticed that earlier?

The truth is, I had gotten thinner while I was there. I believe in a healthy lifestyle and a healthy balance -- internally and externally. But the situation wasn't under my control, we were working all ours and the diet wasn't under my control. You can't just gorge on anything. I had to find that middle ground. But I guess the few extra pounds I lost while I was there were the crucial ones, the ones that made the difference.

Having seen yourself on TV, do feel like you were too thin at that point, or do you stand by your original assessment?

I did look extremely thin -- but they're taking it too far. I was posing and they're pulling at your body and stretching it this way or that. They're shooting me from behind, making it seem like a bigger deal than it is. I mean, even Tyra pointed out that if I hadn't posed in a certain way, it wouldn't look as bad as it did. It was not that bad. It was just the way that I was moving and the way that they shot it.

A lot of it was in the editing?

Exactly. Exactly. I mean don't get me wrong, I was thin. But it's just that they made it seem a lot worse than it was.

Do you think that you were cast to make that point -- that with the modeling industry, sometimes the body issues do go too far?

I do feel like a little guinea pig. I mean, there was a special on the news right after the show that was about that very subject. It was all about anorexia. I went to the doctor right before I went on the show and I am a healthy girl. I just feel used, you know? They're basically using me to portray an image that I was not holding, one that I do not support. It was very disappointing.

Would you do "Top Model" again?

I would never go on that show again. It's reality TV, that's what it comes down to. Hopefully it didn't screw up my chances of making it in the fashion business. Because the truth is I'm a model, I'm not an actress. I wasn't there to bullshit, I wasn't trying to spin of some TV career from this. I was trying to pursue my career as a model. And now I have all this to deal with. But I'm definitely still going to be modeling.

Will you be watching this season, then?

Probably not. I have better things to do.
 

Will older and wiser rule over youth and beauty on this season's 'Survivor'?

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 15, 2010 12:32PM
'Survivor: Nicaragua' cast, photo courtesy CBSIn its 21st season, with a big move to Wednesday nights, "Survivor" is changing things up big time. The all-new cast is heading to Nicaragua -- and this time, they're going old school. Or maybe it's youth rules. I guess we'll see.

Given the reality classic's stellar all-star "Heroes Vs. Villains" line-up for their 20th anniversary last season, this fall the show's got to come out fighting with a particularly strong -- and fresh concept. So it's all about the numbers on "Survivor: Nicaragua." Meaning the older, more seasoned folks versus the young, strong and, in theory, less, uh, wise. But there's no middle ground here -- we're talking 40 and up on one side, and 30 and under on the other.

The oldest contestant will be 67-year-old sports broadcaster Jimmy Johnson from Islamorada, Fl., who's surely got strategy on his side, considering he coached the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl -- twice. His plan is play the follower and seem like "the safest alliance they can have," he says on the "Survivor" site. Because "the guys in charge here get voted out early. So it's going to be important for me to fight my instincts and stay... somewhat under the radar."

Meanwhile, the baby of the bunch will be barely-legal Kelly Shinn, a 20-year-old nursing student at the University of Hawaii. The former homecoming queen may have her work cut out for her, considering her pet peeve is dirty fingernails. "If they view me as a Barbie type girl, let them," says Shinn, who isn't opposed to using flirting as a strategy. "I'll prove them wrong. I can be just as tough as the guys here. There's more to me than just the looks."

Yup, this one's sure to be down-and-dirty. Age or beauty -- who's going to have the advantage on "Survivor" this season?

Stay tuned here for chats with the cast as they're voted off! 

Creator Liz Tigelaar spills on what can be expected from tonight's season premiere

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 14, 2010 12:37PM
Photo Courtesy CW TVPulling though with a second season by the skin of its teeth, the CW's charmer, "Life Unexpected"
gets bold and ballsy this season -- complete with a student-teacher liaison. And creator-producer is excited for go all out. But scared, too. "I'm terrified," says Tigelaar. "I'm nervous. You feel kind of naked and exposed. It's like, 'I just needed to lose another five pounds first.' I'm not ready."

She knows her show fills a unique niche on the network. "At upfronts, when the casts came out, it was so interesting to watch. It's all these slick, beautiful people in leather pants and backless dresses. And then our cast walks out, and they're beautiful, too, but in a totally different way. And In the grand scheme of CW, they just look like normal people. I'm like, 'I love them!' I'm glad they're mine."

That said, "I did feel huge pressure to broaden out the show," says Tigelaar. "To expand the premise, to expand the cast, to expand the audience -- but obviously the budget doesn't expand. But I definitely feel like we CWed it up as much as we can."

One case in point: Tigelaar cast "Melrose Place" hottie Shaun Sipos as young Lux's (Britt Robertson) teacher-turned-possible love interest. "When we decided to cast him, I had to be very specific so that they kept him down-to-Earth," says Tigelaar. "I was like, 'Don't 'Melrose' his hair! He's supposed to be from the Midwest.'"

Forbidden hook-ups aside, don't look for salacious scandal here -- this isn't "Gossip Girl" or, for that matter, "Pretty Little Liars." "I like to take it back to my 'Dawson''s roots," says Tigelaar, eschewing the "Liars" comparisons. "A little Pacey and Mrs. Jacobs thing. I think it's different in that it's not a story about whether Lux is hooking up with her teacher or not. It's more about boundaries for her. Lux is a girl who has never had boundaries set in her life and she's always felt above the rules. What do you do if you feel something but then you're suddenly bound by these rules. What do you do when that is the person that you connect to, who you can relate to and that is the person who can really help you in the situation you're in? Lux is definitely struggling, and he's a person who can really be there for her. It's about growth for Lux. Why does Lux chose people like this, the unattainable, the unapproachable. It's the psychology of it, less so than the salaciousness of it."

Besides the student-teacher tension, expect a lot of romantic entanglements for Baze (Kristoffer Polaha) now that Cate (Shiri Appleby) is married. "I think everyone is a potential hook-up for Baze," says Tigelaar, laughing. "Especially anyone with a connection to Cate, because essentially he wants to be with Cate. He's trying to move on. We're introducing Emma Caulfield's character and bringing on Arielle Kebbel, who plays this 'Eat Pray Love'-ey bartender. He's going to have his hands full. But he and Cate are still connected -- they're still trying to be a family to Lux."

And it's hardly smooth sailing for Cate (Shiri Appleby) and her new husband Ryan (Kerr Smith). "Cate and Ryan always thought Baze was the biggest obstacle in their marriage. And when Baze tries to force himself to move on, it reveals that they've got a lot of other problems besides Baze," says Tigelaar. "A lot of non-Baze-related problems. So they've got to deal with all of that -- the work thing, Cate's commitment issues, just the ups and downs of life."  

Despite the growing up and out the show will do this season, Tigelaar promises it will still be the intimate, homey world we've come to expect from "Life Unexpected." "We're never going to be 'Vampire Diaries," she says of the show's sleeper success. "We're not sexy, we're not salacious, we don't have gimmicks or huge plot twists. We can't bring anyone back from the dead or turn them into werewolves."

Catch the "Life Unexpected" second season premiere tonight at 9 p.m. on the CW.
 

The CW reboot comes into its own with a racy third season

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 13, 2010 10:06AM
90210. Photo Courtesy the CW.They said it wouldn't last. After all, very few reboots of '90s series do. Take its heyday counterpart (and spin-off) "Melrose Place." That went out with a whimper after one short-lived season.

Early on, the prognosis was not bright, since the show's producers relied heavily on stunt-casting former "Beverly Hills, 90210" stars, including Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling, in order to draw in that show's former fanbase.

But last season, they put the focus squarely on the teens -- and upped the ante with several juicy storylines, including teens exploring a gay relationship, a hit-and-run drama, a pregnancy scare and dealing with a parent's death. It seemed to work, as the show saw a younger audience tuning in -- and managed to keep their interest.

So here we are, going on season three of the new "90210" as the kids enter their senior year at West Beverly -- and working off of the cliffhanger finale last season, we can expect more drama than ever.

Need a refresher?

Well, for starters, we witnessed AnnaLynne McCord's Naomi getting raped by a teacher, Blaze supervisor Mr. Cannon (Hal Oszan) -- but warned that nobody would believe her because she "cried wolf" in the past. Ouch. That's sure to leave a mark. But in the meantime, in the season opener, Naomi also gets in a bit of a tiff with two members of the Kardashian clan, Khloe and Kim.

There's also going to be fallout for Annie (Shenae Grimes) and Dixon (Tristan Wilds) as their mom, played by Lori Loughlin, tries to hold the family together since their dad left.

We'll also see one major character -- reportedly Trevor Donovan's Teddy Montgomery -- come out (for real, unlike last season's dalliance) and hook up with hottie love interest Kyle Riabko.

This season, we can also expect a legal battle between Naomi and her sister, English teacher Ryan Matthew's (Ryan Eggold) dealing with surprise parenthood, and there's a sudden death -- perhaps in the season premiere tonight (at 8 p.m. on the CW), since an earthquake that literally rocks their world.

Lots of action, and that's just for starters. It will be interesting to see how the season plays out with the crutch of the major parental storylines gone this season. Will you be tuning in?
 

Sookie's off to fairie-land while Bill fights to the death with Sophie-Ann

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 13, 2010 9:12AM
Photo Courtesy HBOSo, the capper on a season where where each episode actually managed to get weirder than the last? Not so weird. Sure, it left us feeling a bit, uh, damaged, but it could have been far worse.

We're left with a few big cliffhangers, but nothing that will really kill us in waiting till next year. Here's a quick fix on what you need to know in the meantime.

-Russell Edgington is not dead. Well, I mean, he is dead. But he hasn't met the final death. Instead, Bill Compton and Eric Northman buried the very vamp Edgington alive -- I mean, undead -- in a bed of concrete, with plans not to release him for some 100 or so years. So he really has some time to ponder what he's done. But I'll bet he's got the means to make it out sometime next season.

-The truce we saw forming between Eric and Bill. Well, all bets are off, baby. I mean, first there's that whole burying Eric alive in concrete, too, thing. But Eric managed to show up at Sookie's just in time to squelch any reunion possibilities between Bill and his lady love. And then he spilled Bill's big secret, that he was really always on a mission to procure Sookie and her faerie powers for Sophie-Ann, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana. So Sookie, good and done with vampires (at least at the moment), rescinded her invitation to all vampires who'd like to enter her humble abode.

-Godrich made a comeback, in the form of Eric's conscience. But it looks like Eric's managed to banish that pesky old thing once and for all. Does this mean we'll see an even more badass bloodsucker in Eric next season? I'd bet on it. Although he does truly seem to have a thing for Sookie.

-Jason stepped up to save the town after his were-panther girlfriend sacrificed herself to her weird were-panther brother/husband. He's finally doing what he thinks is the right thing to do, even if that pisses off our favorite Bon Temps detective, bumbling Andy Bellefleur.

-Tired, Tara gave herself a haircut, then -- after saying good-bye to her sister Sookie, left town with big plans to start a new life. Yeah, we'll see how well that works out for her. We all know how well it worked out for Sam Merlotte.

-Speaking of Sam, did he really shoot his kid brother Tommy? Sure, he's angry about the whole money situation, but me thinks we can expect a lot more from this story next season.

-And the witches, they are a comin'. In fact, in the form of Kevin Alejandro's Jesus, Lafayette's new boy toy, it seems they're already here. And poor Lafayette, he thought he had his hands full with vampires.

-Alcide is sure to be back next season, given how excited Sookie was to see her old werewolf body guard -- and how disappointed she seemed to be when she learned he was actually there, once again, to do Eric's bidding. Anyway, feeling lost and alone, she went to go see Gram in the cemetery. There, she was welcomed with open arms by the light-filled faerie people.

What does this mean for next season? Season four promises to be chock-filled with every supernatural creature imaginable. Perhaps it's time to chop our locks -- and all ties -- and get on outta Bon Temps, like Tara.

What do you think? Will "True Blood" jump the shark? Has it managed to already?
 

'Vampire Diaries' Kicks of the season with a big, bold bite

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 10, 2010 12:47PM
Photo Courtesy the CWFor 'Vampire Diaires' fans who waited with bated breath all summer for the new season to begin, yesterday's premiere surely satisfied the blood lust.

The episode set up a season that's sure to be filled with action -- what with the return of badass bloodsucker Katherine (a dual role for Nina Dobrev, who plays protagonist Elena), Damon's twisted take on his relationship with Elena (and with his brother, Stefan, for that matter), witchy Bonnie's increasing power and, perhaps most importantly, the promise of fang-bearing werewolves a plenty. In fact, yesterday's premiere marked the debut of Lockhart family scion Mason (Taylor Kinney), who's taking the younger Lockhart, Michael Trevino's Tyler, under his, uh, paw.

Then there's the fact that ditzy blonde Caroline Forbes is about to be let loose on the town as a newbie bloodsucker -- and she'll no doubt have a blast ravishing her unsuspecting prey next week. That is, unless Damon (Ian Somerhalder) makes good on his threat, revealed in the previews last night, to take her out. But what fun would that be?

In any case, the season premiere lived up to the hype -- and leaves the lusty "Diaries" set to secure the coveted "True Blood" audience in its steed once it finales on Sunday. If you haven't tuned in yet, it's worth getting in on the show now, before things really kick into high gear.
 

While proudcers deliberate Michael Scott's departure, here's what to expect from season seven

By Sona Charaipotra Sep 10, 2010 12:27PM
Photo Courtesy NBCThere's still no word on who will actually be replacing Steve Carell's Michael Scott on "The Office" when his contract is up next year. And if things go according to plan, we won't really know the score till the end of the season.

After all, they're big shoes to fill. "You’re looking for someone who can start stories," a source told the Hollywood Reporter. "Someone whose judgment isn’t necessarily one where when an issue comes up and a boss with a correct judgment would quickly settle it and then you have no episode. You’re also looking for somebody who considers the rest of the office his family."

Which is why, according to the Hollywood Reporter, we can expect lots of meaty turns from the rest of the cast this season as they "try out" for the gig in the corner office at Dunder-Mifflin. One character will be highlighted in each episode. 

Ed Helm's Andy, for example, will take the spotlight when he stars in a Scranton playhouse production of "Sweeny Todd." And Craig Robinson's Darryl takes the reigns when he goes over Michael Scott's head and takes a matter straight to corporate. Other episodes will center on Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski), Rainn Wilson's Dwight, and Mindy Kaling's Kelly Kapoor.

There will also be guests parading in to campaign for the coveted spot. Expect "Office" visitors Kathy Bates, Melora Hardin and Amy Ryan, along with newbies like Timothy Olyphant. But as for that rumor involving Harvey Keitel, "That got out of control," a source told the Hollywood Reporter. "It was idea on the table. It could be a fun arc, but it’s not going to be a long-term option."

In any case, Carell's departure could actually bring a fresh take to the show, which is entering its eighth season. "There’s a cool energy around set that we haven’t seen since season two," a source said, "like anything is possible."