Sunday, October 16, 2011

Couch Potato Cop: Goodbye, Angels

Couch Potato Cop: Goodbye, Angels: Deconstructing the early cancellation of ABC's "Charlie's Angels" One of the utter disasters of Fall Season 2011 was the quality and, subs...

Goodbye, Angels

Deconstructing the early cancellation of ABC's "Charlie's Angels"

One of the utter disasters of Fall Season 2011 was the quality and, subsequently, the ratings of ABC's "Charlie's Angels".

More than merely disappointing, the new Angels were borderline unwatchable. Plodding and ponderous --and as sexy as leftover meat loaf -- "Charlie's Angels" was the second worst watch of the fall season, rating only slightly better than NBC's cancelled "The Playboy Club".

Never was watching three attractive women such a chore.

While the show was never promoted heavily by ABC, "Angels" benefitted from built-in brand recognition and most viewers were at least aware of the show's existence. Employing a tried-and-true formula, "Charlie's Angels" seemed like a decent bet coming into the season.

Where did they go wrong? A better question might be "what went right?"

Producers --Drew Barrymore was one--made many missteps, starting with absolutely disastrous casting. The new Angels were a low-wattage trio, a pale comparison to the iconic team of Farrah, Jaclyn & Kate. Is anyone rushing out to buy a Minka Kelly poster ? Not so much.

Kelly, who's most famous for dating New York Yankee Derek Jeter for three years, was joined in the cast by unknowns Annie Ilonzeh and Rachael Taylor. There's nothing wrong with casting unknowns and discovering fresh faces but this trio came across like an "Angels Junior Varsity", as if they were the little sisters of an actual crime-fighting team. Producers eschewed old-school glamor & va-va-va-voom for "the girl next door"-types. The problem with that is we all have girls next door in real life and there's no compelling reason to watch them on television.

Producers never found the right tone for "Angels". It was sincere, somber and devoid of humor. It was about as much fun as sitting in your dentist's waiting room. "Angels" shared the exact same problems with the 2007 "Bionic Woman" reboot, which lasted about the same number of episodes before cancellation.

The three lead characters were not fleshed out and given their own identities. Viewers were expected to root for the Angels just because they were Angels, without knowing much else about them.

"Angels" never soared in the ratings, pitted against CBS' hit "The Big Bang Theory" & a combination of "X Factor" / MLB playoffs on FOX. But the competition wasn't the Angels' problem; it would have failed opposite a test of the emergency broadcast network.

"Angels" premiered to ratings that were in the ballpark of respectable. However, by episode 4 the show hit an almost historically low rating of 1.3 for the coveted 18 to 49 demographic, which is almost impossible for a Big 3 network in Prime Time.

That little-watched episode, titled "Angels in Chains", was a remake of a famous episode of the original series in 1976 in which the Angels investigate corruption in a women's prison. Neither nostalgia nor the prospect of prison cat fights attracted viewers or created any discernible buzz.

ABC tried to soften the blow of embarrassment by announcing the cancellation on a Friday evening when it would garner the least amount of attention.

An epic fail.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Couch Potato Cop: Season 12: "Dancing with the Stars": it's down to ...

Couch Potato Cop: Season 12: "Dancing with the Stars": it's down to ...: "Dancing with the Stars Season 12 Series Finale Hines Ward vs. Chelsea Kane vs. Kirstie Alley A flat-footed tie in judges scores between act..."

Season 12: "Dancing with the Stars": it's down to viewers' vote

Dancing with the Stars
Season 12 Series Finale
Hines Ward vs. Chelsea Kane vs. Kirstie Alley

A flat-footed tie in judges scores between actress Chelsea Kane and football star Hines Ward will leave it up to the viewers tonight to determine who wins the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy on the finale of "Dancing with the Stars". Kane and Ward were tied with 59 out of 60 judges' points.

"Cheers" alum Kirstie Alley did an impressive free-style dance, finishing in third place and would have to be considered a long-shot to win the competition.

All three will do one more competitive dance for judges scores, although the winner may already have been determined by last night's viewer vote.

Tonight's finale will cap off a season where there was never a clear-cut favorite, although Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Hines Ward always hovered at or near the top of the leader board.

Ward and partner Kym Johnnson shouldered on through a brutal rehearsal injury to Johnson's neck two weeks ago. That Johnson is out of the hospital, let alone dancing, is a miracle in itself.

On balance, Ward and Johnson have been the best team throughout the season, but the "Dancing with the Stars" point system doesn't reward consistency or body of work.

Actress Chelsea Kane might be peaking at the absolute right time. Kane and partner Mark Ballas seem to have all the momentum leading up to the finale.

We commend Kirstie Alley for an incredible season and finale, but we don't see her winning from the third-place position. No one has ever won the Mirror Ball Trophy after ranking 3rd in Judges score in the finale. Viewers votes count a lot, but they can't propel someone from 3rd to 1st.

So, that leaves us with Hines vs. Chelsea; the Super Bowl MVP vs. the Disney Kid.

Who will the viewers vote for ?

Tough call. On the surface, Ward has a bigger following and public profile, having been an MVP in a Super Bowl. And Pittsburgh Steeler fans are among the most loyal fans in sports. The problem, however, is that football fans in general don't watch "Dancing with the Stars" and certainly don't make up a large part of the voting blocks.

But then there's this theory put forth by Billy Bush of "Access Hollywood" : the dramatic scene of Hines rushing to the hospital to get an update on Kym Johnson's condition and his subsequent dance floor tears after they completed their next dance might have locked in "the sympathy factor".

"Women love 'man-tears'", Bush said. And women are the voting bus that drives reality shows like "Dancing with the Stars".

Will the teenage and 'tweenage voters who watch Kane on the Dinsey Channel rock the vote for Kane ? It's hard to say. But Kane's position closely mirrors that of Season 8 champ gymnast Shawn Johnson who maintained a very low profile during the season and snuck in at the last minute with perfect scores to take the championship. The common denominator is their demographic and that they both had the brilliant Mark Ballas as a partner.

So who will win ? In a razor-thin vote, I give the edge to Hines Ward. I think viewers will recognize that he was the most consistent beginning to end.

Aside from the crowning of a new champion, the most anticipated part of a "DwtS" finale is the returning of the season's competitors. Psycho Mike Catherwood, Wendy Williams, Petra Nemcova, Chris Jericho and Ralph Macchio will all be back to strut their stuff one last time.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Is "The Office" Still a Comedy ?

"The Office" -- Michael Scott says 'goodbye' to Scranton

Is "The Office" still a comedy ? That isn't merely a rhetorical question.

The long-awaited finale in which Michael Scott [Steve Carell] says goodbye to Scranton branch was big on poignancy but the comedy was almost non-existent. Scott's tenure as the loopy, clueless Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch, ends not with a bang but with a wimper -- that's what she said.

What is it about TV swan songs that leave us disappointed ? MASH, Seinfeld, Friends, The Sopranos... you name it. Viewers counted down to their finales each time and then wondered why they bothered.

Of course "The Office" is staying on the air; it's just the boss that is leaving. [The character moved to Boulder, CO to be with his fiancee Holly Flax.]

It's just a shame that ol' Michael got such a poor send-off, including by his own staff. Michael pulled a fast one by telling everyone the wrong date he was leaving. A sad sense of irony then that the character who would throw office parties for any lame reason imaginable didn't even have a fete to mark his own departure.

The expanded 50-minute episode was so tinged in sadness and pathos that first-time viewers might not have realized that this was a sitcom. The episode opened with Michael and Dwight Schrute [Rainn Wilson] on the roof of the office building with Michael explaining that promoting Dwight wasn't his call. The scene played out with no jokes-- just a somber, droning conversation.

Michael later meets with the Party Planning Committee to discuss the details of his farewell party, which is set for the next day. Pam Halpert [Jenna Fischer] finds it odd that Michael doesn't want any of the usual things that he firmly insisted on in the past.

We later find out that Michael won't be attending the party...he arranged to fly to Colorado at the end of the work day to start his new life with Holly. Michael's final day at Dunder Mifflin is spent personally saying goodbye to staff members who don't realize that he's leaving a day early.

He plays paint ball with Dwight; gives his beloved St.Paulie Girl beer sign to Ryan Howard [BJ Novak]; and gives his best clients to Andy Bernard [Matt Healms], who promptly loses the first account he calls.

New manager D'Angelo Vickers [Will Ferrill] takes Andy out on a sales call to save the lost account, to disastrous results. Unfortunately, this subplot didn't add much-needed comic relief.

The episode's best scene involved Michael with longtime Number Two Jim Halpert [John Krasinski], the show's steady voice of reason. Halpert figured out Michael was secretly leaving early and tells him that he was the best boss he ever had.

The final scene has Michael at Scranton Airport, removing his microphones for the nebulous office documentary that's been in the works for 6 years. He tells the cameraman "let me know if it ever airs." Pam gets by airport security and gives Michael a hug goodbye. There's a final "that's what she said"...and fade to black.

Sorely missing from the episode was Holly Flax [Amy Adams], who appeared only briefly via telephone [off-screen]. Those who were expecting another 'Office' wedding were disappointed.

It's too bad that Michael Scott, the television character, received such an underwhelming send-off. The clueless boss brought to life by Steve Carell will surely go down in the annals of TV history with other memorable characters like Fonzie, Mr. Spock, Archie Bunker and Benjamin "Hawkeye" Pierce. Come to think of it, those characters didn't get suitable final episode send-offs, either.

In reality, "The Office" jumped the shark two seasons ago. Since then, only a hand full of episodes have been consistently funny. But we'll always have Seasons 1 through 4 on DVD.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Couch Potato Cop: Charlie Sheen Bombs at Radio City; invites Chuck L...

Couch Potato Cop: Charlie Sheen Bombs at Radio City; invites Chuck L...: "Charlie SheenMy Violent Torpedo of Truth / Failure is Not an OptionRadio City Music Hall April 8, 2011 There were no 'violent torpedos' a..."

Charlie Sheen Bombs at Radio City; invites Chuck Lorre to a future show

Charlie Sheen
My Violent Torpedo of Truth / Failure is Not an Option
Radio City Music Hall April 8, 2011

There were no "violent torpedos" and what passed for "truth" were random and disjointed fragments of anecdotes when Charlie Sheen brought his schtick to Radio City. Surely, the venerable 79-year old show palace never hosted an event quite like this.
Things started off well: Sheen took the stage to a standing ovation.
The format of the show was a Q-and-A moderated by Live Nation Producer Joey Scoleri. But Scoleri couldn't keep Sheen focused and on-point.
A riff on hotel rooms that Sheen's stayed out lead to this typically rambling, unfinished anecdote:
"It was at this hotel in Indiannapolis that I pranked John Cusack. I filled the 8th floor with killer bees.... "
Sheen's train of thought was interrupted by a shout from an audience member.
"Hey Emilio ! Who let him in ? I thought he was banned."
We never did find out what happened to John Cusack or the swarm of bees. Or why Emilio would be banned.
There was another hotel story set in Costa Rica involving actress Charlotte Lewis and crazed monkeys outside the hotel, but that story never made it to the finish line either.
On the topic of hotels, what really happened at the Plaza in December ? Sheen blamed the incident on an adverse reaction to Ambien -- plus the fact that he was miffed that porn star Capri Anderson allegedly took his $170,000 watch. Sheen said in that moment he wasn't "winning": he had "tipped" Anderson $30,000 and "didn't even have sex with her."
"She owes me a watch and $30,000 of entertainment," surmised Charlie.
Midway through the show, the restless crowd started to turn on Sheen; delivering punch lines on a sitcom set is one thing; it takes a skilled raconteur to maintain the attention of an audience of 6,000. Telling coherent stories would help.
Sensing the uneasiness of the audience, Scoleri ushered Sheen off the stage for a brief intermission while a 10-minute spoof of Sheen's recent media antics was shown on the video screens.
The star came back to briefly discuss "Two and a Half Men", saying he would be happy to go back and that it was a "bitching job". He invited show Executive Producer and creator Chuck Lorre to join him on stage at a future show so that they "could work it all out."
Scoleri finished his questioning by asking Sheen what was on his "bucket list". Sheen said he wanted to host a sports talk show at a table set up in center field at Yankee Stadium -- while a game was in progress. He also said he's like to "high-five Carmelo Anthony, but I'd miss because I'm too short." He also mumbled something about surfing in Malibu.
And that was it. The Violent Torpedo of Truth ended not with a bang, but a wimper.
This Torpedo was a dud

Monday, March 21, 2011

Couch Potato Cop: Season Preview : Dancing with the Stars

Couch Potato Cop: Season Preview : Dancing with the Stars: "ABC's highly-rated paella of sequins, spray tans, flop sweat and dazzling D-list celebrities returns for a 12th season, and Couch Potato Cop..."

Season Preview : Dancing with the Stars

ABC's highly-rated paella of sequins, spray tans, flop sweat and dazzling D-list celebrities returns for a 12th season, and Couch Potato Cop can't wait.
Say what you will about "Dancing with the Stars", but the producers have hit on a winning formula: it almost doesn't matter who the celebrities are in a given season.
Still, there have been a few tweaks for the upcoming season. There will only be 11 couples (they've had as many as 16 in the past).
Gone, also, is the "designated senior citizen", a role filled in past seasons by Cloris Leachman, Buzz Aldrin and Florence Henderson.
Also notably absent: no dancers with political party ties. Last season, Britstol Palin was an OK dancer who hung around until the finals. The ridiculous controversies that ensued -- Is the voting rigged ?!!; Is the show too Republican ?!! -- polarized viewers and deflected attention from the actual dancing.
Couch Potato Cop notes that there is no clear-cut favorite, unlike last year when Jennifer Gray was lock from the get-go.
Having a wide-open tournament for the famed Mirror Ball Trophy -- the Stanley Cup of reality television -- should make for interesting viewing.
Here is a cheat sheet for the upcoming season. Note: the odds listed were posted by Las Vegas book-makers, not Couch Potato Cop. Please wager responsibly.

Kirstie Alley, 60, with pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy; odds 9 to 1.
ABC execs view Alley as their best "get" in this cast, and have given her the most promotion. I'm watching to see how long it will take before the sassy actress has a falling out with the occasionally high-strung Chmerkovskiy, known for not taking any guff from his celeb partners.
Alley has said that she's doing the show in part to lose an additional 60 pounds. She probably should have signed up for "The Biggest Loser" in stead. Cheers !

Ralph Macchio, 49, with pro Karina Smirnoff; odds 3.5 to 1
This answers the question, whatever happened to Ralph Macchio ?
But I have a better question: in 3 different "Karate Kid" movies, why did so many different people want to kick his ass ? After a while, a guy has to think: "maybe it's not them, it's me."
Despite that, we're rooting for "Daniel-san" to honor his Sensei Mr. Miyagi with a victory. And we're also rooting for Russian spitfire Smirnoff to get her first Mirror Ball Trophy.

Sugar Ray Leonard, 54, with pro Anna Trebunskaya; odds 6 to 1
Twenty-five years ago, this would have been a huge "get". Pound-for-pound Leonard was one of the best boxers of all time and an incredible athlete. It looks like Sugar Ray kept himself in tremendous shape so if I had to place a bet, here is where I'd put my money.

Mike Catherwood, 31, with pro Lacey Schwimmer; odds 14 to 1.
Each season, there's at least one name on the roster that makes you go "Who?" Matter of fact, I just Googled Catherwood and the screen said, "We don't know. Ask Yahoo." Apparently he's a DJ in LA with the nickname "Psycho Mike"; basically a very poor man's Adam Carola.

Petra Nemcova, 31, with pro Dmitry Chaplin, odds 14 to 1.
Nemcova is an officially-certified Supermodel who survived the tsunami of Phuket, Thailand.
In fact, Nemcova almost bailed on "Dancing with the Stars" at the last minute to assist the people of Japan. ABC producers convinced Nemcova that she could help those affected in Japan by staying on the show and raising awareness and charitable contributions.

Hines Ward, 35, with pro Kym Johnson, odds 4.5 to 1.
Ward is the second active football player to appear on the show, although he is contemplating retirement and might never step on the gridiron again. We have to like his chances, given the success past NFLers have had on the show. That, and he's paired with Australian dynamo Kym Johnson.

Chelsea Kane, 22, with pro Mark Ballas; odds 4.5 to 1.
File this one under "corporate synergy"; each season, a little-know actor from the Disney Channel is added to the cast. Well, ABC is not going to promote an actor under contract to rivals CBS or NBC. We don't know who Kane is, put pro partner Mark Ballas is a two-time champ.

Romeo Miller (formerly Lil' Romeo), 21 with pro Chelsea Hightower; odds 5.5 to 1.
Longtime "DwtS" viewers will remember Romeo's dad Master P from Season 2 -- as much as they'd like to forget. The story goes that Lil' Romeo was signed to do the show but got injured at the last minute and Master P reluctantly stepped in -- and went on to become one of the most horrendous dancers in "DwtS" history. Romeo says that he wants to redeem the family honor.

Chris Jericho, 3, with pro Cheryl Burke; odds 10 to 1.
Jericho is a WWE rassler, which actually puts him at a huge advantage: he's done years of live television and he's no stranger to spandex.

Wendy Williams, 46, with pro Tony Dovolani; odds 7 to 1.
Williams has more wigs than Elton John, and we'll see a number of 'em depending on how long she lasts. Let's hope against hope that she phases out her tired catchphrase "How you doin'?"
That was stale even back when Matt LeBlanc stopped using it 7 years ago.

Kendra Wilkinson, 35, with pro Louis Van Amstel; odds 3 to 1.
Forgive us if we can't keep straight who's who in Hugh Hefner's modern day harem of concubines. One of Wilkinson's goals is to last longer than her "frienemy" Holly Madison, who didn't fare too well as a last-minute replacement on "DwtS" a few seasons back.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Couch Potato Cop: LOSERS OF THE WEEK

Couch Potato Cop: LOSERS OF THE WEEK: "What do Lisa Rinna, the TSA, the Situation and Mayor Michael Bloomberg all have in common ?They are all our losers of the week. Counting fro..."


What do Lisa Rinna, the TSA, the Situation and Mayor Michael Bloomberg all have in common ?
They are all our losers of the week.

Counting from the biggest loser on down...

1. Lisa Rinna is an actress most famous for "Days of Our Lives" and collagen injections. She became a reality show staple, first with "Dancing with the Stars" and then "Harry Loves Lisa".
Rinna then established a career as an adequate red-carpet host. But that was until she totally "jumped the shark" this week with a truly embarassing performance on the "Celebrity Apprentice". But the fun didn't stop even after Donald Trump delivered those famous two words: "You're fired."
Rinna extended her own humilaition in the fake board room, by sending "harassing" emails and insulting tweets about rival Star Jones. Rinna says the emails were harmless, but Jones directed them all to NBC's corporate lawyers and discussed getting an order of protection.
Man, this is the most heated "Apprentice" feud since.....last week when Richard Hatch pushed around David Cassidy.

2. The Transportation Security Administration is spin-doctoring upon word that X-ray body scanners used at airports are emitting up to "10 times higher than expected" levels of radiation.
TSA Head John Pirrone swears the radiation zappers are safe, but would he tell us if they weren't it ? His job is to get voluntary compliance from the public and keep those airport lines moving.
Couch Potato Cop recommends that if you are subject to the "random" security search, choose the pat down over the scanner. It's better to get groped than zapped. Sure it's unpleasant, but it will be over in a minute and there's a 100% guarantee that there will be no harmful after-affects.

3. To say that Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino bombed at the Donald Trump Celebrity Roast is like saying Napoleon had an offnight at Waterloo. The Situation heard nothing but stunned silence with a smattering of crickets at the Hammerstein Ballroom. That is, until the booing kicked in. Priceless was the look of stunned silence from Ice Tea who was in the audience. As the audience was turning on him, Sorrentino said: "Maybe comedy ain't my game right now." No truer words were ever spoken.

4. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's approval ratings hit an 8-year low. Not surprising since hizzoner's 3rd term has been marked by a low-energy, care-taker attitude as he prepares to run for president. The only people loving Bloomberg right now are the Bike Lane Nazis.

5. The cash-strapped New York Mets finally cut loose under-achieving second baseman Luis Castillo, eating the remainder of his contract. Don't feel bad for Castillo: he will be paid $6 million to not play for the Mets this season.
Castillo was one of the most hated players in New York in recent memory. He got off on the wrong foot in 2008: more than just having a poor year--as any player could have-- Castillo flat-out didn't hustle. He wouldn't run out ground balls and his fielding was abysmal. He started to turn it around the next season, and indeed batted over .300. But the entire season was marred by Castillo muffing an easy pop-up on the last play of the game, turning a Met win against the hated Yankees into a spirit-crushing defeat. That play has defined Castillo's tenure with the Mets. Had he dropped that same ball and lost a game against, say, the Washington Senators, fans would have been irate for sure, but they would have moved on.

6. Most people hadn't heard the name Cappie Pondexter until this week. She is one of the best players in the WNBA, a fringe-league plagued by meager attendance and impossibly-low television ratings. To supplement her WNBA income, Pondexter is currently playing basketball in Europe.
Yet, through the power of Twitter, Pondexter made a global ass of herself. In multiple angry tweets, Pondexter said that the victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami got what they deserved and that God "makes no mistakes".
In her nonsensical ramblings, Pondexter apparently confused Japan with China when she wrote "What if God was tired of the way they treat their own people in their own country. He makes no mistakes." Pondexter was apparently referring to civil rights violations in China, not realizing it's a separate nation.
She also referenced Pearl Harbor and addressed a fellow tweeter as a "Jap".
Making the situation worse was Pondexter's lame apology: sorry that her words were interpreted the wrong way.
The people of Japan have much bigger things to worry about than a young athlete's ignorant tweets. Still, the WNBA and NY Liberty should have done a better job condemning the original comments and making it clear that they were unacceptable. The problem is the bottom line: Japanese Americans don't make up a big market share of the NY Liberty's attendance.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Couch Potato Cop: David Cassidy pushed around and bullied: Why Would...

Couch Potato Cop: David Cassidy pushed around and bullied: Why Would...: "Celebrity Apprentice 4NBC Sundays Back-biting, physical bullying and $40,000 pizza pies high-lighted the season debut of 'The Celebrity App..."

Couch Potato Cop: St. Patrick's Day fiasco in Hoboken : city wants i...

Couch Potato Cop: St. Patrick's Day fiasco in Hoboken : city wants i...: "For most people, the St. Patrick's Parade 2011 in Hoboken was a blast. The early-March weather held up beautifully and the vast majority of ..."

St. Patrick's Day fiasco in Hoboken : city wants it both ways

For most people, the St. Patrick's Parade 2011 in Hoboken was a blast. The early-March weather held up beautifully and the vast majority of people who congregated in the Mile Square City had a wonderful time.
But then there's that "less than 1%" -- the knuckleheads who behave like they're remaking "Animal House". A couple of hundred summonses were issued for disorderly conduct; 2 sexual assaults were reported [one the evening before the parade and one the evening of]; there were a couple of fist-fights; and finally, members of the Hoboken Fire Department were the target of a potted plant hurled from an apartment window.
Couch Potato Cop is no stranger to public intoxication and disorderly conduct; as a police officer, I processed and finger-printed literally thousands of folks who didn't know "when to say when" and proceeded to commit acts ranging from drunk driving to assault.
I applaud Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer for taking a pro-active approach to the problem. Through various news agencies, the City of Hoboken made it known that drunken debauchery wouldn't be tolerated. A fine of $2000 seemed like enough of a deterrent.
Mayor Zimmer also suggested the idea of having the parade on a Wednesday, which would automatically reduce the public drunkenness -- as well as the attendance.
The merits of a schedule-shift will debated for the coming months.
However, the Hoboken city fathers have been partly culpable for sending a mixed message : if they want a strictly family-friendly event, then why, oh why, have bars open at 9 am ? By having first call at such an unusually early hour in the morning, a message is being sent to all the Frat Boys in the TriState that the party's right here on Washington Street. Drink early and drink often and we'll meet in the Emergency Room !
But the 9 am bar openings does have its seductive upsides: huge sums of cash are generated in dozens of 07030 watering holes -- not a small consideration in such a tough economy.
It seems disengenuos to, on one hand, invite people to spend a full day in a tavern and to spend as much money as possible and then ask them to not get drunk. You can't have it both ways.
The city of Hoboken and the organizers of the St.Patrick's Day parade have to make a clear choice: do they want the event to be a Mardi Gras-style Party Zone or a family-friendly event ?

Monday, March 7, 2011

David Cassidy pushed around and bullied: Why Would Anyone Agree to Be on "Celebrity Apprentice"?

Celebrity Apprentice 4
NBC Sundays

Back-biting, physical bullying and $40,000 pizza pies high-lighted the season debut of "The Celebrity Apprentice". Where else can you get drama & D-list celebrities slugging it out in a fake board room ?
The season debut will long be remembered for the firing, bullying and humiliation of former "Partridge Family" star David Cassidy. Cassidy was hoping that his stint on the reality show would do for him what "CA 3" did for Brett Michaels last season : elevate his career from playing state fairs and doing phone interviews on oldies radio stations.
We felt bad for Cassidy --he wasn't the worst player during last night's task. And he certainly deserved a lot more respect than he was treated with. C'mon, the guy was Keith Partridge for crying out loud.
But Cassidy's all-male team, Team Backbone, lost big time to the ladies' team A.S.A.P., lead by an effective Star Jones.
For those too young to know, David Cassidy was a huge star back in the early '70s, bigger than Justin Bieber is today. He had a hit sitcom and was considered a bona fide rock star. Cassidy was a global sex symbol and had a jet-flying rock star lifestyle. While living in Los Angeles in the 1970s, John Lennon would often party at Cassidy's house. The guy was big.
So, it's kind of sad that Cassidy's early exit was orchestrated by Richard Hatch, a person who hasn't really contributed anything to pop culture other than winning the fist season of "Survivor". Oh, an he was convicted on tax evasion charges.
Back in the day, Hatch would have given off his left arm to be in the same room as Cassidy to get his cast-offs.
Hatch was expected to be aggressive, given his modus operandi on "Survivor". But even still, his behavior in Episode 1 was surprising. He basically told Cassidy to keep quiet every time the former Partridge attempted to speak. And then he proceeded to shove and poke poor Cassidy as if he was his personal pinata.
Particularly distasteful is the fact that Cassidy is now 60 years old and in his own words, 140 pounds. We noticed that Hatch didn't get physical with any of the other contestants. At least next time pick a fair fight.
In the boardroom, Donald Trump likes people who fight for themselves and show fire, things that Cassidy didn't do. Cassidy joins the likes of Tiffany Fallon, Andrew Dice Clay and Carol Leifer to be the first to hear "You're fired" in their respective seasons.
The acrimonious start of "Celebrity Apprentice 4" got us to ponder: given the intense fueds and rancorous rants that occurred in the first three seasons, why would anyone agree to be on the show ? Who could forget --and trust us, we tried-- Piers Morgan vs. Omarosa ? Or the even nastier Joan & Melissa Rivers vs. Annie Duke & Brande Roderick feud. Then there was Piers vs. Stephen Baldwin...OK, you get the idea.
So, we crunched the numbers: in the three previous seasons of "CA" there have been a total of 44 contestants. Virtually all of 'em were skewered by teammates and rivals and eventually were fired on national television by Donald Trump.
The one contestant in all three season to come out unscathed was rocker Brett Michaels. Yeah, he did receive mild criticism in mid-season for being on "rock star time" when he got up late. And comedian Sinbad tried to freeze him out of task. But ultimately Michaels came across as an affable dude and a loving father. "Celebrity Apprentice 3" transformed him from VH1 nostalgia act to a household name.
Piers Morgan and Joan Rivers both received huge career-bumps from "The Celebrity Apprentice", but unlike Michaels, they both paid a huge price. Omarosa mocked Piers' family and even his sexuatlity. The Joan Rivers vs. Annie Duke will go down in the annals of Reality TV history.
So, is it worth getting kicked around on prime time television to win some money for charity ?
I'll ponder that question while I await the next episode.