By ED BARK
From top -- No. 1 Megan Fox -- to rock-bottom -- No. 100 Britney Spears -- FHM Online has unveiled the results of its latest "100 Sexiest Women in the World" survey.
Tony Romo's own Jessica Simpson has plunged, so to speak, from No. 15 to No. 35. Fox, who co-starred in the feature film Transformers, has rocketed from No. 65 last year to top of the world. Meanwhile, Romo's ex-squeeze, fourth-year American Idol champ Carrie Underwood, clings gamely to the 73rd spot.
Since this ostensibly is a TV Web site, we'll list some of the other top-performing small-screen beauties before linking you to the complete list and accompanying pictures.
Elisha Cuthbert, formerly of 24, ranks highest at No. 4 while plucky Hayden Panettiere of Heroes checks in at No. 11.
Lost's Evangeline Lilly (No. 37); American Idol runnerup Katherine McPhee (No. 38); Dancing with the Stars contestant Shannon Elizabeth (No. 46); Ghost Whisperer star Jennifer Love Hewitt (No. 57); and Desperate Housewives denizen Eva Longoria Parker (No. 59) also are in the top two-third. And a pair of Dancing's pro partners -- Cheryl Burke (No. 40) and Karina Smirnoff (No. 78) make their FHM debuts.
In the Dancing realm, that grievously omits both Julianne Hough and Mark Cuban's former partner, Kym Johnson.
Anyway, here's the link to the complete compendium. Tell 'em Uncle Barky sent ya.
By ED BARK
Fox has reprieved Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which will return for a second season.
Ratings sagged after a big post-Super Bowl premiere, but Chronicles still ranks as this season's top new scripted series among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds, Fox says.
***Rockwall's Jason Castro (second from left above) goes into battle on American Idol again Tuesday (April 22nd), with the six finalists performing songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Latest prediction: Idol will have its first grouping of three male finalists, with Castro a surprise survivor along with Davids Archuleta and Cook.
***Noted in passing: Former CBS11 morning show reporter Beth Wagner, who left the station in January, has likewise departed ABC affiliate WKOW-TV in Madison, WI after a brief stint as a featured early evening and late night anchor.
By ED BARK
It really is gettin' all cuh-crazy and outta hand here.
We know this for certain with news that presidential contenders John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all are scheduled to talk up their candidacies Monday night (April 21) via "specially taped messages" on USA network's Monday Night Raw.
A news release says the "catalyst" for this was "an invitation from the WWE to have Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama appear on Raw to settle the Democratic nomination process in the wrestling ring."
Holy jumpin' dog crap, they're instead going to "tap into the power" of the five million-plus viewers watching Raw on a typical Monday, with McCain belatedly joining in to show who really wears the tights. Somewhere even Millard Fillmore is very glad he's dead.
Also Monday, the actual prez of the U.S., George W. Bush, will be making a special taped appearance on NBC's Deal or No Deal to salute an Iraq war veteran hoping to win enough money to pay off his parents' house. Not being feted by the president is Deal's other scheduled player, McKinney, TX kickboxing instructor LeTia Soney.
One more thing. Mrs. Clinton will visit CNN's Larry King Live Monday to spar with its suspendered host. Maybe she'll even snap 'em.
***Deal host Howie Mandel has signed another deal with NBC to do an unscripted series called Howie Do It. There's no word from the network yet on what the hell it's all about.
Also on the Peacock, Today weatherman Al Roker will branch out anew as the host of Celebrity Family Feud, premiering July 1st as part of the network's thrilling "All-American Summer." Celebs are TBA, but expect another loose definition.
***You might want to mark these dates. ABC's two-hour season finale of Grey's Anatomy will be on May 22nd. And on the following Thursday, May 29th, the network's Lost will leave fans guessing with its two-hour season closer.
***The 17th edition of CBS' Survivor, coming next fall, will be presented in high-definition for the first time. Let's bring back bug-eating, because a nightcrawler doesn't really pop until it's under the lens of Sony's XDCAM HD, which will be bringing you those crystal clear pics.
***TNT will answer AMC's 1960s-set Mad Men with a contemporary Madison Avenue series titled Truth In Advertising. Scheduled to premiere sometime next year, the drama stars TV series vets Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) and Tom Cavanaugh (Ed).
By ED BARK
CBS plans to quickly reboot Big Brother and premiere a 10th edition as part of a summer schedule announced Monday.
The network also will further expose Regis Philibin as host of Million Dollar Password.
Big Brother's quick turnaround, after an ongoing strike season edition, is set for Sunday, July 13th, with weekly episodes also earmarked for Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Philbin's ramped-up Password, featuring celebrity players such as Rosie O'Donnell, Neil Patrick Harris, Rachael Ray and Betty White, will debut on Sunday, June 1st.
Another hot weather reality show, Jingles, is from Survivor creator Mark Burnett. Premiering July 27th, it challenges contestants to write and perform their own -- all together now -- jingles for products, TV shows, sports teams, etc. And Greatest American Dog (July 10th) will award $250 grand to the winning pet/human team.
Two new previously announced scripted dramas, Swingtown (June 5) and Flashpoint (July 11th), also are in the summer mix. CBS plans to fill out its prime-time lineup with repeats of hit drama series.
By ED BARK
The Disney Channel touted its next new would-be big star, Dallas-born Devi Lovato, at its NYC presentation to advertisers Wednesday.
It knows something about this after previously springboarding Zac Efron, Raven-Symone, Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus and others.
Lovato, a 15-year-old singer/songwriter, will be showcased next season in the Disney Channel movie Princess Protection Program, co-starring fellow Dallas native Selena Gomez. The latter's Disney series, Wizards of Waverly Place, has been picked up for a second season, advertisers were told. Also renewed were Phineas and Ferb and, to no one's surprise, Hannah Montana.
Two other new movies, Dadnapped and Hatching Pete, likewise will feature stars from the Disney Channel stable.
A previously announced film, Camp Rock, with Lovato also starring, will have an "unprecedented" roll-out in June on Disney Channel, the big daddy ABC network, ABC Family, Radio Disney and Disney.com.
Lovato, who also performed a little song for the Madison Ave. types, is the daughter of ex-Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Dianna Lovato.
By ED BARK
Fox's second family of animation, embodied in King of the Hill, will be back for a 13th season in the fall.
It's the creation of Austin-based Mike Judge, who continues to voice patriarch Hank Hill during his weekly misadventures from fictional Arlen, TX. Tom Petty also is featured as aimless Lucky, new husband of Hank's nubile niece, Luanne.
Guest voices over the years include Johnny Depp, Reese Witherspoon, Troy Aikman, Meryl Streep, Chris Rock, Brad Pitt, Willie Nelson, Sally Field, Matthew McConaughey and The Dixie Chicks.
***Spike TV is spicing up repeats of Unsolved Mysteries by inserting Dennis Farina as host in place of the late Robert Stack.
Debuting in October, the reconfigured 175 episodes will focus on "more of the dangerous and action-oriented cases," says Spike, whose target audience is young males.
The network also has picked up the entire 259-episode Married . . . With Children collection, with a September restart date.
By ED BARK
Down in the ratings but buoyant in press releases, the Peacock is trying to show some pluck by announcing a 52-week schedule a month or more before its rivals even unveil their fall lineups.
It would be foolish to bore you with each and every detail of NBC's "client-centric approach" (meaning advertisers not viewers). Simply put, advance planning by television networks in reality has little future. You just can't look all the way to the summer of 2009, as NBC is doing, and expect anyone to believe that much if anything will stay in place. Here, however, are some highlights:
***As strongly rumored, the made-in-Austin Friday Night Lights will get a third season as part of a partnership with DIRECTV, which will premiere the series on Oct. 1 on its entertainment channel, "The 101."
NBC won't start its FNL telecasts, which by then will be reruns, until "soon after" its presentation of Super Bowl XLIII. A total of 13 episodes have been ordered of the Peabody Award-winning series.
***ER will get a 15th and final season this fall in its regular Thursday slot. And Law & Order has been picked up for a 19th and possibly not final season, beginning on Wednesdays next winter. The midseason series Lipstick Jungle also is returning, on Wednesdays this fall.
*** NBC has penciled in four autumn newcomers, including a continuation of Knight Rider after kicking it off earlier this season with a two-hour movie. Also coming are Crusoe ("equal parts" Macgyver, Castaway and Pirates of the Caribbean); Kath & Kim (a comedy starring Molly Shannon) and My Own Worst Enemy (Christian Slater in an odd couple drama about disparate men sharing the same body).
***An as yet untitled and uncast spinoff of The Office will get the "highly coveted" post-Super Bowl slot. And SNL Thursday Night Live will take its "Weekend Update" segment into the heart of the presidential campaign with three half-hour specials starting on Oct. 16th. Scrubs, meanwhile, has been dropped but likely will resurface for a last season on ABC, which produces the show for NBC.
***Planned winter series include Kings with Deadwood curser Ian McShane and Merlin -- set in medieval times but "inspired by 21st century storytelling."
***2009's summer entries supposedly will include three new reality hours -- Chopping Block, Shark Taggers and America's Toughest Jobs. NBC has the Beijing Olympics this summer.
If all goes according to plan -- which it won't -- NBC will "deliver almost twice as much original entertainment in 2008-09 than it did 10 years ago."
We'll see about that.
Also of possible interest -- Debbie Reynolds will be one of the three judges on CBS' previously announced Secret Talents of the Stars, in which celebs such as Clint Black, Marla Maples, Danny Bonaduce and Sheila E. mess around doing stuff like standup comedy and salsa dancing.
Reynolds' accomplices are singer Brian Knight and TV/movie producer Gavin Polone. Congenial John O'Hurley, runnerup in the first Dancing with the Stars competition but the winner in a rematch with soap star Kelly Monaco, will serve as the one-hour series' ringmaster.
Secret Talents of the Stars premieres on April 8th and is set for a live finale on May 22nd.
By ED BARK
No, these are not April Fool's jokes. Honest.
Ray Romano will star in Men of A Certain Age, a one-hour drama pilot ordered by TNT.
The former Everybody Loves Raymond star wrote the pilot script with former Raymond co-executive producer Mike Royce.
"Mike and I have always had success writing what we know," Romano said in a TNT news release. "What we know now is that we're middle-aged, neurotic and fat."
Romano plays what's described as "a friendly, 40-something, slightly neurotic, divorced father of two who had dreams of being a professional golfer but instead owns and runs a party store."
In 2006 Romano had a comedy series in development for HBO in which he played a fortysomething billionaire with six months to live. But that one never flew.
Former Raymond co-star Brad Garrett and Romano are scheduled to appear on April 10th at the Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie, TX.
***NBC has signed Kathie Lee Gifford to co-host the so far little-watched fourth hour of Today. She'll team with incumbent Hoda Kolb.
The former Live with Regis & Kathie Lee co-star says she's "especially looking forward to working with Hoda, a bright and beautiful woman I admire very much." Arrrrgh.
***ABC's just-announced summer prime-time schedule will be loaded with reality and game series, including the return of The Mole on May 26th with new host Jon Kelley (Baseball Today).
Also on the grill are Dance Machine (June 27), I Survived a Japanese Game Show (June 24), High School Musical: Summer Session (July 20) and Wipeout (June 24), in which 24 contenders "compete on an extreme obstacle course designed to provide the most crashes, face plants, impacts and wipe outs ever seen on television." It always pays to aim high.
ABC also has an earlier startup for The Bachelorette, with DeAnna Pappas hoping to regroup after enduring a "painful, last-minute rejection" last season by Austin bar owner Brad Womack. It starts on May 19th.
Somehow trying to fit in amid all this is the six-part ABC News series Hopkins (June 26), a sequel to its Hopkins 24/7 series from eight years back.