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TV Bulletin Board (Wed., Sept. 4) -- Harper dares to dance


Valerie Harper during new DWTS cast announcement. ABC photo

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Valerie Harper won’t be asking for any pity parties. Then again, who’s going to vote her off?

Still diagnosed with terminal brain cancer but reportedly feeling better in recent weeks, 74-year-old Valerie Harper likely will be the prohibitive favorite when ABC’s Dancing with the Stars begins its 17th season on Monday, Sept. 16th.

Because of diminishing ratings and an increasingly older viewership, the show has been downsized to one night a week this fall. “When life asks you to dance, you just have to dance,” Harper says in the new issue of People.

Her pro partner will be Tristan MacManus in a field that also includes Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of Jersey Shore fame, the obligatory ex-NFL star (Kayshawn Johnson) and of course an entrant from the Disney Channel roster (Corbin Bleu). Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, still strongly identified with what ABC prefers to call “the cult hit” Showgirls, and Texas-born comedian Bill Engvall will be hoofing and puffing, too. Here’s the complete field, with pro partners in parentheses.

Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (Valentin Chmerkovskiy)
Corbin Bleu (Karina Smirnoff)
Brant Daugherty (Peta Murgatroyd)
Bill Engvall (Emma Slater)
Valerie Harper (Tristan MacManus)
Keyshawn Johnson (Sharna Burgess)
Christina Milian (Mark Ballas)
Bill Nye (Tyne Stecklein)
Jack Osbourne (Cheryl Burke)
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (Sasha Farber)
Leah Remini (Tony Dovolani
Amber Riley (Derek Hough)


Fox officially has its “Dream Team” set for Season 13 of American Idol, which it’s calling American Idol XIII in hopes of adding some luster.

Harry Connick Jr. will be the third judge, joining holdover Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez, who’s returning after a year’s absence. And Randy “Yo Dawg” Jackson, banished from the judge’s table, is now bouncing back as the show’s in-residence “mentor,” supplanting Jimmy Iovine. Ryan Seacrest returns as host, with the first auditions firing up in Boston.

As with DWTS, Idol has seen a substantial ratings erosion of late, although its percentage of advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds is still far superior to the ABC show.


The new FXX network, offshoot of FX, begins in earnest on Wednesday, Sept. 4th with the new season premieres of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (9 p.m. central), The League (9:30 p.m.) and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (10 p.m.). FXX is replacing the Fox Soccer Channel.


HBO has announced that the seventh season of True Blood will be its last. Consisting of 10 episodes, it’s scheduled to launch next summer. On the upside, HBO has renewed The Newsroom for a Season 3, with star Jeff Daniels tweeting the news Tuesday night.

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