‘Joes,’ ‘Losers,’ Tommy lee highlight NBC’s summer

As it has for the past couple of offseasons, NBC will load up on unscripted series to keep viewers around during the summer.

Four new shows, along with returnees “Average Joe” and “The Biggest Loser,” are on the network’s docket for June, July and August. The new series feature Kathy Hilton, mother of Paris, teaching 14 people how to be socialites; Motley Crue drummer/Pamela Anderson ex furthering his education; lawyers fighting for a cash prize; and fathers taking over household duties from their underappreciated spouses.

“NBC maintains its ongoing commitment to programming year-round with original entertainment that centers on presenting increasingly fresh and compelling alternative formats,” says Craig Plestis, the network’s head of alternative programming.

The summer slate begins June 21 with “I Want to Be a Hilton,” in which Kathy Hilton immerses 14 contestants in the world of New York society. She’ll eliminate some folks each week, with the last person left getting a fat prize package that will enable him or her to live like a socialite for a year.

The following week brings the premiere of “Average Joe 4: The Joes Strike Back.” The show will follow the format of the first two “Average Joes,” with 18 less-than-perfect guys competing for the heart of a pretty girl – in this case, a 26-year-old model named Anna. Seven cocky hot guys will be thrown into the mix as well.

In late July, “Boston Legal” creator David E. Kelley crosses over to the dark side of unscripted TV as an executive producer of “The Law Firm.” The long-gestating show pits two teams of lawyers against each other to try real cases (each verdict will be legally binding). Well-known trial lawyer and legal analyst Roy Black will eliminate contenders each week, with the winner grabbing a $250,000 prize.

“Meet Mister Mom,” which debuts Aug. 3, will put the domestic acumen of fathers to the test. In each episode, two mothers are taken away for a week of spa pampering while their husbands try to hold things down at home. The two dads compete to see who’s better at the job, with their spouses secretly watching from their retreat.

The self-explanatory “Tommy Lee Goes to College,” in which Lee takes on campus life at the University of Nebraska, and “The Biggest Loser,” a surprise hit last fall, are both scheduled to premiere Aug. 9. Host Caroline Rhea and trainers Jillian Michael and Bob Harper will return to guide a new group of overweight contestants toward a healthier life.

– Zap2it.com

ABC wants more ‘Jim,’ ‘Videos’

ABC has given the go-ahead for new seasons of “According to Jim” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” adding them to five series already picked up for next year.

“Jim,” which has already crossed the 100-episode mark thanks to larger-than-usual orders in the past – the show has produced as many as 29 episodes in a season – will be back for a fifth year. It’s the first of the network’s current comedies to be picked up. “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” meanwhile, has earned a 15th season and the fifth in its current run (it was off the air for about two years between 1999 and 2001).

Although it’s never earned much critical love, “According to Jim” is ABC’s most-watched comedy by a fairly sizable margin. It’s averaging about 10.3 million viewers per week this season, an improvement over last season despite the fact that it faces tougher competition (“House,” “The Amazing Race”) in its 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday timeslot. It also draws a solid 4.0 rating among the adults 18-49 demographic that advertisers covet.

The network’s No. 2 comedy this season is “Rodney,” which draws just over 9 million viewers airing after “Jim.” Veterans “My Wife and Kids” (7.4 million) and “George Lopez” (7.45 million) have struggled somewhat this season facing “American Idol” in the 8 p.m. Tuesday hour.

“Home Videos” has been a steady if not spectacular performer in the 7 p.m. Sunday spot, where it faces the venerable “60 Minutes” and, in the fall, frequent overruns of live NFL telecasts on CBS and Fox. Its 8.6 million viewers per week and 2.7 rating in adults 18-49 are both improvements over 2003-04.

ABC has already picked up “Alias” for next season, along with its four freshman hits “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Boston Legal.”

– Zap2it.com

Seinfeld sued by brownstone broker

A woman who claims that Jerry Seinfeld stiffed her out of thousands of dollars isn’t joking around.

Real estate broker Tamara Cohen alleges that the comedian and his wife Jessica owe her a $117,000 commission for helping them buy a nearly $4 million brownstone in Manhattan, according to a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court obtained by Celebrity Justice.

“Tamara Cohen did not fulfill the basic broker duties required by law,” responds a Seinfeld spokesperson. “Despite this, the Seinfelds offered Cohen a very generous fee for her time – but not for the sale – because she was not entitled to it.”

The rep adds that Cohen declined the offer and instead opted to take advantage of the couple.

The Seinfelds, who were married in December 1999, are the parents of Sascha, 4, and Julian, 2. They are expecting their third child this year.

The comedian’s hit self-titled sitcom ended its run in 1998 at the height of its popularity. Since then, Seinfeld has starred in the HBO special “Jerry Seinfeld: I’m Telling You for the Last Time” and the 2002 behind-the-scenes documentary “Comedian.” He will next produce and provide the voice of the lead role in DreamWorks’ animated “Bee Movie,” which he also wrote. It is scheduled for release in November 2007.

– Zap2it.com

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