Aaahhh! Invasion of the "reality people"!

NBC threatens to deliver even greater idiocy and ickiness to your living room; are Flockhart and Shandling ridin' on the love train? Cher gets slapped with a lawsuit. Plus: Latest casting rumor for "Star Wars: Episode II."

By Amy Reiter
July 20, 2000 10:00PM (UTC)
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Oh man, we're in for it now ... NBC is about to hop on the reality TV bandwagon with a show that could well rival "Big Brother" in terms of sheer ickiness.

"We weren't as aggressive as we should have been on the reality front," NBC West Coast president Scott Sassa told the group of TV critics assembled in Pasadena, Calif., for their annual scoop-fest. "This is not just a fad; it's a trend. It's going to be around for a while. We have a whole team of reality people."

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And what prize Must-Be TV programming egg has that team hatched? (OK, now breathe deep and repeat after me, "I don't have to watch it ... I don't have to watch it.") "Chains of Love," a reality-based game show derived from a program viewers in Holland just adore!

The premise: A young woman pores through 100 résumés, selects four "dates" and is chained to them all until she begins to unshackle them one at a time. Wacky high jinks, one assumes, ensue.

Never thought you'd be missing Jerry Seinfeld and his whiny buddies quite so much, did you?

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What really lies beneath

"Money! What do you think I got from it?"

-- Harrison Ford on what he gained from his experience working with Robert Zemeckis and Michelle Pfeiffer on "What Lies Beneath."

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Love "Ally"-style

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She's pretty. He's funny. But, you gotta admit, the idea of Calista Flockhart and Garry Shandling as a couple is pretty funny.

However, mismatched though the duo may seem, rumors of romance have surrounded them ever since, two years ago, Shandling paid apparently smitten tribute to Flockhart from the podium at a TV awards ceremony.

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And now a dime dropper who spotted the two actors dining à deux at an L.A. restaurant has told the New York Daily News that Shandling's smittenness looks to be reciprocated. According to the source, the comedian and the actress "definitely looked to be more than just friends."

Quick. Someone cue the Barry White music ...

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Diagnosis: Fine work

"People come up and say, 'Oh my God, you're doing such a good job.'"

-- "The Sopranos" star Lorraine Bracco on how real psychiatrists react to her role as Tony Soprano's shrink.

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Juicy bits

If she could turn back time ... Cher might have hired a different construction manager to oversee the remodeling of her Malibu mansion -- or booted certain other members of the crew. Construction manager Salvador Sampino has filed suit against the singer/actress, seeking unspecified damages. Sampino claims he was harassed by the principal contractor's co-managers because he's gay -- and alleges that illegal immigrants were employed on the job. Really, Cher, what would Chastity say?

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Richard Hatch is not amused. The shorts-shedding "Survivor" contestant is suing Middletown, R.I., for $1.5 million, claiming his April arrest for child abuse -- and the subsequent release of information about it to the press -- violated his civil rights. According to a letter to the town from his lawyer, Hatch "has always proven himself to be a loving parent and caregiver to his son and the false light into which he has been cast locally, nationally and internationally by the actions of the police is inexcusable." Perhaps the tribal council would like to weigh in on the matter?

At last, a reason to see the next "Star Wars" installment! Gabriel Byrne is reportedly in talks with George Lucas for a role in the flick. "We're discussing it," Byrne tells TV Guide. "I think they're still writing the script." May the Force keep them from penning another character as annoying as Jar-Jar Binks.


Amy Reiter

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