Goodness, last week was a big one for a whole bunch of local people on television.
Don Garrett, a philosophy professor at the University of Utah, picked up a few thousand dollars in a couple days as a contestant on "Jeopardy!" Garrett was the champ on his first appearance and was leading until he got tripped up by the Final Jeopardy answer on his second day.Salt Lake's Kole Kinney won the grand prize in MTV's "Janet Jackson European Escapade Sweepstakes."
Kinney and a guest will spend seven days and six nights - airfare and hotel accommodations included - following Jackson to Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt. Not only will they meet the star, but they'll have $1,000 in spending money.
The Salt Laker won the random drawing after laying down a few bucks to call a 900 number three times.
On Saturday, Cinda Metzer, a Salt Lake industrial specialist, was a contestant on "American Gladiators." At press time, there was no word on how the yellow belt in judo did against the likes of Lace, Blaze, Gold, Diamond and Ice.
And tonight, an LDS family from Arizona completes a five-night stay on "Family Feud." Jim Santini, a former four-term congressman, his wife, Ann, their two daughters and Ann's sister, Rose Hardy, have racked up more than $16,000 in cash and prizes so far.
As for Mr. Spud, at least he got to watch TV last week.
WHAT A SHAM: Mr. Spud knew that last summer's open casting-call for unknowns to play Lucy and Desi in a TV movie was a farce. As expected, the parts went to two professional actors, Frances Fisher and Maurice Benard, not to any of the hundreds of hopefuls who auditioned in L.A., Miami or New York.
Now, just to make Mr. Spud even more cynical than he already is, the producers have announced that the cattle calls were not just a sham. No indeed, they've hired one of the Desi hopefuls - a fella named Mauricio Rivera - to play a member of Desi's band in the telemovie "Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter."
My, oh my. What a big part that must be.
And we don't even think that it's just another publicity stunt employed when the producers were stung by criticism of their hollow cattle calls.
Like heck, we don't.
NANTZ ON THE NFL: CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz, the KSL alumnus who was thought to be in line to host "NFL Today" when Brent Musburger retired, isn't really bothered by the fact that he was passed over in favor of Greg Gumbel for a couple of reasons.
"I know I was strongly considered," he said. "I firmly believe in my heart that one day it will be my turn. But, hey, I'm 31 years old. Maybe it's best that I didn't get it. That (hosting "NFL Today") is sort of the top of the heap. Where would I go from there?"
And, while he said he didn't want to make it sound like sour grapes, Nantz says he prefers his current college football assignment to the NFL games he broadcasts on CBS radio.
"The NFL is vastly different," he said. "I hate to say it, but a lot of times it really bores me.
"It's like being in a studio. Like - `Can someone cue the crowd, please?' " MORNING NEWS: There were a couple of changes on the news show this morning - Joe Garagiola returned to the "Today" show after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed ailment, and "CBS This Morning" debuted new graphics and a new theme song - "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning."
And things have been beautiful, relatively, for "This Morning" lately. The show's ratings were up 10 percent in the July-September quarter over the same period last year.
Over at "Today," things aren't any prettier than Garagiola - the ratings were off 18 percent. ABC's "Good Morning America" was up 17 percent.
PROUD SPUDS: Did you happen to see the story in last Thursday's Deseret News about indignant potato researchers and experts? It seems they object to the term "coach potato," believing it denigrates the proud spud.
"The potato yields more nutritious food quicker on less land and under harsher climates than any major crop," said potato research Robert E. Rhoades in an AP story. "The idea of a lazy potato is a contradiction in terms."
Now, now. Calm down, Mr. Rhoades. Your interpretation of this backward.
Comparing a boring, bland vegetable with the millions of bright, lively, discerning coach potatoes sitting in front of their TVs is a compliment of the highest order.
At least to Mr. Spud's way of thinking.