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'Party Down South' is a 'vile travesty,' 'Dukes of Hazzard' star Ben Jones writes in open letter to CMT

Ben Jones, best known for playing the mechanic “Cooter” on the long-running sitcom The Dukes of Hazzard, has taken Viacom and its channel CMT, which airs daily reruns of Dukes, to task for their new reality show Party Down South, from Jersey Shore executive producer SallyAnn Salsano.

Jones, a former United States congressman, calls the heavy-drinking program about eight wild young people living together in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, “cultural pornography” and he claims that it is “without a doubt the most offensive and sleaziest thing ever to make it to a national audience already neck-deep in offensive sleaze.” (Watch a preview of the show here.)

Jones says CMT “was built by appealing to rural heartland viewers with a sense of tradition and genuine values,” but that the promotion of Party Down South throws Southerners under the bus. “You are insulting the South without a clue of the richness and diversity of our many Southern cultures,” he says, expressing concern that CMT’s raunchy, dumbed-down depiction of the South will become the “accepted truth.” (Jones may be pleased to know that Party Down South isn’t drawing big audiences just yet: The last episode pulled only 627,000 viewers.)

EW reached out to CMT for comment on Jones’ letter, but the network has no response at this time.

You can read the full letter, via Saving Country Music, below: READ FULL STORY

UFC announcer Bruce Buffer on catchphrases, nicknames, and his Oscar pick for Best Picture

The UFC falls under the category of “sports,” but since its television breakout a decade ago, the spectacle of the events has become great TV. Despite the dozens of crossover stars and ascendent champions the Ultimate Fighting Championship has produced, it’s entirely possible that the most recognizable face of the UFC is that of announcer Bruce Buffer. With his authoritative bellow intoning his signature catchphrase “It’s Time!” Buffer has turned the simple act of introducing fighters into top-shelf television. His history with the company runs deep, and he’s as much a fan as he is one of the company’s most high-profile employees.

His exposure has grown steadily since the UFC struck a deal with Fox to air major shows on free network television a few years ago. This Saturday, the UFC raids Chicago to present UFC on Fox 10: Henderson vs. Thomson, and next Saturday, UFC 169 adds to the excitement of Super Bowl weekend when it airs live on pay-per-view from Newark, New Jersey, just a few miles away from MetLife Stadium. EW caught up with Buffer (who is also a semi-professional poker player  and game developer) to talk about his life in fighting and who newcomers should pay attention to this weekend.

Entertainment Weekly: You are referred to as “The Veteran Voice of the Octagon.” When did you actually get started announcing shows?
Bruce Buffer: I started in 1996, that was my first show—UFC 8. Then I did UFC 10. Then I guest starred on Friends, and right after that they asked me back for UFC 13. On the set of Friends, the then-owner of UFC and I had the discussion where I said, “Look, I’ve been waiting like a girl waiting on a date to the prom. I’m happy to do the shows, but I want to do every show because I want to do more than just be your announcer. I want to help build the sport with my media contacts. I love it, I believe in it, and let’s make a deal.” That was the best poker hand I ever played. I basically announced every show from UFC 13 on. I’ve missed three shows in the last 17 years.

What was it that drew you to the UFC in the first place?
I’ve been into martial arts since I was 12. I had black belts in a style called Tang Soo Do, and also I kickboxed for a number of years. I have fighting in my blood. My grandfather was the champion of the world in boxing in 1921 in the bantamweight and flyweight divisions, and I’ve just been involved in the fighting world my entire life. I have an appreciation for what the fighters go through and what it takes to be a fighter, and the fact that they put their blood, sweat and tears on the line every time they walk to the the cage. It’s the loneliest job in sports, in my opinion, and these guys and girls deserve praise and so much honor. I want to be able to give as much to them and to the fans as I can.

What do you see as the biggest difference between the live product and the TV product?
Any UFC fan has got to experience a live event at least one time. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor: Cagayan': New cast includes former NBA All-Star (and recent North Korea visitor) Cliff Robinson

After a successful season of having former players compete with/against their loved ones on Blood vs. Water, Survivor will try another brand new concept when Survivor: Cagayan premieres with a two-hour episode on Feb. 26 at 8pm on CBS. This time, 18 contestants will be separated into three tribes: brawn, brains, and beauty. And while all of those contestants will be new players — marking only the third such all-newbie season in the past nine installments — one of the names may be familiar: former NBA All-Star (and recent visitor to North Korea as part of Dennis Rodman’s basketball troupe) Cliff Robinson. READ FULL STORY

New season of 'Killer Karaoke' gets super-freaky with cow brains -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

If you think getting up in front of a crowded bar to sing is difficult, then you probably wouldn’t do well as a contestant on truTV’s Killer Karaoke.

The ridiculously hilarious and slightly demented competition show returns Feb. 20 for a new season with new host Mark McGrath. Contestants attempt to sing karaoke hits without missing a word while facing some extreme and bizarre challenges.

This year, Killer Karaoke is upping the ante with a fresh new format: Each episode’s competition will begin with six contestants singing an opening number, after which they will be ranked based on a scoring system. The highest-ranking players will earn advantages throughout the show, such as deciding who goes first, picking their challenges, and sometimes even choosing what obstacles their opponent will face. But the ultimate goal is winning over the audience, who will be voting throughout the competition. When all is “sung and done,” the top two contestants must face each other — as well as their biggest fears — in a final head-to-head battle. The singer with the highest score will then win the weekly cash prize of up to $10,000.

Check out this exclusive clip from the new season with contestant Lamar doing his best Rick James while some super-freaky things get dropped on his head. Warning: The clip is both hilarious and a little gross if you don’t like cow brains.
READ FULL STORY

'American Idol': Watch a live Q&A with the judges!

Following tonight’s screening of the two-part American Idol premiere in select cities, people in ANY city can watch a live, interactive Q&A about season 13 with judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., and host Ryan Seacrest (who hopefully won’t be superimposed into the picture, as above) right here. The chat session begins at 8:30 p.m ET/5:30 p.m. PT.

Watch it below!
READ FULL STORY

Bravo sets docu-series 'Online Dating Rituals of the American Male' -- EXCLUSIVE

Bravo is holding up the magnifying glass to OKCupid, Tinder, and the rest of the usual suspects in the wild modern world of digital romance.

This March the network will launch Online Dating Rituals of the American Male, a new docu-series which will explore the world of cyber courtships from the male perspective. The program aims to pull back the curtain on the culture of online dating by following Internet romances from the earliest stages of browsing and communicating to the anxiety-inducing dates with potential matches (who may or may not actually look like their profile photos). Each week, the show follows two men from across the spectrum as they explore the various stages and scenarios involved with finding true romance (or just a fling) online.

The docu-series will premiere on Bravo on Sunday, March 9 at 10 PM before it moves to its regular time slot on Thursdays at 10 PM with the premiere of the second episode on March 13.

Below, watch an exclusive trailer for the show, which should hit home for any online dating dabbler who’s ever been on the receiving end of a painfully bland “Hey, how’s it going?”: READ FULL STORY

'My Strange Addiction': Meet a girl who eats mattresses

Beautyrest, it’s what’s for dinner!

For the season premiere of My Strange Addiction, TLC has tracked down an odd duck who likes to munch on mattress stuffing. It’s certainly a testament to the human body and how efficiently it digests foreign matter; a family member comments on how he’ll often find full pieces of padding in the commode. Yowza.

Take a look:

Jordan Belfort, the real Wolf of Wall Street, shopping reality show

Jordan Belfort, the former financier who pulled off, in the words of EW’s review of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, “one of the most brazen and boneheaded scams in history,” is hoping to star in a reality TV show. Electus, the studio behind Fashion StarMob Wives, and Dwayne Johnson’s The Hero, sought out Belfort, an ex-con who now works as a motivational speaker. Electus
 CEO Chris Grant tells The Hollywood Reporter that networks have been taken with Belfort, who’d help others looking for redemption: “He was described to 
us after leaving the room as ‘TV gold,’” Grant said.

Click below to see Belfort on an Australian morning show: READ FULL STORY

'Survivor': Ciera and Laura on pulling rocks and...stealing Tyson's pants?

They were the last loved one pair in Survivor: Blood vs. Water, and they got there by very different means. Ciera Eastin was on the outs early so laid low, but then emerged in the back half of the season as risk-taker willing to vote out her own mom and gamble an immediate exit via a colored rock for the chance to improve her position. Mother Laura Morett, however, stuck around simply by destroying anyone that dared to face her at Redemption Island. Eventually, however, their time ran out. However we figured we would get the mother-daughter combo back together for one more round to chat about the highs and lows of their island adventure. And it turns out one of these ladies also managed to get into Tyson’s pants while she was there. Read on! (NOTE: Also make sure to check out our other exit Q&As with  Blood vs. Water winner Tyson Apostol, runner-up Monica Culpepper, former champ Tina Wesson, and Big Brother champ Hayden Moss. and finalist Gervase Peterson.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Ciera, I gave you some flak early on for not making moves, but as the season went on we saw that game face and saw you get serious. Of course my favorite move was when you pulled rocks. How nervous were you when that went down?
CIERA EASTIN: It’s so funny because the moment I made my vote for Monica there was not turning back for me. I drew a line in the sand at that moment and I knew I was either going to go to rocks or somebody was going to switch and vote my way. That was it for me at that moment. And when it came time to draw rocks it happened so quickly. I just stuck my hand in, flipped the rock over, and I remember looking at my rock and thinking, what does that mean? Is this good or is this bad? Because it happened so quick. And then by the time I got back to camp, I was like, what did I just do? What just happened? So it didn’t hit me until it was all over. So the nerves were not even there in the moment. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor': Gervase explains why he thought he could win

Gervase Peterson had “early boot” written all over him when he showed up to play Survivor: Blood vs. Water. After all, he had not played in 13 years, And the one time he did play back in season 1 of Borneo, he was best known for being freaked out by the food challenge and walking through a running challenge when he was out of eyesight from the rest of his tribe. But when presented this time with an opportunity to make a big move and vote out one of his biggest alliance members in Aras, Gervase took it. And that move brought him all the way to the finals, Unfortunately for him, he left the finals without a single vote, giving him third place for the season. But for Gervase, making it all the way to the end was victory enough. (NOTE: Also make sure to check out our other exit Q&As with  Blood vs. Water winner Tyson Apostol, runner-up Monica Culpepper, former champ Tina Wesson, and Big Brother champ Hayden Moss.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Well, you went from barely being able to get out of the water in the first challenge to the very, very end. So let me ask you: Did they let that fool them, Gerv?
GERVASE PETERSON: Yes, they did! They let that fool them! It was part of my strategy going in that everybody thought I couldn’t swim because I thought that if I did well on the land challenges and in the water that I’d be a big threat. So the goal was to play it up in the water like I still couldn’t swim and be as non-threatening as possible. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor': Hayden on his 'top heavy' girlfriend and the one move he wishes he made

It felt weird, right? Having a Big Brother player on Survivor just seemed kind of odd. But Hayden Moss fit right in the second he hit the beach for Blood vs. Water. And the Big Brother champion almost added a Survivor title to his collection. Alas, he was finally voted out and then lost the duel that could have gotten him back into the game. We spoke with the reality veteran to find out which show truly is harder and also to get some explanation as to why his girlfriend, Kat, was bragging about her new boobs on TV. He also revealed the one move he didn’t make that could have changed the game completely. (NOTE: Also make sure to check out our interviews with Blood vs. Water winner Tyspn Apostol, runner-up Monica Culpepper and former champ Tina Wesson.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So we spoke the day before the game began and I asked you which was harder: Big Brother or Survivor and you said to ask you after 39 days. Well, you made it, what, 36 days, which is close enough. Soooooooo, which is harder, Hayden?
HAYDEN MOSS: It’s apples and oranges out there. They are two totally different games. Survivor is by far physically harder and physically more demanding. I think the mental side of Big Brother and the wear of 90 days is a little bit harder on your mindset. But it’s so hard to try and say this game is harder, or that game is harder. There are bits and pieces of Survivor that are harder and bits and pieces of Big Brother that are way harder. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor': Tina says she would have won 'hands down' had she made the finals

Tina Wesson viewed this season of Survivor: Blood vs. Water as her shot at redemption. After going from first (winning The Australian Outback) to worst (being the initial person kicked out of All-Stars), Tina wanted to prove she still had the chops to go all the way. And she almost did, falling just a single day short, after making it back into the game off of Redemption Island, but then being booted once again in the very last vote-off. Of course, all of that seems insignificant now after Tina’s son Taylor was killed in a car accident just two weeks ago. Had he been wearing a seat belt, he would most likely still be with us today, and Tina showed up at the Survivor reunion last night with a personal plea to others to not make the same mistake Taylor did, and to buckle up.

However, Tina still loves her some Survivor, and we had a chance to chat with her about her latest go round on Blood vs. Water. (NOTE: You can also read our interviews with winner Tyson Apsotol and runner-up Monica Culpepper.) READ FULL STORY

'Survivor': Monica on being slammed at the final Tribal Council -- 'It hurt me'

Monica Culpepper made it all the way to the very end of Survivor: Blood vs. Water, and ended up taking home the $100,000 second place prize after getting the one vote that did not go to winner Tyson Apostol. But the season ended on a bittersweet note, as she was hammered at the final Tribal Council, and not over any moves she did or did not make, but rather just for the type of person she was. We spoke with Monica the morning after the Survivor finale to get her thoughts on what went down, and she tells us about the painful ordeal, as well as one moment we did not see. (NOTE: You can also read our interview with winner Tyson right here.) READ FULL STORY

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