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Archive for Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Stars on ice lack sizzle of ‘Dancing’

January 18, 2006

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I suspect I am not alone in my attitudes toward figure skating. I look on it, or rather look at it, with a combination of awe, mystification and dread. I'm awed by the dedication and athletic prowess of the performers; mystified by the minute, subjective quantification of the scoring; and filled with dread that I might have to watch it for more than a half hour.

But just when I find myself nodding off, I'm usually shocked into consciousness by the garish costumes. As if skating to the theme to "Jurassic Park III" weren't difficult enough, you have to follow the sport's unwritten rule: Wear the tackiest clothes imaginable.

But if there is anything more tedious than watching professional skating, it is watching bad, unprofessional skating. And that brings us to "Skating with Celebrities" (8 p.m., Fox). Clearly inspired by the hit "Dancing with the Stars," this competition lacks that show's sizzle. Let's face it: Something sexy happens to people when they move to a Latin beat. Fumbling around on a frozen rink just isn't the same.

While it was probably unintentional, the casting of "Skating with the Stars" offers a history lesson in the difficulty of mixing athletics and entertainment. The show features former Olympic decathlon star Bruce Jenner as a "star" and Nancy Kerrigan as a professional skater. Both Olympians tried their hands at show business and failed spectacularly. Remember poor Kerrigan hosting "Saturday Night Live" and Jenner's "Can't Stop the Music"?

But I digress. If a has-been Ice Capades is your idea of entertainment, be my guest. The hopefuls include Jenner, Dave Coulier ("Full House"), Todd Bridges ("Diff'rent Strokes"), Kristy Swanson ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Deborah Gibson and sports reporter Jillian Barberie.

Other highlights

¢ Back to the Balkans on "E-Ring" (7 p.m., NBC).

¢ Auditions on "American Idol" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ "Walking the Bible" (7 p.m., PBS, part 3 of 3) concludes.

¢ A town turns toxic on "Criminal Minds" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ On two episodes of "Lost" (ABC), doubts about Charlie (7 p.m.), a jungle search party (8 p.m.).

¢ A runway fatality on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢ A scribe's suicide seems suspicious on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).

¢ The kids are gone on "Invasion" (9 p.m., ABC).

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