WASHINGTON, March 19, 2013 —What do Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Louie Anderson and Kendra Wilkinson all have in common? The question sounds like the first line of a joke, but there is a real answer that isn’t a joke, almost. All three are contestants on the newest competitive reality show “Splash.” It airs tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC.
This American version of “Splash” debuts close on the heels of the British original that tanked in the ratings, but still managed to hold onto five million viewers through its five-episode run. That was apparently enough to get the British “Splash” renewed for a second season. We’ll see how things work out over on this side of the pond starting this evening.
The concept of the show is simple enough. Ten celebrities will train and compete in regulation platform and springboard diving in front of a weekly poolside audience. Leading up to the competition, the world’s most decorated and medaled diving legend, Greg Louganis, will give each celebrity weeks of training.
It should come as no surprise that some producer in America would jump at the chance to film D-list celebrities flirting with disaster. After all, TruTV’s screwy, cheap-to-produce, but incredibly successful “World’s Dumbest” has given D-list comedians—and Tonya Harding—a second chance and a modest paycheck for years for making snarky comments on home movie clips of people disgracing themselves. Maybe there’s a market for this kind of stuff.
But seriously now folks, Louie Anderson diving off a platform 10 meters high is not entertainment. It’s more like serial assisted attempts at suicide, and marks an all-time low in reality TV, which is really saying something if you’ve ever caught an episode of “Lizard Lick Towing.”
What’s next, Kate Gosselin on the uneven bars? The British started all this competitive reality show nonsense by exporting the “American Idol” concept. But do we really want to copy everything they do? If American TV insists on continuing its obsession with British entertainment, can we at least have a little more “Downton Abbey” and a lot less “Splash?”
Until the “good taste” police reign in the bargain basement mentality of Hollywood, maybe we should have the option of putting a heavy import tax on anything labeled British entertainment. Say, Congress isn’t busy. Maybe they can at least agree on some legislation regulating what passes for entertainment these days.
Or better yet, let the Tea Party handle it. It’s historically appropriate, and it will give Sarah Palin something to do now that CPAC is over. She took on Mayor Bloomberg armed with only a “Big Gulp,” so conquering the British should be a piece of cake for Mama Grizzly.
Just don’t forget to film it!
While you wait breathlessly for the real thing tonight, here’s a video promoting ABC’s newest effort:
All times are EST:
ABC: Splash: (New) After training with professional divers for weeks, five celebrities face their fears as they flip and twist into the pool.
CBS: NCIS: (New) The wife of a Marine who specialized in K-9 bomb detection urges the NCIS team to investigate the recent death of her husband in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Director Vance asks for the team’s assistance as he interviews nannies.
FOX: Hell’s Kitchen: (New) The 19 remaining chefs participate in a physical challenge involving lobsters. Later, two contestants from each team head into the elimination round after a disappointing dinner service.
NBC: Betty White’s Off Their Rockers: (New) A senior brings his own organ donation in a cooler to a food court; a prankster’s “wife” is actually a blow-up doll; an elderly woman asks for help in writing an erotic book; and a woman swigs beer at a grocery store.
CW: Target Presents the IHeartRadio Album Release Party with Justin Timberlake: (New) Justin Timberlake discusses his 2013 album “The 20/20 Experience” and performs in concert at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.
NBC: Betty White’s Off Their Rockers: (New) Two seniors seek a rave party; a lady prankster flirts with men during a bachelorette party; an oldster proposes to his girlfriend; an elderly man offers free tickets to Hawaii. Also: A hiking spot features a finish line.
ABC: Dancing With The Stars: Exclusive First Look: (New) Interviews; performance highlights.
CBS: NCIS: Los Angeles: (New) When a murder weapon in Idaho matches the one used in a national security case in L.A., Callen and Sam fly to the crime scene to join NCIS: Red, a mobile team of agents who live and work together as they solve crimes in various locations.
FOX: New Girl: (New) Jess admits how she feels about Nick, but soon after coming clean, she learns that he may have been hiding something. Elsewhere, Schmidt becomes preoccupied with buying a fish; and Nick tries to impress his boss by planning a promotion at the bar.
NBC: Go On: (New) Mr. K’s history comes to light as his compatibility algorithm wreaks havoc on Lauren; Ryan plays yenta for Danny and Sonia.
CW: Beauty and the Beast: (Repeat) Cat tracks down and threatens a witness in order to protect Vincent.
FOX: The Mindy Project: (New) Mindy has a terrible birthday when her friends and coworkers accidentally screw up her party, but things go from bad to worse when she winds up in a fight with a new group of revelers she just happened to meet. Meanwhile, Danny and Jeremy both have their eye on Mindy’s friend.
NBC: The New Normal: (New) David and Bryan consider alternative birthing options, while Shania helps Rocky with her new baby.
ABC: Body of Proof: (New) Megan and Tommy investigate two murders that seem to be the work of a vigilante; Megan takes up an offer of counseling, from a victim’s father.
CBS: Golden Boy: (New) Owen takes a special interest in a murder investigation when the victim, an airport supervisor, also turns out to be the brother of a confidential informant who was killed a few years ago. Meanwhile, Clark’s newly sober mother shows up wanting to reconnect with her children.
NBC: Smash: (New) Tensions boil on Liaisons, while Eileen may have found the key to saving Bombshell. Grace Gummer, Sean Hayes, Jesse L. Martin and Daniel Sunjata guest star.
New episodes of:
Inside the Actors Studio at 8 p.m. on BRAVO
Dual Survival: Untamed at 8 p.m. on DSC
Dance Moms at 8 p.m. on LIFE
Top Gear at 9 p.m. on History Channel
Income Property at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Doomsday Preppers at 9 p.m. on NGC
NASA-Mission to Mars at 9 p.m. on SCI
Face Off at 9 p.m. on Syfy
19 Kids and Counting: Duggars Do Asia at 9 p.m. on TLC
Chopped at 10 p.m. on Food Channel
Justified at 10 p.m. on FX
Snooki & JWoww at 10 p.m. on MTV
Apocalypse 101 on NGC
The Definitive Guide to Aliens at 10 p.m. on SCI
Robot Combat League at 10 p.m. on Syfy
Cougar Town at 10 p.m. on TBS
Little People, Big World at 10 p.m. on TLC
Armed & Ready at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel
For movie lovers:
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance on ENC
The Ref on FLIX
Maid in Manhattan on FMC
Lethal Weapon 2 on IFC
Blue Crush on REELZ
Once on SUND
The Best Years of Our Lives on TCM
Men in Black 3 on STARZ
Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang on MOMAX
Love and Other Drugs on HBO
The Border at 9:30 p.m. on SUND
The Fifth Element at 9:40 p.m. on ENC
Canvas at 10 p.m. on TMC
Bridesmaids at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
The Darkest Hour at 10 p.m. on SHO
Lethal Weapon 3 at 10:30 p.m. on IFC
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