This season's American Idol has sung its last note and Dancing With the Stars has taken a bow, but two more reality shows — with real Colorado connections — are about to ride the airwaves. Pitchmen is a Discovery Channel series that pairs infomercial king Billy Mays, who made his name with Denver-based Orange Glo and still pitches the company's OxiClean and Kaboom, with witty Brit Anthony "Sully " Sullivan, who brought us the Swivel Sweeper, TapLight and Smart Chopper, as they travel the world in search of new inventions and new products to hawk on TV. The show, which debuted in April, will have new episodes starting May 27.
And over on The Bachelorette, which launched May 18, a stable of studly suitors, including Mark Huebner, described as a "pizza entrepreneur" from Denver, will seek the affections of Jillian Harris, a 29-year-old restaurant designer from Canada. Huebner's LinkedIn profile says he's the managing partner of the Denver Pizza Company, and although that restaurant has yet to deliver a pie, Westword operatives did find a sign at 309 West 11th Avenue that reads "Denver Pizza Company: Opening Soon!"
Then there's Freshman Year, CNN's YouTube-y reality show about two totally different congressmen picked to serve in the House of Representatives. In a March 4 post on the Latest Word, we made the following predictions: conservative Utah father-of-three Jason Chaffetz would get drunk in a hot tub; liberal and openly gay Jared Polis of Boulder would get kicked out of a nightclub; and both of them would get into a nasty, spit-in-your-face fight with Nancy Pelosi over who drank the last Red Bull.
Sadly, none of these predications came true, and Westword writer Melanie Asmar knows, because she recently subjected herself to episodes five through ten of the series, in which the two lawmakers hold the cameras and take viewers through their lives — very dull lives, full of cheeseburgers and complaints about foot blisters. As a result, we decided that one of them — either burger-loving Chaffetz or blister-hating Polis — must be voted off the island.
Our vote is Polis. Asmar's episode-by-episode breakdown on our Latest Word blog will tell you why.
Scene and herd: Last Wednesday, former senator Gary Hart moderated "Judging Guantanamo: Does Providing International Terrorism Suspects with Constitutional Protections Compromise Our National Security?," a CELL-sponsored discussion between Charles Stimson, former Department of Defense deputy assistant secretary for detainee affairs, and Gabor Rona, international legal director for Human Rights First.
Hart's lead-off question was a surgical first strike: "Is waterboarding torture?" he asked. But Stimson ably deflected it. "I think waterboarding is torture," he said. "I've always maintained that." And he took some heat for his position when he returned to the defense department in 2006.
"I was waterboarded by the press one time," Hart said.
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"So was I," Stimson replied.
"Not like I was," Hart told him.
After all, coverage of Hart's cruise on the Monkey Business with Donna Rice was enough to drown his presidential hopes.