Tiffany Vogt

Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Borth’

Summer Thrills and Chills: Why the summer of 2011 offers some of the best TV ever

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Opinion columns, * TV Addict on August 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm

For fans and avid television viewers, this summer has offered an abundance of riches.  From the break-out alien sensation FALLING SKIES to the addictive TEEN WOLF to teenage crushes on THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING to the creepy medical mysteries of TORCHWOOD, no matter what one could possibly be looking for, this summer had it on TV.  It is said that ‘it is good to be king.’  But on TV, it is better to be the most talked about summer hits of the season.  The following is a quick round up of shows that you may already be watching, but if you have not yet discovered these shows, you are invited to check them out and become as enamored as everyone else.


Sunday nights have been brutal for viewers with no less than eight competing shows: FALLING SKIES, LEVERAGE, DROP DEAD DIVA, TRUE BLOOD, IN PLAIN SIGHT, THE PROTECTOR (which just moved to Mondays), THE GLADES, BREAKING BAD and AGAINST THE WALL.  Factoring in that THE KILLING and GAME OF THRONES were also around for early summer, Sundays were a tough night to figure out what to watch and when.  Fortunately, many of these shows repeated frequently throughout the week to allow viewers a chance to catch anything they may have missed.

But the standout was newcomer FALLING SKIES, which took the entire globe by storm and become a summer sensation.  With its trio of deadly aliens (the Skitters, the Mechs and the tall skinny freaks), Sundays were simply owned by FALLING SKIES.  Everyone wanted to see what was truly lurking beneath the surface and whether the survivors of the 2nd Mass had a chance in hell of ever fighting back.  With the 2-hour season finale scheduled to air this Sunday, August 7th and a rumored massive cliff-hanger, perhaps not all mysteries will be nicely tied up with a bow, but the good news is that FALLING SKIES will be back for its 2nd season next summer.  So don’t miss the season finale which promises an epic battle and revelations that will send our minds reeling until next summer.


Even more brutal than the jam-packed Sunday nights, Monday nights offered eleven competing shows all scrambling to capture a share of the viewers.  Tossed into the timeslot ring were: TEEN WOLF, EUREKA, WAREHOUSE 13, ALPHAS, THE CLOSER, RIZZOLI & ISLES, WEEDS, THE BIG C, THE PROTECTOR (it’s new night), SECRET LIFE OF AN AMERICAN TEENAGER and SWITCHED AT BIRTH.  It was nearly a blood-bath as viewers were forced to choose and unlike the Sunday night shows, these shows did not repeat so conveniently throughout the week.  Returning favorites THE CLOSER, RIZZOLI & ISLES, EUREKA, WAREHOUSE 13, and SECRET LIFE all held their own and recaptured their audiences.  What was astounding was that newcomers such as TEEN WOLF, ALPHAS and SWITCHED AT BIRTH were out of the gate successes and they too snagged a healthy portion of the viewing audience.  With a second season pick-up already announced for TEEN WOLF and an unprecedented order of 30 episodes for the 1st season of SWITCHED AT BIRTH, their respective networks were clearly pleased as well.  With ALPHAS holding onto the same audience that tunes in for EUREKA and WAREHOUSE 13, next season orders for all three are just about guaranteed.  The breakout hit for Monday nights is a tie between the supernatural thriller TEEN WOLF and ABC Family’s family heart-warmer SWITCHED AT BIRTH.  Both offered something vital to viewers seeking comfort TV:  a family they wanted to be a part of.

While a teenage werewolf transition tale does not exactly scream “family” – TEEN WOLF did offer a wonderful surrogate family through young Scott’s friends.  Whether it was the lovely Allison, who stole his heart with love-at-first-sight, the best friend Stiles who knows how to quip a handy one-liner in a stressful moment, the ultra-competitive quasi-evil duo of Lydia and Jackson, or the muscle-bound, yet with a heart-of-gold Derek, teens were not the only ones cozying up to the young group of teens fighting to survive while hunted from all sides.

In addition, SWITCHED AT BIRTH offered the most heart-breaking storyline couched in a warm, sunny world where two families chose to live together after discovering their daughters were switched at birth 16 years ago.  It was not just the “blue sky” appeal of the show that caught our attention, but rather the equally addictive and appealing characters that invited us into their homes.  From Bay to Daphne to Toby, Emmett, Liam and Ty, and all the charming parents, SWITCHED AT BIRTH introduced us to families and friends that we would all love to be a part of.


Tuesday nights, while somewhat less time-constrained, were also busy nights on TV.  Competing were:  WHITE COLLAR, COVERT AFFAIRS, MEMPHIS BEAT, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING, COMBAT HOSPITAL, and MTV’s AWKWARD.  With 7 shows clamoring for attention, it was a little easier to juggle shows and watch them all, but it required some viewer dexterity.  Returning favorites WHITE COLLAR, COVERT AFFAIRS, MEMPHIS BEAT, and PRETTY LITTLE LIARS all fared well, but the newcomers stumbled under the weight of the stiff competition.

Viewers were less likely to sample the new shows on Tuesday nights than other nights of the week — which is a shame, cause each of the new series had something special to offer and are worthy of second seasons.  For the teenage crowd, both THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING and MTV’s AWKWARD offered heaping spoonfuls of heart-melting romance.  Only the heartless could have withstood such wonderfully woven tales of teenage angst and teenage romance mixed with fun doses of comedic relief.  Then over on the darker side, there was COMBAT HOSPITAL which gave a glimpse into the world of medical surgeons in the war zone of Afghanistan.  But it only sounded dark and depressing.  The actual show had a nice mix of odd personalities and heart-warming messages.  Plus, one look into Michelle Borth’s soulful eyes and you too would be caught up in the day-to-day struggles of life on the front lines.  To viewers who tuned in and tuned out too quickly and those who have resisted these fine shows, it’s your loss.  For those who discovered and stuck with these shows, you know what I’m talking about when I say, these are must-see shows on Tuesday nights.

As for the break-out hit of Tuesday nights, it goes once again to COVERT AFFAIRS.  Not even breaking stride from its first season break-neck pace, COVERT AFFAIRS took things to another level of action, globe-trotting and giving fans exactly what they want – more Auggie!  Piper Perabo’s Anne Walker may be the star of the show, but Chris Gorham’s Auggie Anderson stole all the hearts of the fans.  Kudos for all the hard work and inspired stories this season.  It’s been a fun and wild-ride!


A night of much more manageable TV viewing, Wednesday offered a nice light night of only six competition shows:  ROYAL PAINS, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS, FRANKLIN & BASH, MELISSA & JOEY, STATE OF GEORGIA and HAPPILY DIVORCED.  It was a night that also relied heavily on comedy to ease the weekly tensions as viewers found themselves mid-week and flagging a bit at the thought of two more work days.  Despite the prevalence of comedy and the quick success of HAPPILY DIVORCED, which has already been picked up for a second season, the show that was the break-out success was newcomer NECESSARY ROUGHNESS.

A tale of a therapist swept up into the high-stakes world of competitive sports, viewers latched onto Dr. Dani’s unique brand of therapy and her adrenaline-junkie clientele.  It also helped that the one client threaded throughout the season was charismatic Mehcad Brooks who stole scenes any chance he got and made us think of out-of-control football stars as great people to have hanging around the house.  The addictive trio of the unorthodox Dr. Dani, the mysterious fixer Nico and the hot-headed, but heart-warming T.K. made NECESSARY ROUGHNESS the break-out show of Wednesday nights.


As the week wound down, it was a night of easy delights as BURN NOTICE, ROOKIE BLUE and newcomer SUITS dazzled fans with their own blend of amped-up drama.  Whether it was explosions, gun-fights, cheating boyfriends, or a con man turned wanna-be-lawyer, Thursdays had exactly what viewers wanted as they raced towards the end of the work week – pure, unadulterated, octane-fueled adrenaline rushes.

SUITS does not exactly sound like a show for which a word like adrenaline would be associated, but it’s tight-wire act teasing us with whether Mike and Harvey’s high-stakes game of the ultimate con be found out kept viewers breathless with anticipation.  While both BURN NOTICE and ROOKIE BLUE brought their A-game this season, SUITS stole the night.  It was impossible to not fall for the charming handsome duo of Mike and Harvey and their new take on a legal drama can be wicked fun. Another show that if you haven’t checked it out yet, be prepared to fall in love!


Also an easy night of TV, with the sci-fi faves TORCHWOOD and HAVEN facing off and as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS wound down its final season, Fridays were a delicious treat for world-weary TV viewers.  Real life can suck the life right out of you by Friday, so it takes special shows to infuse a bit of life back into viewers before they tackle their unruly weekends.  Fortunately, as the Emmy nominations proved, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was exactly what viewers were in the mood for and it was a great way to say goodbye to a show that created a world that felt like a second home for most of us.  To this day, there are many savvy TV critics who still believe that there simply must be a real Coach Taylor and his wife Tammy living in a small town in Texas.  It felt that real and that special of a place.  Pray the Emmy voters get this right this year and crown FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS the best drama on TV.  It earned it.

So while FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS felt like home, the worlds of TORCHWOOD and HAVEN were nothing like any place we would ever dream of living.  Frankly, both those worlds scared the beegeebizes out of us.  TORCHWOOD’s “miracle day” where everyone on earth stops dying, only to find out that is a fate worse than death; and HAVEN’s isolated world where an entire town is plagued by a curse that makes them all wish they lived somewhere else – those were not exactly the places anyone wants to willingly go to.   Yet, funny enough, viewers still flocked to them.  Watching others suffer and endure mysterious torment is oddly appealing.  But, more likely, it was the captivating characters that kept viewers tuning in.  Without the magic and mystery of the relationships between Audrey, Duke and Nathan on HAVEN, and the star-crossed lovers Jack and Gwen on TORCHWOOD, surely the horror stories of each show would not have been enough.  But throw in a few people that fans are dying to see more of and you’ve got a Friday night hit.  So sci-fi Fridays are alive and well and we can’t wait to see where these gripping shows take us.  Don’t miss another second and be sure to tune in for both TORCHWOOD and HAVEN on Fridays – they offer an adventure like you have never seen before!


No matter how you look at it, Saturday nights are the slowest night of TV.  Other than the occasional Syfy or Hallmark movie of the week, the only network dipping its toe into Saturday night programming is BBC America, which offered both DOCTOR WHO and OUTCASTS on Saturday nights this summer.  DOCTOR WHO teased fans by starting the summer, then going on a short hiatus, and then will return on August 27th to finish off its 6th season.  This was a double-edged sword of disappointment as fans were outraged to have the mid-season interruption just when the show was picking up steam and left everyone shell-shocked over the identity of River Song, and that it was replaced by a show that was already announced to only extend one short season.  So OUTCASTS already had a death-knell hanging over it and DOCTOR WHO fans were chomping impatiently at the bit to get their show back.  The clear winner of Saturdays was DOCTOR WHO – and its tale is not over yet.  With its next episode entitled, “Let’s Kill Hitler” and knowing perfectly well the mystery of River Song is nowhere near being concluded, DOCTOR WHO promises to recapture hearts and imaginations all over again.  Is it August 27th yet????

Summer viewing has been long mistaken as a time that dead shows come to die and new shows come to debut to less competition.  While both those premises may be true, for the television connoisseur, it is a time of discovery and a chance to embrace and celebrate shows that would be overshadowed the rest of the year.    For the summer of 2011, it was like opening up a treasure chest with each piece more dazzling and delightful than the last. So I invite you to savor these last few weeks of summer TV and appreciate the final episodes of the season.  Summer of 2011 was simply spectacular!

Where to find this article:

Scoop on ROOKIE BLUE, COMBAT HOSPITAL and More from the ABC Press Junket (part 1)

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Events, * Interviews, * Showcases, * TV Addict on May 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Missy Peregrym and Gregory Smith of "Rookie Blue"

As the Summer season of television is almost upon us, ABC had the foresight to invite press for an all-day junket to hear from the stars, hosts, and contestants of several of its returning and debuting television series about what is upcoming and what to expect from their shows. This is, of course, in hope of spurning interest and perhaps whipping the television audience into a feeding frenzy of excitement. Fortunately, no enticement-building was necessary as the talent alone is enough to draw an audience! One of the things that ABC has fined-tuned over the years is its eye for spotting talent. They know just which actors, contestants and participants have the natural beauty and charisma to lure in viewers. It is one of their secrets to their success – they know how to create captivating stars!

So in this first of a 3-part series, you are invited to peek behind the curtain of the showcased ABC, Disney and ABC Family shows and discover for yourself some of the magic that has made each of the upcoming shows addictive and must-see TV.


ROOKIE BLUE caught everyone’s attention last summer with its heart-felt and personable tales of a quartet of rookie police officers enduring the trials and tribulations of their first year. Returning for its second season, the red-hot summer series returns with a bang when one of the team gets shot, which sends after-shocks and ripple-effects throughout the upcoming season.

Missy Peregrym and Gregory Smith took time out of their busy schedules to share a bit about the show and what to expect.

Commenting first about the astounding success of the series, both Missy and Greg admitted that the show’s first season ratings exceeded their wildest expectations. They were initially nervous to see how it would do in a competitive primetime timeslot during the difficult summer months. But, as the ratings came in each week, they were stunned. In fact, one of their producers told them to not get too excited because there must have been some mistake. But the ratings were in fact that good and the second season pick-up was quickly ordered. To have that boost of confidence from both the viewers and the network has made it a pleasure to work on the show.

Then, despite comparisons to other procedural dramas, Missy and Greg said that their focus is strictly to do the best job possible on a show that is giving them creatively a lot to work with. They love the dual exploration into their character’s personal and professional lives; and the second season will continue with that tension between the professional/personal lives of the rookies and how each affects the other.

Providing a few teasers of what to expect, Missy shared that her character Andy is now living with her boyfriend Luke and while that is great, some tension arises when Luke’s ex-girlfriend and ex-partner transfers into the division. The fact that this other woman clearly wants him back and is a ranking superior to Andy stirs up a brewing problem.

Despite the personal tensions, due to the fact that neither Andy nor Dov (Greg’s character) need training officers this season, it places them in positions where they have to rely on themselves and each other. In addition, they are now able to delegate responsibilities, choose their own partner, and they will be the first on the scene – which means they have to be ready for anything; and being on the frontlines and in charge means you can be a target too – as Andy quickly finds out.

Another change that will be felt is Andy’s heightened awareness that Sam is no longer her training officer, which had made it taboo for them to date. With Luke’s ex back and causing problems, that previously forbidden opportunity will weigh on Andy’s mind as the season unfolds.

Then talking about how he prepared for both the physical and mental aspects of the role, Greg humorously shared that he did some extra training – just keep up with Missy! In all seriousness, he said they all had participated in cop boot-camp before season one and he also did a few ride-alongs in order to get a feel for what that aspect of the job actually felt like. Thus, he can see the parallels between the reality versus what is portrayed on the show – though reality is a lot more dangerous and taxing. He also admitted that he loves his character Dov’s misguided enthusiasm and rock-n-roll attitude, which creates a lot of opportunities to watch Dov squirm. He also said that this season stories will show more of Dov’s personal life and a little bit more of his serious side, which will help the audience understand why he is the way he is.

Both Missy and Greg also admitted that they have taken more initiative to talk to the writers this season, pitching ideas for their characters. Though Missy said that she was very satisfied with where the writers have taken her character. Both Greg and Missy admitted that they love delving more into the characters after reading each script and appreciate the open door policy with the writers.

Finally, as a big tease – and perhaps a fake storyline — as for what Greg would like to see more of for Dov, he joked that he thinks Dov has a man-crush on Sam. Though he sheepishly admits the writers have not really taken the bait on that idea. So to help foster the idea subliminally, Greg goes out of his way to mimic his co-star Ben Bass in scenes. It is all ‘cause Sam Swarek is such a bad-ass and, in his mind, Dov thinks it would be cool to be more like him.

So with a physical trauma, a few wrinkles in the Andy-Luke relationship and Dov’s secret fascination with Sam, the second season of ROOKIE BLUE promises to be a fun-filled ride. Be sure to tune in when ROOKIE BLUE returns on Thursday, June 23rd at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

Michelle Borth and Elias Koteas of "Combat Hospital"


Then, on June 21st, ABC debuts its new gripping medical drama COMBAT HOSPITAL starring Michelle Borth and Elias Koteas. Sharing a bit about what the show is about, Michelle said that she plays Rebecca Gordon a trauma surgeon, who is newly appointed as a major in the Canadian forces in Afghanistan and also works under Elias’ character Col. Xavier Marks, who helps Rebecca acclimate to a world where supplies are scarce and time is of the essence every second of the day.

To prepare for the role, Michelle admitted to doing a fair amount of research, including watching surgeries online. In fact, she was surprised to find out how much you can learn from YouTube! She also worked diligently with the on-set medical consultant, who she said is their most valuable resource helping them with the tough medical lingo and mimicking medical procedures. In fact, they had to actually learn how to do some of the basic procedures to add to the realism.

What drew Michelle to such a tough subject matter and tense project was the simple desire to portray a strong, independent, intelligent — yet tragically flawed – woman. She is drawn to such roles and really loves strong ensemble dramas in particular because it allows one to go in so many different directions. Plus, she loved the content of it – she thought the heavier, dramatic aspects would be a challenge.

Jumping in, Elias agreed and said that it was ultimately the writing that persuaded him. It was the best-written script he had seen in awhile and as soon as he saw it he knew he wanted to be a part of it. He was immediately ready to jump into the COMBAT HOSPITAL world because of it. In portraying Col. Xavier Marks, Elias understands that because his character is in a leadership role, he cannot just be friends with his subordinates. There is a line of separation that tinges his character with an edge of loneliness and adds the stress level and pressure upon him. Xavier does not have the luxury of a shoulder to cry upon – the doctors are not his peers and he has to demand that they step up and follow orders with so many lives on the line — accountability and authority must be maintained.

As to what to expect in the first season, Michelle said that the way the show plays out is that the viewer sees it all for the first time from the point of view of Rebecca and Terry Chen’s character Captain Bobby Trang — seeing how they adjust to life in a war zone and all the struggles and conflicts that arise. As Rebecca and Bobby learn the hard way, the other characters teach them and help them find their way and their footing — and there are relationships that naturally evolve from the close proximity in heightened circumstances.

When asked why the show is set in Afghanistan in 2006, Michelle and Elias mentioned that the time period was deliberately selected to convey a sense of urgency at a time when the world was still uncertain about whether the military presence had a right to be there. Plus, it limited some of the newer technological advances just within the last five years. To create this specific world, it was necessary for these characters to feel a bit more removed from the world they have previously known – to be in a cocoon in our modern world. Particularly as they are supposed to be working in a make-shift hospital, making do with what they have without a lot of modern day resources.

On the technological side of things, Elias noted that the set used to film the series is perhaps the largest one he has worked on for a television show. It was built from an original medical unit, so the trauma bays and OR rooms look almost identical to the real ones.

When asked if any of the characters are portrayed as adrenaline-junkies, being doctors in a combat zone, Michelle noted that really the show focuses on who these particular doctors are and that they are all about the medicine. They are simply gifted and courageous people who know how to react in difficult situations. They are able to be calm in the midst of the storm of the war around them. Thus, the adrenaline-rush is more for the actors than for the characters because the show is fast-paced, high-stakes.

Be sure to catch COMBAT HOSPITAL when it premieres on Tuesday, June 21st at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

Chris Powell of "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition"


Another inspiring series to watch for this summer is EXTREME MAKEOVER: WEIGHT LOSS EDITION, which focuses on the inspiring journey of eight people who undertook the challenge to regain their physical form and self-esteem over the course of a one-year journey with personal fitness trainer, Chris Powell.

While noting that a house may be made-over in one week, to makeover a human being, it takes a full year. As Chris good-humoredly said, “I need a full year — a full year to change these people. They’re looking for extreme transformation and, in order to do that, we need time.”

So with 8 contestants, Chris was on the road non-stop between each of them to get each up and running on the road to physical transformation. The initial process is to wisk away each contestant for a one-week boot-camp in Los Angeles, while their entire home is being remodeled from the inside-out. Then after the week is up, he returns with them to where they will find that their living room has been remade into a gym and their kitchen into a training room. Boot-camp provides each contestant with the knowledge and tools they need for the long journey ahead, but their physical environments must change as well. Chris said this is necessary because they are doing this at home. He explained, “It’s not in a bubble. It’s not on a secluded ranch or any institute. This is where they grew to their size — this is where their addictions, their emotions fuel the issues they are dealing with right now. So that’s where the beauty of the process happens and you need to get the process happening ’cause as soon as they are at home, they are dealing with environmental triggers and food triggers and social triggers, relationships, and career — and all these different things that they are dealing with right now.” So as each person re-acclimates into their new home environment, Chris will stay a few days and then he moves on to get the next contestant up and running. It was kind of like a person spinning plates simultaneously in the air for 12 months. But instead of plates, Chris had 8 people working diligently and relentlessly to make what would normally be considered an impossible transformation into a reality.

When asked what he is looking for in a participant, Chris said, “I’ll transform anyone who wants to make a change.” For him, there is no limit. It does not matter if the person is 400, 500 or even 600 pounds, he is confident that he can help them make a dramatic and long-lasting change in their physical life if they have a sincere desire to change.

He further explained, “What I’m looking for is a true desire — and someone who’s completely accepted responsibility to all their actions.” One of the things he sees frequently in the process of selecting candidates is a lot of excuses. Everyone has an excuse or reason why they are overweight, but very few will admit that they chose to be that way. So as Chris noted, “Nobody feels like they chose it. . . Yet show me the person who can say, ‘I’m like this because of the choices I made — that person is ready to make a change.” He also noted that those who can say, “I’m taking responsibility for my actions,” those are people he can help. Those are the ones he will coach all the way through the long, arduous process and transform them in to the person they really want to be.

Looking at some of the root causes of why people reach such unhealthy and undesirable body weights, Chris said that through his work he has found one common denominator: personal emotional trauma. He revealed, “Each one of them suffered some kind of severe emotional trauma in the past – and it’s relevant to each individual.” For some, they have been overweight all their lives, and for others, it has only been since the time of the trauma in their lives. But no matter whether the condition has been recent or life-long, Chris has found he can help them.

With a combined regime of nutrition, exercise and counseling, personal change is possible. In fact, Chris was the first to admit that counseling is an essential part of the process. He explained that for each contestant they have a local therapist that they work with and then there is a therapist that oversees the entire process as well. Because each person has struggle with their identity, their self-perception, it is just as important to focus on self-identity. They cannot see and accept this new identity in this process they are going through — and see everything from an outside perspective — if they continue to struggle with this identity of who they are and what they ultimately want out of the process — it just doesn’t happen. So each works closely with therapists — hand in hand — for without that the transformation truly would not be possible. As Chris said, “You can’t see weight loss without transformation.” Physical, emotional and mental. It is a multi-prong process and each area demands diligent attention and work.

Chris said that he was put on this path when a personal friend of his asked for his help in changing his life – and in one year he took 400 pounds off of him. Because the process was so fulfilling, it inspired Chris to bring this series to ABC who immediately wanted to be a part of it. So what became an initial intrigue with the theoretical possibility of: “How is it even possible?” became something more. Once Chris saw how much his friend wanted it and truly desired to change, he realized, “What a beautiful person. What an incredible man — and it was so fulfilling! Talk about emotion. Helping someone take their life back and start to experience things they have never been able to experience before – like riding a rollercoaster, buying clothes off the rack, fitting into one seat on an airplane – it’s awesome!” Thus, it has been very emotional to help these people.

The format of the show will allow viewers to see the transformations relatively quickly. There are 8 contestants and 8 episodes. Each one will show within one hour the transformation over the one year timespan. Chris is confident that viewers will be amazed.

You are invited to see for yourself these remarkable stories of transformation on EXTREME MAKEOVER: WEIGHT LOSS EDITION starting May 30th at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

Jeff Sutphen of "101 Ways to Leave a Game Show"


In complete contrast, on June 16th ABC debuts a different kind of game show in the form of 101 WAYS TO LEAVE A GAME SHOW. It is not about the questions, the challenges or the personalities – it is all about how each contestant literally gets kicked off the show. Taking from the success of other kinds of extreme reality shows that have tickled the funny-bone and dared to show death-defying feats using the average person, this show seeks to amp up the adrenaline by inventing new ways to remove contestants in the most shocking ways possible.

The show’s host Jeff Sutphen candidly admitted in response to the question, about how the contestants are removed without killing them, “I wonder that too! Here’s what I can tell you: we have some insane eliminations. Everyday, when I see one of these eliminations, I am jaw-dropped amazed. Generally, when I am on camera and what you will see on TV is my legitimate reaction to these things ’cause I’m seeing it for the first time. I purposely don’t want to see it get tested so I don’t know. I’m going in blind. 9 times out of 10, I’m refraining from saying something like, ‘I can’t believe I’m on a show that has explosions!'”

He reassuringly added, “The way we keep people safe is we have an amazing stunt crew. These guys have this place so well buttoned up. They have thought of everything — plan B, plan C, and D. They have tested it to make sure that it is going to be first and foremost safe and, second of all, is going to look spectacular on TV. It is the same guys who did Fear Factor, who did Wipe Out. Hence, they know what they are doing. They know how to put together a game show.”

The biggest draw for such a show is that it does not matter how old the viewer is, there is something for everyone. For Jeff, it is all about the crazy stunt. He even admitted, “Whether it is the fiery explosion eliminations or if it is the competition seeing people in unbelievably ridiculous situations, there is something there for everybody. Our contestants are from all different walks of life — ages 18 to 55 — all different backgrounds: PhD’s to culinary school. It is absolutely amazing and I’m having a great time doing it.”

He enthusiastically added, “Every day I am in complete shock because I think there is no way they can top what they just did. Some of the eliminations we have done so far: lifted someone 3,000 feet in the air via helicopter in a split second. I literally forgot my lines and then I had to do pick-ups later. We had people yanked and dragged across a lake by a powerboat. We pushed a person off a moving tractor-trailer. Someone standing on the wing of a biplane as it took off. Someone in a car as a monster truck crushed them. That one was really scary. Luckily I was in safety. In a car and we drove them at 50 mph at a ramp and they lift off in a huge fireball explosion and the car flips and landed.”

Based on all these outrageous scenarios, it would appear that this is a show that would only appeal to adrenaline-junkies, yet Jeff was quick to point out that the contestants vary from the unemployed video nerd to a nurse in the medical field to a stay-at-home-mom. The common denominator is that everyone wants $50,000. If people are willing to put it on-the-line, they could win $50,000. He also laughing added, “They may be rethinking that when they are staring down the barrel of a gun so to speak, but they sign up thinking ‘I got a chance at $50,000.’ And here’s a fact, someone is going to leave every episode with $50,000.”

The show has 8 contestants and every episode someone wins $50,000. One in 8 is pretty good odds, and people will do just about anything to win that kind of money!

For a chance to see what these people are willing to do for $50,000, tune in to see 101 WAYS TO LEAVE A GAME SHOW on Thursday, June 16th at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.

Mark Burnett of "Expedition Impossible"


No matter what you think about reality TV, the man who made it an art form is Mark Burnett. From SURVIVOR to ECO-CHALLENGE, he knows exactly what kinds of survival shows are eye-catching and addictive. His latest venture is EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE: KINGDOM OF MOROCCO in which he takes 13 teams of 3 on a one month adventure through the vast terrain of Morocco. Based on the idea that people would love to be a part of an “Indiana Jones” type adventure, Mark created the show to test their mental acuity and physical prowess back-dropped against one of the most beautiful and romantic areas on the world – and nothing was more perfect than Morocco which is not only feature-film friendly, it encompasses a wide range of vistas to draw from — there is the Sahara, camels, Bedouins (The Blue People of the Desert), canyons, mountains with snowstorms, plains, rivers –everything, including the ancient city of Marrakesh.

In Mark’s mind, it offers the “real experience” — so romantic and fantastic. To populate this adventure series, he deliberately chose participants from all walks of life from across the United States: New York City firefighters, sisters from Kansas, a grand-dad and grand-daughter, a blind man, Latinos from the Bronx, and even an ex-NFL football player. He thought such a cross-representation would make a wonderful mix of the average Americans from across the country. He also explained that the team number was set at 3 specifically because it provides an interesting dynamic of chemistry. This challenge demands amazing fortitude. For if one person drops out, the entire team is out. So the pressure every day is intense. Because everyone wants to quit at some point; and if was just one person or two people, they may just have done just that. But, as he noted, when people are part of a team who relies on you, it is much harder to quit. Thus, three was the magic number.

When asked if contestants with physical backgrounds perform better on this kind of show, Mark insightfully noted, “All that matters is the camaraderie. There’s an ancient saying: ‘Choose your companions before you choose the road.’ That’s so true in life — marriage, work, jobs — the people around you that will either give you or suck your energy — and that’s the key factor.”

While the 13 teams may struggle to complete the ten different legs of the competition, which includes castles with candle lamps, hidden messages, and dancing cobras, each team has the opportunity to out-wit and out-smart the remaining teams and race towards the prize. It is an endurance test and a test of ingenuity. Nobody wins simply by getting there first, they have to complete the challenges as a team. The treasure is not winning it is the journey getting there.

As explained by one of the contestants AJ Gibson, “It was not the lure of money and fame that drew us to the show. It was about pushing ourselves — about being successful in making it through the challenges.” Thus, it was all about proving to each other and themselves that they could do it. His teammate Ryan Carrillo added, “I definitely grew from the experience and took something away from it that I will always cherish – but it was definitely challenging!” When asked if they would do it again, both said they would not even hesitate to participate in another EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE. It was a great experience and one they will remember for the rest of their lives.

In sum, as Mark happily noted, he has wanted to do this kind of show for a long time and he is thrilled that ABC understood his vision and gave him a chance to bring it to television. He promises the show has a very Disney-esque feel and he invites you to see this marvelous world on June 21st when it premieres at 9 p.m. on ABC.

(Note: Be sure to look for parts 2 and 3 of this series coming in the next few weeks to find out more about the upcoming ABC Family and Disney series coming this Summer!)

Where to find these articles:


AJ Gibson, Kari Gibson and Ryan Carillo of "Expedition Impossible"

%d bloggers like this: