Yes, Bachelor Pad. You may have noticed a shout-out to the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby on Monday night’s Bachelor Pad. If not — if, say, you were watching a little something called the Olympics instead — you can see it online at www.abc.go.com. The derby piece begins at about the 42-minute mark.
While the actual telecast caught him by surprise, derby President Joe Mazur said the organization had been working with the ABC series for about three months before the telecast finally aired.
“They called us,” Mazur said of the segment, which had contestants on Bachelor Pad — all former competitors on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette — race against each other on a derby track. The derby connected the show with one of its California operations, and donated five cars for the race. The chassis from those cars were then donated back to the California derby for use by needy contestants, while the shells came back to Akron, possibly for a fundraising auction.
Aside from the on-air recognition, the derby was not paid, he said. Besides, Mazur said, those shells had “pretty hideous paint jobs.”
While some people might think a show about schemes and hookups is not the best place for the derby logo, Mazur disagrees.
“We were on Desperate Housewives,” he said. The derby also worked with Larry the Cable Guy for his cable series. (On the other hand, a derby car in the movie Ted was done without the All-American’s cooperation, he said.) “Families watch [these shows]. Parents watch. We need to get our brand out there” and millions of people can see it on such shows, he said.
After all, even after the burst of publicity in recent years, Mazur said that when many people hear the name Soap Box Derby, their reaction is often “Is that still around?”
More Woes for Willard. Shaker Heights’ own Fred Willard, in trouble since his arrest for lewd conduct in an erotic-movie theater, got more bad news this week when ABC dropped Trust Us With Your Life, a comedy series Willard hosted. Repeats of Wipeout will fill the time slot.
Willard was dropped as narrator of the PBS series Market Warriors after his arrest — although he has said publicly that he did nothing wrong. But the Trust Us cancellation appears to be more about ratings. Deadline.com reported that the series was ABC’s least watched show of the summer. The site says the network may have been even more disappointed when Willard’s heavily publicized arrest “didn’t translate to a ratings bump.”
Twilight Fling Fallout. In the wake of the revelation that Kristen Stewart cheated on boyfriend Robert Pattinson with her married, Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, the discussion has been so widespread that Usmagazine.com felt compelled to correct some myths. And more than one reflects how entertainment news is gathered — and how people judge it.
For example, the site’s print companion, Us Weekly, got pictures of Stewart and Sanders being steamy after “the photographer approached Us directly” — not in a bidding war. One Twi-hard trying to discredit the story claimed that Sanders’ wife, Liberty Ross, told an Australian radio station that it was she, not Stewart, in the photos. Only there was no such radio interview.
And what about pictures of a U-Haul in the driveway of the Stewart-Pattinson digs, indicating one was moving out?
Someone else apparently sent the truck for a photo op, says Us. “There’s no way a major celeb going through an extremely public breakup would hire a U-Haul truck — and leave it parked in the driveway of the home she shares with the boyfriend she cheated on.”
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including in the HeldenFiles Online blog, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Twitter (as @rheldenfels) and Facebook. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.