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OVER OVER 4 4MILLION MILLION Readers Weekly Readers Weekly Nationwide! Nationwide!

July 31, 2012 Published by PTK Corp.




of the River Region

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Vol 1 Issue 29


A “REALITY” CHECK by Blue Sullivan

Through programming successes like “American Idol” (still the most watched series on television in the United States), “reality TV” has grown to be a huge part of the programming broadcast on both cable and network television. The emergence of reality programming as one of the most successful and profitable genres found on television would seem to suggest this is a relatively new invention. Actually, it stretches all the way back to the 1940s. Here we’ll recount a little about the history of this style of show, along with some things you might not know about reality programs in America and worldwide. • In 1948, the first “reality show” aired. It was Allen Funt’s “Candid Camera,” a precursor to MTV’s popular prank show “Punk’d” (currently hosted by pop superstar Justin Bieber and a revolving rotation of young entertainers). Unlike “Punk’d,” which focuses on pranks played on celebrities, “Candid Camera” featured mild pranks played on everyday individuals, and captured their reactions. • “Candid Camera” actually emerged from another “reality show” from another medium, a 1947 radio version with the same concept called “Candid turn the page for more!

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Tidbits® of the River Region

A “Reality” Check (continued): Microphone.” • “Candid Camera” was followed after each broadcast by another pioneer of reality TV, the Ted Mack talent search show, “Original Amateur Hour.” Ted Mack’s show televised amateurs competing before a live audience, who chose the winner. It was the first example of public voting determining the outcome of a TV show, predating “Idol” by decades. • The longest running reality show in the United States is “Cops,” which has been gracing our sets since 1989. • MTV likes to tout its series “The Real World” (a success since the early ‘90s and still going strong) as the father of what most think of as modern reality TV, but that distinction probably goes to PBS’ “An American Family.” The 1973 series followed a family as they went through a divorce. • “An American Life” was so influential that it inspired a well-reviewed cinematic satire by comedian and filmmaker, Albert Brooks. 1979’s “Real Life” follows a filmmaker (played by Brooks) who is so inspired by the success of the PBS series that he tries to replicate it with a different family, with unexpectedly dire results. • The incidence of reality programming on TV today is higher than it has ever been. One in four programs in primetime is reality based. In addition to its popularity with audiences, the genre is popular with TV executives for its cost-saving benefits. The average reality show costs about $500,000 per episode, compared to $2 million for a sitcom. • Although reality TV has been a viable genre for over six decades, it’s taken a while for the Emmys to take notice. The first award in the genre, “Outstanding Reality-Competition Series,” was given in 2003 to “The Amazing Race.” • In 2008, an additional category was added honoring “Best Reality TV Show Host.” It went to “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, who has since become a repeat winner in the category. • Reality shows aren’t just influential in the United States. Singer Susan Boyle’s 2009 audition on the UK’s popular show “Britain’s Got Talent” has been viewed 120 million times on YouTube. • Reality television has also reached the Muslim world. In 2010, a show called “Imam Muda” pitted contestants in a variety of challenges. These challenges included tests of Islamic theory, the counseling of teenagers and the recitation of the Quran. The winner received

a job as an Imam, along with a free scholarship in Saudi Arabia and a new car. • The most popular reality show in the United States is “American Idol,” but few know its origins. “Idol” was created in the ‘90s by Simon Fuller. Fuller rose to prominence as the manager, and some would say manufacturer, of pop sensation The Spice Girls. He was so important to the group’s success that the British press dubbed him “Svengali Spice.” When the group suddenly fired him, Fuller devised a way to create a group over which he had full control, thus “Idol” was born. • “American Idol” was actually supposed to be an online show when Fuller created it in 1997. However, the lack of high-speed internet in most homes made the idea unfeasible, so Fuller went to television to broadcast his idea instead. • “American Idol” is actually a spin-off of a similar program in Great Britain called “Pop Idol.” After agreeing to be one of the judges on the upstart American version, Simon Cowell nearly quit in the last week before the first episode aired. Cowell worried that his confrontational, distinctly British personality would not work with American audiences. • In the nonfiction book “American Idol: The Untold Story,” author Richard Rushfield interviewed Cowell about his nearly quitting the show before it ever aired. Cowell said, “I remember calling my lawyer, and I said, ‘I don’t want to do it. I haven’t signed the contract. Get me out of it.” • Fortunately, Fox producers managed to talk Cowell out of abandoning the show. They convinced him he’d have “free rein” and wouldn’t need to alter his abrasive persona for American viewers. One other judge did back out at the last moment, however. Originally, the show was to feature four hosts, but a Los Angeles radio DJ named Stryker quit the show at the last minute. • Stryker was worried the “cheesy singing contest” would hurt his image. With no time to recast, the show decided to go with three judges instead. In an ironic coincidence, Stryker later served as the house DJ for the daytime talk show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres was briefly added as a fourth judge on “American Idol.” • “Idol” fixture Ryan Seacrest nearly wasn’t on the show as well. After being chosen for the show, contract negotiations stalled between the network and Seacrest’s father, who served as his manager. Seacrest signed his contract mere hours before the first episode was shot. ***

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To Your Good Health By Paul G. Donohue, M.D.

DASH to Lower Blood Pressure DEAR DR. DONOHUE: You’ve written about the DASH diet in the past. The directions for it are quite general. Can you provide an itemized list of what is good and what is bad to eat? It makes things simpler for me. -- F.L. ANSWER: The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) doesn’t involve a detailed listing of good and bad foods. It’s a general approach that identifies the food groups that are best for lowering blood pressure. You get to pick foods from those groups that appeal to you. That’s one of the beauties of the diet: It permits many choices. Grains are one of the major groups in the diet. Grains include products made from wheat, barley, rye, oats and other such cereal grains, even grains that aren’t familiar to our diet. Every day, people should eat seven to eight servings of grain foods. A serving is a slice of bread, 1 ounce of cereal, or half a cup of cooked rice (brown), pasta or cereal. The next group is three to four servings of fruit, with a serving being equal to a medium-size fruit, a quartercup of dried fruit or 6 ounces of fruit juice. People also should eat four or five servings of vegetables a day, with a serving being 1 cup leafy vegetables, half a cup cooked vegetables or 6 ounces of vegetable juice. Two to three low-fat dairy products are allowed, with 8 ounces of skim milk, 1 cup low-fat yogurt or 1 1/2

Tidbits® of the River Region ounces of low-fat cheese constituting a serving. Two meat servings a day are permitted, with 3 ounces being a serving of cooked meat, poultry or fish. Fats and oils are the final group. Two or three servings meet the requirement, with 1 teaspoon of margarine, 2 tablespoons of low-fat mayonnaise or 2 tablespoons of light salad dressing each being a serving. In addition, 1 1/2 ounces of nuts are allowed four times a week. In addition, you must keep sodium down to 1,500 mg a day. Sodium is listed on all nutrition labels. The booklet on high blood pressure speaks of the many other issues involved in controlling this widespread disorder. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 104W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Can. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Six months ago my husband, 78, had an artificial hip installed -- if that’s the right word. The operation was a complete success, and he was up and walking shortly after the surgery. However, since he’s been home, he does nothing but sit. He says he’s afraid he’ll wear out the new hip. I thought that the operation was done to make people more active. Isn’t that so? -- O.P. ANSWER: It is so. Mobility and freedom from pain are the reasons why artificial hips have gained such high regard. Your husband isn’t going to wear out the hip. The new joint lasts up to 25 or more years. He can do anything that his doctor has not specifically said not to do. *** Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

Ban Pit Bulls?

by Samantha Mazzotta DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’ve been reading recent reports that some communities in the United States are trying to ban certain breeds of dogs, like pit bulls. I think this is a great idea, because pit bulls are so unpredictable and violent. Do you agree? -Carol in Tacoma, Wash. DEAR CAROL: Nope, I don’t agree. That’s because completely banning specific dog breeds won’t solve the problem of dog bites and attacks. Even dogs of breeds considered benign can attack humans or other dogs -- poodles being the first that come to mind. But, you argue, poodles aren’t violent! Well -- unfortunately, I’ve met a few. The fact is, all breeds of dog have the potential to bite humans. Owners must be aware of and accept this possibility. I try to educate pet owners about better ways to care for their pets. In the case of dog attacks, I feel that education of the owner is the strongest deter-

rent. That education should start before a person even becomes a dog owner, so that he or she can make the best choice of dog for the household. A pit bull or other type of guard or attack dog may not be ideal for a number of reasons beyond possible temperament: They’re big dogs; they’re powerful; they need lots of attention and training, no matter how nice they appear to be. Dog owners of all breeds -- not just those considered “dangerous” -- need to know the specific behavioral issues of their breed. They need to train their dog, and socialize the dog with both other humans and other dogs. The best way to learn how to do this is to enroll in group training classes with a certified trainer, an investment that pays off all the way down the road. Send your questions or comments to ask@, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner. com.

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This week’s winner receives a $25.00 Gift Certificate from Style Connection Register to win at and click on “Tommy Tidbits”. Fill out the registration information and tell us how many times Tommy appears in ads in the paper for this week. From the correct entries, a winner will be selected. You must be 18 years of age to qualify. The gift certificates will range in value from $25 to $50 each week. Entries must be received at the website by midnight each Saturday evening or at PTK Corp, PO Box 264, Wetumpka, AL 36092.

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1. Gotcha Hotdogs, p. 5 2. Firehouse Lawns, p. 5 3. Airport Trailer, p. 5

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Tidbits® of the River Region

1. Who was the last Yankees pitcher to record back-to-back 20-win seasons? 2. True or false: Nolan Ryan spent more seasons in the National League, but won more games in the American League. 3. When was the last time the University of Minnesota won a Big Ten football championship? 4. Steve Nash holds the record for most NBA seasons shooting 50 percent from the field, 90 percent on free throws and 40 percent on 3-pointers. How many seasons? 5. In 2012, Brayden Schenn became the second player in Flyers history to tally three points in his first NHL postseason game. Who was the first? 6. When was the last time before Brad Keselowski’s victory in 2012 that a Dodge won at NASCAR’s Talladega Speedway? 7. Who holds the record among men’s tennis players for most victories at the ATP World Tour Finals?

1. Is the book of Ezra in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. From 1 Kings 17, who was called the “Tishbite”? Elijah, Goliath, Job, Samson 3. Who was the father of John the Baptist? Uriah, Peter, Zechariah, Amaziah 4. From Acts 14, where was Paul mistaken for Hermes? Antioch, Perga, Bethel, Lystra 5. Who named all the animals on earth? Adam, Eve, Noah, Moses 6. From Jeremiah 28, where was Hananiah from? Zion, Gibeon, Shiloh, Hebron

Time Magazine reported, in a cover story on the 1984 Olympics, that on the night before the finals in womens’s gymnastics Mary Lou Retton, then age 16, lay in bed at Olympic Village mentally rehearsing her performance ritual. She had done the same on hundreds of previous nights, visualizing (self-hypnosis) performing all her routines perfectly--imaging in her mind all the moves and rehearsing them again and again. The result, of course, was a performance of perfection, presented with charm, poise and confidence, culminating in a gold medal. Call for a free screening for weight loss, stop smoking, stress and pain management. See online video at We also do couple assesments 334-213-0054

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1) Old; 2) Elijah; 3) Zechariah; 4) Lystra; 5) Adam; 6) Gibeon

1. Tommy John in 1978-79. 2. True. He had 189 victories in 13 A.L. seasons and 135 in 14 N.L. seasons. 3. It was 1967, under coach Murray Warmath. 4. Four seasons. 5. Rosaire Paiement, in 1968. 6. It was 1976 (Dave Marcis). 7. Roger Federer has won the event six times.

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Tidbits速 of the River Region

Tidbits of the River Region  

Vol 1 Issue 29

Tidbits of the River Region  

Vol 1 Issue 29