SHOOTING STARS: HGTV finds a home for pilot in Las Vegas


  Anyone who has ever been new in town knows what a daunting prospect it can be. Especially when the new town happens to be Las Vegas.
  That’s the premise for the HGTV pilot “Roommate Wanted,” which continues its three-day shoot today and Tuesday.
  HGTV is bankrolling the 30-minute pilot to determine whether its “fish out of water” concept would work as a series, explains Avelino Pombo, development director for San Francisco-based Edelman Productions.
  And the pilot episode’s Las Vegas setting may be a definite selling point.
  “It’s one of those cities that speaks for itself and becomes its own character,” Pombo says, noting “how dynamic and diverse” Las Vegas can be.
  “Roommate Wanted” focuses on someone moving to a new city — for work, school or personal reasons — and searching for a new roommate along with a new place to live.
  The pilot episode follows a dancer from Portland, Maine, who’s moving to Las Vegas to join the cast of Bally’s long-running “Jubilee!”   Her search will lead her to a variety of possible roommates — from an accountant to a casino executive — and potential abodes ranging from a humble apartment to a luxury condo.
  But it may be the new Vegas resident’s culture shock that proves the most compelling, Pombo suggests.
  “She was hired from an East Coast audition, so she’s never even set foot in Las Vegas,” he points out. “The cameras will be rolling as soon as she lands.”
  Another pilot landing: As if there were any doubt that onetime Hard Rock Hotel regular Jeff Beacher is a Vegas kind of guy, a TV pilot presentation shooting here since Thursday should dispel that notion.
  The pilot, which is scheduled to wrap today, follows the “Beacher’s Madhouse” star around town, just being Beacher. (That will include, we presume, tonight’s scheduled return of “Beacher’s Madhouse” at The Mirage’s Jet nightclub.) The footage will be pitched to various TV outlets.
  Hitting town: Las Vegas’ reign as a favorite fight town continues with the arrival of “MMA: 30,” a mixed martial arts show that’s scheduled to begin a four-day shoot Tuesday.
  Host Dave Farra and co-host Andrea Tiede will explore “both the fun moments and the serious work” that make up the world of mixed martial arts, according to executive producer Christopher Reis.
  In addition to visiting local MMA training facilities, the show is expected to shoot downtown and on the Strip, among other locales.
  “Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world and the place that many of the biggest and brightest stars of the MMA industry call home,” Reis notes in an e-mail. “It’s a natural fit for a show about mixed martial arts.”
  Southern Nevada’s “vivid natural surroundings also present an excellent backdrop for our outdoor features,” which will be shown during the show’s second season, Reis adds.
  “MMA: 30” airs on the Fight Zone TV satellite channel, various cable and satellite channels, and locally on KTUD-TV, Channel 25.
  London calling: Two British productions were expected here over the weekend. “Around the World in 90 Minutes,” a documentary special from Burning Blue Media for the BBC and Discovery Channel’s Planet Green, will spotlight high-definition images from around the world — from the perspective of the International Space Station orbiting Earth. And Splash Media’s “Piers Morgan On ... Las Vegas” features the British media personality (and “America’s Got Talent” judge) exploring Neon Nirvana.
  Coming attractions: As summer gives way to fall (and as summer’s triple-digit scorchers give way to more moderate temperatures), Las Vegas’ production calendar gets a bit busier. By mid-September, a variety of projects are expected to be in production, from CBS’ “Let’s Make a Deal” revival (starring Strip headliner Wayne Brady) to the new reality series “Face of Vegas.”
  The homegrown feature “Red Herring” also is scheduled to begin production Sept. 21, reports producer Jeff Cohen, whose Cohensidence Productions is producing the noirish murder mystery. But cameras were expected to roll over the weekend on a three-minute “Red Herring” teaser trailer.
  Model behavior: The CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” still is scheduled to hold an open call for contestants from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday — but, by deadline, show officials hadn’t determined the location. Check out www.cwtv.com for more information — including applications and, we presume, information on where to turn them in during the casting call.