SHOOTING STARS: Two sides of Las Vegas in TV spotlight this week


It’s tale-of-two-cities time on location in Las Vegas this week, with one production focusing on the Entertainment Capital of the World — and the other on Las Vegas as a magnet for murder.

Today’s inaugural American Country Awards takes over the MGM Grand Garden for a live Fox broadcast. (Live to the Eastern and Central time zones, that is; as always, local viewers will have to catch the tape-delayed version during prime time.)

And Oxygen’s true-crime show “Snapped” returns to explore the gory details behind an infamous Las Vegas slaying. (We’ll get to that in a moment.)

But first, back to the American Country Awards, which checks into the same venue as CBS’ venerable Academy of Country Music Awards, which has been based in Las Vegas for eight years — the past five at the MGM Grand Garden.

Today’s new awards show, hosted by Trace Adkins, pictured, expands on traditional categories to include awards for touring as well as singles, albums and videos — all voted on by fans during now-concluded online balloting.

But there’s one American Country Awards winner who already knows he’s won: Alan Jackson, chosen as the first recipient of the Greatest Hits Award.

The Fox broadcast also shows off some mighty timely timing, taking advantage of Strip headliners, the ongoing National Finals Rodeo and the recent NASCAR Champion’s Week with comic Jeff Dunham (who headlined Caesars Palace last weekend), rodeo star Ty Murray and NASCAR drivers Clint Bowyer, Elliott Sadler and Michael Waltrip scheduled to appear alongside such nominees as Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum and Jewel (alias Mrs. Ty Murray).

Back in town: All roads lead back to Vegas. At least for the Oxygen true-crime series “Snapped” — which profiles women accused of murder.

The show has previously explored Vegas cases involving such notorious names as Sandy Murphy, Margaret Rudin and Brookey Lee West.

Now, “Snapped” is wrapping up its latest Vegas-related episode this week, focusing on the case of fitness competitor Kelly Ryan, pictured, and her then-husband, bodybuilder Craig Titus — both of whom pleaded guilty to charges in the connection with the 2005 death of their former personal assistant, Melissa James, before their murder trial began.

“We’ll be filming all over the city, but specifically in locations pertinent to the case,” including the couple’s home, various gyms where the suspects worked out and the desert area where James’ body was found inside Ryan’s charred Jaguar, reports executive producer Deborah Dawkins of Jupiter Entertainment.

Former Review-Journal reporter Glenn Puit, who authored the book “Fire in the Desert,” about the case, is among the interviewees, along with the victim’s mother Maura James, lead investigator Dean O’Kelley, KVVU-TV, Channel 5 anchor Heidi Hayes and defense attorney Michael Cristalli (who’s one of the inspirations for CBS’ new series “The Defenders”).

Watch for the “Snapped” episode sometime next spring.

Featured features: Two feature projects, one homegrown and one far from it, continue shooting around town.

The homegrown drama, “An Entire Body,” focuses on a single mother (“Six Feet Under’s” Lauren Ambrose) so desperate she considers giving up her 8-year-old daughter (“Secretariat’s” Audrey P. Scott) in an under-the-table adoption. This week’s locations include an apartment complex on Desert Inn Road near Boulevard Mall, an office building on East Flamingo Road and a downtown minimart; the movie is expected to wrap next week.

And the far-from-home feature? That’s the Indian romantic comedy “Stand By Me,” which is shooting from downtown to the Strip with Bollywood stars Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor as total opposites whose Christmas Eve rendezvous leads to unexpected consequences.

Reality bites: New projects join old standbys in this week’s reality roundup. Among the newcomers: A&E’s “Storage Wars,” which follows experts scouring the contents of repossessed storage units, and “Skin City,” both of which are expected to start six-day shoots Tuesday. The second season of TVOne’s “LisaRaye: The Real McCoy” was expected over the weekend, while “The Four of Me” plans to wrap a three-day shoot today chronicling the Durst Quadruplets’ first Las Vegas visit, which included scheduled performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” Saturday morning at the South Point.

Also scheduled to roll this week: the documentary “Death Collectors,” expected to follow the Clark County public administrator through Dec. 18; Fox Sports Network’s World Poker Tour Five Diamond Classic, continuing through Wednesday at Bellagio; plus MTV’s “Real World,” History’s “Pawn Stars,” Oxygen’s “Bachelorette Party” and E!’s “Holly’s World.”

Car stars: Mercedes-Benz hits the road for a scenic Southern Nevada commercial that will feature Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, McCarran International Airport, the Bali Hai golf course — and other driving shots. Volkswagen also may be shooting around town — and at Cactus Springs — for an upcoming spot.