New show based on 'Area 51' book


AMC, the cable channel that hit it big with "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men," hopes to tap into the mystique of Area 51.

Traffic along the Extraterrestrial Highway could get extra busy, according to the New York Post.

Propelling interest in the project is the best-selling book, "Area 51," by Annie Jacobsen.

Located about 130 miles from Las Vegas, the ultra-secret site supposedly is where the government has developed experimental aircraft and weapons systems.

Conspiracy theorists and others believe the military has kept everything from crashed spacecraft to the remains of aliens there.

Joel Stillman, head of original programming at AMC, told the Post that the television series, which is set in the 1950s and '60s, will focus on the workers and closely follow Jacobsen's nonfiction book.

"That means less 'ET' and more 'CIA,' '' wrote Linda Stasi, the Post's TV critic.

FROM MEDALIST TO MERMAID

Yes, there is life after synchronized swimming.

Heather Carrasco parlayed her 1996 gold medal in synchronized swimming at the Atlanta games into a mermaid act in Las Vegas.

She's been the lead mermaid in the 115,000-gallon tank at the Silverton since 2006. She moved here in 2004 to work in the hotel's underwater show "Azure."

A mother of two, she's hoping her 12-year-old daughter, Camryn, will someday celebrate the Olympics experience.

"She's now training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as a member of the ages 11-15 team."

And how cool would it be if Camryn's mermaid mom made it back to the Olympics as a coach?

That's part of the family dream scenario, Carrasco said. She's been head coach of the Nevada Desert Mermaids synchronized swim team since last July.

"I hope someday I'll be able to go back as a coach and give back my skills," she said.

Carrasco's not the only member of the 1996 gold medal synchronized swim team to land in Las Vegas. One of her gold medal teammates, Suzannah Bianco, was one of the original cast members of "O," the Cirque du Soleil aquatic show at Bellagio. They were duet partners while growing up in Santa Clara, Calif.

Carrasco keeps the gold medal in a cabinet in her home and often shares it with youngsters who attend camps.

She said all the eight-hour workouts and commitment are worth it "when you see their faces light up."

KOKER COUNTDOWN

Filming should wrap up this week on the first season of "Counting Cars," the latest Las Vegas-based reality show.

It features Danny "The Count" Koker, car collector extraordinaire and custom motorcycle builder.

Fans of the History Channel's hit show "Pawn Stars" will recognize Koker as the car and bike expert who's often summoned for advice.

Koker's show premieres at 10:30 p.m. EDT Aug. 13, a Monday, with a crossover episode on "Pawn Stars," before moving into its 10:30 p.m. Tuesday slot, beginning Aug. 14.

The 1981 Valley High School grad has owned Count's Kustoms, 2713 S. Highland Drive, for 15 years.

Working with cars and bikes is embedded in his DNA.

"I grew up in it," said Koker, whose father was a Ford Motor Co. executive in Detroit.

His father's brother was into motorcycles before moving to Europe to work as a Formula One pit crew chief.

Koker and his crew will work on about 16 cars and seven or eight choppers during the show.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

It turned into an expensive round of golf for John Herndon, head pro at South Shore at Lake Las Vegas. Herndon scored the third hole-in-one of his career July 21 on hole No. 14, a 153-yard par 3, with an 8-iron. He was playing with Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry and Dr. Joe Johnson. The ace meant Herndon had to buy the traditional round of drinks in the clubhouse. Herndon's other two aces came at Westin Mission Hills resort in Rancho Mirage, where he was the director.

THE PUNCH LINE

"In the spirit of the Olympic Games, they traditionally ask that all fighting and warfare around the world stop. So, there's hope for a cease-fire within the Jackson family." - Jay Leno

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke

 

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