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Animal Planet’s ‘Tanked’ closer to reality

The tank’s half-full for “Tanked,” the latest member of reality TV’s made-in-Vegas team.

The upcoming Animal Planet series, which focuses on the Vegas-based Acrylic Tank Manufacturing family — and custom-built aquariums — is in midproduction and continues shooting through April.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the entire six-part series takes place in Las Vegas.

Although the Silverton’s spiffed-up mermaid tank and an installation at the Tropicana’s soon-to-open Mob Experience will appear on the show, “we’re going where the best stories are, and the best builds are,” according to executive producer Melinda Toporoff .

That means “Tanked” is traveling to New York, Los Angeles and Texas — among other venues — during the shoot.

But “we love the over-the-top, in-your-face, fun feel of Las Vegas,” says Toporoff. “There’s no question that Las Vegas itself we see as a character” on the show.

Not the only one, however.

The essence of “Tanked’s” appeal — to Nancy Glass Productions, to Animal Planet and, they hope, to the viewing public — remains the people behind the tanks, including chief executive officer Wayde King, chief operating officer Brett Raymer and Heather King, Wayde’s wife, who also happens to be Brett’s sister.

“You only have to spend less than 30 seconds with them to know they’re larger-than-life characters,” Toporoff says. “They’re genuinely good-hearted, funny and endearing.” Besides, “they make jaw-droppingly beautiful tanks.”

Dam news: Hoover Dam lures another visitor this week, but MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan won’t be here for the sightseeing.

He’s bringing his eponymous “Dylan Ratigan Show” to the Southern Nevada landmark, following stops in Seattle and Oakland, Calif. Friday’s live telecast will conclude the show’s cross-country “Steel on Wheels” tour, geared toward exploring solutions to pivotal national issues.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is scheduled to appear on the telecast to discuss mortgage scams and other housing-related problems.

“Nevada in general is the poster child for dysfunction in American housing,” Ratigan says, adding that Americans in other areas of the country may not fully grasp how “Nevada is suffering horribly.”

The show’s other focus involves Hoover Dam and its symbolic status as a successful public-works project — one that served as a beacon of hope for desperate Depression-era workers.

“Hoover Dam, to me, is representative of America at its best,” Ratigan says. “It’s such a magnificent illustration of, as engineers and workers, what we’re capable of doing.”

Quick takes: Newcomers and ongoing projects share space on this week’s busy location calendar.

History’s “American Pickers” is expected to shoot third-season footage at The Venetian and Palazzo, among other locations, while Spike’s “The Ultimate Fighter” and E!’s “Holly’s World” keep on rolling.

Cirque du Soleil’s 3-D movie project continues green-screen reshoots at the South Point’s arena, while production on four final half-hour pilot episodes for “The Jadagrace Show” — featuring young “Terminator: Salvation” star Jadagrace — enters its final week at the Studio City Entertainment Group behind the Palms.

And students from Britain’s North Warwickshire and Hinckley College continue work on a documentary about local impersonators, appropriately titled “Impersonators.”

After the first three days of production, producer James Byrne reports that he and classmate Sam Smith-Jones “have more than enough footage to make an amazing film — things can only get better.”

Carol Cling’s Shooting Stars column appears Mondays. Contact her at (702) 383-0272 or
ccling@reviewjournal. com.

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