SHOOTING STARS: ‘America’s Got Talent’ does the town

  Decisions, decisions.
  Everybody makes them when they come to Las Vegas.
  But for “America’s Got Talent” judges David Hasselhoff, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan, the decisions they make this week could make or break at least one showbiz career.
  They’re in town, along with hundreds of hopefuls vying for a spot in the finals of NBC’s talent showcase, hosted by Nick Cannon.
  Cameras will capture footage for the show’s fourth season, explains executive producer Jason Raff. Production was scheduled to start Sunday and is expected to wind down after Wednesday.
  “We’re going to be everywhere,” Raff says. “In helicopters, on the Strip.” In short, at a variety of “locations in and around the heart of Las Vegas.”
  And speaking of heart, Las Vegas “has a special place in our heart,” Raff notes, in part because of champ Terry Fator’s success.
“He won the show two years ago — now he’s headlining at The Mirage,” he comments, noting that “it’s a dream” for every “America’s Got Talent” hopeful. “That is the dream — to be on the Las Vegas Strip.”
  Fightin’ words: You don’t mess with success. And with Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” now ranking as “one of the top 10 longest-running reality shows,” according to host (and UFC president) Dana White, pictured at right, what isn’t broken certainly doesn’t need fixing.
  Production, which began last week, continues through early July, with a 10th-season premiere in mid-September.
  The series’ first all-heavyweight show features two former UFC light heavyweight champs as coaches: “Suga” Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
  But there’s another marquee name in the mix: controversial Kimbo Slice, who previously fought for the now-defunct Elite XC on CBS, who’s one of 16 heavyweight contenders vying for victory.
  “I always said the only way that guy would ever get into the UFC would be to try to go through the Ultimate Fighter,” White comments. “He took me up on it.”
  There’s one “Ultimate Fighter” element that should remain constant, White notes: the Las Vegas backdrop.
  “I would never say never — but probably never,” White comments regarding the possibility of moving the show away from Las Vegas. “I don’t know why we would.”
  Especially not with the UFC headquartered in Las Vegas — and the Palms once again serving as the location for the show’s season-finale bout.
  ‘Road’ tested: NBC’s “Great American Road Trip” has moved on down the road (Route 66, to be exact), but last Friday and Saturday, Southern Nevada provided an irresistible detour to the diverse families competing in the cross-country reality series.
  Saturday’s challenge was expected to involve Las Vegas’ very own bad boys of magic, Penn & Teller — with a high-roller suite awaiting the winner, according to executive producer Lisa Hennessy. Friday’s challenge, meanwhile, took place at Hoover Dam.
  "We’re following Route 66,” Hennessy says of the show, “but because it’s the ultimate road trip, Vegas has to be part of it.”
The show, which debuts July 7, is scheduled to complete production Wednesday; the made-in-Vegas footage will be featured in the sixth of eight episodes, Hennessy says.
  Glitter City glamour: The Swiss TV variety show “Benissimo” visits this week to capture background footage for an October show; the Fremont Street Experience, the Strip, the neon museum and helicopter shots of downtown turn up on the schedule.
  The footage will be used as a backdrop for dancers performing back in Switzerland, explains “Benissimo” production manager Chris Egger.
   “This way it will look like we would have shot the scenes in Las Vegas with all our dancers,” he e-mails from Switzerland.
  Las Vegas was chosen as a location “because it’s just glamorous, fancy and will perfectly fit in our next show,” which boasts a redesigned set. “So we wanted to do this in Las Vegas, because Las Vegas stands for glamour!”
  Casting crunch: Is big-time debt freaking out your family? Are you interested in solving your financial problems — on TV? If so, Pie Town Productions (home of reality staples from “House Hunters” to “Rachel Ray’s Tasty Travels”) wants you.
  Pie Town’s currently casting for “Meet the Frugals,” a proposed documentary-style series that would follow a family from big spenders to big savers, educating viewers along the way.
  Pie Town hopes, after presenting “Meet the Frugals” to various TV networks, to go into production by fall, reports manager of development Ally Weinberg.
  They’re looking for a “fun, outgoing family” (preferably in or near the West Coast) interested in participating in a “positive, upbeat show.”
  If that’s you, e-mail Reality_Casting@pietown.tv with a description of your family, one or two photographs and contact information.

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