SHOOTING STARS: ‘Defenders’ hits the Strip — without cast members

CBS’ new set-in-Vegas series, “The Defenders,” doesn’t begin its network run until Wednesday night, starring James Belushi and Jerry O’Connell as bet-the-house defense attorneys.

But, like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS’ other set-in-Vegas series, “The Defenders” will do most of its filming in Southern California, not Southern Nevada.

This week, however, “The Defenders” comes to town for background shots — “B-roll,” as it’s known to showbiz types — of the Strip and downtown.

No cast members will be involved, however; the focus is strictly on the Glitter City backdrops.

The footage will be used in several upcoming episodes, according to CBS officials.

‘O’ Canada: Cirque du Soleil’s “O” has been intriguing audiences since it opened at Bellagio in 1998.

And soon, Canadian TV viewers will be able to learn some of its secrets in an hourlong episode of “24/7,” a Discovery Channel Canada series that plans to go behind the scenes of the aquatic extravaganza.

The six-part documentary series, shot in high definition and surround sound, “finds the exact moment when one of these facilities is strained to capacity,” according to the description from the show’s production company, Exploration Production. “From that high-pressure instant, we zoom back 24 hours and work through the day and night to profile the people, processes and high-tech machines needed to make it work.”

Marching orders: The post-apocalypse zombie comedy “First Platoon” continues preliminary production in the desert, with a primary focus on background and special DVD footage, according to producer Michela Angelini of Las Vegas-based First Earth Films.

“We have a very special surprise on the DVD for fans of the film, and will be incorporating some clues to the special feature into the film itself as we shoot principal footage,” she explains.

That principal footage will feature cast members Scott Gibson (“The Pacific”), Arron Shiver and Jennifer Skyler as the zombie-hunting title characters; Malcolm McDowell, Sid Haig and John Kassir round out “First Platoon’s” starring cast for writer-director Chris Gabriel.

Quick takes: This week’s eclectic lineup ranges from the ongoing History TV reality series “Pawn Stars” to the real estate TV pilot “Reo TV.”

Cable’s Speed channel will offer coverage of this week’s Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction and related events at Mandalay Bay; in addition, the Speed coverage will feature footage of various other MGM Resorts properties.

And the Spanish-language TV channel Estrella will be in town to profile five Las Vegans competing in its talent competition, “Tengo Talento Mucho Talento.”

Vegas-based dancers and singers have made it to the next round of competition, according to Estrella’s Hector Tercero, and “we want to show where they live,” along with the usual Strip and downtown shots.

House call: Apparently Penn Jillette’s yard makeover on last season’s “Desperate Landscapes” hasn’t discouraged the DIY Network series from returning to Southern Nevada.

The show’s currently casting for locals who’d like help in transforming their yards from worst to first in the neighborhood.
Host Jason Cameron will bring his construction and landscape team to town in early February, where in eight hours they’ll remake a front yard.

Before that can happen, however, producers have to find that decrepit front yard — along with homeowners who are “fun, funky, personal and would love being on TV,” surrounded by “neighbors who love them … but hate their landscape” and “have an interesting job in Las Vegas.” The show is especially interested in “those working in the entertainment industry,” according to the casting call.

If that’s you, send a picture of yourself — and your front landscape — and fill out an application at

On the road: Since your humble correspondent will be on vacation for the next two weeks, Shooting Stars will be too, returning Oct. 11.

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