Tag Archives: Kermit the Frog

Tom Bergeron Sparkler on 4th of July

bergeron pbsTom Bergeron expects to touch down in Washington, D.C., today, July 1, to start the whirlwind of activities leading up to his hosting of this year’s “A Capitol Fourth” gargantuan Independence Day concert on PBS. “I’ll do some satellite TV interviews alongside Kermit the Frog on the 2nd,” he reports, speaking of the greenest member of his talent line-up. “On the 3rd we do a dress rehearsal to which the public is invited, which is the whole show except the fireworks. And on the 4th of July, obviously, we do the live show.”

Bergeron credits the “Capitol Fourth” team for doing “all the heavy lifting, all the hard work” in preparing the concert that’s beamed around the globe each year. This year, the affable “Dancing With the Stars” and “Funniest Home Videos” host will be joined by Frankie Valli, Patti LaBelle, Phillip Phillips, Jordin Sparks, Michael McDonald, Sara Evans, Kendall Schmidt, Kelli O’Hara, the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jack Everly — and John Williams in a special tribute to the National Anthem — plus The Muppets’ Miss Piggy as well as Kermit.

“There are so many lures involved in doing this. The fact that it’s live TV is certainly one. The fact that it is America’s premiere birthday party on PBS is another,” Bergeron says.
When the party is through, Bergeron and wife Lois will be taking a vacation on the West Coast for three weeks, and then he will shoot his final season of “America’s Funniest Videos.” He announced earlier this year that he was going to call it a wrap as host of the show that, as he’s pointed out, often revolves around someone taking a hit to the head, gut or groin. His feelings about ending his run now?

“Well, you know, it was my decision,” he says. “It’s the show’s 25th year. It will be my 15th year hosting, and it just felt like a good time to, as I’ve said, pass the pinata stick to somebody else.” As for who will be the new host, he says, “I’m hoping that will be part of what plays out during the season. They’ll be auditioning people, some tongue-in-cheek and some legitimately.”
Then it will be on to season 19 of “Dancing With the Stars” — coming off one of its best and best-rated seasons in recent years. The team is still enjoying the afterglow of viewer adoration for winners Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis, and for dazzling Paralympian Amy Purdy. “There were a number of other elements that people brought to their hearts this season, but I think those two were the key,” Bergeron says.

He does hear rumblings about celebrities who may become contenders for next season, but “I always play dumb,” he admits.

“It’s always better to unveil them all at once if possible. In late August, I imagine, we’ll announce the new cast. And they’ll have about three weeks to rehearse and get ready. Typically, it’s the middle of September that we premiere.”

When it comes to celebrities he’d like to see on “DWTS,” Bergeron thinks of “a friend of mine who I’ve often cited — he’ll never do it — William Shatner. I thought he would be great. He has said he’s willing to be a guest judge, but he’s not willing to put himself through all that hassle of actually competing. I can understand why. It becomes all-consuming, and more so as you get deeper into the run of the season because you’re doing more dances and it takes more of your time and commitment. But he’d be a riot.”

How about a Shatner guesting on “America’s Funniest Videos”?

“I would love to have him,” says Bergeron. “The stage we’re on is right next to where ‘Boston Legal’ used to shoot, so he’s familiar with the neighborhood.”

Denise Richards: No on 9/11 Truthers, Yes on Helping Dogs, Maybe on Another E! Season

Denise Richards

Denise Richards

Anyone who follows Denise Richards’ Twitter feed knows that the actress has been besieged this month by inquiries as to whether she – like former husband Charlie Sheen, who wrote to President Obama about the subject – is among the “Truthers” who believe the 9/11 attacks were actually the result of a conspiracy within the government.  

“I don’t believe that.  Charlie’s entitled to his beliefs and his opinions, but I don’t believe any of it,” she makes it clear.  “It’s such a sensitive topic.  My heart goes out to all the victims – that’s where the focus is for me,” adds Denise.

 She has a full plate of activities to focus on in her own life, meanwhile, beginning with plans to meet with Ryan Seacrest this coming week about the future of her “Denise Richards: It’s Complicated” E! Channel show, which he produces.

 “I knew that I wanted to do a second season because the first season was very much about all the stuff I was dealing with,” notes the beauty, referring to her grief over losing her mother, paparazzi problems, insomnia and the aftermath of her ugly divorce from Sheen.  “I wanted to show you can move on and move forward, take the high road and keep pursing what you want to pursue.  A third season – I know it’s reality and our life, and but I also want it to still be interesting,” says Denise, who is also shooting a pilot for a comedy series next month.

Denise is serving on the event committee for the Best Friends Animal Society’s Lint Roller Party, Oct. 3 at the Hollywood Palladium — where The Bangles will perform and Katherine Heigl will be honored.   Denise will be introducing a retrospective of the organization’s 25-year history of pet rescue, including roundups in which “they go to the shelters and rescue the dogs that are about to be euthanized, get them spayed and neutered and find them homes.” 

 Some of those animals have found homes in the “large menagerie” maintained by Denise, with her four and five-year-old daughters’ approval.  “My daughters are very nurturing with animals.  They would rather save a dog with three legs or blindness that needs extra care,” she says.  “I’m so proud of them for that.”

 HE’S GOT THE MOVES:  Tyce Diorio, who has been a standout choreographer and judge on “So You Think You Can Dance,” tells us the Fox show has done wonders for his career.  While he’s currently involved in the show’s sixth season, he’s also busy choreographing Cher in Las Vegas.  “It’s really taken me to new heights and I’m excited for what’s happening.  The show keeps me busy, and when I’m not working on the show, I try to find time for my personal life and other exciting projects,” says Diorio, who’s also worked with Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, and Janet Jackson.  In fact, he’s already planning to branch out.  “I’ll be working on an animated film in November.  I would like to direct films at some point too.  But dancing-wise, I want to choreograph for as many legendary icons as I can.”   

 In the meantime, Diorio will be busy helping select America’s next favorite new dancer.  “So far we’ve got some really dynamic characters this season.  When you see the top 20, then I think you’ll see what it’s shaping up into and that’s when I’ll know too,” he notes.  “It’s always different because no two people are alike so the individuality is what makes it great.  There’s real, real talent and it’s honest and it’s passionate and it’s the truth, and people connect to the truth.”

 ALWAYS GREEN:  With his “A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa” coming out on DVD at month’s end – plus a guesting on David Foster’s new Christmas special coming up – we asked Kermit the Frog who has stood out the most among the many iconic performers he’s worked with.  “Some of my favorite moments have been dancing with Gene Kelly to ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ and singing a Christmas carol on ‘SNL’ with Bobby De Niro.  And I’ve worked with so many great stars over the years – Bob Hope, Prince, Tony Bennett, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin…and too many legends to mention,” he replies. 

 And as for stars he’d like to collaborate with in the future?  “There are a lot of stars I’d still like to share the stage with,” he says.  “Al Pacino, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, to name a few.  I’d also like to work with Beyonce, Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz, but I know better than to mention that in a newspaper that Miss Piggy might read….Oops, was this on the record? Sheesh!” 

FOLLOW THE MONEY:  Casting is underway for filmmaker Paula Van der Oest’s “Domino Effect,” which takes a form somewhat similar to that of the acclaimed 2006 “Babel” with separate stories that interlock.  In the case of that film, action was touched off by a gun accident.  In Van der Oest’s forthcoming feature, it’s about a business banker in London who tries to take over a bank in Amserdam and fails, causing both banks to go bankrupt – which in turn creates a crisis for a mechanic in Michigan, and for characters in India, China, and Brazil. 

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster