- - Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fox signs deal to air UFC’s ‘Ultimate Fighter’

Fox is stepping into the mixed martial arts ring.

The network has teamed with Zuffa, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship brand, for rights to live fights on its broadcast network with its flagship “Ultimate Fighter” series heading to cable network FX.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, under the seven-year deal, FX will air the weekly reality show starting in spring 2012 with a new format. In addition, FX will air another four to six live UFC events per year, with additional events and programs heading to Fox Sports Media Group cable networks including Fuel TV.

“We’re excited to be part of the Fox family,” UFC President Dana White said. “The UFC is finally where it belongs, on the No. 1 network in the country and aligned with the most prestigious sports properties in the world. I’ve always said that the UFC will be the biggest sport in the world and with this relationship it will become a reality.”

Fox has set the first live UFC event for 6 p.m. on Nov. 12.

UFC’s growth over the past decade is nothing short of phenomenal, and it has become one of the marquee sports in this country,” said John Landgraf, FX Networks president and general manager. “There is a reason for its rising popularity. It features some of the greatest athletes in the world, and we believe it will be a terrific addition to our schedule and look forward to our relationship.”

The deal ends “Ultimate Fighter’s” run on Spike TV, which will air the 14th season of the MMA series starting next month.

Said Spike TV in a statement: “We are increasing our commitment to distinctive, original series that we own such as ‘Auction Hunters’ and ‘Bar Rescue,’ which are delivering on our goal to reach a broader audience. Our six-year partnership with the UFC has been incredibly beneficial in building both our brands, and we wish them all the best in the future.”

OWN unveils schedule of prime-time shows

OWN has announced its prime-time schedule for new series premiering in October.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network will be anchored by Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show “The Rosie Show” and “Oprah’s Lifeclass” (previously “OWN Your Life”), which will debut Oct. 10. The cable network is bolstering its weekend programming with the premieres of returning favorites “Ask Oprah’s All Stars” and “Our America With Lisa Ling,” set for Oct. 16.

New weekend series premiering in mid-October include “Don’t Tell the Bride,” “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” and “Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind.”

“With Rosie and Oprah holding down our weeknights, we have a great opportunity to seamlessly reach our core audience on weekends with these strong original and returning series,” said Erik Logan, co-president of OWN.

“We’ve already created a destination for our audience on Sunday nights and look forward to building on the momentum Monday through Friday, and expanding OWN’s success to Saturdays,” added co-president Sheri Salata.

The returns of “Enough Already! With Peter Walsh,” “In the Bedroom With Dr. Laura Berman” and “Oprah Presents Master Class” will be announced later.

Phillips Norelco inks ‘Jersey Shore’ endorsement

Abercrombie & Fitch may be worried about having its image linked to the cast of MTV’s hit reality show “Jersey Shore,” but Phillips Norelco isn’t.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the grooming company has signed an endorsement deal with “Shore” star Vinny Guadagnino. The brand and its celebrity representative have partnered on a mission to help guys “get their style in check before heading back to school,” the company’s news release said.

“Today, style is all about customization and confidence,” Mr. Guadagnino added. “GTL — or gym, tan, laundry — can only get you so far. DIY — do-it-yourself — is the real key to personalized style.”

The news comes amid drama between Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch, which offered to pay the reality star not to wear its clothes, saying in a news release that the reality star’s “association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image.”

Both Mr. Sorrentino and MTV issued responses. “Looks like Abercrombie got themself into a Situation!” tweeted the star, who also shared a link to a story announcing Abercrombie’s 9 percent stock drop Wednesday.

MTV released a statement saying, “It’s a clever PR stunt, and we’d love to work with them on other ways they can leverage ‘Jersey Shore’ to reach the largest youth audience on television.”

“Jersey Shore’s” fourth season, set in Italy, has been maintaining high viewership after debuting to record ratings.

Burt Reynolds facing foreclosure on Fla. home

A bank is seeking to foreclose on Burt Reynolds’ Florida home so it can collect about $1.2 million for a mortgage, the Associated Press reports.

Merrill Lynch Credit Corp. has filed a lawsuit in Martin County against Mr. Reynolds, BankAtlantic and Great Eastern Mortgage, claiming the Emmy-winning actor has not made a mortgage payment since Sept. 1 on the 12,500-square-foot house.

Merrill Lynch is asking a judge to order the home sold to satisfy debts. The county property appraiser valued the Mediterranean-style home at $2.4 million.

The Stuart News reported Mr. Reynolds, 75, tried to sell the home in 2009 for $8.9 million, but he said then that the economy was making it difficult to sell.

Mr. Reynolds said in a statement through his publicist Wednesday that he was surprised by the lawsuit.

Compiled from web and wire reports.