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Tuning into TV: DeGraw finds life ‘Sweeter’ off dance floor

- - Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Voters showed they weren't quite over pop star Gavin DeGraw and pro partner Karina Smirnoff on Tuesday night's "Dancing With the Stars" elimination round. Soap star Jack Wagner and partner were eliminated instead.

But even though Mr. DeGraw doesn't admit it, getting booted from "Dancing" probably wouldn't be a total heartbreaker for the singer-songwriter, whose current album, "Sweeter," has produced a platinum single, "Not Over You." What's more, the title track just dropped as the album's third single.

Mr. DeGraw's been promoting the record in a nationwide concert tour while doing "Dancing" two nights a week, plus rehearsals. So understandably, the 35-year-old looked exhausted after a recent performance on Jay Leno's "Tonight" show.

Knowing he had a hot record to push, what the heck was he thinking when he signed on for "Dancing"?

"This will make my grandmother so proud," Mr. DeGraw responds.

"My grandmother's father was a dance instructor in the Catskill Mountains, in the heyday of the Catskills ... and he's the legend in the family because he used to kick it with all the stars at the time, and he'd give dance lessons at night," Mr. DeGraw explains. "That kind of added to this nostalgia element that I kind of felt that I should learn this skill."

So far, Mr. DeGraw has demonstrated he's probably a better singer than he is a dancer, having landed in the bottom two of contestants the last two weeks. Fortunately, he's got some heavy-duty friends to offer consolation, including OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder, who co-wrote both "Not Over You" and "Sweeter."

The two first met at one of those all-star-jam concert events. "I said, 'Hey, man, I love your stuff,' " Mr. DeGraw recalls. "And he said, 'Hey, man. I love your stuff. Oh, we should do something.' So that was a conversation between artists, and when artists talk about doing something, obviously, it's never gonna happen."

Obviously.

Once his "Dancing" days are done, Mr. DeGraw says he'd love to get going on a tribute album featuring some of his soul-surviving heroes, especially Gladys Knight, one of his "Dancing" competitors.

"I've already asked her twice," he says. "She's a legend, and in the field that I happen to be in. And when you're around somebody like that, that you've been hearing your whole life, you have to take the opportunity and go for it."

Two 'Real Housewives' get own shows on Bravo

Two of "The Real Housewives" are getting their own shows on Bravo.

The network announced Wednesday that Beverly Hills cast member Lisa Vanderpump will get her own reality show centered on the inner workings of her new Hollywood restaurant, SUR.

Kandi Burruss from the Atlanta "Housewives" will star in "The Kandi Factory," inspired by a special of the same name that aired in March. Ms. Burruss will work with wannabe pop stars with no experience who want to make it in the music industry.

Ms. Vanderpump and Ms. Burruss will continue to appear on "The Real Housewives" shows.

Planet Green cable channel to change name, program focus

Planet Green is changing course.

Its corporate parent, Discovery Communications, announced Wednesday that the cable channel will change its emphasis on nature and ecology and focus instead on the country's spirit and culture under the new name of Destination America.

The changeover happens May 28.

Destination America will tackle subjects including American cuisine - from Tex-Mex to barbecue - and American mysteries from Jesse James' lost fortune to Area 51. Other shows will visit amusement park thrill rides and Western ghost towns.

Discovery Communications President David Zaslav said the network will showcase "the essence of American innovation and hard work."

Destination America will be available in 60 million homes.

Compiled from web and wire service reports.