Normally I ignore obvious, contrived television feuds/controversies. But when two delicious, leggy blondes square off over skimpy wardrobes, my lifelong, catfight gawking fetish takes control of my brain.
On Tuesday, "The View" host Elisabeth Hasselbeck blasted Erin Andrews over the ESPN sideline reporter’s revealing dress on the latest episode of "Dancing with the Stars." “In light of what happened and as a legal (matter) — and as inexcusable as it was for that horrific guy to go in and try to peep on her in her hotel room,” Hasselbeck said. “I mean, in some way if I’m him, I’m like, ‘Man! I just could’ve waited 12 weeks and seen this — a little bit less — without the prison time.’ ”
That’s about as low a blow as can be delivered on daytime television. Andrews, of course, was stalked and secretly tape-recorded through a hotel peephole by a pervert. The man received a 30-month prison sentence.
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On Wednesday, Hasselbeck fought back tears as she apologized for “hurting” Andrews with “reckless” words. Andrews responded through other outlets, People and "Extra":
“Anyone can have an opinion of the show and of the costumes and what people do as a profession. But to make a mockery out of a convicted felon and someone that turned my life upside down, I thought it was a huge slap in the face to the victims of stalking and sexual predators. It’s not a joke.”
Nope. It’s a typical television publicity stunt. So, I’m going to ignore the stupidity of Hasselbeck’s original comments and simply enjoy this little clawing, mean-spirited charade of a catfight that plays off the accurate stereotype that the kinder, gentler gender consumes more haterade than its male counterparts.
Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than Erin Andrews vs. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sideline Barbie vs. Lil Sarah Palin. This is the kind of sexy, high-profile, blonde-on-blonde violence we rarely glimpse. ABC should drop the pretense and immediately cash in on this battle of wits between two undressed stars. Sideline Barbie vs. Palin Lite locked in a muddy octagon wearing their most revealing costumes from "Dancing with the Stars" and "Survivor" would be the kind of must-see TV executives fantasize about.
You talk about bringing the country together across racial, gender and lifestyle differences. It would be a Saturday-night, pay-per-view event Tiger Woods could enjoy with Rosie O’Donnell and Ben Roethlisberger.
This is potentially so much bigger than the emotional and teary meeting ABC has planned for Andrews and Hasselbeck on "The View" shortly after Andrews wins "DWTS" in three weeks.
Oh, yeah, despite having never watched an episode of "DWTS," I’m calling Andrews’ victory right now. It’s over. ESPN/Disney’s all-sports Sideline Barbie is taking home the crown previously worn by Donny Osmond, Emmitt Smith, Brooke Burke and others, and Lil Sarah Palin is going to welcome Andrews into the bosom of mainstream celebrity on the set of "The View."
It’s the only outcome that makes any sense for a show that desperately wants to have the impact and brand recognition of "American Idol" and "Survivor." "Dancing with the Stars" is a nice little TV show. It draws good ratings. But it’s definitely on the B list of competition reality shows because of its inability to create a star or enhance the profile of a ready-made star. Emmitt Smith, the Cowboys legend, parlayed his 2006 victory into a prime studio job at ESPN. A tongue-tied and English-impaired Smith crashed, burned and eventually was “blowed out” by ESPN executives.
And who can forget all the fame and fortune that allegedly awaited Stacy Kiebler, “The Legs of the WWE,” after she completed her third-place run on "DWTS"? Best I can tell, DWTS earned Kiebler a Facebook fan page and 40,000 followers on Twitter. Translation: She’s less relevant than Skip Bayless.
Erin Andrews can fix all of that. She’s an ascending star with a sympathetic story.
You noticed the calendar? It’s May, the all-important “May sweeps” in television. Kate Gosselin got booted from "DWTS" on April 20 and the show dropped in ratings two straight weeks, including a season-low this past Monday.
Guess which bikini-wearing, former "Survivor" star-turned-ABC-daytime-TV pretty face opened fire on ESPN Sideline Barbie-turned-ABC-primetime-TV pretty face?
Hypocrisy be damned, Lil Sarah Palin had a job to do and she did it well. She reminded TV viewers in a big way that Octomom II wasn’t the only reason to watch "DWTS."
Sideline Barbie is tired of schlepping along sidelines pretending not to hear the cat-calls or see the crude gyrations. She wants to be the next Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and, more than anyone, Lil Sarah Palin knows it takes skin to win.