The TV Column: G4 will bring back ‘Proving Ground,’ featuring Ryan Dunn

June 27, 2011

G4 will bring back its Ryan Dunn reality series — as a tribute to the “Jackass” star and out of respect for Dunn’s family — after Dunn’s death last week, the network announced Monday.

The show will return to the lineup July 19 — right after a special episode of “Attack of the Show,” in which some of Dunn’s “closest friends and colleagues” will share their thoughts and memorable Dunn moments, the network said.

Close pal Zachary Hartwell will not be among them because he was the passenger in Dunn’s black Porsche 911 GT3 the night Dunn got behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit, careened down the road at around 130 mph, jumped a guard rail, plunged about 40 yards into a wooded area, slammed into a tree and exploded into flames, killing both men, according to police.

Anyway, following that in-memoriam “Attack of the Show” special, G4 said it “will pay homage to Dunn’s work and respect the wishes of Dunn’s family to bring back “G4’s Proving Ground.”

“Ryan was an incredible talent who will be missed tremendously by his many fans, including G4 viewers,” G4 President Neal Tiles said Monday in a statement.

“It was important to all of us at G4 to find a way to celebrate his life and pay tribute to him. With the support of Ryan’s family, we’ve decided to air the remaining episodes of ‘G4’s Proving Ground’ and give his fans the opportunity to continue watching this series that he was so passionate about.”

Nine half-hour episodes had been shot of “Proving Ground,” which premiered last week. The network had run only one episode when Dunn died. The episode first ran as a “sneak peek” during G4’s coverage of E3 (the annual video game conference Electronic Entertainment Expo, at the Los Angeles Convention Center) and clocked an average audience of 149,000 viewers.

When G4 re-ran the episode June 14 and billed it as the series “premiere,” it averaged 31,000 viewers.

The series will resume with the second episode in its original time slot July 19 at 8 p.m.

In the show, the “risk-taking” Dunn and “gorgeous” Jessica Chobot — G4’s descriptions — worked with experts, specialists and prop masters to re-create stunts seen in films, TV shows and video games to see whether they could work in the “real” world. Of the remaining episodes, some are “dedicated to pop culture icons” such as the Goonies, Harry Potter and “Star Wars,” the network said.

BET’s boo-boo

Stephen Hill, BET’s president of music programming and specials, is taking credit for the “confusion” over the winner of the Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award at Sunday night’s BET Awards.

When it came time to announce the winner of the award, in which fans voted on their fave video, that honor went to one Tiffany Green, a gorgeous, leggy chick who was the winner of the BET Your World/Our World contest.

As winner of the that contest, Tiffany was the “lucky person” invited “to experience the magical world of the BET Awards” and the opportunity to present “one of the most mesmerizing awards of the night.” Tiffany had apparently turned in the best glimpse into her “magical, mysterious, mundane or even downright funny world” — revealing through photos and video what her life is like on any given day.

So Sunday, Tiffany came out onto the Shrine Auditorium stage in downtown Los Angeles to announce the winner of this mesmerizing award, dressed in an iridescent mini-dress and looking like a million bucks. And, like all the other presenters, she was carrying a smartphone, from which she would read the winner’s name.

The Shrine crowd, and viewers at home, had been told the presenters would use smartphones instead of those pesky envelopes that always embarrass presenters because they’re too hard to open.

Among the competitors in this year’s Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award derby were Chris Brown and Rihanna — who, as you know, used to be an item, until he was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, felony assault in 2009 for having thwapped her around after a pre-Grammy party.

When it came time for lovely Tiffany’s close-up, she looked at her smartphone.

She squinted at the teleprompter.

Tiffany appeared confused — as though the phone and prompter contained conflicting information.

What would Tiffany do?

“And the winner is — Chris Brown?” Tiffany finally said, but without any real conviction.

But before Brown could walk up on stage to accept, Tiffany corrected herself:

“I’m sorry — Rihanna!”

Rihanna’s name appeared on a large screen behind Tiffany. Rihanna was not in the hall; Drake, the featured artist on her video, accepted the trophy.

Only at the end of the trophy show, the host, comic Kevin Hart, announced that Chris Brown had won that derby after all — not Rihanna!

Now, you or I might think that was the end of the story.

But Tiffany takes her responsibilities as winner of the BET Your World/Our World Contest very seriously. And so, after the whole horrible ordeal was over, to clear things up with her many fans, she tweeted:

“Bawling backstage . . . They totally [expletive] me up . . . The tablet [expletive] said CHRIS BROWN . . . the TELEPROMPTER said Rihanna. What the [expletive]?????? Goin’ home.”

After which, BET suit Hill tweeted: “That BET Awards Viewers Choice mix-up was due to human error. And I was the human that made that error. I apologize to ALL affected.”

On Monday afternoon, a BET rep confirmed Tiffany’s explanation: The teleprompter had said Rihanna was the winner, but the smartphone got it right and declared the win for Brown.

Lovely Tiffany graciously accepted Hill’s apology, tweeting: “So BET did that on purpose. Oh. I feel better.”

And a star is born.

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