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Odds Stacked Against Her? Talent Isn't Enough for Nadia

By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, April 14, 2005; Page C07

We Watch So You Don't Have To:

Because there are people who will vote for Scott Savol even after he insults them on national television, Nadia Turner got tossed from a super-padded "American Idol" episode last night.

"Trust me -- you are in for a shock," host Ryan Seacrest promised at the start of the one-hour results show, which Seacrest noted had been stretched out further than Kirstie Alley's cycling shorts. Some cynical folks speculated that Fox super-sized the show, originally to be a half-hour broadcast, because the network is neck and neck with CBS in a race to win this TV season among the 18- to 49-year-olds advertisers crave. But one Fox suit told The TV Column they just wanted to make more noise on the night they were debuting Pamela Anderson's sitcom, "Stacked," which aired right before "Idol."

Nadia Turner belts her heart out but was tossed from "American Idol" last night. (Fox)

The shock that Seacrest promised -- and which viewers finally heard after slogging through about 55 minutes of "Week in the Life of 'American Idol' Contestants," Seacrest blah, blah blah and commercial breaks -- was that Bo Bice was one of the bottom three vote-getters, along with Nadia and Savol.

Seacrest put Savol out of his misery first, sending him back to the safe seats. During the performance show the night before, Savol had complained that he didn't see why Bice and Constantine Maroulis were cast as the show's rockers when he was the real rocker. Then he gave judge Simon Cowell a boatload of attitude, after which he nicked viewers by boasting that there were millions out there who hadn't the nerve to do what he was doing. Characteristically, last night he raced past Bo and Nadia when he found out he was "safe," without so much as a wave or a "have an apple."

So graceful, charming and certainly talented Nadia gets booted. And Pamela Anderson has her own TV series. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Britney Spears's home movies about her whirlwind romance with and marriage to the father of actress Shar Jackson's baby will debut May 17 with a one-hour special on UPN.

The following week, Part 2 of the six-part series about crazy-in-love couple Spears and Kevin Federline will air from 9 to 9:30 p.m., followed, appropriately, by the debut of UPN's "The Bad Girl's Guide" -- a sitcom starring Jenny McCarthy.

That's a total of 1.5 hours of Britney Spears in the May sweeps ratings derby.

UPN is doing all it can to make sure that Brit's home movies get the biggest number possible. The debut is getting a one-hour "America's Next Top Model" lead-in ("Top Model" announces its latest winner the next night). The Brit show also, you'll notice, has been scheduled to immediately follow the Tuesday performance episode of Fox's "American Idol." UPN no doubt hopes that some of the 20-something million "Idol" fans will switch over to see Brit at 9.

The Spears shows' scheduling is only one of the things UPN has in store for the May sweeps. In announcing its sweeps strategy yesterday, the network promised, among other things, to reveal in the May 10 season finale who killed Veronica Mars's pal Lilly Kane. (The network recently announced it had picked up "Veronica Mars" for a second season.) UPN had announced that "Star Trek: Enterprise" would end its voyage with a two-hour finale May 13 -- Friday the 13th.

And speaking of Friday the 13th and the "Enterprise," local UPN affiliate WDCA, Channel 20, had to do some scrambling this week with its Washington Nationals baseball plans for that day to avoid incurring the wrath of "Star Trek" fans.

The station officially announced its Nats schedule April Fools' Day and -- quite an April Fools' joke, only not -- it included a Friday the 13th 7 p.m. Nationals home game against the Chicago Cubs, which would preempt that very last episode of "Star Trek: Enterprise."

UPN had announced March 24 that the "Enterprise" series finale would air at 8 that night and that it would be a humdinger in which a human isolationist leader threatens to destroy Starfleet Command unless all aliens leave Earth immediately. (Sound familiar?)

In early February, UPN announced that "Enterprise" would end its run after this, its fourth season, leaving a "Star Trek" void on TV for the first time since 1987.

Channel 20 Program Manager Sonya Shaw told The Post's John Maynard yesterday that she noticed the conflict soon after the baseball schedule was unveiled and mentioned it to "the higher-ups."

"A deal was struck," she said: To honor its commitment to air 79 Nationals games, WDCA will replace the Cubs game of May 13 with an April 23 daytime telecast against the New York Mets.

But Trekkies still have plenty of reason to have it in for the station. Last Friday, Channel 20 bumped a repeat episode of "Enterprise" in favor of a Nationals-Florida Marlins game in which the Nats were trounced 9-0 in Miami. And that "Enterprise" repeat wasn't just any repeat. It was a "fan favorite" voted on by "Trek" die-hards via UPN's Web site.

The station also plans to bump two of the final four original "Enterprise" episodes, on April 22 and April 29. In the latter, the cast dons uniforms similar to those worn on the original "Star Trek" series, when William Shatner was in command.

Shaw says WDCA will air those episodes the next day, Saturday at 6 p.m. She told Maynard that Channel 20 has been rebroadcasting UPN's Friday prime-time "Enterprise" episodes the following Saturday at 6 since "Enterprise" debuted.

"I think 'Star Trek' fans know that it airs on Saturday," Shaw told Maynard when asked if station brass worried about how Trekkies would react to the preemptions. "They should know -- it's been that way for years."

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