Spike's Awards: Strong Enough for a Man, Made by a Woman

Sanjaya Malakar, seen on Wednesday night's
Sanjaya Malakar, seen on Wednesday night's "American Idol." He's big in the United States. Not so much in India, the Associated Press reports. (Taken From Tv)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Friday, April 6, 2007

Spike TV, the cable network dedicated to all things it believes are hetero-guy, announced yesterday it will telecast the first "Guys Choice" awards, sponsored by the U.S. Army, among others.

In a show Spike promises will be a "cacophony of manly pursuits," the network will hand out trophies for Best [Heinie]-Kicker, [Family Jewels]-iest Band, Hottest Girl on the Planet, Funniest [Expletive Initials], Luckiest [Person Born Out of Wedlock], Most Viral Video, Most Dangerous Man and the first annual Brass [Family Jewels] Award.

Sorry, we're still stuck back at "cacophony of manly pursuits." Do Spike Men know what "cacophony" means? Can Spike Men spell "cacophony"? I'm fairly certain they can't. Why did they use a girlie word like "cacophony" in their announcement? Maybe because the Spike reps whose names are on the news release are, um, chicks.

Spike, owned by Viacom, which is run by 80-something Sumner Redstone, says the event also will feature everything guys want, including a bevy of "unbelievably foxy trophy girls."

Do they mean unbelievably foxy girls will hand out trophies, or that the girls themselves are trophies? We asked; we like to be clear about these things. Spike means that foxy girls will hand out trophies. The person who explained this to us was Casey Patterson, senior vice president at Spike TV and the head of event programming and talent development.

Patterson is Spike's foxy trophy girl.

Literally.

She came up with the idea for the Guys Choice awards; she also was Spike TV's first employee -- the Founding Female of Spike, as it were. Ironic, yes? Do Spike guys get irony?

Anyway, getting back to this cacophony of protesteth too much: Instead of the usual four or five nominees in each category, which, we were assured, is soooo girlie, Spike will pick just two nominees in each category for guys to vote on, so the derbies can be "settled like men, 'mano a mano,' " according to the announcement. This is so much kinder than coming right out and saying men get confused if you present them with four or five options, don't you think?

The executive in charge of production for Spike TV, who's also involved with the Guys Choice project on the network side, is Alicia Portugal.

Geesh, aren't there any men at Spike working on this project?

Foxy Trophy Girl Casey assures us that lots of men at Spike were involved with this show, starting with Doug Herzog, who oversees the network. And it's being executive-produced by Joel Gallen, who produced the MTV Movie Awards. He's a guy.

Online voting for winners starts May 1. We wondered how Spike can ensure that only guys do the voting. After all, almost half the Spike prime-time audience is chicks.

"We assume that . . . because we're a network for men," Patterson told The TV Column.

But, she added, "if women want to vote, that's cool. That's sexy."

* * *

This Day in Sanjaya: The report, so popular among "American Idol" paranoiacs, that call-center operators in India are flooding the phone lines with votes and keeping talent-challenged Sanjaya Malakar in the running, finally has been exposed as a fraud by an intrepid reporter in New Delhi.

Most of the call-center operators in India have calls automatically dialed for them by computers, and they can't even call next door if they want to, an unnamed Associated Press reporter, um, reports.

Sources close to the production of "American Idol" have said there is no way calls from India, even on 800 numbers, can infiltrate the voting process.

Malakar, he of wimpy voice, pettable hair and prepubescent manner, survived the cut again this week and is now one of just eight singers left in the Fox competition series, which is this country's most watched TV program, averaging about 30 million viewers this season. Sanjaya's father hails from India and therefore, some have speculated, that country must be behind this outrage -- because, Lord knows, we always get the voting right in this country.

But the AP also discovered that Malakar is virtually unknown in India. The Dainik Jagran, India's most widely read newspaper, hasn't even run pieces on him in its fashion column or on its op-ed page, much less in its TV column. It's inexplicable.

The AP reporter speculates this may be because "American Idol" not only is seen a day late in India, it's on an English-language network that attracts very few viewers there.

Other than a couple of newspaper briefs, one short TV news segment and a couple of blog mentions, there's been zip about Sanjaya in that country of about 1.1 billion, the reporter says.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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