Bristol Palin steps in it again ahead of her 'Dancing' debut

By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, September 21, 2010; C05

Bristol Palin: Queen of Double-Entendre.

No, that's not a dance step -- but it is how Bristol continues to make news even before taking a single step on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," which debuted Monday night.

(RECAP: Bristol Palin shimmies; Margaret Cho plods)

(VIDEO: Relive the dances)

Each of the 12 couples competing in this edition was told to come up with a "team" name.

Strangely, Bristol and her partner, Mark Ballas, did not go with the obvious Team Absti-dance.

Instead, you will please refer to them as:

Team Ballin'.

Which, we should hasten to add, is a Speidi-esque name mash-up. Although, of course, they could have gone with Team Brismark. Or Palas -- okay, maybe not.

The pressure is really on America's Most Famous Unwed Teen Mom -- she's the most buzzed about celebrity of the show's fall season. ABC hopes she will measure up to America's Most Put Upon Mom, Kate Gosselin, who last year attracted more than 24 million viewers -- the show's biggest opening crowd ever and ABC's biggest audience in the time slot in 10 years -- when she waltzed to the tune "She's Always a Woman to Me" while dressed as Barbara Eden from "I Dream of Jeannie."

This year's 12 dance couples also had the option of performing a waltz or the cha-cha their first week out. Team Ballin' wisely decided not to waltz and invite comparison with Kate -- Bristol says she's no dancer, but could she actually be worse than Kate, who, in the course of her competition, set the Web ablaze with video grabs of her interpretation of Boris Karloff doing a pasodoble to Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi"?

So, Monday night, Team Ballin' did the cha-cha.

Its tune? "Mama Told Me Not to Come." (#noshedidnt @omg!)

"It's like Levi and my relationship!" Bristol marveled of the tune -- once Ballas explained it to her. "Mama told me not to do it -- but I did it anyway!"

The network and producers expected mama Sarah Palin to be kvelling in the audience -- the show had even beefed up security in anticipation -- but when the judges asked whether Mom were there, Bristol said, "She's not."

And what of Bristol's Modest Costume vow? "We're going to have Bristol dressed up kind of like her mom -- and tear off this dress like ka-baam!" Ballas promised.

"I've always looked like my mom growing up. But there have been times when I haven't," observed Bristol, who is billing herself on the show as a "public advocate for teen pregnancy prevention" and a "regular girl."

So out she came in a matronly gray suit and a red blouse all wound up around her neck, which was then torn off to reveal a red minidress as she began to shake her booty.

"For you," marveled judge Bruno Tonioli, "this is virgin territory. . . . You come out here and shake your hips like a pro."

'The Big C'

Showtime has picked up its new cancer comedy, "The Big C," for a second season after crunching the numbers on its first four episodes.

The pay cable network says 6.5 million people watched the premiere of the show, starring Laura Linney as a suburban wife/mother/teacher who gets a diagnosis of terminal cancer, after which hilarity ensues.

Much harder to get worked up about: Showtime has picked up another season of "Weeds" for 2011. Once upon a time, this was a show about a single mother who makes ends meet by selling Mary Jane in suburban Los Angeles. Ah, simpler times. It's hardly recognizable, when you look at the original release, which we still have.

This season -- No. 6 -- Mom and family are on the lam because son Shane killed a "Mexican VIP" with a croquet mallet and then jumped a shark.

OWNing up, sucking up

Former "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" personality Carson Kressley and celebrity suck-up show reporter/co-anchor Nancy O'Dell are not considered hot enough to have their own talk shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Instead, they will co-host a show in which 10 unknowns, culled from more than 15,000, go through "talk-show boot camp." In captivity, they learn how to book interviews, research story ideas, survive a screen test and get critiqued by celebrities -- at the end of which, one of these unknowns will get his or her very own talk show, on Oprah's own OWN.

"Now I can check off one of my career goals, which is to work with the amazing Oprah Winfrey," O'Dell, wearing the mask, emoted in Monday's announcement.

"As soon as I was offered the job, I said, 'Where do I sign?!'. "

Kressley added: "I am so thrilled, grateful and excited to be a part of 'Your OWN Show.' Not only do I get to inspire and be inspired by an amazing group of very talented contestants, I will also have the privilege of working with seasoned pros like Nancy O'Dell, Mark Burnett, and, of course, my hero, Oprah Winfrey. How lucky am I?!"

Burnett, best known for "Survivor" and "The Apprentice," is producing "Your OWN Show" for the new Oprah/Discovery Communications cable network.

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