Atlantis Ready For Close-Up

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Atlantis may be on display for fewer Americans than it hoped for in signing up to play backdrop for ABC's reincarnation of "Battle of the Network Stars"/"The Superstars". It's the very liberal use of the word "stars" that's squarely to blame.
"Eight pairings of big-name athletes and less-big-name celebs compete in odd athletic events," says Newday's Web site in describing "Superstars", premiering tonight.

Others in the biz are less charitable in describing the series that pits one two-person team against several other two-person teams in sporting showdown after showdown. Like the 1970/80s originals those events include everything from kayaking to the running an obstacle course.

All of that action is staged at Atlantis, which vied for the honor and the kinds of millions of dollars in advertising you just can't buy, especially in a recession that has culled air arrivals to The Bahamas by 15 percent this year.

Still that whopping cash value may be another casualty of the downturn.

While ABC was able to line up athletic hotshots like the NFL's Terrell Owens and former tennis champ Jennifer Capriati, its budget may have precluded offering big name celebrities the kind of payout their star power dictates.

As a result, the show has gone considerably down market with names like model/actress Joanna Krupa (?), Extreme Makeover Home Edition's carpenter Paige Hemmis (?) and singer Julio Iglesias Jr.

The last on that list is not to be confused with his once-famous father, Julio Iglesias Sr., or his celebrity brother Enrique Iglesias.

But, the show's dearth of star power may actually work to this destination's advantage, bumping Atlantis up from a supporting role to a lead one.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009