Mark's Media Spotlight

Mark's views on what's happening in the media.

Big Brother 15 -Casting Analysis.. and advice for BB 16


Was this the worst cast ever?

My analysis of this year’s #BB15 casting .. I hope Big Brother will consider this below for #BB16. A lot of people have been mentioning that this has been one of the worst casting seasons to date. I do thinks that has more to do with who ended up staying to the end, than that all were poor casting choices. The problem with Big Brother casting is that they continually want to cast a lot of wannabee actors (How the hell did David make the cut, he didn’t even want to be there) (labeled as bartenders, beauty queens, pageant coordinators etc…) They need to also stop with the token flaming Drama queen. It’s nice to see on Survivor and TAR, they have had many LGBT individuals that were not flaming Andy’s, Ragans, Marcellas’ and from Canada, Gary Glitters… (Caleb this year on Survivor is a great example!)
These people are usually filler and they add phony drama… But as a casting agent, I would indeed have casted Amanda (who has a lot of Evel Dick personality without the smart game play), Howard, who should have won America’s favorite and was fairly unique,
Helen, who was interesting, flawed and ultimately ousted too early… Candice was a great casting choice – another one who said it like it was,
Nick might have turned out to be another Dan Gheesling but again, left too early to tell, On the poor casting choice side, Jeremy was a clone of Season 6’s Cappy, GM was a stereotype of stereotypes, Spencer was dull, Elissa was dull (sorry, don’t see what she added to the storylines/drama except to be hated for being Rachael’s sister), Andy as mentioned we’ve seen before – Ragan, Marcellas’, etc…, Kaitlin was filler, McCrae, who they thought was another Ian, but was Amanda’s puppet instead and quite dull,
Bottom line is to try and stop finding people like other popular players and try and find some original personalities as they do on the other CBS shows..
Perhaps it’s easy to play hindsight, but it doesn’t take hindsight to figure out that a better mix of older and younger / more diversity would find a much more interesting new blend of drama..


September 19, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet the Contestants of Amazing Race 21

For complete details  go to the Reality Fan Forum at,27200.0.html  (the credit names are forum members)   Each picture clicks to details within the forum.  

  The Teams
  Photos courtesy of Slowhatch, Chateau d If and reta!

M/M  Gary Wojnar and Will Chiola (Friends)
Team identified by ovalorange!

M/M Jaymes Vaughan & James Davis (Chippendales Dancers)
Team identified by Slowhatch and Cocoa!

M/M Brent Ridge & Josh Kilmer-Purcell (Fabulous Beekman Boys)
Team identified by georgiapeach and Chateau d If!

I’m especially excited to see this team perform based on their performance on their Beekman Boys Series.



p[M/M James LoMenzo & Mark “Abba” Abbatista (Metal Musician & Manager)
Team identified by Macaroons!

M/F Trey Wier & Lexi Beerman (Dating)
Team identified by north09 and boston_jen!

M/F Rob Scheer & Sheila Castle (Engaged Lumberjacks)
Team identified by georgiapeach!

F/F Brittany Fletcher & Caitlin King (Friends)
Team identified by Al!

F/F Nadiya Anderson & Natalie Anderson (Twins)
Team identified by Chateau d If, amazinglatinoamericafan and Alenaveda!

M/F Amy Purdy & Daniel Gale (Couple)
Team identified by boston_jen!

M/F Ryan Danz & Abbie Ginsberg (Couple)
Team identified by TARdevotee!

M/F Rob French & Kelly Carrington French (Married Monster Truck Drivers)
Team identified by georgiapeach!

August 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Salvation Army’s Practices Make Chick fil-A Seem Tame

Salvation Army Should Not Receive Any Gay Dollars…

With all the recent hoopla we’ve gotten over Chick fil-A (deservedly so), let’s not forget about a far worse organization in terms of practices to their own employees and open discrimination. 

I received the following letter today and I thought I’d share….

Mark –

I loved my job at the Salvation Army. I’ve spent much of my life working for Christian organizations, and it made me feel great to work to help poor people. But last week, I was fired because I revealed my sexual orientation.

The Salvation Army has great social service programs that help so many people, but I was uneasy about the organization’s policies about sexual orientation. My unease grew more serious when I heard about an Australian Salvation Army official who was forced to apologize after he said that gay people deserve to die.

So I went to my supervisor to express my concerns, and in the process, I came out as bisexual. That was a Friday afternoon. On Monday morning, I was fired — and I was told explicitly that I was losing my job not because of poor performance, but because my “personal beliefs and position do not 100% align with the values of the Salvation Army.”

I don’t think it’s right that an organization that does so much good should be so prejudiced against people who aren’t straight. So I started a petition on asking the Salvation Army to change its policies and not fire anyone else on the basis of sexual orientation — click here to add your name.

After I was fired, I was so angry at the Salvation Army. But this past weekend, I walked by a homeless man who asked me for help. I went into a restaurant and bought him some pizza, and sat and talked with him for a while. He made me realize how much I miss my job, and how devastated I was to leave my clients.

The sad truth is that now, instead of worrying about my clients, I have to worry about whether I’ll be able to provide for my own daughter.

I know that petitions on have prompted major companies — like DynCorp, a giant military contractor — to offer employment protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. I hope that if enough people sign my petition, we can convince the Salvation Army to do the same. 

Click here to sign my petition asking the Salvation Army to pledge never again to fire someone on the basis of sexual orientation. 

Thank you,
Danielle Morantez


August 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boycotting Chick Fil-A – Has The Gay Community Gone Too Far?

The Chick Fil-A Boycott. Has the gay community gone too far?

OK.  So Chick-fil-A has been all over the media lately thanks to their President Dan Cathy’s “controversial” remarks about homosexual marriage.  Why is it that whenever someone expresses a personal belief, the gay community cannot have any tolerance for their position and seems to demand that they no longer be allowed to practice business.  The thing is, we should be encouraging and allowing people to express their beliefs. 

Now, granted, when you run a major business of any sort, it would be in your best interest to keep your opinions to yourself, but when you are foolish enough to express an opinion that will hurt others, we should be thanking them.  So now “militant homosexuals” (as they are described by former GOP President hopeful Mike Huckabee) are gathering to demonstrate on August 3rd with same sex kissing inside Chick-fil-A stores.  Huh?  Really?  Is this going to accomplish anything positive?  Not only is that counterproductive, but it only provides more fuel to those who believe the gay community is one of intolerance for beliefs outside of their own. 

The gay community has every right to not support the establishment and to spread the word to others who also wish to not support them.  But what we should not be doing is forcing our beliefs on others and driving the anti-gay groups into the Chick-fil-A shops.  The gay community is not going to change any minds by attempting to force others to believe as you do, but if enough already do believe as you do, you will obtain your goal of loss revenue for the homophobic establishments by showing others that the gay dollar can be better spent on businesses that don’t donate to anti-gay causes.  And by the way, one of the biggest arguments that anti-gay people have against the gay community is that Chick-fil-A was not charged with discrimination in hiring or service, but simply the fact that its President and Chief Operating office supports traditional marriage.  But what they don’t remind you is that the money you are spending at these places is going towards stripping homosexuals of the same rights as heterosexuals when it comes to Federal and State benefits.

If the gay community really wanted to make a difference, they should spend August 3rd, eating lunch at a gay friendly business and not kissing each other inside a homophobic eatery. 

July 31, 2012 Posted by | Chick Fil-A, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Big Brother 14’s Token Gay – Wil Heuser

Wil Heuser – Looking To “break the gay stereotypes” out there.

So this year, Big Brother’s token gay male is hoping to break all those stereotypes that are out there about the gay community.  (His words, not mine.) He says he likes Whiskey and NOT Cosmo’s and he is a triathlete.  Rather than have me pass judgement, I invite you to take a look for yourself and see how many stereotypical qualities you think will be broken based on this interview clip…  I’m also confused by his profession.  In the picture above it says he’s a Marketing Consultant, but in his interview, he is a Creative Designer.

Wil also hopes to have a showmance, but not with a woman, however, the odds that another gay contestant are in the mix are zero.  For a longer take on our token gay, check out his interview on the ZapToIt website here.

Shane Meaney – Will there be surprises about his past in store for us?

Although I have heard rumors that Big Brother Contestant Shane Meaney did Gay Porn. (I have absolutely no concrete evidence other than various rumblings on Twitter probably from guys with wishful thinking – but you never know.) Interestingly enough, in Shane’s interview, he went out of his way to mention that he one thing he wouldn’t do for a million dollars would be to sleep with a guy.  Also of note, another Hantz brother will be in the mix (Willie).  He most likely is another Jesus lover who won’t get the whole gay thing.

There are a few other interesting characters such as a possible Lesbian and someone who posed for Playboy.  The oldest female contestant is 42 (Jodi Rollins – Restaurant Server and Token Minority) and the oldest male contestant i s 41 (Joe Arvin – Personal Chef).

The twist this year borrows from the twist of “Food Network Star” where there will be 4 veteran players from the past –  Janelle Pierzina, Dan Gheesling, Mike Boogie, and fresh from losing the Amazing Race – Rachel Reilly who will serve as player mentors.  Each will have 3 players to mentor and the mentor who’s player wins the million dollars will receive $100,000.

This may be an interesting season, but the casting hasn’t seemed to break any new boundaries.

July 9, 2012 Posted by | TV, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Backlash of the Gay Male Comedians

Part 2 in my unintentional series on Gay backlash…

Jeanine Garofalo Inadvertently Starts Twitter War

My last blog regarding LOGO-TV’s change of direction seemed to inadvertently touch upon another important issue for the Gay community that turned into a bit of a Twitter war.  It all started when “sarcastic Mark” came out to respond to LOGO’s twitter advertisement for their latest Jeanine Garofolo comedy special. 

I basically stated that it was a good idea to air the Jeanine Garofolo special and promote the heck out of it, because we all know that gay comedians aren’t funny (hence, the sarcasm).  Somehow, this touched a real bad nerve with one gay comedian I never heard of named Shawn Hollenbach, but not in a way I was expecting.  Here’s how it all went down (remember it’s Twitter and we are limited on letters so no grammar police – thank you):

Shawn: Tell the gay world to stop buying Kathy Griffin tickets and support gay comedians.

Mark:  Thank god Wanda Sykes came out. I just got tickets & wouldn’t want to piss u off.

Shawn:  Of course you don’t support gay male comics. Why would a gay man do that?

Mark:  Wow now I can’t even c a lesbian w/out getting yur rath? Any more conditions Hitler?

Shawn: Yes, condition is don’t ask a network to play something you wouldn’t watch. 

Mark: cool – I won’t request you then. -:)

Shawn: I’m retired.

Brad Loekle: Gay Male Comedians need more support from Gay males.

The conversation goes on but it doesn’t get any prettier.   So in between all this rigamarole,  I was corresponding with another comedian I actually have heard of (and follow on Twitter) named Brad Loekle.  He was fairly annoyed with me as well because he felt that I was making light of the fact that I was one of many gay men out there who Brad believed only supported females – whether it be comedians like Wanda and Kathy Griffin or singers like Cher, Lady Gaga and Madonna who get scores of gay men idolizing them.   Note: he has a point – I immediately flashed to my best friend who wore a Cher T-Shirt for good luck when he was a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire

Some gays believe a Cher T-Shirt will bring good luck.

So while Brad may have a point here given the bitterness of my ex-friend Shawn, who as Brad put it “HATES me” now,    (Damn Shawn, our friendship was so short-lived and I was hoping we could do a sale at Barney’s together), but the truth is, I would happily support any comedian, male or female, gay or straight, that I can relate to.  We laugh at truth and sometimes this truth might be gay related, but often times it’s another aspect of our lives that hits our funny bone.

And like in dating or friendship, just because you are gay, doesn’t mean I’m going to like you or you are going to like me.

People, gay or straight, naturally tend to gravitate to people that we can relate to and also, are exposed to.  I stumbled upon my love for Wanda Sykes because she was in a really awful Chris Rock movie (pick one, any one) and I remember hating the movie but loving her. So from that point on, I’ve always kept an eye out for her.  I didn’t know or care at the time if she was gay or straight, but when she actually did come out, I was thrilled.

Gay male comedians such as Shawn Hollenbach have a point that we may have not supported their career, but is it fair for them to ask us to seek them out so that their living can be supported?    I remember my first exposure to Brad Loekle years ago from Out Q, a station for the LGBT community on Satellite Radio, as a regular weekly guest on Larry Flicks morning show, but I honestly hadn’t heard from or about him much except for an occasional Outfest special back when LOGO-TV actually featured gay comedians.

TRU TV Presents The World’s Dumbest Criminals every Thursday Night

Since then, I hadn’t heard anything new about Brad, but his career managed to survive without my knowledge thanks to the TRU cable channel, who hired him to host the popular World’s Dumbest Criminals show on Thursdays nights.  (Ironically, it’s now on against and has more viewers than Kathy Griffin’s highly promoted talk show.)  I also explained that I’m new to Twitter and now I that I am a resident in Twitter country, I can follow my favorite comedians and support them easier by knowing when they are in Chicago.

Kathy Griffin: Helping or hurting our cause through her humor

As for Kathy, I always have had mixed feelings for her.  I have gone to her shows and have been a loyal viewer.  But here is where the “mixed” part comes in.  Kathy continuously refers to us has her “gays” and jokes around that every one of us has perfect taste in how to dress, hates sports and a “fierce” attitude.  Do I know that she is just throwing a “wink” at us and knows that we know that she knows we really aren’t all the same?  Of course I do and it’s fun to say we are all this slightly different variation of Carson Kressley and throw out some jokes about it to one another.  But with Kathy throwing out the “one size fits all” gay jokes she does,  I laugh and I get it, but does the Tennessee mom with 3 kids who is  afraid they will learn about homosexuality in school get it?

Everyone knows that all gays are not just a variation of Carson Kressley. Or do they?

Or will she go out and sign a petition to keep her state free of Gay marriage? Again, feelings are mixed.  I don’t have the answer – maybe you do.  Is it possible to for us to educate the general public without losing our sense of humor?

So back to Brad Loekle.  Brad, thank you for reaching out and taking the time to explain your concerns.  It is evident that he has a passion about this as I’m sure other gay male comedians do so I don’t want to make light of it.  I want to also note that Brad mentioned that he no way harbors any resentment to the female comedians out there and as stated in his final tweet to me:

“I ADORE all the “ladies”… but we can still love them while we put our money & love behind ourselves too”

Dave Rubin: Helping the cause to promote the Hot Gay Comics out there.

And for what it’s worth, I have several male comedians out there who I’d love to see in action on stage based on my experiences with seeing them on TV, Brad, Alec Mapa, and Andre Kelley immediately come to mind.  Alec, probably the most successful in terms of recognition, has been a favorite of mine since the very short-lived and under appreciated CBS flop, Some Of My Best Friends.

You also have Dave Rubin, who probably has done the most to promote other gay comedians as he used to have a fantastic podcast that I subscribed to and listened to religiously called Hot Gay Comics. (Which was also a series on the “hard to find anywhere” HERE TV network).   I guess he ran out of Hot Gay Comics and had to move on to something different.  So now he’s the host of The Six Pack on Sirius/XM, which is also a podcast you can subscribe to at   I highly recommend following him on Twitter @therubinreport as his tweets can be highly entertaining.

Frank DeCaro and Jeanine Garofalo Doria Biddle from Sirius Out Q radio

As for other gay comedians, I listen to former Daily Show comedian Frank DeCaro on Sirius Out Q radio and believe him to have a great following of gays, but perhaps not as much for his humor as for his lesbian sidekick, Doria Biddle, who manages to keep the show balanced from becoming a 3 hour discussion on classic TV. She also looks eerily like Jeanine Garofalo. And one of Frank’s fans, who has his own fan base thanks to his heckling style of sarcasm with Frank on the phone, “Paul From Massachusetts”, continually promotes male comedian Adam Sank on his blog and on Facebook.   The Derek and Romaine show on Sirius Out Q also has featured a plethora of gay comedians.  I assume these people also go to their shows so we can eliminate that there is no support from the Gay males out there, but is there enough?

I don’t make any excuses though as to whom I like or don’t like and don’t feel the need to support people who don’t warrant it.  But there is support out there for “the gays” as Kathy would say.  Maybe there is enough support for male comedians out there, or maybe there is not enough ….. or maybe you just aren’t funny.  Incidentally, Shawn Hollenbach, has since retired from Standup at the age of 31.

However, if any of the above mentioned are ever in town (except for my ex-friend Shawn), please let me know and I’ll even try to bring a few more gay males with me.  I hope you don’t mind if one of them is wearing a Cher T-Shirt.

July 2, 2012 Posted by | LGBT, LOGO, TV, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

More Shark Tank News!

Entertainment entrepreneur Mark Cuban is joining ABC’s “Shark Tank” for the show’s second season.

The owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and chairman of cable channel HDNet will be a guest venture capitalist for three episodes.

cuban Mark Cuban joining Shark TankThe pitch-perfect casting has the always-opinionated Cuban joining the regular panel of self-made multimillionaires judging business ventures pitched by enterprising small-business owners.

He joins the more unusual and previously announced casting of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who also will appear in three episodes. Even before the second season was announced, producers received more than 20,000 inquires from entrepreneurs who wanted to pitch their ideas.

“Shark” is produced by Mark Burnett Prods. and Sony Pictures TV and will return next season.

September 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

More Shark Tank News!

September 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shark Tank Renewed By ABC!!!


Mark Burnett’s ingenious show (based on BBC’s Dragon’s Den) has finally been renewed!

ABC has renewed the Mark Burnett produced Shark Tank for a second season of 8 episodes. For three of the episodes, Jeff Foxworthy will join the five original sharks (real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, “infomercial” industry pioneer Kevin Harrington, technology innovator Robert Herjavec, fashion icon Daymond John, and financial expert Kevin O’Leary).

Production will begin this fall with the episodes scheduled to air sometime in 2011. What’s Jeff Foxworthy doing on the show though? Sounds like a miss match, but I never doubt Burnett’s ability to produce a good show. Foxworthy is an unusual addition, not being a name that leaps to mind when you think about business savvy. But ABC points out he has his own line of beef jerky and BBQ sauces, in addition to expanding his comedy career to albums, books and forays into TV (including hosting Burnett’s game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader”).

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment