Dish Of Salt: Thursday TV Roundup (Janurary 21, 2010)

Lowe Leaving “Bros”
After four seasons of playing Senator Robert McCallister Rob Lowe is departing “Brothers & Sisters,” ABC confirms. According to Deadline Hollywood, which first broke the news, Lowe felt he was being underutilized on the ABC drama and asked to be released from his contract. The likelihood of that seems high since ABC told us today in a statement, “We would like to keep Rob at ABC; we feel he should be anchoring his own franchise. We are in talks now.” No word yet on when Rob’s last episode will air or how he will leave the show.

“So You Think You Can Dance” Auditions Begin

The question of whether or not “So You Think You Can Dance” will be back for a fall or summer run is still up in the air. However, a network executive last week told me they believed it would be summer. I can tell you that FOX’s dance competition is gearing up for auditions for Season 7 already, though. The first audition date will be Monday, January 25 in New York City at Manhattan Center. Check for full eligibility rules.

“The Bachelor”: Kissing Bandit?
This morning I had an interesting conversation with “The Bachelor’s” Jake Pavelka, where he revealed the reason why he shared that awkward kiss with contestant Michelle Kujawa on Monday night’s episode. “I did not want to kiss Michelle” he revealed. “I did it out of respect. On ‘The Bachelorette’ I knew that Jillian had turned her back to a couple of guys trying to kiss her and that’s really embarrassing. And so I just kind of thought if one of these girls tries to kiss me or something like that I’m just gonna do it because I don’t want to embarrass her on TV.”

And yes, that means in the coming weeks there will be more awkward kisses to watch. Based on a preview clip of contestant Ashleigh with Jake from this week’s upcoming episode, I’d say she would be the next victim of that. When asked if he now regrets his decision to kiss whomever asked, Jake says no. “Not really. You know what, you lock lips and maybe there [are] fireworks? It’s never happened to me, though.” And it certainly didn’t with Michelle.

Meanwhile, in a conference call with reporters this morning, Michelle played down the crazy by explaining that she wasn’t as marriage-obsessed as she seemed on the show.

“The way I was shown on TV it made it seem like I wanted to get married that minute and it wasn’t the case,” she claimed. “I’m just at the point in my life and I have done the dating scene and it would be nice to come home to somebody. I’m in no rush to get married to somebody this year. I still need to be secure and have a lot of things to do before I get married and I have kids.”

“Millionaire” Scores
In further proof that dating reality shows are still big business, Bravo’s “The Millionaire Matchmaker” delivered big ratings for the network on Tuesday night. Season 3’s debut was watched by over 3 million viewers, giving the show its highest rated premiere ever. Next week’s episode features a former child star, Justin Shenkarow from CBS’s award-winning “Picket Fences.” His short stature doesn’t deter his huge ego. Host Patti Stanger joked with me last week how she always would refer to him as the “angry hobbit.” Like most former child stars, he’s a tool and it makes for great TV.

Minelli to “Ugly Betty?”
FOX 411 is reporting that Liza Minelli has signed a deal to join the cast of ABC’s “Ugly Betty.” According to FOX 411, Liza is set to get to work next week and will be appearing in multiple episodes later this season. They claim Liza will be playing Lena Korvinka, a high school drama teacher at Justin’s (played by Mark Indelicato) school. It sounds true to me but ABC would not yet confirm. However a source close to the show told us today, “No deal is in place but would be awesome to have her. Trying to see if formal offer has been made.”

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