‘America’s Got Talent’ to feature ‘daredevil grandma’ from Austin

Nikki McBurnett (Facebook photo)
Nikki McBurnett (Facebook photo)

Another Austinite has made it onto “America’s Got Talent” this season.

Look for Nikki McBurnett on an episode set to air this week.

Producers describe McBurnett, who has been active in the local roller derby scene, as a “41-year-old daredevil grandma.”

On the show, she’ll take part in “an ‘explosive’ challenge you’ve got to see to believe,” according to a publicist.

McBurnett’s appearance comes two weeks after another Austinite popped up on the hit NBC show.

Catch “America’s Got Talent” Tuesday at 7 p.m. on KXAN.

MTV’s ‘True Life’ needs Austinites

TRUELIFEMTV’s “True Life” is gearing up for another season, and producers are on the hunt for Central Texans to feature.

The documentary series, which was has been a part of the cable network’s lineup for nearly 20 years, is looking for people ages 16-28 for several upcoming episodes.

The topics are below. If you think you’d be a good fit, send your best pitch and a photo of yourself to mtvtruelifestories@gmail.com.


MY PARENT IS IN PORN 
Sex is big business. But is it your family business? Do you have a parent who works in porn? Do they perform or produce adult films? Or do you have a parent who makes a living designing, manufacturing or selling sexy toys or other adult products and related goods and services.  We are interested in hearing how your life is shaped by the career choice of your parent. Perhaps you accept and support what they do to pay the bills…or maybe it’s made your life harder and you wish your parents had a more conventional line of work. Will you follow in their footsteps? Either way, we want to help you tell your story!

CALLING ALL TWINS
Are you a twin who’s tired of being a package deal? You know you’re an individual with your own thoughts and opinions but being a twin, does it seem like no one else knows that? Have you finally gotten to a place in your life where you’re considering making a big change, like moving away from your twin for the first time…or even making a drastic physical change, just to differentiate and claim your individuality once and for all? Or are you and your twin actually opposites in every way other than looks? Do they get on your last nerve? Have they done something so bad you just can’t forgive them? If you’re considering drastic measures to distinguish, separate, or distance yourself from your twin, we look forward to hearing your side of the story!

I’M NOT SURE WHOSE BABY I’M CARRYING/ARE YOU MY BABY DADDY?
No matter what your circumstance, getting pregnant can have a huge impact on your life. But if you’re not sure who the father is, it can make a tricky situation even more difficult to handle. Things happen, relationships have highs and lows. And sometimes circumstances mean you may not be 100-percent sure who the father of your child is. Are you pregnant with or raising a child with questions of who their father is? Or maybe you know who the father is and he won’t step up. Now you want to prove it once and for all.

Or are you a man who is convinced you’re the father of a child but for whatever reason, the child’s mother won’t admit the child is yours? Are you a man raising a child you’ve been told is yours but you’re starting to have doubts?  You may love the child, but you need to know. If you are pregnant, or have recently had a child, and are questioning the baby’s biological father, or you’re a father who’s not sure if the baby is yours, we want to hear your story.

I’M DATING / MARRYING MY COUSIN
They say you can’t help who you love. So what do you do when the person you’ve fallen in love with happens to be your own cousin? People talk about supporting the right to love and marry whoever they want…but despite all that talk, do you still feel like you and your cousin have to hide your feelings for each other? Are you afraid of being judged? In many cultures it’s common, and it’s even perfectly legal in some states…so why do you have to live in shame? Love is complicated and the love you’ve found may not be “acceptable” by some people’s standards. But it’s time to speak out and be heard. Are you in love with your cousin? Are you married, engaged, or thinking about getting engaged? Let your love be stronger than their judgment. This is your chance to help the world understand, and we want to hear your story.

I’M INSTA-RICH 
One minute you were short on cash. The next minute you’re rolling in dough. Are you someone who came into a lot of money VERY quickly? Maybe you worked your butt off to build a business that finally blew up over night? Maybe you designed a killer app and have gone from struggling student to wealthy business owner. Maybe an unexpected inheritance, hit song, popular YouTube channel, or just dumb luck has completely changed your situation. If you are young and Insta-Rich, we want to hear from you!

I’M ENGAGED TO A STRANGER 
Are you engaged to someone you haven’t actually met in person yet? We know love is powerful and nowadays some of our strongest relationships can start and flourish online. Did you meet on Twitch, flirt on Snapchat, date on Skype and get engaged on Instagram? Are you already talking wedding dates, but you just haven’t met face to face yet? Or maybe the situation is much more “old school” and you’re getting into an arranged marriage. Mom and Dad know what’s best (or not) and you’re putting your love life in their hands. Or has a prison pen pal captured your heart and you’re just counting the days to their release so you can finally get married? Are you about to make a forever promise to someone you have never met in person? People do it every day, and we want to hear all about your story!

I’M A PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO THE STARS 
You’re a personal assistant. Now that may not sound very exciting to most people at first, but that’s because they have no idea your boss is a famous actor, recording artist, pro athlete or huge celebrity. Sure you still have to do the day to day stuff, answer calls, walk the dog, make coffee…but when you’re boss is a baller you get access and fringe benefits that would drop jaws. You get to see a side of celebrities that most never do. You see the real person. Behind every great star is a great assistant keeping all the chaos in check. You know that you have a job that most would dream of, and we want to hear all about it!

Former KXAN anchor Brian Sanders starts new Tulsa gig

briansandersJudging by a review of recent search terms on this blog, former KXAN morning anchor Brian Sanders has been on the minds of many.

Just take a look at the attached screenshot.

Sanders, who departed Austin’s NBC affiliate with little fanfare in late May, has relocated to Tulsa, Okla., where he’s set to be the evening anchor at KJRH.

In a (somewhat cheesy) video the station created to introduce him to viewers, Sanders says he’s “so excited” about his new gig.

“Tulsa is a really cool town,” he says.

Sanders is set to make his debut tonight.

Judy Maggio joins Leadership Austin team

Judy Maggio retired from KEYE in May.
Judy Maggio retired from KEYE in May 2014.

After a year of traveling, relaxing and reconnecting with family and friends, former KEYE anchor Judy Maggio is re-entering the workforce.

Maggio, who spent more than three decades delivering the news to Central Texans before retiring last May, has been tapped to head Leadership Austin’s Engage Breakfast Series.

The breakfasts feature a variety of speakers discussing topics of local interest, such as upcoming elections, the economy, education and social services.

“I’ll help take an unbiased look at all the issues facing the city,” Maggio said in a post on Leadership Austin’s website. “We will gather different perspectives and engage the community – just as I did as a reporter.”

Maggio is the perfect pick to lead Engage, according to Leadership Austin CEO Christopher Kennedy.

“Judy is well-versed on the complex issues Central Texas faces, and we’re incredibly pleased she will help make the connections for our Leadership Austin alumni and non-alums with the top experts and policymakers who are tackling these issues,” he said.

Engage is held monthly at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. General admission tickets are $25. For more details, visit leadershipaustin.org.

KUTX adds assistant program director

Jacquie Fuller
Jacquie Fuller

There’s a new addition to the management team at 98.9 KUTX-FM.

Jacquie Fuller has been named assistant program director, a new position for the 2 ½-year-old station.

She’ll focus on fundraising, community outreach and marketing, according to KUTX, in addition to serving as a fill-in host.

Fuller arrives from Minnesota Public Radio, where she handled audience strategy and fundraising duties, in addition to hosting a weekly show.

“Jacquie brings nearly 15 years of fundraising and marketing experience – not to mention a deep love for Texas music – to KUTX at a time when we’re poised for tremendous growth,” program director Matt Reilly said. “With the head of a fundraiser and the heart of a programmer, she brings a unique mix of talent to the team.”

UT football, other sports broadcasts moving to 104.9 The Horn

University of Texas sports are moving to a new spot on the radio dial.

UT has inked a deal with the locally owned Austin Radio Network that makes 104.9 The Horn the school’s flagship station starting this fall.

The move is a blow to 1300 The Zone, which is owned by San Antonio-based iHeartMedia. The company has had the rights to UT sports for about two decades.

UT sports coverage will spill over onto Austin Radio Network’s other stations as well, including Classic 105.3 and 98.5/99.3 KOKE-FM.

“Our new partnership with ARN will bring more Longhorn events and coverage to fans in Austin,” said Scott Willingham, general manager of Longhorns IMG Sports Marketing, the firm that oversees UT broadcast rights. “We’re particularly excited about an abundance of programming in addition to football, including more exposure for Longhorns’ Olympic sports. The university’s student-athletes, teams, fans, and corporate supporters will all benefit.”


Texas Athletics sports broadcast stations:

KOKE-FM 99.3 FM
Texas Football
Texas Basketball-Men

KOKE-FM 98.5 FM
Texas Football
Texas Basketball-Men

KTAE-AM 1490
Texas Football
Texas Basketball-Men

KTXX-FM 104.9 FM
Texas Football
Texas Basketball-Men
Texas Basketball-Women
Texas Baseball
Texas Softball
“Featured Game” coverage for any or all of the other UT sports.

KTXX-HD4 – 105.3 FM
Texas Football

KLGO-AM 1260
Texas Football

FIESTA 97.1 FM (KTXX-HD2)
Spanish language Longhorn Football

KZNX-AM 1530
Spanish language Longhorn Football

UT fans needed for Longhorn Network commercials

Ricky Williams has appeared in previous LHN ads.
Ricky Williams has appeared in previous LHN ads.

Wanna be in a Longhorn Network commercial?

The cable channel is looking for University of Texas fans to serve as extras during an upcoming shoot.

The “All the Live Long Day” ads will be shot June 22 and 23 in the Austin area and will feature UT football, basketball and baseball legends.

Hook ’Em, Texas Cheer and Pom, Cowboys, Silver Spurs, Hellraisers and the UT Band will be on hand, too.

To connect with producers, shoot an email to rsvp@preacher.co.

Austinite to be featured on tonight’s ‘America’s Got Talent’

Damone Rippy (Trae Patton photo/NBC)
Damone Rippy (Trae Patton photo/NBC)

Look for an Austinite on tonight’s episode of “America’s Got Talent.”

Damone Rippy, 16, is set to show off his flyboarding skills in hopes of winning the $1 million grand prize.

Rippy, who competes nationally, said he got his start after watching flyboarding videos online.

The show airs at 7 p.m. on KXAN.

Summer shakeup: Familiar faces depart Austin TV stations

A summer shakeup is underway at Austin’s TV stations.

Former KTBC anchor Jenni Lee is filling in on KVUE.
Former KTBC anchor Jenni Lee is filling in on KVUE.

KEYE, KTBC, KVUE and KXAN have all seen staffers come and go in recent weeks.

At KEYE, Chrisdyann Uribe has signed on as morning traffic anchor. She arrives from a station in El Paso.

Ashley Roberts is now filing reports from KEYE’s Traffic Tracker in the morning and from the studio during the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts.

Fox-owned KTBC reports weekend meteorologist Scott Prinsen has left the station. He’d been there since 2004 and, before that, was at Time Warner Cable News.

Longtime KVUE reporter Shelton Green waved farewell to viewers last week.

KVUE weekend morning anchor Jade Mingus is off on maternity leave. Former KTBC anchor Jenni Lee will be filling in while she’s out.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the KVUE news team,” Lee said. “I’ve known many of them for several years and have always admired and respected them.”

And at KXAN, morning co-anchor Brian Sanders has left the station. The search is on for a replacement.

Austin (hearts) ‘Gilmore Girls’ ATX TV Fest reunion

A large portion of the cast from the TV series "Gilmore Girls" were part of a reunion panel Saturday night as part of the ATX Television Festival on June 7. Credit: Omar L. Gallaga / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
A large portion of the cast from the TV series “Gilmore Girls” were part of a reunion panel Saturday night as part of the ATX Television Festival on June 7. Credit: Omar L. Gallaga / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

For one Saturday night only, the Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin became the warm, fictional town of Stars Hollow as rabid fans of the departed WB series “Gilmore Girls” saw a rare reunion of the show’s cast and its creator.

The series, which ran from 2000-2007, was never a gigantic ratings hit or an Emmy award contender, but its stature in the TV industry has grown since it left the air as Netflix, DVDs sales and syndication have given it more waves of attention and new generations of viewers.

Saturday night’s reunion, which was the most high-profile event of the fourth-annual ATX Television Festival, drew a sold-out crowd to the venue and a flurry of activity on social media as fans of the show awaited word — any word — that “Gilmore Girls” might return as a new set of TV episodes (Netflix!?) or a movie. Crazier things have happened. “Full House” and “Twin Peaks” are both returning with new episodes in the near future.

Alas, show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, who left the series before its controversial (and frankly not that great) final season, did not have any news to break at the reunion, which included stars Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Kelly Bishop, Scott Patterson and 12 others.

“There’s nothing in the works at the moment,” Sherman-Palladino said, although she left the door open by saying that everyone on stage gets along great and would probably be open to a return to the show’s Stars Hollow setting. (That said, it didn’t sound like there was any kind of script being written and if a deal is being worked on, it wasn’t mentioned.) “If it ever happened, I promise we’d do it correctly,” Sherman-Palladino added.

Apart from pining for new content, fans seemed most interested in hearing about the relationships between the characters on the show, what they might be doing today (Miss Patty would be mayor, Luke would be running a bait and tackle shop, Lane Kim would be trying to be more of a Lorelai mom than a Mrs. Kim mom) and what some of their favorite moments on the show were. The show’s stars and creators received a warm tongue bath of attention with fans cheering about lines from 10 years ago that even the actors didn’t remembers and greeting the cast as if they were long-lost family members just returned after an extended departure.

Three stars conspicuously missing from the event: Melissa McCarthy, who has become a huge comedy star and who was not mentioned; Sean Gunn, who is filming a movie overseas and couldn’t make it; and, most notably, Edward Herrmann, who played Rory’s grandfather Richard Gilmore on the show.

Herrmann died on Dec. 31, 2014 and his absence was marked with an empty chair on stage, a beautifully put-together video collection of some of his “Gilmore Girls” work and the revelation from Sherman-Palladino that he was the first of the stars to agree to do the reunion.

“(Expletive) him for dying,” she said, in the nicest, most heartfelt way possible.

The reunion was preceded by a sweaty red carpet in the Texas heat and an after party at Cedar Door where cast members took photos with fans, signed autographs and caught up on new projects.

The large cast of townies from “Gilmore Girls” have gone on to success on many other TV shows including “Parenthood,” “Mad Men,” “Supernatural,” “Empire” and “Justified.”

Sherman-Palladino went on to create “Bunheads,” a beloved, but short-lived show on ABC Family that was also honored with a screening at the festival.

If there were hard feelings about the way the show ended, Sherman-Palladino deflected them with her trademark wit. She said when the show ended, she spent the night yelling at her husband Dan (who co-created and worked on the show) and when asked about statements she’s made about how she would have ended the show, she declined to reveal the four words she’s said would have been said.

Instead, she warmly remembered how great an experience the show had been and how much she enjoyed its cast.

“God, I got so lucky,” she said.

(Left to right) Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of "Gilmore Girl" and cast members Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel and Kelly Bishop appear at the Paramount Theatre as part of an ATX Television Festival reunion of the show. Credit: Omar L. Gallaga / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
(Left to right) Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of “Gilmore Girls” and cast members Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel and Kelly Bishop appear at the Paramount Theatre as part of an ATX Television Festival reunion of the show. Credit: Omar L. Gallaga / AMERICAN-STATESMAN