Austin firm featured on ‘Hotel Impossible’

An Austin company will be featured on tonight’s “Hotel Impossible.”

In the episode, Pest Management Inc. uses its trained team of bed bug-sniffing dogs to search for pest problems at a troubled hotel.

“We are proud to be featured on ‘Hotel Impossible’ and proud of the work we do to help hospitality and other businesses thrive,” Pest Management Inc. owner Brian DiCicco said. “Pests can cause problems for every kind of organization and they can quickly ruin a customer’s experience.”

When the trained dogs locate bed bugs, a thermal heat treatment is used to kill the pesky critters without the need for chemical-based treatments.

The “Hotel Impossible” episode marks the second time Pest Management Inc. and its bed bug treatment program have been featured on cable TV. The company was also spotlighted on the National Geographic channel in 2011.

“Hotel Impossible” airs at 9 p.m. on the Travel Channel.

Central Texas teacher competes on tonight’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Stacy Landry
Stacy Landry (Carol Kaelson photo)

Update: Dripping Springs teacher Stacy Landry won $16,904 in cash and prizes, including a trip to Hawaii, on Monday’s “Wheel of Fortune.”

Earlier: Look for a Central Texas teacher on “Wheel of Fortune” tonight.

Stacy Landry, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Rooster Springs Elementary in the Dripping Springs school district, will be one of three contestants vying for cash and prizes on the hit game show.

“A huge fan of ‘Wheel,’ she grew up watching the show with her family and now enjoys tuning in every night over dinner with her husband and their two daughters,” the show said in a news release. “Stacy hopes to use her winnings to start college funds for her kids. When she heard the Wheelmobile would be rolling into Austin, she jumped at the chance to audition to be a contestant.”

So … will Landry win big? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

“Wheel of Fortune” airs at 6:30 p.m. on KXAN.

New AMC show ‘The Son’ holding Austin casting call

A new AMC TV series will hold an open casting call this weekend in Austin.

“The Son,” based on a novel by Philipp Meyer, is looking for paid background extras.

Filming will begin in early June and run through September.

Producers are looking for men and women ages 18 and up, particularly folks with “Wild West” attire, “interesting” faces, facial hair, horseback-riding experience, ranching or farming experience, archery or firearms skills and law enforcement experience.

A description of the show: “This is a world of cowboys, vaqueros, oil loggers and American Indians clashing on the frontiers of the American West as Texas makes a name for itself. The period spans 1849-1915.”

If you’re interested, stop by the Best Western Plus hotel at 2200 S. Interstate 35 this Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. or send an email that includes a current photo to

AMC’s “Preacher” retains some of the cult comic’s ’90s cool, but it’s a solid TV show on its own

Dominic Cooper plays Jesse Custer in AMC's "Preacher," based on the comics by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. (Lewis Jacobs/AMC/TNS)
Dominic Cooper plays Jesse Custer in AMC’s “Preacher,” based on the comics by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. (Lewis Jacobs/AMC/TNS)

For comics fans, writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon’s 1995-2000 DC/Vertigo series “Preacher” was one of the era’s iconic books.

Concerning one Jesse Custer, a small-town Texas preacher who becomes gifted with “the voice of God” (which can compel anyone to do whatever he says), “Preacher” became a vector for everything the Irish writer thought about America, Westerns, God, faith, good, evil, cowboys, patriotism, the nature of organized religion, the Vietnam War and vampires.

Not all of it holds up perfectly, but thanks to Ennis’ incredible ear for dialogue and Dillon’s canny storytelling, “Preacher” became an influential must-read for a certain strain of geek. (There is more than a little of the Irish vampire Cassidy in Spike from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”)

Now, after years of development, a television adaptation premieres Sunday on AMC. The pilot screened at South by Southwest, to a typically rapturous SXSW reception.

Nerds, beware: This is in no way a straight adaptation of the comic. Plotlines have shifted, various bits sewn together. Instead of walking the earth with his pals like Caine in “Kung Fu,” it seems Jesse will be confined, more or less, to one place (possibly for budgetary reasons).

But creators Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin have molded elements of the comic into something that could very well succeed on its own.

MORE FROM JOE GROSS: How comic book movies are making comic books worse

The pilot, directed by Rogen and Goldberg, opens with something flying through the cosmos — a ball of light, crying like an infant. It slams into a Christian preacher in Africa. For a second, all seems well. Then … disaster.

Eventually, we find ourselves with Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), the pastor of a small, poorly attended Texas church. We are told that Jesse has a checkered, violent past but has returned, out of a sense of obligation, to the church where his daddy preached. (For the record, West Texas is played in “Preacher” by New Mexico.)

Other disagree, but I found the casting of Cooper to be a bit wobbly. Quite frankly, the British-as-it-gets Cooper — who played Howard Stark in the “Captain America” movies and in the show “Agent Carter” — couldn’t look, let alone sound, LESS Texan, no matter how many badass signifiers he sports — the drinking, the smoking, the swagger, the ‘tude.

And he is a pretty terrible preacher. This is probably intentional; running a dying church is probably not what Jesse wants to be doing with this life  (and explains the poor Sunday turnout).

But it’s also hard to imagine a Texas church, any Texas church, putting up with his lifeless yakking for long. He does have one supporter in Emily (Lucy Griffiths), a widow and single mother whose character is just screaming, “I have a weird secret that will be revealed down the road.”

Things liven up with the arrival of his ex-girlfriend and former partner in crime, Tulip (the excellent Ruth Negga, an Ethiopian-Irish actress who can’t quite locate a Texas accent, either). A bit of a manic criminal dream girl, Tulip nevertheless gets a memorable scene involving explosives that’s easily the show’s joyous highlight. Tulip was a terrific character to begin with; Negga find in her new depth and energy.

Other supporting players include Sheriff Hugo Root (good to see you, W. Earl Brown) and his disfigured-thanks-to-an-attempted-suicide son Eugene (Ian Colletti, a nice surprise). And then there’s Cassidy (Joe Gilgun), an Irish outlaw and undead wanderer who comes to Annville, bringing trouble with him. Gilgun knows he has the fun part — he gets to drink everything in sight, swear and chew scenery like a vamp draining a helpless blonde.

Cassidy and Tulip are the show’s beating heart (no vampire pun intended), the id to Jesse’s superego, which is clever. After he is infused with the Lord, so to speak, Jesse suddenly has power beyond imagining, directly from a God that he probably no longer believes in. Cassidy and Tulip (and even Emily) show Jesse various directions he could go with his power.  Clearly, he will have to find his own path.

Thus far, it’s a decent adaptation of material that wasn’t exactly screaming to be put on television. But in a world where “Walking Dead” rules everything around it,  you can’t exactly blame AMC for rolling the dice.

“Preacher” premieres Sunday with an encore presentation May 29 .

Austin’s ‘Sports Buffet’ radio show expands to San Antonio

Rod Babers and Craig Way
Rod Babers and Craig Way

An Austin-based sports talk show is expanding its footprint.

Starting today, 1300 The Zone’s “Sports Buffet” with Craig Way and Rod Babers can be heard in San Antonio, as well, on Ticket 760.

“I am extremely excited to grow the ‘Sports Buffet’ audience into such a passionate sports market like San Antonio,” Babers said. “We have a great team on the ‘Sports Buffet’ and we are dedicated to providing our fans with unique, high-quality sports entertainment.”

The show will air in both cities from 4 to 7 p.m.

“It’s a thrill be on Ticket 760 in San Antonio,” Way said. “I have had great experiences there in the past with Texas Longhorn broadcasts and as a guest on several different shows through the years. To be a part of the great sports fans of San Antonio and to deliver our unique brand of sports talk is something that Rod Babers and I are excited to share up and down Interstate 35 from Austin to the Alamo City.”

In San Antonio, “Sports Buffet” replaces a show hosted by Geoff Sheen, who was let go Thursday night, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

New midday host at country station 98.1 KVET-FM

Bree Wagner
Bree Wagner

One of Austin’s top-rated radio stations has tweaked its lineup.

Bob Pickett, a station veteran, has shifted to afternoon drive on 98.1 KVET-FM. He can now be heard weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Taking Pickett’s 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. midday spot is a newcomer, Bree Wagner.

Wagner currently works at sister station KAJA-FM in San Antonio and will split her time between the two cities, station owner iHeartMedia said.

“Bree is a rock star air talent and programmer,” said Travis Moon, director of country operations for iHeartMedia’s Central Texas region. “Her music passion, knowledge and relationships will only strengthen the brands in Austin and we are excited to expand her role with iHeartMedia.”

In addition to her new on-air gig, Wagner will also serve as music director and assistant program director for KVET-FM, as well as sister station KASE 101.

“I am so excited to be a part of the legendary 98.1 KVET and KASE 101 in Austin,” Wagner said. “Austin is such a great city and it’s a dream come true to be a part of it every day.”