Through the Wire


Rinna Relying On Her Eye for Fashion

When she sets foot outside the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles late this summer, Lisa Rinna will be filling some pretty big shoes — namely those of Joan and Melissa Rivers.

Through a multiyear deal, the actress, TV host and fashion entrepreneur will head TV Guide Channel’s coverage of the entertainment industry’s five key red-carpet pre-show events, beginning with the Emmy Awards on Sept. 16, as well as provide comprehensive fashion recap shows from the Emmys, Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The Dancing With the Stars performer knows she has a tough act to follow in succeeding the red-carpet queens, who launched TV Guide Channel’s coverage of these events in January 2005, after jumping over from E!. “Joan and Melissa have done a great job. I’ll prepare and be myself. All I can do is be the best Lisa Rinna I can be,” she said.

TV Guide Channel president Ryan O’Hara thinks Rinna’s best is top-shelf. The network, which decided not to extend the Rivers team’s contract for another year, began talking to Rinna in February.

“Lisa is the perfect fit for our air. She’s incredible, fun and beautiful,” O’Hara said.

And also quite fashion-forward: Rinna owns Belle Gray, a women’s clothing boutique based in Sherman Oaks and Calabasas, Calif., and online. It “certainly gives me an eye and, hopefully, an edge toward fashion. I know it, live it, sell it,” Rinna said.

“I’m going to give my opinion, what I like and don’t like,” she said. “I know the designers pretty well. It’s going to be exciting to talk about the award shows and fashion.”

Rinna already has trod the red carpet in hosting shoes, having worked on Access Hollywood’s coverage for the Emmys, Oscars and Globes.

But before she gets around to the Emmys, she and husband Harry Hamlin have a little work to do on Broadway, as they will star as Roxie Hart and Billy Flynn in Chicago in a six-week run. Then Rinna, who last year wrapped a four-season run hosting SoapNet’s Soap Talk, and Hamlin will visit “their place in Canada for a little R and R, like we do every summer.”

Then return, “fresh and ready for the Emmys.”

FCC’s Tate Walks a Mile Just Waiting for a Flight

It was quite a scene around midnight last Tuesday at Gate B2 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Waiting to board a U.S. Airways flight home to Washington, D.C., was a collection of tired lawyers, lobbyists, and FCC staffers making small talk as their 48 hours at the National Association of Broadcasters’ convention was coming to a rapid close.

Republican FCC member Deborah Taylor Tate evidently wasn’t keen on loitering. Though donned in business attire, Tate had a plan to deal with her pre-boarding boredom. She initiated a power-walk session around the carpeted concourse, speeding past dollar slot machines, Starbucks and Mrs. Fields cookie kiosks. We had her clocked at 4.5 miles per hour, a pace good for the heart without producing unacceptable levels of perspiration.

And that was good news for the coach section on Flight 49.

Show Attendees Can Get Their Butts Kicked

Derrières, beware. At the Cable Show next month in Las Vegas, a new home-entertainment technology will debut that’s intended to really stimulate your backside.

The Guitammer Co.’s ButtKicker is … well, let’s let the manufacturer explain this: It’s “a small, linear motor, which reacts to an audio signal sent by an amplifier. It is similar to a loudspeaker, but instead of moving a cone, and transferring sound waves through the air, it attaches to seats and floors, and sends low-frequency sound directly into the listener’s body,” according to Guitammer’s site (

“The effect,” the company promises, “is amazing.” And possibly alarming.

ButtKicker motors are installed today at Disney and Universal Studios theme-park rides, in IMAX theaters and at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center. Now, Guitammer is taking the ButtKicker to TV with a “live” version pitched at cable programmers and operators to let viewers feel what it’s like to, for example, “be slammed into the mat by Hulk Hogan” or “be cross-checked into the boards by an opposing hockey player.” Uh … cool?

Anyway, the company says initial testing of ButtKicker Live is scheduled for later this year with the newly launched Columbus Sports Network, an all-sports programming service in central Ohio.

By the way, we checked: “ButtKicker Live” is indeed trademarked. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office serial No. 75978675 is for “radio, cable, satellite and Internet audio and video broadcasting services, namely, supplying a broadcast signal for reproduction of tactile and haptic events that occur as part of a live or prerecorded program.”