Seacrest cashes in with ‘Bank of Hollywood’

Posted Nov. 05, 2009, at 6:20 p.m.

While channel surfing this week, the Man on the Couch stumbled across a reality show with a little bit of everything.

Somehow it has slipped under my radar (the Man says it’s over a year old), and despite its ridiculous stupidity, neither of us could bear to change the channel.

“Smile … You’re Under Arrest,” a Fox production, was the brainchild of Sheriff Joe Arpai — a real-life sheriff in Maricopa County, Ariz., known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” with more than 10,000 people incarcerated in his jail system.

The sheriff apparently didn’t have enough inmates and wanted to go after those who have arrest warrants, so he did what any good law enforcement officer would do. He turned to reality TV.

The show takes unsuspecting criminals, thinking they’ve won something such as a chance to be a TV show extra or fashion show model, and uses the fake taping session as a way to get these bad boys (and girls) off the street.

The emotional ups and downs are hilarious to watch. At first, the “winners” are excited for their chance at fame and fortune. Once they realize it’s a prank show complete with improv actors and comedy writers they’re left disappointed, but still laughing. Then comes the harsh reality of it all — they’re placed under arrest by real police officers.

While I couldn’t track down the next time the show is set to air on Fox Reality Channel, I did find a few episodes on Hulu worth taking a peek at.

A little more current, The Hollywood Reporter announced this week that “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest is far from out. In fact, he’s very in with E!, which has ordered a new show, “Bank of Hollywood,” to debut at 10 p.m. Dec. 14. Seacrest will follow ordinary people as they request cash from a panel of celebs who will be giving away their own money.

Panelists include author and entrepreneur Candy Spelling, French-American poker player Vanessa Rousso, Wilhelmina Models president Sean Patterson and Pussycat Dolls singer Melody Thornton.

Lisa Berger, executive vice president of programming at E!, told The Hollywood Reporter that it’s all about innovative philanthropy.

“We’re giving real people the opportunity to garner life-changing sums of money and, at the same time, fulfilling our judges’ desire to make a difference in the lives of others — one person at a time,” she stated.

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