Jeff Christensen/associated press file photo


Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

DANCING WITH (EX-) ROYALS: There are few people these days who fit the description of being "famous for being famous" better than members, active and former, of the British Royal Family. Which is my (lame, sure) explanation for why I keep covering the possibility that Sarah "the other Fergie" Ferguson, Duchess of York and ex-wife of Andrew, Duke of York, has been entertaining the idea of appearing as a contestant on the next season of Dancing With The Stars.

More than mere possibility, it appears — according to a story on thecontactmusic.comwebsite, the duchess has been publicly offered a spot on the show by producer Conrad Green, who took his sweet time responding to this plum bit of publicity — perhaps he was too distracted by the chance, now extinguished, that Jennifer Aniston was interested in appearing on the hit ABC show.

"Fergie will add a touch of class to the proceedings and the fans will be waiting to see if she falls for her dance partner," said Green, wishfully. "Everyone loves a royal romance and her presence will bring dazzling ratings."

That, dear readers, is the rare sound of a TV producer speaking with unadorned honesty. "We like having a mixture and we’ve not had a duchess."

If Fergie signs on the dotted line, it probably will mean major ratings and a firestorm of publicity for the already top-drawing show. It’ll also roll back the boundaries of possibility for how far reality TV can creep into the A-list, roped-off VIP section of celebrity. It’s one thing to fill the airwaves with celebrity trainwrecks (Flavor Of Love, The Surreal Life) or weird B-list experiments (The Princes Of Malibu, Meet The Barkers), but even the most banal glimpse into the lives of the truly famous, like Fergie’s former in-laws, would be a ratings smash on the order of the (gratefully-) cancelled O. J. Simpson "Here’s How I Offed Her" special — without the poisonous karmic downside and the complete moral bankruptcy, of course.

WOULD JULIA CHILD APPROVE? PBS, the U.S. public broadcaster, has added a PBS brand of coffee to its fundraising merchandise, according to a story in the New York Times.

The specialty blend, to be roasted and packaged by Green Mountain Roasters, will also be offered through the broadcaster’s website. PBS management said the coffee was a response to calls by the government for the broadcaster — which receives 13 per cent of its funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and federal grants — to "be more entrepreneurial in finding additional sources of funding," according to the Times.

Which means that market research has determined that PBS viewers are assiduous coffee drinkers, in addition to habitual users of canvas tote bags. It’s in that spirit that I can announce the sale, starting in the new year, of Idiot Box semi-jacketed hollow point .38mm shells, with proceeds going to this writer’s "Need me a big-ass TV now" fund.

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