Reality Check: 'White Collar Brawlers' focuses on Pittsburghers again


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In the second of three episodes shot in Pittsburgh during the summer, Oxford Solutions IT recruiters Geoff Morgan and Corey Walker starred as "White Collar Brawlers," a new limited-run series at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on the Esquire Network.

The guys are competitive in more than recruiting new hires. Tuesday's show featured a pingpong game that underscored Mr. Morgan's tendency to get hotheaded under pressure. "A ticking time bomb," as one co-worker put it.

These two appeared naturals for a program that pits office mates against each other in the boxing ring. Mr. Morgan stated early on that he suspects Mr. Walker is stealing his recruits, prompting the latter to respond, "I never stole anybody's candidates. It's not my style."

So, onto the 3rd Avenue Gym they go. Owner Jimmy Cvetic had them sweating and in great pain after one practice session. Trainer Johnny Spells, who handled Mr. Morgan throughout the six-week ordeal, began with the fact that boxing isn't something easily learned at a quick pace: "But we're going to microwave this."

Beyond the physical challenges, the men soon discovered that training is a time-consuming business. Relationships with significant others, and with work, took a hit. Finally, it was time for the match.

Slightly shorter, Mr. Walker surprised with a flurry of jabs to easily take the first of the three, two-minute rounds. Mr. Morgan settled down and won Round 2. In the third round, both were so exhausted they could barely keep their arms up. The judges' decision went to Mr. Walker.

Everyone agreed the men would probably still fight it out at work over candidates, but the blood-and-guts experience in the ring was a bonding experience.

"I have nothing but respect for Geoff," Mr. Walker said.

* James Wolpert fell prey to the Twitter Instant Save Curse on NBC's "The Voice" and was eliminated Tuesday. Each of the four singers "saved" this season in the 5-minute fan tweet window promptly exited in the next round.

Singing U2's "With or Without You," the former Carnegie Mellon University art student drew raves from his mentors, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. But it wasn't enough.

Mr. Wolpert will perform in the two-night season finale, which begins Monday. A former employee at the Shadyside Apple Store, before he left, he sent company CEO Tim Cook an email. Although he invited Mr. Cook to stop by, should he reach the live shows, like Godot, Mr. Cook apparently never showed up.

* Katie Correll would appear to have the qualifications to be one of 11 contestants on Season 2 of TBS's "King of the Nerds." Ms. Correll, who is getting her master's at the CMU Entertainment Technology Center, does research at the university's Robotics Institute and next month, begins a new job at Disney Research Pittsburgh.

The show premieres Jan. 23.

* A minor Twitterstorm erupted Sunday night during the CBS finale of "The Amazing Race," when, in the first hour, two of the four remaining teams decided to work together to reach the final set of challenges.

"Cheating!" was a common complaint, although in the long history of "TAR," many teams have joined forces. After 23 cycles of the program, which airs twice a year, the rules appear to change from time to time -- and generally are not announced to viewers.

For example, then-engaged couple Amber Brkich (a Beaver County native) and Rob Mariano came up with a number of creative, albeit sneaky, styles of game play en route to the Season 7 finale. Among their antics: having decided he didn't want to eat 4 pounds of meat in a roadblock, Mr. Mariano convinced some of the other teams to skip the chow and join them in accepting a time penalty.

Winners of this season's show were dating couple Amy Diaz and Jason Case, who took home $1 million. The finale drew about 9 million viewers but scored a ratings share of only 2.1 among the 18-49 demo.

NBC's "Football Night in America" trounced the competition with 16.6 million viewers and a 6.0 rating.

* So, you think you can dance? Fox's venerable reality competition begins auditions next month in Atlanta (Jan. 13). Other casting calls are New Orleans (Jan. 31) and Los Angeles (March 23) but other sites will be announced shortly at www.fox.com/dance.

* "Farm Kings" returns Thursday on Great American Country, with the promise of the guys overhauling "a clunker for entry into a demolition derby and Lisa entering the local Apple Festival's pie bake-off."

The show features the King Family, which runs its Freedom Farms complex off Route 8 in Butler County.


Maria Sciullo: msciullo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.

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