The new season of CBS's "Big Brother" is just one broadcast hour old, and already, Ian Terry is walking a fine line.
It's too early to tell whether Mr. Terry, a Shaler Area grad studying engineering at Tulane University, will be endearingly geeky or irritatingly so.
Either way, he's made a strong impression right off the bat.
Filmed walking into the typically garish foyer of the Big Brother house Thursday night, he yelled, "Honey, I'm home!" A clever homage to William H. Macy's "Pleasantville" homage to classic sitcom dads or just a random stab at attention?
Only Mr. Terry, 21, knows for sure. But he has proven to have an encyclopedic knowledge of "Big Brother" and "Survivor" lore (having immediately pegged Houseguest Willie Hantz as a relative of notorious "Survivor" finalist Russell Hantz), which should serve him in good stead.
Another Houseguest, Ashley Iocco, 26, is a graduate of Franklin Regional High School now living in California. After telling her new best friends/potential enemies that she owns a mobile spray tan business ... Well, you could hear crickets.
"People always think that I'm ditzy," she said.
Moving on, Ms. Iocco later tells the camera she considers Mr. Terry "a cutie-pie."
The show's host, Julie Chen, mentioned that contestants were not allowed to talk to each other before entering the house, so it's unlikely the two knew they both were from Pittsburgh.
In a twist, the 12 Houseguests discovered they were going to be mentored, a la "The Voice," by former "Big Brother" players. Both locals were safe from elimination after the teams competed in an obstacle course involving big prop beds and teddy bears.
CBS tends to get a lot of mileage out of "Big Brother," which runs another hour Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. At stake is a $500,000 grand prize.
"Big Brother" addicts can get their fix of photos, updates, videos and even live-streaming at www.cbs.com/shows/big_brother/.
The emotional roller coaster that is "Dance Moms" (Lifetime, Tuesdays) was stuck in high gear. One moment, Penn Hills studio owner Abby Lee Miller was plotting to bring in some ringers (one candidate was taller than Abby!) to dance with the younger girls and beat the dreaded Candy Apples at their own game.
The next, she was complaining that Dance Mom Kelly Hyland had hijacked her choreography when the latter talked daughter Paige into secretly changing a routine.
And Abby was right. Beneath the screaming and insults that pass for conversation each week, she rightfully pointed out that she is the teacher, the choreographer and authority figure.
Meanwhile, all was not well in Candy Apple Land. Studio owner Cathy Nesbitt-Stein brought in not one but two guest choreographers. Both studios lost out on top prizes, and Ohio Dance Mom Jill Vertes said she is beginning to suspect Cathy is just using Jill's daughter, Kendall, to spite Abby.
• The Las Vegas finals for "American Ninja Warrior" (G4 Sundays, NBC Mondays) debuted this week, with 88 competitors taking a shot at the first segment of the course.
Only 18 completed the course, with Mt. Lebanon motion graphics artist Danny Johnson turning in the fourth-best time (1:42.31). Twelve more finalists tackle the intimidating course in next week's shows, then it's on to the second segment.
• The CW's ballet-themed reality show, "Breaking Pointe," recently concluded, but star Allison DeBona is still on her toes. The Chartiers Valley graduate will be teaching classes at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet Company next week.
• Tryouts for NBC's "The Biggest Loser" will be held today in Philadelphia and July 21 in Cleveland. The casting press release said, "casting producers are looking for charismatic individuals who have the desire to change their lives forever and vie for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lose weight and compete for a grand prize of $250,000.
Candidates will not be allowed to line up prior to three hours before the start of the open call and should being a nonreturnable photo of themselves.
Season 14's auditions today are at Planet Fitness on Roosevelt Boulevard. The Cleveland tryouts are at the Crowne Plaza South on Rockside Road. Hours for both are 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Those who cannot make it to the open calls can submit videos. More information is available at www.thebiggestlosercasting.com.
Maria Sciullo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG. First Published July 14, 2012 4:00 AM