Pittsburgher Matt Scoletti, a fitness fanatic, thought he was just recording another video for his website weneedfitness.com three months ago, but it turned into a springboard to fame -- a slightly embarrassing fame though it turns out to be.
Mr. Scoletti, a 29-year-old Murrysville native who lives on the South Side and works as a financial adviser in Monroeville, was attempting to demonstrate how to use a resistance band when things went awry in just the right way, landing him on Sunday's edition of ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" (7 p.m. Sunday, WTAE).
"I was getting ready to step on the resistance band and do bicep curls and my foot wasn't completely on the resistance band yet and I pulled up and it snapped up and cracked me right in the side of the face," Mr. Scoletti said. "I wasn't laughing at the time because it did hurt but the guy filming was absolutely cracking up."
Mr. Scoletti came close to deleting the blooper but said he decided to put it on his Facebook fitness page (facebook.com/weneedfitness) and within the first five hours he had about 50 "likes." A friend suggested the video might be a candidate for going viral. Mr. Scoletti uploaded the video to the "America's Funniest Home Videos" website and then pretty much forgot about it.
A month-and-a-half later, he got a call from an "AFHV" staffer expressing interest in using his video on the show. Mr. Scoletti, a 2002 graduate of Franklin Regional High School, had to take the video off his YouTube account. He was told the show won't consider videos that have more the 1,000 views but the video might make it onto the show.
Earlier this month he got official word: His video was named a Top 3 finalist for the episode airing Sunday. The production flew him and a guest -- he took his brother -- to Los Angeles for a Saturday afternoon taping of the show.
"You'll definitely see us," Mr. Scoletti said. "We sit in the front row and when they announce you people wave to the camera but we decided to do something else. Hopefully they'll air that. We don't want to be boring. We have to represent we're from Pittsburgh. We didn't want to just bring a wave."
The studio audience voted on which of the Top 3 videos they found the funniest, and although Mr. Scoletti is sworn to secrecy on how his video fared, it sounds like he comes home a winner regardless. Mr. Scoletti said at worst he gets only $2,000 for third place while the second place winner gets $3,000 and the top place finisher gets $10,000.
Plus, he got a free trip to L.A., including airfare, hotel, car rental and a meal allowance.
"I would have done it for the free trip to L.A. and hotel room," Mr. Scoletti said, laughing.
Last Friday on "Anderson Live" (11 a.m. weekdays, WPXI), Pittsburgher Nena Interval called into the syndicated chat show to tell host Anderson Cooper and guest co-host Suze Orman that she wasn't going to make it to the studio to offer a "frugal Friday" tip after all: She thought the show taped in Los Angeles when it is actually produced in New York and she'd flown to L.A.
Mr. Cooper asked if she had not checked the studio address on her tickets. She had not.
"You may have the best audience but not the smartest," Ms. Orman quipped.
Mr. Cooper offered to fly Ms. Interval to New York for the episode of his program airing today, but due to Hurricane Sandy, her appearance has been rescheduled for Nov. 9.
Here's hoping Ms. Interval makes it this time because she won't have another chance next season: "Anderson Live" ends in May after two seasons.
NBC announced its midseason program premiere dates this week, including the return of "Smash," which moves to 10 p.m. Tuesday beginning Feb. 5, and "Community," which returns to 8 p.m. Thursday starting Feb. 7.
NBC is pulling a switcheroo on Thursday night sitcom "Up All Night." The comedy, now in its second season, will take a break after its December episodes and transition from a single-camera comedy to a multi-camera comedy.
What does this mean? Single-camera comedies are shot like a film with no studio audience or laugh track. Multicam shows are shot in front of a studio audience and viewers at home hear the laughs, which are either from the audience or a laugh track, depending on how honest a show's producers choose to be.
NBC has ordered an additional three episodes, according to Deadline.com. So when "Up All Night" returns in the spring, it will have five episodes as a multicam show to prove its ratings worth.
Switching a show's format midstream doesn't happen that often ("Happy Days" may be the most famous case), although I do recall CBS's "Private Benjamin" making the jarring transition midway through its second season in 1983. All a show's sets have to be reconfigured and stadium seating for an audience is brought into the soundstage. The changeover also asks viewers to make the shift from one style of comedy to another.
HBO will join the networks of NBCUniversal, including NBC, USA, Bravo and MSNBC, to air a one-hour benefit telecast for Hurricane Sandy victims at 8 tonight. Matt Lauer hosts the event from New York with collected donations going to the American Red Cross. Performers will include Christina Aguilera, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Sting. ... USA network has officially canceled "Common Law," executive produced by Pittsburgh native Craig Sweeny, who is now writing for CBS's "Elementary." ... FX renewed comedy "Wilfred" for a third season to air next June. ... The CW's "Gossip Girl" will end with a two-hour series finale on Dec. 17. ... AMC renewed its Western "Hell on Wheels" for a 10-episode third season this week but then the showrunner quit so the renewal is now on hold pending the hiring of a new showrunner. ... ABC ordered a full first season of underappreciated comedy "The Neighbors" and gave a similar "back 9" episode order to sophomore drama "Scandal," bringing both shows to 22 episodes for the 2012-13 TV season. ... NBC's "Saturday Night Live" returns with a new episode this weekend hosted by Louis CK featuring musical guest fun. Upcoming installments will feature Anne Hathaway and Rihanna on Nov. 10 and Jeremy Renner and Maroon 5 on Nov. 17. ... Cable network G4, in the process of updating its brand, plans to jettison its two signature series, "Attack of the Show!" and "X-Play," at the end of 2012. ... "Luther," which has been airing on BBC America, has been renewed for a four-episode third season.
Today's TV Q&A column responds to questions about network schedule changes this week, "Touch" and "The Mentalist." This week's Tuned In Journal includes posts on "Revenge," "Dallas," "The Baby Wait" and "Homeland." Read online-only TV content at post-gazette.com/tv.
This week's podcast includes conversation about "Homeland," "Mockingbird Lane" and "Castle." Subscribe or listen at http://old.post-gazette.com/podcast.
TV writer Rob Owen: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook for breaking TV news.