Reality check: More local ties on 'Face Off'

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When it comes to special effects makeup, a little black and gold always seems to be in the palette.

Syfy's excellent reality competition, "Face Off," debuts its fifth season Aug. 11 at 9 p.m. This time around, the local ties are even stronger on a show that has featured Pittsburgh artists and many who attended the Tom Savini Special Effects Make-Up program at Monessen's Douglas Education Center.

The new twist this season is the newcomers are challenged by a returning group of previous contestants.

The newbies include Steve Tolin, 33, who runs his own shop out of Pittsburgh, as well as Savini School grad Samantha Allen, 27, of Bayville, N.J.

Back for another try at the $100,000 first prize -- and a 2013 Fiat -- are Savini School graduates Alana Rose Schiro, 20, of Northridge, Calif., and Eric Zapata, 23, of Austin, Texas. The latter earned his way onto the show by winning an online challenge between previously eliminated artists.

Also in the mix is Bryan "Tate" Steinsiek, 31, of Brooklyn, N.Y. Mr. Steinsiek, who appeared on Season 1, also attended the Savini School.

'Summer Camp' opens

On the premiere of USA Network's "Summer Camp" (Thursdays, 8 p.m.), 16 young stereotypes, um, contestants were introduced and quickly thrown into the deep end of the pool.

DuBois native Chuck Lines ("The Sci-Fi Nerd") discovered a kindred spirit in Melinda Gross ("The Geek"), a professional stuntwoman who loves cosplay. On the first day, he could tell by her Chewbacca backpack that they were going to hit it off.

In the meantime, there were challenges to be won. Each team -- guys vs. girls -- had to pick the unlikeliest athletes in a rowing contest, and the girls made a huge miscalculation when they chose Mr. Lines.

He laughed, saying he was an Eagle Scout with merit badges in all sorts of watercraft. So when the teams row, row, rowed their boats, Mr. Lines led the guys to victory.

Teammate Chris Grant called him "the boss dog of the game."


So winning meant two women were sent to the guys' bunk to be judged for elimination. Minnesotan Lauren von Drashek ("The Mean Girl") promptly lived up to her label and told the guys if they spared her, she would spy and cheat on their behalf.

Amazingly, the guys believed her and sent home "flirty" Meaghan Cooper of San Antonio.

When it was all said and done, the day belonged to Mr. Lines, who added that some things never change.

"I've done some things a nerdy guy like me will never get to do, and I'm totally proud," he said. "However, I have the mother of all wedgies at the moment."


Maria Sciullo: or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG. First Published July 13, 2013 4:00 AM


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