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April 16, 2014

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Strip Scribbles: L.V.-based reality TV shows ready to roll with new seasons



Gigolos” studs-for-hire Jimmy Dior, Vin Armani, Steven Gantt, Brace Land and Nick Hawk. Dior is not returning in Season 3, which begins Aug. 30, 2012.

Showtime's Gigolos

Ghost Adventures


Celine Dion and Elvis Presley

'Eating Las Vegas' 2012 at Guy Savoy

Launch slideshow »

Eating Las Vegas at L'Atelier

pictured at Eating Las Vegas Book Release event at Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV on November 17, 2010.  RD/ Erik Kabik/ Retna Digital Launch slideshow »

December 2010: Zumanity at New York-New York

Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity at New York-New York. Launch slideshow »

Tim McGraw at The Joint

Tim McGraw performs at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on June 7, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Three Las Vegas-based reality TV series are ready to roll with their new seasons.

First up Aug. 30 with 10 new episodes is Season 3 of the unscripted and racy Showtime hit “Gigolos.” Fan-favorite hunks-for-hire Nick Hawk, Vin Armani, Brace and Steven Gantt return, and there’s a newcomer, raven-haired Ash Armand, who replaces Jimmy Dior, who has been dropped from the cast due to legal problems.

One episode will reportedly show the hi-jinks when a male client seeks to “rent a male gigolo partner,” and that’s certain to raise eyebrows even higher than normal with the boys’ bedroom bravado. The male escorts are all heterosexual, but we have to tune in to see if one goes gay for pay!

Last season, the gregarious guys juggled girlfriends while Las Vegas customers wanted everything from marathon dating to clients fulfilling a dying wish, bridal shower shenanigans and transgender dates.

Producer Marklen Kennedy debuted the show in April 2011, and its ratings have been strong enough to secure a third outing in just two years. “Gigolos” has defied skeptics about its authenticity and legality as the five escorts balance home lives and career goals with client lists.

Then comes Zak Bagans’ Season 7 of “Ghost Adventures” on Sept. 14 to kick off Travel Channel’s 2nd annual Weekend to Die For premieres. Zak’s newest series “Paranormal Paparazzi”, which features an interview segment with yours truly, premieres Sept. 28.

Zak tells me that Season 7 features 12 hourlong episodes with travels to Texas, Chicago, Indiana and Minnesota. He said: “I can’t believe we’ve been filming for seven seasons, and there’s no end in sight. We are absolutely excited for an explosive new season with some of the most chilling investigations we’ve ever conducted and compelling evidence captured.”

RAISING THE DEAD: Celine Dion’s amazing hologram technology that lets her sing duets with Stevie Wonder and herself in her Colosseum at Caesars Palace spectaculars has become a battle between rival British TV shows. “The X Factor” and “Strictly Come Dancing” went head-to-head to lockdown Celine and the hologram technology, and Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” lost out.

British tabloids are reporting that Celine and her crew will make a fall round-trip Las Vegas-London flight to perform her new album track featuring the Stevie duet on “Strictly Come Dancing,” with BBC’s taxpayers picking up the huge costs. However, “X Factor” still plans to use the technology so that finalists can sing with such dead pop-music legends as Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Amy Whitehouse, just as Celine did with Elvis on “American Idol.”

FOND FAREWELL: Sadly, I wasn’t able to be at chef Bradley Ogden’s farewell at Caesars Palace due to my travels; his famed restaurant is making way for Gordon Ramsay’s new gastropub. His exit is the end of an era after a decade of culinary achievements. Rival Las Vegas chefs, his ex-line chefs and culinary experts turned out to salute him as he starts his new fine-dining plans for Las Vegas and a reality TV cooking series with son Bryan Ogden.

My pal Al Mancini, an author of “Eating Las Vegas: the 50 Essential Restaurants,” captured the farewell beautifully on his blog. I’ve been a big Bradley Ogden fan since my “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” days and am proud to call him a good friend. He has my good wishes for continued success here and in California wine country.

BLUE MAN GROUP AUDITIONS: When Blue Man Group’s new show debuts Oct. 10 at the Monte Carlo after jumping from the Venetian, it will feature a futuristic and interactive Showbot. BMG President Willy Burkhardt will be in Las Vegas on Tuesday and Thursday when the production holds open casting for performers interested in playing the robot.


Italian designer Domenico Dolce, co-founder of Dolce & Gabbana, has been on a Las Vegas business trip and vacation. While here visiting his two new stores at Crystals in MGM’s CityCenter, he also watched five Cirque du Soleil shows in three days: “Ka” at MGM Grand, “O” at Bellagio, “Viva Elvis!” at Aria, “Zumanity” at New York-New York and “Mystere” at Treasure Island. The icon of fashion said he’d seen Cirque’s touring shows in Europe but wanted to see as many of its Las Vegas residency shows while here. He picked up several bags of souvenirs from each of the shows’ boutiques.

Hip-hop mogul 50 Cent dined at chef Wolfgang Puck’s Lupo in Mandalay Bay for the second time in less than a month and enjoyed shrimp pasta. Chef Rick Moonen of RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay was at First Food & Bar in the Palazzo for chef Sammy DeMarco’s goat cheese souffle at midnight.

Bally’s headliner and “American Idol” Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks watched “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace and posed for photos with the cast after the show. Actor Anthony Mackie and his family dined on Kobe meatballs and spaghetti carbonara at Lavo in the Palazzo. And reality TV show blogger Reality Steve, who has thousands of female followers, dined at Carla Pellegrino’s Bacio in the Tropicana.

A BIG THANK YOU NOTE: A very sincere thank you to the nearly 50 guest columnists who filled in with fascinating stories, happy memories and proud achievements while I was away on my annual Italian trip. I thought all of you did an incredible job, and judging by traffic, everybody else loved your contributions, too. Thank you again, and be prepared to get a call again in a year!!!

It’s great to be back, even though it was a fabulous 23-day journey through Venice, Bologna, Tuscany, Florence and Rome, with wonderful wines and fantastic food ever step of the way.


Super-group music collective JJamz featuring five best friends -- Maroon 5’s James Valentine, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes drummer Jason Boesel, Phantom Planet’s Alex Greenwald, The Like’s Z Berg and musician Michael Runion -- perform their debut album “Suicide Pact” at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip.


Tim McGraw and Faith Hill confirm our April 30 exclusive that they’ll have a residency run at the Venetian/Palazzo this fall to rival neighbor Garth Brooks at the Wynn. Plus, Oscar winner Robert De Niro’s candid interview at Caesars Palace with new revelations about his Nobu hotel and his upcoming film “Last Vegas” that he’s shooting here with Oscar winner Michael Douglas.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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