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‘Extra’ Heads to Sin City

Sep 5, 2005  •  Post A Comment

“Extra” is making a double-down bet on Sin City.

The Telepictures syndicated strip is kicking off its 12th season, which premieres the week of Sept. 12, by opening a Las Vegas bureau in the city’s Hard Rock Hotel. The bureau, a first for any of the magazine strips, will also have a dedicated correspondent: former “Celebrity Justice” co-anchor Carlos Diaz. “Our theme for next season is ‘”Extra” takes you there,'”

said Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, “Extra’s” senior executive producer. “Entertainment doesn’t really happen in a canned studio.”

The addition in Las Vegas coincides with a number of other tweaks for the series, including a revamped set, the addition of a full-time music critic and the return of former “Celebrity Justice” executive producer and commentator Harvey Levin to a full-time position with “Extra.”

“Justice” premiered in syndication in fall 2002 as a spinoff from “Extra” with Mr. Levin as an executive producer and on-air legal analyst. “Justice” ended production this past season.

Ms. Gregorisch-Dempsey said “Celebrity Justice” segments would continue to appear on “Extra” daily, and she called Mr. Levin “the main face for those kinds of stories.”

The Los Angeles-based “Extra” set is evolving to reflect coverage in areas other than Hollywood, Ms. Gregorisch-Dempsey said. “Seventy-five percent of our show will be done in the field,” she said. “We’re going to have a big tote board where you can follow where we are taking you next.”

“Extra” is also adding music producer and manager Jude Cole as a music critic. Mr. Cole, who is a partner with actor Kiefer Sutherland in the recording studio Ironworks and who manages the group Lifehouse, will interview musical talent and introduce new albums and singles to the audience.

Mr. Cole will not do “full-on critiques” of artists’ new albums, Ms. Gregorisch-Dempsey said, but will discuss music with artists. “His interviews will have a little edge to them,” she added.

Co-hosts Dayna Devon and Mark McGrath are returning for the 2005-06 season, but Ms. Devon will have the month of September off for maternity leave. Filling in for her will be a variety of celebrity guest hosts, including Celine Dion, Dave Navarro, Leah Remini, Jeff

Probst, Tyra Banks, Fran Drescher and Tommy Lee.

In addition, “Extra” is bolstering its New York ranks by adding correspondents AJ Calloway, the former co-host of BET’s music video show “106 & Park,” and “All My Children’s” Cameron Mathison. Both correspondents will appear twice a week.