Dancing With the Stars All Stars 2012 - Tony Dovolani Says Melissa Rycroft Has Changed
Melissa Rycroft has changed so much since the eighth season of "Dancing With the Stars," her pro partner Tony Dovolani says, "It's like dancing with a new person" as they prep for the all-star 15th season that launches Sept. 24.
"She's married now and has a child. She has a better attitude than last time. She even likes different music," reports Dovolani.
"DWTS" fans will recall that last time, the popular "The Bachelor" contestant and "Bachelor Pad" cohost came in with just two days to prepare, subbing for an injured Nancy O'Dell, and wound up making it all the way through the season in a third place finish.
Melissa takes daughter Ava to her daycare/school, then she and Tony rehearse from 9:30 to 2:30, when she leaves to pick up the tot, according to Tony. "She hasn't neglected her child at all," he says -- and they still log intense rehearsal days.
Family man Dovolani is the perfect guy to understand her need to split her time. He has a seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. "At seven o'clock in the morning," he tells us, "the music goes on in my home, and we dance."
See photos of this year's DWTS rehearsals in the gallery below.
GETTING ANIMATED: With his costarring role on Showtime's ribald "House of Lies," his recurring part as the cult fave wildman Jean-Ralphio on "Parks and Recreation," plus a couple of big ticket film writing assignments, rising multi-talent Ben Schwartz is busy -- so busy, he has literally rushed from one set to another to work on the same day. And now he's doing 52 episodes as the title voice role in Disney XD's Sept. 17-debuting "Randy Cunningham, 9th Grade Ninja."
"I don't sleep much. I get very stressed out a lot," admits Schwartz, whose credits include writing for David Letterman and "Saturday Night Live." However, "I started from nothing; I had no connection with anybody in the entertainment industry. When I started, I was just doing comedy for five or six years for no money, just trying my hardest to get work. So the fact I have opportunities now just blows my mind, it gets me so excited, you know, like, if I didn't work as hard as I could, the person I was seven years ago would be so upset at me."
Why a Disney XD animated show? Schwartz says he's a long-term animation buff himself. With "Randy Cunningham," he says, "I get to be a ninja! I get to be this big, funny, broad character and make action sounds like I'm slicing through robots and stuff like that. For me, that's like the perfect fantasy." Plus, his niece and nephew can watch it -- unlike much of his other work. "Randy Cunningham" also attracted voice talent including Tim Curry and Megan Mullally. "It's really funny, and it gets funnier as we go along," Schwartz tells us.
MEANWHILE: Schwartz' screenplay for Paramount's planned updated version of the 1991 comedy hit "Soapdish," with Rob Reiner producing, wound up on Franklin Leonard's annual Black List of best unproduced scripts, voted on by producers. "I did it as a telenovela as opposed to a soap opera. Telenovelas sometimes get better ratings than American shows, so it's like this big movement, this beautiful thing, so I wrote it that way," he says. He's also writing a comedy called "No Hearts Club" for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment. "I'm almost done with the first draft of that."
He has no idea whether he'll land in front of the camera in either film, but he's at the point of going for leads. "Independent films have been very kind to me to make me the lead of films," notes Schwartz, who is remembered as Nathan Meyerwitz, the author who gave away his family's secrets, in 2010's "Peep Show" with Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson and Michael C. Hall. "But in $20 million ones, I'm totally aware that if you put Justin Timberlake or Shia LaBeouf in a movie, it's going to sell a lot quicker than Ben Schwartz."
The way he's going, that could change before long.
WHOLE LOTTA HONORS: Esteemed producer George Stevens, Jr. and his producer-director son Michael are diving into work on this year's Kennedy Center Honors this week even though the show isn't until Dec. 2, with its usual end-of-year airdate. In fact, according to Stevens, they started work as soon as the announcement of this year's recipients was made Thursday. What a group! Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Chicago Bluesman Buddy Guy, ballerina Natalia Makarova -- and Led Zeppelin.
Stevens and Stevens have another big, all-star show airing Friday, Sept. 21, with PBS' "From Dust to Dreams: Opening Night at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts" special on PBS, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Jennifer Hudson, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Emmylou Harris are among the long list of performers on hand for the gala event that shows even Las Vegas can have an artsy side. Not a $5 shrimp cocktail in sight.
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