We start the post-2012 Memorial Day Weekend with three exclusives!
EXCLUSIVE #1: Audiences are growing and loving “Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” at the Tropicana so much that hotel executives and BBC officials have agreed to extend its run for 30 days -- into August -- and negotiations are proceeding for a new run with a new celebrity and pro dancers cast this fall to coincide with the all-star Season 15 of the ABC juggernaut.
Tropicana owner Alex Yemenidjian confirmed the news exclusively to me at the first-anniversary party for chef Carla Pellegrino’s Bacio at the resort property. He teased me with: “There’s still more surprises coming this summer, so we’re doing well with all the new plans falling into place.”
EXCLUSIVE #2: Amid giant expansion, Lingerie Football League President Mitchell Mortaza flew over the weekend with two Las Vegas Sin players for the All-Star game tour in Australia starting in Brisbane on Saturday. Nikki Johnson and Sunshine Misa-Uli will play on the Western League team. Another matchup takes place in Sydney on June 9. Chloe Butler, who played for the two-time defending champion L.A. Temptation this past season when she emigrated from Down Under, returns home to play the tour.
Mitch told me exclusively that LFL will probably tour in July through Asia, including a stop in Shanghai for an exhibition game. Meantime, weekly open practices continue in a Summerlin sports park for the 20 girls who’ll make up the Sin roster, with 14 on the active list. First up, though, is the LFL expansion to Canada in August. Then the U.S. season begins next April with two teams added in Omaha and St. Louis. Mitch says LFL Australia will begin in December 2013 and then LFL Europe in summer 2014.
EXCLUSIVE #3: Planet Hollywood owner Robert Earl has OK’d start of construction for an Earl of Sandwich at the Palms, with a late June, early July opening.
POKER GLORY -- 3 FOR 3: The World Poker Tour’s Championship Week wrapped up in glory with three of the world’s best players capturing three of the game’s premier titles at the Bellagio over the weekend. “We couldn’t have asked for a better or more spectacular way to end our historic 10th season,” said WPT head honcho Steve Heller. “We crowned two very deserving tournament champions and saw one of our most dramatic Player of the Year races come all the way down to the wire. … Those players are fighting for the prestige of that title.”
Some 152 players, including Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Vanessa Selbst and defending champion Scott Seiver paid $25,500 each to compete. “Mad” Marvin Rettenmaier claimed the title and nearly $1.2 million in prize money. It took him more than 12 hours to navigate his way through the Final Table, ousting Michael “The Grinder” Mizrahi, Steve O’Dwyer, Nick Schulman, Trevor Pope and runner-up Philippe Ktorza in an epic, 77-hand heads-up battle. Philipp earned the largest payday of his career: more than $805,000.
Joe Serock edged out Will Failla at the end of a hard-fought, season-long battle. The events were filmed for Fox Sports TV. The Super High Roller game attracted 34 entries with a $3.3 million-plus pool. Tom Marchese doubled down by re-entering after busting out on Day 1. His skill and tenacity over 80 hands of heads-up play paid off with the victory and the first-place prize of more than $1.3 million.
New episodes of the WPT continue to air Sunday nights on Fox Sports. The two WPT World Championship and WPT Super High Roller tournaments filmed begin airing Sept. 16 as three-part episodes during the six-week Season 10 at Bellagio.
A ‘LITTLE’ EXTENSION: The overwhelming response to legendary comedian and impressionist Rich Little’s pre-Broadway show “Jimmy Stewart & Friends” has led to an extension at LVH through July 4, with an open-ended agreement for Rich afterward until the New York theater contract start is finalized. Rich calls on 25 celebrity voices, including Cary Grant, George Burns, Ronald Reagan, Katharine Hepburn, Johnny Carson and John Wayne, for the show that relates life of the superstar.
Brad Garrett presents standup comics Michael Loftus, Jen Kober and Doug Starks at his MGM Grand comedy club through Sunday. David Brouwer and The Foundation perform through Wednesday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; 1 OAK at the Mirage has a $5,000 prize for the best model still standing after all the weekend parties; Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater celebrates its fifth anniversary with its spring concert series at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts; Blunderbuss is at Beauty Bar; and Laura Shaffer and Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno join David Perrico’s 18-piece “Pop Evolution” band featuring Naomi Mauro at South Point.
Shania Twain starts preparations for her Caesars Palace residency beginning Dec. 1, and we have inside details; Surrender celebrates its second anniversary; continuing 2012 Miss USA coverage; and Tyrese Gibson’s story of how he escaped East L.A. to achieve stardom.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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