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In Movies & TV Commentary

Oconomowoc native Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner Brent Ridge took home first prize in this season of "The Amazing Race."

"Amazing Race" contestants have Wisconsin connection


When the contestants were announced for the latest season of "The Amazing Race" on CBS, I was surprised to see a pair that I've seen before.

Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner Brent Ridge had a show on the short-lived Green Planet channel, where the pair showcased their purchase of a farm and a move to sell goat cheese and other food and wine products. "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" presented the trials and tribulations these former New Yorkers endured in their move to the country.

Kilmer-Purcell, who originally hails from Oconomowoc, often spoke of this rural upbringings on the show. On Sunday, the pair came from behind, making it through a number of eliminations to win "The Amazing Race" and $1 million prize.

"We met a lot of people traveling over 25,000 miles through nine countries before winning 'The Amazing Race.' And every single person who cheered us along, helped with directions, hugged us, gave us water, shared their food, sold us a plane ticket, drove us to the middle of nowhere, yelled at their TV set on Sunday nights, traded their plane seat so we could de-plane quicker, pointed in the right direction, or just plain got out of our way to let us pass has earned our deepest gratitude," the two wrote on their blog.

Besides being big fans on the show, their experience in the TV world probably helped, too. Kilmer-Purcell is an author and works in marketing, while Ridge was a former show producer, working with Martha Stewart and others in the past.

"The Fabulous Beekman Boys" now airs on The Cooking Channel, and knowing the marketing minds of these two, I'm sure we haven't seen the last from Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge.

In the ratings game, the Wisconsin connection wasn't enough to have the show win the night, especially against the Packers-Lions game. However, when a live sporting event is head-to-head against a regularly scheduled show, the ratings usually go up for the show in the +7 numbers as ratings households with DVRs get recorded for the time-shifted viewing.

ASPiRE ON THE AIR: Time Warner Cable has added the ASPiRE network to the digital tier on channel 228. The new offering features programming aimed at African-Americans and was launched by NBA great Magic Johnson.

The small "i" in the network's name is correct. Probably a clever marketing suggestion made by clever marketing people.

"We are excited to offer customers ASPiRE, which celebrates the heritage and groundbreaking cultural achievements of African-Americans, while creating new opportunities for the next generation of ground-breakers and game-changers," said Marci Pelzer, the senior director of communications at Time Warner Cable Wisconsin.

The network will air music and other performance specials, documentaries, comedies and films, which will be presented by actor Laurence Fishburne. The statement mentions the actor's work in "The Matrix" and "Boyz 'n The Hood" as his notable standouts. As far as film goes, he has had varied roles and box office triumphs. However, I like to remember him for his TV work, including Cowboy Curtis on "Pee Wee's Playhouse"

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