Fake News: NBC finds everlasting curling

When workers arrived to remove television equipment from the Olympic Curling Center following Sunday night’s closing ceremonies, they were surprised to find curlers continuing their apparently endless string of round-robin matches.

Despite an empty stadium and none of the live TV coverage that marked 12 days of competition, rivals slid stones and swept ice much as they had throughout the Winter Olympics. One of the participants said they would continue the matches virtually non-stop for the next three years because “we’re curlers — what else are we going to do? A job that doesn’t involve sliding? I don’t think so.”

Executives at NBC immediately signed the teams to appear in at least 20 hours a week of prime-time programming, though there will be some slight rule changes to make the event more exciting for home viewers.

Gone will be the plain grey curling stone, to be replaced by a different “guest mass” each week. For example, the first week of shows to begin in mid-March will feature frozen turkeys, the second week will include newborn infants, and the third week will introduce the severed heads of recently discarded NFL running backs LaDanian Tomlinson, Brian Westbrook and Thomas Jones.

The new series, to be called “NBC — Nothing But Curling,” will run through 2013 from Vancouver, then go “on the road” for its final year. The last season will follow the players as they travel over land through Canada’s Northwest Territories, over the North Pole, and down into Russia, skidding toward the site of the 2014 Olympics one 150-foot length of ice at a time.

“We’ll be taking curling back to its natural state, along frozen rivers and lakes, and over the polar ice pack,” said curling commissioner Gordon Everhart. “We might lose a few skips to the polar bears, but that’s part of the excitement of the game.”

In an attempt to maintain the respectable ratings brought by the winter games, NBC is also debuting a new reality show from executive producer Jerry Seinfeld and bringing back Jay Leno to his late-night “Tonight” spot.

Seinfeld’s “The Marriage Ref” didn’t appear very promising during previews before affiliates and TV critics last month, but NBC President Jeff Zucker said the network “pretty much has to do anything that Jerry wants.”

One source from within NBC said the concept, which features celebrity judges resolving minor marital squabbles of real-life couples, was the “least of three evils that Seinfeld proposed.”

The other ideas that he reportedly floated were a show called “The Birthing Ref,” in which panelists would gather around laboring mothers-to-be to discuss the merits of a vaginal versus caesarean birth, and “The Coma Ref,” wherein stars such as Kelly Ripa, Alec Baldwin and Larry David will form a “death panel” to decide which critically ill patients will be unplugged from their ventilators, then presented with fabulous prizes.

The legendary “Late Night Wars” from the 1990s will be re-fought at the 11:30 hour, with Leno taking on CBS’s David Letterman in what is certain to be an epic battle to the death that will ultimately leave only one survivor standing.

Each host has lined up a blockbuster list of guests the first week. Leno will chat with a Predator drone and an array of heavy artillery weapons, which will then be sent cross-country to explode on the set of Letterman’s Broadway theater. Dave will play “Stupid Missile Tricks” with a Tomahawk cruise missile before it is released toward California to deliver its payload of napalm.

“Jay is playing for keeps this time. He will not be tricked again,” said one Leno aide, referring to the ill-fated attempt to move the comedian to a 10 p.m. slot on NBC last year. “There will be no more ‘Jay Walking.’ Now, it’s going to be ‘Jay Talking’ — talking in the language of modern warfare. Death to Dave! Death to Paul! And death to the CBS Late Night Orchestra!”

After this "end," we're headed to the Yukon

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