Annie Duke Takes On The World

By Jae-Ha Kim
Media Life Magazine
May 1, 2006

Airing a new poker series a couple years after the poker craze has already peaked can be a bold move, but GSN is gambling on a win with “Annie Duke Takes on the World,” which premieres at 9 tonight.

Hosted by the telegenic Duke–considered to be the top female professional poker player–the hour-long program pits four amateur players against each other every week. The winner gets to play a game of one-on-one Texas hold ’em against Duke herself.

The casual poker fan may know of Duke for her celebrity ties. She coached Matt Damon and Ben Affleck when they wanted to perfect their game. In 2004 the latter even went on to win the $10,000 California State Poker Championship No Limit Hold’em tournament at the Commerce Casino, along with its $356,000 first prize. As if he needed the money.

After peaking two years ago, interest in poker began to wane in the proliferation of poker series floating around on Fox Sports, the Travel Channel, ESPN and Bravo. The latter’s “Celebrity Poker Showdown”–hosted by Dave Foley–offers a mixture of expert advice and celebrity eye candy, but even that show’s ratings are down from its peak.

As a woman in a field dominated by men, Duke has something a little different to offer viewers. Too bad it’s not a substitute for comic Regan Burns, kind of a poor man’s Dave Foley, who serves as her sidekick.

A look at this week’s top TV draws

MONDAY, MAY 1

8 p.m. Fox Prison Break (D) Linc’s shackled to a wall in an isolated cell. How will he ever get out of that one?

8 p.m. NBC Deal or No Deal (G) Place your bets. 9 p.m. ABC Supernanny (R) Season finale. The mother in a separated couple has trouble with her two kids.

9 p.m. Fox 24 (D) Jack’s on the plan in pursuit of the tape, but what happens when he retrieves it?

9 p.m. A&E Abused (N) A look at Susan Greenberg, who spent 18 years in prison for killing the man who raped and tortured her.

10 p.m. CBS CSI: Miami (D) A newlywed is pushed off a cruise ship and then attacked by sharks.

10 p.m. TLC Shalom in the Home (R) A man who converted to Islam from Judaism for his wife now fights with her about it.

TUESDAY, MAY 2

7:30 p.m. ESPN NFL Draft Wrap-Up (S) Analysis of who went where and how they’ll impact their new teams.

8 p.m. CBS NCIS (D) A drug dealer dies at headquarters, and Ziva’s a suspect.

8 p.m. Fox American Idol (R) Each of the final five perform two songs, one from the year they were born, the other from the current Billboard charts.

9 p.m. NBC Scrubs (C) Dr. Cox shows up to work drunk before hes forced into a leave of absence.

9 p.m. Fox House (D) Part one of two has the doctors treating a cop who was injured in a shooting.

9 p.m. Bravo Blow Out (R) Season finale. Jonathan shoots his first national commercial.

10 p.m. CBS Dynasty Reunion: Catfights and Caviar (A) Ahh, the smell of May sweeps stunts is in the air.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 3

8 p.m. Fox House (D) The second of a special two-parter, which should boost Fox’s weekly average.

8 p.m. UPN Americas Next Top Model (R) While in Thailand, one of the models heads to the emergency room.

9 p.m. Fox American Idol (R) The tension is hot now as only four contestants will remain after tonight.

9 p.m. NBC Dateline (N) Another special edition of NBC’s news magazine, which last week helped boost its Wednesday.

9 p.m. ABC Lost (D) Jack and Kate finally return to camp with some details about The Others.

10 p.m. CBS CSI: NY (D) The team finds a dead woman dressed as a mermaid in the East River.

10 p.m. TV Guide Channel 25 Things You Didn’t Know About Supernatural TV (A) A look at shows like Medium, The 4400 and Ghost Whisperer.

THURSDAY, MAY 4

8 p.m. UPN Everybody Hates Chris (C) Local hoodlums give Chris tips on how to raise money selling cookies.

8 p.m. NBC Will & Grace (C) Will and Vince are back together, which makes “It’s all about me” Grace worry about what will happen with the baby.

9 p.m. CBS CSI (D) An assistant movie producer is found dead on the loading dock of a casino.

9 p.m. NBC My Name is Earl (C) Earl tracks down a former crush he once shot with a BB gun.

9 p.m. Fox The O.C. (D) Seth, already worried about college and women, finds something else to worry about.

10 p.m. Discovery Military Iraq vs. Iraq (N) Comparisons between the 1991 war and the current one.

10 p.m. CBS Without a Trace (D) A single dad and his two kids disappear from their home.

FRIDAY, MAY 5

8 p.m. Fox School of Rock (M) Funny 2003 movie starring Jack Black as a failed musician posing as a substitute teacher.

8 p.m. CBS Ghost Whisperer (D) Season finale. Hundreds of spirits ask Melinda for help at the scene of a plane crash.

8 p.m. Discovery Deadliest Catch (R) Crab fishing in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

9 p.m. NBC Las Vegas (D) Delinda has an answer to Derek’s proposal.

9 p.m. Comedy Central Stand Up Nation with Greg Giraldo (C) A Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring a slew of comics, including Carlos Mencia.

10 p.m. CBS Numb3rs (D) Hackers take control of Don’s checking and savings accounts.

11 p.m. HBO Real Time with Bill Maher (C) Maher delivers more of his left-leaning comedy.

SATURDAY, MAY 6

2 p.m. NBC NHL Hockey (S) Coverage of the conference semifinals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

3 p.m. CBS PGA Golf (S) Third-round coverage of the Wachovia Championship from Charlotte, N.C.

5 p.m. NBC Horse Racing (S) The Kentucky Derby live from Churchill Downs.

8 p.m. ABC Seabiscuit (M) The perfect movie to follow-up your Kentucky Derby viewing.

8 p.m. GAC Grand Ole Opry Live (T) Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols and the Oak Ridge Boys all perform.

10 p.m. CBS 48 Hours Mystery (N) Eric Moriarty investigates the death of a dancer in New York.

11:30 p.m. NBC Saturday Night Live (C) Tom Hanks hosts with music provided by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

SUNDAY, MAY 7

Noon NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship (S) Coverage of the Round of 16.

3 p.m. CBS PGA Golf (S) Final-round coverage of the Wachovia Championship, won last year by Vijay Singh.

8 p.m. Univision Bailando por un Sueño (A) Season finale of Univision’s popular dance competition show.

8 p.m. Fox The Simpsons (C) Marge develops amnesia, meaning, in her mind, that she’s single again.

9 p.m. ABC Desperate Housewives (D) Tom gets fired from his job and Gabrielle and Carlos come to an agreement with Xiao-Mei.

9 p.m. HBO The Sopranos (D) Christopher makes an announcement to the crew while Paulie tries to cut corners at a street fair.

10 p.m. ABC Grey’s Anatomy (D) Derek lets his emotional side get the best of him, which is obviously something you don’t want to do when working at a hospital.

A = awards show or special, C = comedy, D = drama, DD = daytime drama, G = game show, K = kids, M = movie, N = news/documentary, R = reality, S = sports, T = talk/variety show.

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