TV Article

Welcome to the Jungle

ABC announces ''I'm a Celebrity'' castaways. Melissa Rivers, Robin Leach, and Stuttering John are among those whom viewers may vote off the island

A day after a judge cleared the way for ABC to go ahead with its February sweeps reality series ''I'm a Celebrity -- Get Me Out of Here!,'' the network has announced the names of seven of the eight semi-famous castaways who will be stranded in a remote Australian jungle and voted off by viewers. As usual, with this sort of program, the word ''Celebrity'' in the title is stretching it a little. The competitors are E! fashion maven Melissa Rivers, former ''Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous'' host Robin Leach, Howard Stern sidekick Stuttering John, onetime MTV personality ''Downtown'' Julie Brown, Olympian Bruce Jenner, former daytime talk host (and ex-wife of both George Hamilton and Rod Stewart) Alana Stewart, model Tyson Beckford, and an eighth contestant yet to be named.

CBS had filed an injunction in U.S. district court to prevent ABC from airing the series because of its alleged similarity to ''Survivor.'' After all, the castaways will be stranded in a faraway location in Australia (as on the second ''Survivor'' season), subsist on rice and beans, earn food for their colleagues by enduring physical challenges (here called ''Bush Tucker Trials''), and get voted off one by one. However, ''Celebrity'' will air live over 15 consecutive nights, and the elimination votes will be decided by viewers, who can ax the celebrities via telephone and Internet voting.

Originally posted Jan 15, 2003