May 30, 2006 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
BravoTV.com antes up for another online poker tournament this summer, kicking off with the new season premiere of the Bravo original series "Celebrity Poker Showdown." This year’s online tournament grand prize winner will receive a non-speaking walk-on role on the NBC hit series "Las Vegas," including round trip airfare and hotel accommodations in Los Angeles for two. Filmed entirely in New Orleans, this new season of "Celebrity Poker Showdown" will donate the million-dollar jackpot to Hurricane Katrina Charities in support of the rebuilding effort. The online tournament will launch with the new season premiere on May 31 at 9:00 pm ET/PT.
Bravo also gives its viewers a unique behind-the-scenes experience with the new SMS text message feature that allows viewers to receive exclusive poker tips and advice from new host and nine-time World Series of Poker winner Phil Hellmuth. Audience members can register via phone by text messaging "CP" to the number "62288." They will then receive up to five in-show text messages each week for six weeks from Phil Hellmuth. A one-time charge of $2.99 will be charged to subscribers for this service. Messages will be sent on Wednesdays during the premiere of each episode.
"Bravo is paving the way for tech-savvy viewers to connect in new and innovative ways to our programming," said Frances Berwick, SVP Programming and Production. "This opportunity for viewers to watch a hand of poker play out on the screen while simultaneously learning the inside tricks to win the hand on their phones makes them a part of the game, and brings them that much closer to the action."
The first BravoTV.com online poker tournament was a runaway hit after its launch in October of last year, setting new Bravo records of over 80 million "Celebrity Poker Showdown" page views and over 120,000 registered players. This new online tournament will stretch from May 31 to July 30, where qualifying rounds of Texas Hold ‘Em will be played on BravoTV.com daily, potentially advancing hundreds of winners to the final round where they will duke it out for the grand prize. Entrants of the "Celebrity Poker Showdown Online Tournament" must be legal residents, must physically reside in the continental United States and be 21 years of age or older as of the date of entry.
The celebrity line-up of players for the season eight tournament are:
Game 1 – Premieres Wednesday, May 31st at 9:00pm, ET/PT
Bryan Cranston, Jamie Bamber, Jason Alexander, Susie Essman and Kevin Sorbo
Game 2 – Premieres Wednesday, June 7th at 9:00pm, ET/PT
Greg Behrendt, Andrea Martin, Kim Coles, Michael Ian Black and Jorge Garcia
Game 3 – Premieres Wednesday, June 14th at 9:00pm, ET/PT
Fred Savage, Jennifer Tilly, Brett Butler, online tournament winner Ida Siconolfi and Doug E. Doug
Game 4 – Premieres Wednesday, June 21st at 9:00pm, ET/PT
Mario Cantone, Jenna Fischer, Rocco Dispirito, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key
Game 5 – Premieres Wednesday, Jun 28th at 9:00pm, ET/PT
Christopher Meloni, Joy Behar, Andy Dick, Macy Gray and Robin Tunney
The Championship Game – Premieres Wednesday, July 5th at 9:00pm/et
Bravo will be partnering with Harrah’s Entertainment to make Harrah’s the new official casino of "Celebrity Poker Showdown." For the all-new season, "Celebrity Poker Showdown" will be filmed at Harrah’s New Orleans. The land-based casino closed shortly before Hurricane Katrina made landfall near the city on August 29. The building sustained storm damage, and was used by first responders as a base of operations in the days following the storm. Repairs to the facility have been completed and the casino re-opened on February 17.
Filmed in front of a live audience, each episode of "Celebrity Poker Showdown" features five celebrities competing against each other for the chance to win thousands to donate to the charity of their choice. Each week, a new group of celebrities meet at the table to go head to head until only one remains. The winner from each week’s game will advance to the championship sixth game. To date, "Celebrity Poker Showdown" has given away $2,450,000 to charities around the world. All celebrities will be playing for charities benefiting victims of Hurricane Katrina.