Vanilla Ice, Estrada among housemates
Call it “Surreal Life 2: Oh, God! You Devil.”Former televangelist’s wife-professional drama queen Tammy Faye Messner and hairy porn legend Ron Jeremy headline the season two cast for the WB’s “Surreal Life,” which began taping Monday. For the next 11 days, the odd couple will be sharing a Hollywood Hills pad with rapper Vanilla Ice, “ChiPs” icon Erik Estrada, former “Baywatch” babe Traci Bingham and “Real World: Las Vegas” cast member Trishelle. Producers have cut the cast from seven celebs to six this season in order to accommodate a weekly guest star. Shooting schedule has also been expanded by two days to allow for more interaction among the cast. As with the first season of the show, cameras will capture the celebs interacting with one another in a house and also taking field trips which will put them into contact with everyday folks. “We wanted to get worlds colliding, and I think that’s what we’ve achieved,” said WB alternative chief Keith Cox, who said that a number of celebs and pseudo-celebs approached the net about “Surreal 2” following the success of the skein’s first season. It’s tricky “It’s one of those tricky puzzles,” he said of casting the skein. “You have to start with certain cornerstones, and then build inward. Tammy Faye was actually one of the first people we cast.” Cris Abrego — who serves as exec producer of “Surreal Life” along with Rick Telles, Mark Cronin, Jay Renfroe and David Garfinkle — said the casting process for season two took a long time, in part because so many personalities were interested in joining the cast. “Having a revolving, big celebrity guest star every week — that person becomes our seventh cast member,” he said, noting that the guest celeb will live in the house with the six regulars. New season will tape in the same house as the first “Surreal,” though the mansion has been injected with a heavy dose of “bling bling,” Abrego said. “It’s very pimp, very Austin Powers love shack,” he said. All of the celebs will arrive together via a Hollywood tour bus, having been picked up at various locations throughout the city. Messner, for example, is first seen at the Hollywood Wax Museum, while ex-TV cop Estrada is found at a Winchell’s donut shop. The new season of “Surreal Life” is expected to bow early next year. The WB has ordered six half-hour episodes, thought that number may expand, should events in the house warrant. Skein is produced by Mindless Entertainment and Brass Ring Entertainment.