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Is Ryan Seacrest too rude for ‘Idol’?

Not everyone is a fan of the "American Idol" host. Plus: "Contender" returns; "Dancing" song list; suggestions for "The Bachelor."
/ Source: msnbc.com

Wondering about how a certain reality show pulled something off? Have a question about a certain contestant?

Whether it's "Survivor," "American Idol," "The Apprentice," "Real World" or another show, . Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, MSNBC.com's Television Editor, and Andy Dehnart, creator of ,will try to answer them.

Before you send in your question, — you may be able to get your answer right away.

Q: Why haven’t the producers of "American Idol" done anything about Ryan Seacrest? He is very rude and continually tries to get the contestants to insult Simon Cowell. Simon is very critical in judging, but that’s his job, and he is without a doubt the most qualified person on the show. Ryan Seacrest is obnoxious and could easily be replaced and should be as he tries to stir up trouble all of the time.    —Gail

A: Andy says: The producers haven’t done anything because Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest’s conflict equals ratings — especially on a season like this one, which is otherwise sort of dull.

You may find him obnoxious, but as other, less-skilled reality show hosts have demonstrated, hosting is very difficult, and Ryan does his job masterfully. Plus, it’s his job to engage with the judges, especially Simon.

That banter does cross the line sometimes, however. During the second season, Ryan said in an interview that FOX did ask them to stop their homophobic taunting of one another, as they each regularly suggested that the other is gay, as if there’s something wrong with that. Ryan told Entertainment Weekly back then that the jokes were supposed to “break stereotypes” but were “never meant to be mean-spirited.” Of course, that hasn’t gone away; both this season and last, they haven’t been subtle with their insinuations that the other isn’t straight.

In any case, the two are friends off-camera, so the taunting isn’t because the two don’t like one another. Their on-screen banter works to cement Simon’s role as the antagonist on the show. And that kind of conflict equals drama that is a large part of why millions of people tune in week after week.

Gael says: Seacrest has a thankless job, and although I roll my eyes at his cheesy banter with Simon Cowell, overall, I think he does a good job. I don't know that asking the contestants what they thought of Cowell's criticism equals trying to get them to insult him. Most of the singers keep their cool, even after they've been dogged, and respond maturely. When they don't, sure, that makes for a lively scene.

Very few reality-show hosts are universally beloved by viewers. I'd say the only one our readers seem to adore is Phil Keoghan of "The Amazing Race." Don't get me started on the nasty mail we used to get about Caroline Rhea when she hosted "The Biggest Loser." Most people felt that she shouldn't be hosting a weight-loss show when she herself could stand to drop a few pounds. Those people will get their wish, , Rhea has been replaced by soap star Alison Sweeney.

Q: Will there be another “The Contender” season any time soon?    —Sarah

A: Yes. In fact, one is airing right now. “The Contender Challenge” is currently airing on ESPN Tuesday nights, and every episode shows a different fight between a team of “Contender” cast members and UK boxers.

All of the fights were filmed last month on one night in the UK, and because of that, the series doesn’t include the typical “Contender” elements of challenges or family stories. Sugar Ray Leonard captains the US team.

A third season of the series that first aired on NBC and moved to ESPN has yet to be officially announced, but if it returns, the show could move again, this time to HBO, Boxing Confidential reported.

Wherever it airs, the show is expected to switch its focus to heavyweight fighters, instead of middleweights. No word about whether Sly Stallone will return; he was MIA last season because of work on the latest “Rocky” film.    —A.D.

Q: Apolo danced the rumba [last week on "Dancing With the Stars"]. What was the name of the song and by whom?    —Raven

A: According to the show's handy-dandy Web site, it was Gwen Stefani's "Cool." ABC actually has done a nice job of keeping their music page updated, so whenever you're stumped by a "Dancing" tune, just .

Comment corner
Each week, we'll share some of your e-mails that are more comments or suggestions than questions. This week, here are some of your thoughts on "The Bachelor."

In the navy
"The navy allowed one of their officers to be in a reality show? THE NAVY?"    --Sasha

Embarrassing women"It is embarassing watching these girls on "Bachelor" acting like they never saw a man before? How much of it is scripted..it seems to gravitate to the most ridiculous faces and immaturity on their part. Are they told to act like that? Anyone older than 22 would know you don't win a guy by acting out like a teenager."    --JMBecker

Choose classier women"Do you guys check out these women before putting them on The Bachelor? Or do you pick according to their looks and their accomplishments in education and jobs, etc.? Because I was appauled at the display of complete "class-free" behavior of the "child" from Lawrence, KS. last night. If you want drama and you think that will sell more people on watching, you may be right, but if this is what we have to look forward to this season, I won't be watching. COME ON, choose men & women with class, poise and dignity."    --Kathy

More diversity needed"On your Bachelor's shows, why aren't there more African-American women than just one or at the least two on the shows? How are the women picked? I would personally like to see more Black women and why not an African-American Bachelor?"    --Corine

Film it in real time"Why don't they just film the Bachelor in "real time" and see what happens? this way the contestants don't have to be apart for a long period of time. I think they should make the show more realistic."    --Mary Ellen

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is MSNBC.com's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news.