The “Dance Doctor” is taking his groove back to the small screen after sitting out of the TV development business for years.

John Cassese, 52, who runs a Santa Monica dance studio where celebrities such as Elizabeth Hurley and U2’s the Edge have learned moves, put his ambitions of creating a dance-themed TV show on hold for years as he battled in court with Fox Broadcasting Co.

He filed suit against the network and two others in 2005, claiming his idea for the show “So You Think You Can Dance” had been stolen and sold to Fox without his knowledge. This month, as the case was moving toward a jury hearing, Cassese settled out of court.

Now that he has cleared the litigation off his plate, Cassesse said he has hired a production company to start shooting a pilot next month for a reality TV dance show.

“I’m not bogged down by anything and I feel good about the people I’m involved with,” he said. “It’s a good feeling that I’m able to get on with my life.”

African Sensations

Transwestern senior research analyst Arty Maharajh and his wife, Anna, planned a simple outing to celebrate their second wedding anniversary recently. But they quickly felt as if they’d traveled to another continent, what with African animals and scantily clad people covered in mud.

The couple, who live in Glendale, expected to spend a quiet day at Malibu’s Saddlerock Ranch. But on their way there, traveling Mulholland Drive, they came upon dense traffic. To their surprise, they saw hundreds of weekend warriors slogging through a muddy obstacle course. The race, a 5K sponsored by an extreme-sport race company, is known as the Spartan Sprint.

A few miles farther down the road at Saddlerock, they sat on their blanket to enjoy a picnic and then found themselves surrounded by zebras, llamas and camels – which are attractions at the ranch.

“We went out there for one thing, but to have all this activity and commotion and to be part of the wildness was pretty cool,” Maharajh, 37, laughed.

Luckily, unlike the human racers, the animals didn’t stampede.

Staff reporters Jonathan Polakoff and Jacquelyn Ryan contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at

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