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Freshly shorn Weiss ready for next chapter

Longtime show performer making transition to show host for Disson Skating

Michael Weiss' daughter, Annie Mae, had a <i>little</i> too much fun shaving her dad's head.
Michael Weiss' daughter, Annie Mae, had a little too much fun shaving her dad's head. (courtesy of Michael Weiss)

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By Amy Rosewater, special to icenetwork.com
(05/07/2012) - Michael Weiss turned heads by shaving his own.

The three-time U.S. champion showed up at an event for longtime skating producer Steve Disson Thursday night with his head shaved and a long goatee. He said he had been thinking about the change for a while, but when his daughter, Annie Mae, came home after having a tough day, he cheered her up by handing her a razor.

At first, she made a smiley face on his head and then a Mohawk.

Pretty soon, he was bald.

"I figured I was going to go bald soon, so I should see how I look," Weiss said. "Annie Mae had a lot of fun with it."

Shaving his head wasn't the only bold move for the one-time brown-haired skater: He also decided that he is moving into the role of skating show host rather than performer.

"I feel very lucky that I can stay involved with skating," Weiss, 35, said. "And I feel lucky that I hit it when I did. I had prepared for life after skating, and I'm OK with things. I am excited about hosting these shows and staying involved with the sport."

Weiss laced up skates a few days ago for a grand total of 15 minutes while with his son, but prior to that he had not skated since Dec. 23. Weiss, who struggled with a groin injury last year, said the time was right for the change.

"Everybody's been giving me grief, especially Brian (Boitano)," Weiss said. "But my time is up. I play hockey and I joined a men's indoor soccer team, so I will still fulfill my competitive juices, and I have been busy with (wife) Lisa's wine cellar business and with building and construction projects."

Weiss will join Kristi Yamaguchi in hosting four of the five entertainment specials -- the Pandora Unforgettable Moments Skating Series -- that Disson Skating will produce for NBC. Weiss also hopes to continue his role as a broadcaster for the Grand Prix Series.

The first show is the Musselman's Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute, which is perfect for Weiss and Yamaguchi to host because all of the skaters involved are parents. The family-themed show, set for Nov. 3 at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, will air on NBC on Nov. 18 from 4-6 p.m. ET.

Skaters lined up for the show include Ekaterina Gordeeva and husband Ilia Kulik, and Nancy Kerrigan. Joining them will be new parents John Zimmerman and Silvia Fontana (she just had a baby girl, Sofia, in April); Shae-Lynn Bourne, who is due in June; and Todd Eldredge, whose fiancée, Sabrina Corbaci, is expecting a baby. The children of the skaters will be incorporated into at least one routine with one or both of their parents.

The second show, the Pandora Unforgettable Holiday Moments on Ice, is set for Nov. 10 at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. It will air over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 25) on NBC from 4-6 p.m. ET. Mannheim Steamroller is the musical guest, and among the skaters performing are Boitano, Ryan Bradley and Yuka Sato.

The third show will be the Progressive Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular, the only one that will be hosted by gymnastics gold medalists Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci and Olympic skating champion Peggy Fleming. The show, set for Dec. 15 in Jamestown, N.Y., will air Jan. 19 from 4-6 p.m. ET on NBC. The broadcast comes one day before the start of the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Featuring music from the Fresh Beat Band (from the popular Nick Jr. show) and R5 (fans of the Disney show "Austin and Ally" will know this as Ross Lynch's band), the show will feature reigning U.S. champion Ashley Wagner, 2012 U.S. junior champion Gracie Gold and 2011 world champion ice dancers and Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. The show also will have several top gymnasts performing, most notably 2008 Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin and reigning U.S. and world champion Jordyn Wieber.

The fourth show is the Pandora Unforgettable Moments of Love on Ice, which will be performed Jan. 19 in Kent, Wash., and will be broadcast Jan. 27 from 2-4 p.m. on NBC. No musical guest has been announced yet, but Kimmie Meissner, the 2006 world champion, will be there to perform.

(Plans for a fifth show are in the works but have not been finalized.)

For his part, Weiss is excited about his role this upcoming season. Right now, he's also excited about his hometown hockey team, the Washington Capitals, who are trying to win a Stanley Cup.

Weiss is such a fan that he even has a remote-controlled goal light that he keeps by his TV. When the Caps score, he lights the lamp.

And now he has the playoff goatee. Actually, he kept a playoff beard, as many hockey players do, but couldn't handle the itchiness of it, so he shaved off most of it.

"I have a playoff chin," Weiss said.

To go along with that skating host's head.