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August 19, 1999

This week, bizbuzz is brought to you by:
and guest writer Billy Cardwell.

I'm going outta CONTROL!

ABC got ratings rich on the second night of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Tuesday night as the quiz show jumped to a 9.0 rating and a 15 share in Nielsen overnights, compared with a 5.2/9 for It's like, you know... in the same spot a week earlier. Millionaire is set to air over 13 nights during this week and next. It's currently rumored that as soon as someone wins a million dollars, Regis will explode and Jm J Bullock will be brought in as the next host.


A federal appeals court has upheld a lower-court ruling that ABC did not violate wiretapping laws when it used hidden cameras to tape a psychic telemarketing company in a 1993 PrimeTime Live program. ABC had hired a person to pose as a psychic telephone adviser in order to gain access to the Psychic Marketing Group. But employees later claimed that they were injured after the television show cast them in a poor light. Umm it may just be this reporter, but if they were worth their salt, shouldn't they have known what was going on?


Disney chairman Michael Eisner has indicated that he regrets his decision to engage in a legal confrontation with his onetime number-two man, Jeffrey Katzenberg over the terms of Katzenberg's contract. Let's see, you lost what, 250 billion? Yeah, that might have been a mistake.


Mel Gibson has approved the script for Mad Max 4 and is keen on reprising his role as the post-apocalyptic road warrior, writer-director George Miller has told the BBC. "People have been waiting for Max's return for a long time," Miller said. In fact, it has been penciled in on Universal's production schedule for more than a year. "It's going to take Max in a new direction," said Miller, who was roundly criticized for taking another character that he created, the talking pig Babe, in a new direction in last year's sequel. Reportedly, this movie has Mad Max redubbed Old Max. He is a fighter for a new cause, ageism. No longer will those punks in the future park in the handicap spaces!


Bruce Willis, riding high on the box office success of The Sixth Sense, has abruptly dropped out of his next picture, the crime thriller Ace in the Hole. While the reason for Willis’ departure from the project due to begin shooting this fall was unclear, the actor isn’t believed to be doing another film in its place. Just like HG Industires uncovered the whole Batman incident, we have found out that the reason for this is that Bruce really is a ghost and can't be around for the filming of this new movie until he finds Patrick Swayze and learns how to move stuff from him.


Richard Simmons’ Dream Maker crews have already been banking segs for the Sept. 20 debut, syndie’d by Tribune. Local sites and civilians have already been surprised by the arrival of Dream crews one showed up at Little Joe’s celeb barber shop in BevHills and announced, All haircuts are on us. Among those interviewed was BevHills attorney Richard Rosenblum as stylist Genevieve cut up for the cameras. Would-be contestants have flooded fone lines for Dream Maker just as they have for Millionaire. Simmons told me his Web site(s) have been bombarded by requests from those who want dreams fulfilled. Among those dreams to be filled: a nun who wanted to meet the Pope. She will. Simmons said the thrust of the show "is for a kindlier, gentler world."

Well, I'd like to take this time to mention a few dreams that I have. Richard, contact me if you think you can help.

  • I'd like to see you back on the Stern show.

  • I'd really, really like to see you take up wearing pants instead of those women's short shorts.

  • I'd like to have the power of death over people. I'd never abuse it though. NOT AT ALL.

  • I'd enjoy seeing live television more, because that allows for more screw ups on the air.

  • I'd like to see Tiny Lister win an Academy Award.


Here are the current projects on this "master's" plate.

  • Starsky & Hutch. A big-screen, modern-day adaptation of the classic L.A. cop show. To be co-produced with Riche and Ludwig

  • Flesh and Ink. Directed by commercials helmer Steve Beck from Goldsman’s screenplay, pic is about a comic book super-hero who comes to life after the death of his creator. To be co-produced with Icon Prods

  • Sewer Rats. Mark Rosner (The Rock) is adapting the novel by Rene Maurice about a bank robbery in Nice. To be co-produced with Joel Silver

  • Nine Princes in Amber. Roger Zelazny’s classic fantasy novel, about a prince fighting to gain control of Earth, will be scripted by Ed Newmyer(Robocop) and co-produced with Mark Canton

  • Shibumi. Based on the novel by Trevanian about an assassin who aspires to attain a state of enlightenment

  • Man Plus. Classic sci-fi novel by Frederik Pohl that tells the story of how a man is genetically altered in order to sustain life in space. Co-production with Witt-Thomas Films

  • Please, please, please don't let him screw up Nine Princes in Amber. It'd be a shame because it's actually a terrific read. In the word's of Joe Bob, "Check it out."


    NBC is now paying Eric LaSalle 27 million dollars for three more years on ER. Edwards is reportedly getting 35 million for an unnamed amount of years. Who want's to be a millionaire? Just get a guest spot on ER should do it.

    Oprah Winfrey recently refused to go in for a standard medical exam required for the multi-million dollar policy that CBS wants to take out on her. When asked about it she said she's "worried about leaks." That's funny because June Allyson has the same concerns.


    A federal court in Virginia has ruled that American OnLine doesn't own the phrase "you've got mail." Yesterday's decision comes in AOL's lawsuit against AT & T. The Internet Service Provider had sought to bar Ma Bell from using several 'Net-related phrases...including "you've got mail," "I-M" and "buddy list." Says AT & T general counsel Jim Cicconi - "We're pleased the court agreed that these terms are in the public domain, available for all to use." Yeah because coming up with some new material is really hard. Feel free to use these. "Mail for you, jerky." "T-L" and "Skinless wiener list"


    CALDWELL, Ohio -- As odd behavior goes, Noble County Sheriff Landon T. Smith said finding a Kennedy Space Center computer programmer in a cave awaiting the destruction of Earth by a meteor last week was within local norms.
    In the latest case, residents near Wolf Run Lake reported seeing an unfamiliar car parked in the area north of Caldwell off I-77.
    "This vehicle was completely loaded down with stuff. There was room for only one person. There were 16 guns -- rifles, shotguns, handguns of all makes -- and ammunition to go with all of them,'' Smith said. He also found camping equipment and a large quantity of dried food, including 200 pounds of wheat. A NASA identification card found on the car's front seat belonged to Albright, a 47-year-old computer programmer from Satellite Beach, Fla.
    After hearing about the car and fearing Albright might have injured himself, Smith led deputies through trampled grass along a road and into heavy woods. A rope tied to a tree led down the embankment, and another rope led down an even steeper embankment.
    Albright was at the end of the second rope -- in a cave that went into the rock about 20 feet.
    "He was lying there trying to cook an egg over a fire, but he wasn't having much luck,'' Smith said.
    That's when Albright told Smith a giant meteor was to strike the earth at 4 p.m. last Wednesday. Despite Albright's credentials, Smith didn't believe him.
    "He very sincerely thought there was a meteor that was going to come and hit the Atlantic Ocean and cause a tidal wave 200 feet high,'' Smith said.
    "He was trying to hide from this meteor. It was going to go up the coast, take Florida for sure and there would be water all over Georgia. The peach trees were going to be covered up.''
    The man took vacation for his trip and picked Ohio because he had visited once before. He determined it would be high enough above sea level to avoid becoming beach- front property.
    He wanted his family to come along, Smith said, but they didn't want to leave Florida. He also said he had been under marital stress, Smith said.
    Albright was sleeping on a cot, drinking water that dripped through the cave roof, and keeping food cold in a pool of water.
    Smith arrested Albright under a charge of disorderly conduct.
    "He was a danger to himself,'' the sheriff said, adding that he didn't file the paperwork.
    "He was real apologetic,'' Smith said.
    "He was real sorry for causing all this trouble.''
    Albright, back at the space center where he works on space shuttle data processing, said he is thankful for Smith.
    "Sheriff Smith did me a favor getting me out of there,'' he said yesterday, adding that he would like to visit Ohio again with his family.

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