Charlie Hustle and the $60 Million Poker Game

When Fox Sports Net holds a charity poker event on Monday night in Hollywood, scheduled to play is none other than former baseball great Pete Rose—who literally gambled himself out of the Hall of Fame.

While Rose's decision to gamble in public—even for charity—is eye-opening, so too is the dollar figure tied to the event he's promoting. FSN is airing the Mansionpoker.net Poker­dome Series, which will include a six-person, $60 million winner-take-all tournament that the network says is the biggest single-day payout in the history of sports television.

The three-year-deal is for a weekly series, plus three big-money, winner-take-all events—the first of which is the $60 million tourney, scheduled for July 12, 2006. Sources close to the network say gaming site Mansionpoker.net is paying $100 million over three years for the series and mega-events, which will be produced by FSN.

FSN says the 2007 and 2008 events will be for $75 million and $100 million, respectively. The series premieres May 15 and continues for 43 weeks on FSN.

The show will air from Las Vegas, where the “Pokerdome” set—a mirrored room designed for optimal camera coverage—will be constructed. The series is slated to be a year-long tournament, which will end with a $1 million prize. If Rose performs well in the charity game, perhaps FSN will offer Charlie Hustle a spot in the tourney.

Mullally's Comic Strip

While all the attention around NBC's Thursday shakeup centered on My Name Is Earl's coming and Joey's going, the move also injects a level of salacious humor at 8 p.m. when Will & Grace kicks off the night. The show's co-star, Megan Mullally, says not to expect any reprieve from the show's usual barrage of sexually charged laughs.

“It's going to be the dirtiest show ever on at 8:00 on a network, that is one thing I can say for sure,” she says. “It's not like they are cleaning it up for 8:00, you can be assured.”

Mullally says she wasn't shocked when the network decided to bench Joey and slide Grace up to lead off NBC's return to a two-hour comedy block. “We had heard some rumblings, but I felt bad because I sure do like Matt LeBlanc,” she says. “I'm just really glad that they are moving Earl and The Office over there. I think that's a great two-hour bunch of shows.”

Mullally is also focusing on her syndicated daytime talk show, scheduled to launch next fall from NBC U Television Distribution. And staying true to her Will & Grace character, she has a plan for setting her new talker apart, à la Ellen DeGeneres' dancing.

“I'm going to strip,” Mullally purrs.

Cleaning Up Soaps

God knows how many people wrestle with balancing their Christian principles and their love of steamy daytime soaps. Toward that end, a Christian rapper/reggae singer/preacher has authored A Christian's Look at Daytime Soap Operas.

Tyrone Short, who goes by the stage name Prince Trog (“Colorado's One and Only Christian Reggae Rapper,” according to his Web site) says that God gave him the gift of evangelism, and told him to use it on soap fans.

“I understand the thrill of shows, and I can relate to them,” he says. “I just try to point out how the Evil One can distract you and bring you into bondage.”

Short, who admits he doesn't watch much TV, relied mostly on soap- opera Web sites and his own memories from being an avid watcher of daytime dramas years before to self-publish the book.

He considers All My Children among the biggest offenders. “When I watched it, Susan Lucci played a free-spirited woman who would go after what she wants regardless of who she hurts,” he says. “If she lived next door to you, you'd hate a woman like that.”

A Christian's Look, selling for $8, is available on Amazon and Short's site, www.princetrog.org. (Don't believe Flash!? Check it yourself.) It's a follow-up to his previous book, The Bible and the X-Station, which focuses on videogames and how they stand in the way of the Christian path (X-Station is a mix of Xbox and PlayStation). Short says he sold 50-100 copies of that book.