Will Rosie Take the Long 'View'?
Battle-scarred talk-show diva Rosie O'Donnell has declared that she will wait until May before deciding whether to stay at ABC's The View. Now word comes that she is in negotiations about a potentially rich overall studio deal.
With O'Donnell's View contract ending in June and recent boycott threats against Disney and ABC over her Sept. 11 conspiracy theories, rumors about her future plans are flying.
What impact the latest controversy will have on her asking price, believed to be $40 million annually—$5 million more per year than Dr. Phil's estimated take—is unknown.
According to O'Donnell's publicist Cindi Berger, "Nothing has been decided." For her part, the star says on her video blog, "I have no idea. We take a family vote in May. We are going to decide then."
None of the potential bidders, including CBS Television Distribution, will comment.
Disney has rights to negotiate with O'Donnell first.
Studios must weigh whether the onetime "Queen of Nice" will continue to gain strong ratings out of almost daily controversy if she goes solo. Says one doubtful industry executive, "Horseradish tastes better when it's mixed than when it's alone."
Don't Call It Madness
The NCAA division one men's basketball tournament is famous for Cinderella teams marching through the brackets. But the absence of huge surprises this year—beyond the ousting of top seeded Kansas—perhaps best explains why nearly 200,000 online sports fans correctly predicted the Final Four teams vying for the championship this weekend on CBS.
CBS.sportsline.com says about 9% of the 2.3 million people who filled out the online brackets got the slate right.
That is a stark difference from last year when, out of approximately 2 million fans who made their online picks, nobody was right on the last four, according to CBS.sportline.
Then again, 2006 was the year George Mason, the commuter college in the Washington suburbs, crashed the party, making it to the Final Four. Mason became the front page story of the tournament, although the team wasn't a surprise to everyone: Some 539 people picked them for the final March Madness weekend last year.
Whichever team wins this year, the number of CBS sports fans celebrating will be in the five figures. Of the 200,000 who chose all four, 36% picked Florida to go all the way; 32% Ohio State; 21% Georgetown; and 11% UCLA.
TLC: Who's Conning Whom?
TLC hopes to teach viewers a thing or two with their upcoming series with the working title Con Game. But first they'll have to see if they're being conned themselves.
The TLC pilot, slated for 2008, appears to be a hidden-camera show in which an unknowing participant is the victim of a home-repair scam. According to a TLC statement, the purpose of the show is to fight back "against the scam artists who bilk Americans out of hundreds of millions of dollars a year" by "teaching viewers the techniques of the con artist's world."
But Flash! notes that a casting call for the show posted on Craigslist.com seems to invite folks to get in on the act. "TLC's new show wants homeowners interested in scamming their housemate/significant other!" the posting reads. "You play along with us and rope your significant other into being scammed" while watching it all from "a surveillance van right outside your home!" And it's "perfect for pulling a prank on your housemate for April Fools!"
A TLC spokesperson stated that she had been unaware of the Craigslist post, adding, "This [show] is not Punk'd for homeowners."
At press time, TLC could not confirm whether there would actually be a hidden camera used on the show. The spokesperson added that a "rogue recruiter" might have posted the ad.
In other words, maybe someone is beating TLC at its own game.
With Jim Benson, John Eggerton and Rebecca Stropoli