"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" used to be a big shot, but not anymore. ABC has pulled the big money show from its Monday primetime lineup and replaced it with a couple of half-hour comedies.
"Millionaire," which used to be so popular that the network ran it several nights a week -- every night, some weeks -- will stay on the Thursday schedule. But ABC clearly doesn't expect much from it, since CBS and NBC already have the night locked up.
When it premiered just 25 months ago, "Millionaire" looked like the goose that laid golden eggs -- juicing up ABC's bottom line with a show that delivered spectacular ratings and cost next-to-nothing to produce.
Beginning March 4, ABC will fill the Monday 8 p.m. hour with "My Wife and Kids" and a return engagement of "The Wayne Brady Show," a variety-comedy deal starring one of the featured performers on ABC's comedy improv show, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
India's democracy breaks records. In the upcoming elections in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on which the future of the government of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee may depend, only two of the 403 seats have candidates without criminal records. Almost 18 percent, 965 of 5,533 candidates, had criminal charges against them when they submitted their nomination papers. Some 300 candidates, some of them ministers, are facing six criminal charges each.
(From UPI Hears)
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer outlined the president's agenda for members of the news corps on the plane to Denver last Friday. "The first event will be the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade show ... The president is going to be there to give a news-making speech where he will describe his farm policy. Moo, moo, baa, baa."
(From UPI Capital Comment)
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
A think tank dedicated to promoting American values is calling for universal support of a "just war" against terrorism.
A letter, with more than 50 signatories, argues that there is a moral justification for the U.S. war on terrorism. It was released Monday by the Institute for American Values and stresses the necessity of war for protection of human rights under a just-war philosophy.
"We recognize that all war is terrible, representative finally of human political failure," states the letter. "There are times when waging war is not only morally permitted, but morally necessary, as a response to calamitous acts of violence, hatred and injustice. This is one of those times."
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
The announcement of the class of '02 was made Monday by the National Academy of Popular Music in New York.
The group represents a decidedly contemporary era in American pop music, much as last year's did. In 2001, the hall welcomed Dolly Parton, Diane Warren, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Paul Williams, Billy Joel (Johnny Mercer Award), Gloria & Emilio Estefan (Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award) and Dionne Warwick (Hitmaker Award).
The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. It includes such top songwriters as Burt Bachrach, Jim Croce, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, James Brown and Curtis Mayfield.
The 33rd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame induction and awards dinner will be held June 13 in New York.