IS 'MILLIONAIRE' TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?
Comedian-turned host Regis Philbin increased his worldwide visibility with the instant popularity of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" The show got so popular it began to be a multiple night thing. Now, USA Today is wondering if the show's recent slump in the ratings is why ABC is not sure where to put it in next year's programming lineup. The publication quotes one of the heads of the network's entertainment division as saying that the show might not appear on the fall 2002 schedule at all. It's not unusual for networks to not commit this far out to a show, but "Millionaire" has been such a phenomenon, many are wondering if it's headed for the Dumpster. The broadcast has spawned a lot of merchandising tie-ins during its run. The New York-born, "always on" Philbin first gained national attention when he took over for Steve Allen on a nationally syndicated late night show then became "second banana" to comedian Joey Bishop when Bishop went head-to-head against Johnny Carson. In the late 1980s "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee" became a national daytime success, earning him seven Emmys.
TOMEI PRIZES REALISM
When actors make movies that include slapping or other violent physical contact, they either use a stunt double or find ways to make the blows softer, then rely on the sound effects department to dub in a "slap." But when Sissy Spacek was called on to slap Marisa Tomei during filming of the Miramax feature "In the Bedroom," Tomei insisted that Spacek hit her as hard as she could. Columnist Liz Smith says that since the scene required several takes, Spacek slapped Tomei in a slightly different place each time to avoid bruising her badly. Smith says Tomei insisted that the scene look real and told Spacek at one point, "Give it all you got."
CHARLIE DANIELS HAS CANCER SURGERY
Doctors in Nashville say country music giant Charlie Daniels has undergone successful surgery for prostate cancer. Daniel's fan club Web site says the operation took place at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. According to information provided there, the cancer was "completely contained within his prostate and has been completely removed. We expect that his cancer is cured." The musician is expected to make a full recovery and will spend the holidays recuperating with his family. He is expected to resume touring with his band as early as January. Like many other country stars, Daniels has released a pro-America song, "It's Not a Rag, it's a Flag." It is getting a lot of radio play and is being shown as a video on the CMT network. By the way, there's a great picture of Daniels dressed as Santa Claus on his Web site, charliedaniels.com.
TRIPP'S FACELIFT DOCTOR SUED FOR SLIP-UP
When Linda Tripp had a Maryland doctor redo her face, the plastic surgeon apparently botched the job. The New York Post is reporting that Tripp, who spewed details on the Monica Lewinsky affair during the Clinton years, needed nine hours of reconstructive surgery from a second surgeon to make things right. The publication says that nearly 20 other patients had bad experiences after going under the knife of Dr. Geoffrey Keyes. One Chicago woman has sued Keyes, charging a litany of problems: bruises, changes in the shape of her ear, loss of feeling in a leg, scars on her scalp and hearing loss. The publication wonders why Tripp never blew the whistle on Keyes.
CHRISTIAN STATIONS DEMANDING MORE MUSIC
With the growing popularity of Christian radio and music services devoted to such fine-line areas as Southern Gospel music, more and more country artists are producing songs in that vein. The most recent artist to put out a Christian album is Gary Chapman. He's a former host of the TNN variety show "Prime Time Country." The news provider country.com says that Chapman produced the album, wrote all the songs and even provides all the musical accompaniment. While some of the songs are said to have a decidedly country tinge, all are suited for play on Christian radio. By the way, England's first full-time Christian radio station -- an on-the-Internet service based in London -- has just celebrated its first birthday. It relies heavily on American-made religious content.
HILARY HAHN MAKING NEWS WITH THE CLASSICS
Rising young violin virtuoso Hilary Hahn is indeed busy these days. Faced with an increasing number of concert commitments, the young musician also takes time at every stop along the way to photographically chronicle the city she is visiting and then puts the "postcards" on her Web site. Now, according to the Christian Science Monitor, Hahn -- named "America's Best Young Classical Musician" by Time earlier this year -- has just recorded her fourth major CD for Sony. The Philadelphia native's latest effort is an interesting compilation of music by Stravinsky and Brahms. The publication says that Hahn, at age 22, has already made a mark in the world of international classical music.
UPI DAILY QUESTION NO. 214
Here's today's question: "What is the favorite catalog you use, if you do, in doing holiday shopping?" Put CATALOG in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 209 (JFK)
Last week we asked your memories of the day that President John F. Kennedy was shot. Here are few of the replies: Peggy remembers that she was "21 at the time, working in an insurance company in downtown Oklahoma City. My co-worker's retired husband called to tell us that Kennedy had been shot." At first, she says that there were few details. Then the horrible truth emerged. The Daily Oklahoman newspaper put out a special edition. CWS remembers working on a college campus at the time; he heard about the shooting on his radio. He worked for the college's audio-visual section and raced to the control room and put the sound from the radio through the school's public address system. One of my favorite people, Penny --a fellow writer at UPI who often shares some duties with me -- writes to say that she was in second grade in the fall of 1963. She says her teacher came into the room in tears. Later, while watching the coffin arrive back in Washington, she mentioned to her family -- in a rather "adult" and matter-of-fact way for a 7-year-old child -- that "his body would soon become a skeleton." She says her grieving parents were not amused. Me? I was in English class secretly listening to the radio on a small transistor job with a wire running up my sleeve, leaning on my hand with the headphone in my palm. When the bulletin came in, I was in the awful position of knowing I should tell the teacher, then have to explain how I knew. Moments before I raised my other arm, Father Lautner announced the shooting over the PA system. It was a gray Friday. I still remember what shirt I was wearing. By the way, I'm taking Fridays off for the next few weeks. UPI's Pat Nason will handle the "People" stories, I'll still be here with the question and answers. GBA.