While many aspiring actors and actresses are willing to sleep their way to a gig in Hollywood, they apparently are not willing to spend 39 days stranded on an island to break into the biz.
Wannabe actors and actresses are one of the least-represented groups among the thousands of applicants for CBS's upcoming game show "Survivor." This surprises CBS; they were expecting to be flooded with applications from young actor/model types hoping to be "discovered" on the show, in which 16 people will try to survive on uninhabited Palau Tiga off the coast of Borneo and win the contest's $1 million prize.
The producers came up with categories of people as part of an effort to make sure they got a diverse bunch of players, unlike ABC's hit game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," which has been criticized for its mostly white-guy contestants.
Also among the unexpectedly underrepresented are lumberjack/Alaskan oil rig worker types--don't even get me started on how they came up with these categories. Juvenile delinquents are underrepresented, too--but that's to be expected since CBS decided that you had to be at least 21 years old to be among the lucky ones who get to make the trip in March for the show, which will air this summer.
Actually, what CBS is looking for is "Gilligan's Island 2000."
One of the questions on the application asks: "Which former castaway would you be most identified with: Gilligan, Skipper, Professor, Mary Anne, Ginger, Mr. or Mrs. Howell and why." Produced from 1964 to 1967, "Gilligan's Island," not coincidentally, was a hit on CBS.
CBS has been flooded with applications. It was hoping for 1,000, has so far received 3,000 and expects to get as many again by tomorrow's deadline. So, "they can be really picky," says a CBS exec.
So far, our well-informed sources report, they've got pots of ex-military applicants. No surprise there, since contestants will have to find their own food and shelter and generally rough it.
Also, they've got a lot of Gen-Xers with tattoos and body piercing. How do they know, you ask? Another question on the application reads: "Do you have any body art (piercing, tattoos, etc.)? If so, please describe." Applications have been running 3-1, men to women, but CBS has promised that half of the players will be female. And, so far, only about 19 percent of applicants are minorities, but the producers have promised the band of 16 will be ethnically diverse.
So if you're an ex-military white guy with a tattoo, you needn't apply--they've got lots of you. On the other hand, if you can do a dead-on Ginger--get that application in pronto!
Local boy Maury Povich is taking on prime-time TV king Regis Philbin.
Povich has been hired by NBC to host its remake of the notorious game show "Twenty One" and will debut it on Jan. 9--two nights before Rege is set to return with his mammoth ratings hit "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
Povich will replace "Dateline" on four consecutive Sundays and Wednesdays. NBC has wisely scheduled it out of the path of "Millionaire," which is becoming a fixture on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights. And Fox, you may have noticed, is going to test out its Thursday game show "Greed" on Friday this week; expect it to move there if it does a big number. Which means you may be able to watch a prime-time game show just about every darned night of the week.
CBS is due to bring on its clone of hit Brit game show "Winning Lines" in January as well, but it hasn't announced a time slot yet and had better hurry up before all the good ones are taken.
NBC Entertainment President Garth Ancier said landing Povich was a key part of greenlighting "Twenty One"--which is surprising since Povich is in his sixties and NBC isn't interested in anyone over 49--54 if pressed. Why, Povich is so old he says he grew up on the original "Twenty One" and was sorry to see it canceled when it was discovered that contestants were being fed answers--sparking a national game show scandal.
"We wanted someone who's a real broadcaster and who could also bring a real gravitas to the show," Ancier said of the man who became a household name for anchoring "A Current Affair."
The cast members of NBC's sitcom "Will & Grace" appear together in an ad urging California voters to defeat a referendum that would deny legal recognition in the state of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
The TV spot, state Proposition 22, authored by Republican state Sen. Pete Knight, may mark the first time the cast of a network television series has taken a stand on a political issue in an ad.
NBC, which airs the show, and produces and owns it, too, says it had nothing to do with the ad and in fact was given no notice that it was being shot.
In the ad, the actors--Eric McCormack (Will), Debra Messing (Grace), Sean Hayes (Jack) and Megan Mullally (Karen)--identify themselves as the stars of "Will & Grace." And though the ad notes it was "paid for by No on Knight/No on Prop 22," it was shot right after taping of an episode of the sitcom, using the show's stage, cameras and other equipment, which are rented by NBC, as well as the show's crew, who are paid their salaries by NBC.
NBC Studios President Ted Harbert says that after NBC found out about the ad, "Will & Grace" executive producer Max Mutchnick, who was responsible for it, offered to pay expenses incurred in its production.
"He's paying the production costs. I'm not paying for this," Harbert said yesterday.
California law defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. But the state generally recognizes weddings performed elsewhere, and court cases pending in several states could lead to those states sanctioning same-sex marriages.
Prop 22 supporters want to prevent gay couples from marrying in one of those states and then moving to California and expecting to have their marriages recognized.
Like most political ads, the spot doesn't bother viewers with actual information about what the proposition means.
It just warns viewers that Prop 22 "would legalize discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans and their families" and that voting for it would be a vote against "basic civil rights."
An audience member at "The Tonight Show" has filed a lawsuit claiming his eye was damaged by a T-shirt shot from an air gun.
Stewart Gregory says he was battered by the flying freebie before a taping of the show in 1998. He seeks $25,000 for negligence, the Associated Press reports.
"It's not frivolous when you get hit with a hard object traveling 800 feet per second," the 56-year-old Gregory said.
Free "Tonight Show" shirts often are shot into the audience as part of the warm-up.
An NBC rep declined to comment on the suit.
CAPTION: On his application video, a Florida man makes like Tarzan, taking to the vines and trees in a creative effort to swing his way onto CBS's "Survivor" crew.