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  Daily Newsmakers
Andrea C. Basora and Yuval Rosenberg
Newsweek Interactive Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 5, 1998

The High Price of Health Care
"ER" stars Anthony Edwards and Noah Wyle will be getting a significant cash transfusion for staying on the hit NBC show into the next millennium. Both actors have signed four-year deals with "ER" producer Warner Bros. Edwards, who plays the complex Dr. Mark Greene, has a $35 million contract. Earning over $350,000 an episode will make him the highest paid actor on a television drama.
    ER Anthony Edwards, far left, and Noah Wiley, second to right, cash in. (NBC)
Some perspective: David Duchovny of the hugely popular "X-Files" earns just $110,000 per episode. Wyle's deal is slightly more modest – a mere $300,000 per episode for playing the sensitive Dr. John Carter. Warner Bros. can certainly afford to court its stars so magnificently after NBC agreed six months ago to pay a license fee of $13 million an episode over the course of three seasons. And they probably don't want to risk losing two of the show's most popular actors in the wake of heartthrob George Clooney's departure for movie stardom. Actors Eriq LaSalle (Dr. Peter Benton) and Julianna Margulies (Nurse Carol Hathaway) are still working on deals, but it looks like they have nothing to worry about.
 
Decorated Veteran
Defense spending is on the rise again. Secretary of Defense William Cohen has spent $52,000 redecorating his new Pentagon office, $22,000 over the original budget. The bill included $15,000 for restoring antique furniture, $2343.23 for a Murphy bed, and $14,000 for a "aries blue" carpet chosen with the help of Cohen's wife, TV personality Janet Langhart. The redecorating reports, detailed in the latest issue of Capital Style magazine, also show who may really hold the purse strings around the Department of Defense. A notation from the forms read, "This should be OK'd by Mrs. Cohen."
As a studio executive told the New York Daily News, "We got quite a windfall from NBC to do this show, and we want to do the right thing: Take care of these people who made it such a success and make sure that they stick around."

Mickey Mouse Book
It is a small world after all. Kathie Lee Gifford is upset that her bosses at Disney will release a book delving into husband Frank Gifford's infamous extramarital tryst. Hyperion, a publishing division of Disney, will issue "Women Who Stay With Men Who Stray: The Untold Truth About Infidelity" by Dr. Debbie Then. The book is due out in April and will examine headline-grabbing sex scandals including Gifford's much-publicized rendezvous with a former stewardess. Disney owns Kathie Lee's morning show "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee," and Hyperion published the talk show host's Christmas book last year and an autobiography in 1992. Author Then defends her book, though. "When men stray, women tend to blame themselves," she told the New York Post. "By using profiles of high-status women, it shows it can happen to anyone."

No Small Feat on the Big Dipper
Betty Boop T-shirts, Betty Boop Band-Aids...and now, Betty Boop beauty pageants? "America's cartoon sweetheart" is big business these days. The huge market in Boop memorabilia – more commonly known as Boopabelia – is raking in over $400 million a year and one of the big events of the Boop year, the "Baby Betty Boop Look-A-Like" contest, just took place in a Los Angeles suburb. Dozens of girls ranging from newborns to five-year-olds turn out yearly in garter belts, red satin dresses and pillbox hats, mimicking the big-eyed baby-voiced 1920s sex symbol. This year's winner is 3-year-old Celine Obeso. Denise Hagopian, owner of a costume and toy store featuring Betty Boop products – as well as an adult sex toy store right next door – has been organizing the contest for 13 years, and claims it is not a beauty pageant. "This is for a child to have the self-esteem to go on-stage," she told Reuters. "You need to learn at a very young age that you can hold a microphone and look out at an audience." One might well ask why.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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