April 12, 2001

Entertainment News

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Final Answer: He’s Loaded

Nowadays on network TV, you can marry a multi-millionaire or become one yourself.

In what is said to be the largest prize in game show history, $2.18 million was awarded to Michigan engineer Kevin Olmstead on Tuesday’s edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. For the final question, he correctly identified Igor Sikorsky as the inventor of the first mass-produced helicopter.

Due to a dearth of winners and dwindling ratings, Millionaire modified its format to include a progressive jackpot for the top prize, which increases $10,000 for every show without a million-dollar winner. Olmstead cashed in on a pot that has been accumulating since July.

He had a lot more than luck going for him though. In fact, he almost seemed made for the hot seat. Olmstead co-founded National Academic Quiz Tournaments, a company that provides questions for scholastic quiz competitions. He also appeared on Jeopardy! in 1994 and won $27,000, a very respectable amount for that game show.

Marlon meets Marlon

How one goes from A Streetcar Named Desire to Scary Movie 2 is beyond me. But I suppose a couple million bucks can make that transition a lot more manageable.

Marlon Brando, the 77-year-old respected actor, will lend four days of his time to the follow-up to the Wayans’ brothers hugely successful spoof flick Scary Movie. According to MSNBC.com, Brando will utter a few lines during the opening scene of the sequel — and get paid a hefty $2 million for it.

Scary Movie 2 producers originally contacted Charlton Heston for the role, but he declined. They didn’t think Brando would agree to it, but he was surprisingly receptive to the idea.

He is certainly no stranger to getting paid the big bucks for minimal effort. In 1977, he earned $4 million for a 10-minute cameo in the original Superman movie, according to E! Online.

So, if he’s using the same pay scale this time around, we should expect him on screen for a good, oh, five minutes.

One Last Chance

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are headed back to bargaining talks Tuesday, with hopes of averting a strike that could begin as early as May 2. This comes after the last attempt at negotiations ended unsuccessfully early last March.

The two sides will meet to discuss their divergent views on appropriate screenwriter earnings. Writers believe they deserve increased compensation for videocassette and rental sales and syndicated TV shows. Producers agree, but their estimate is about $100 million less than what writers are demanding.

Better put on a big pot of coffee for this one.

E-News Briefs

Sunday’s UPN telecast of the XFL drew the worst ratings in the history of the network … CBS is suing the creators of the Fox reality show Boot Camp for allegedly copying the “look and feel” of Survivor … Just Shoot Me was renewed, while Judge Mills Lane and 3rd Rock From the Sun have been cancelled … Eminem was sentenced to two years’ probation for carrying a concealed weapon … A Federal District Judge called Napster’s current filtering system a “disgrace.”

Quote of the Week

“I don’t understand why guys like them so much — they’re just fatty tissue.”

–Jennifer Love Hewitt on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, citing evidence for the desexualization of breasts.

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