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Side show

By SHARON FINK, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 26, 2001

MORBID FASCINATION TRIUMPS: Fortunately for Weakest Link, its celebrity editions are more entertaining than its shows with regular people. Or else it would be easy to throw darts over a second "Newsmakers" show featuring the annoying, the nauseating and the infamous.

Okay, it's still easy to throw darts.

Scheduled for the Jan. 6 show:

  • Adult film star Ron Jeremy (NBC okays appearance figuring it will divert attention from decision to air liquor ads).
  • Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? "multimillionaire" Rick Rockwell (short-time wife, Darva Conger, was on first "Newsmakers" show; FTC demands equal time for him).
  • "Mayflower Madam" Sydney Biddle Barrows (Heidi Fleiss turns them down now that she's going respectable).
  • Original Survivor contestant Gervase Peterson (imagine that; Guiding Light acting gig doesn't lead to bigger things).
  • Actor Corey Feldman (from Goonies to drug arrests to not being able to get arrested).
  • Diet Coke commercial stud Lucky Vanous (career actually peaks with starring role in cable TV show 18 Wheels of Justice with G. Gordon Liddy).
  • Survivor: Outback winner Tina Wesson (once quoted as saying her winnings were almost gone; must not have been told money won goes to charity).
  • Actor Gary Coleman (nothing more needs to be said).

A GIRL HAS HER PRIORITIES: Weakest Link host Anne Robinson gets a special thrill out of picking what to wear on the show.

"They have this room for me at the studio," she tells London's Mirror. "The designers bring me their stuff, and I just stand there looking at rows and rows of Armani and all the Japanese designers so I can choose what to wear on air.

"It's better than sex."

HE SAID, SHE SAID: The two most interesting quotes in the January issue of Elle:

"We all like to feel needed and wanted, and if it happens on a national or international level, then all the greater."
---Benjamin Bratt, former Law & Order detective, former Julia Roberts boyfriend, generating Oscar buzz for the movie Pinero, and who doesn't mind being considered a sex symbol.

"Let people be people -- cut them some slack. If somebody makes a pass at you, so what? Be strong. Understand that this is what life is about -- to deal with guys who many not be so confident."
---Wendy Chamberlin, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, offering what she calls a "gentle message" for professional women because she thinks sensitivity to sexual harassment is "creating a chilling effect" on their prospects as they come up through the ranks.

JUST SELL THEM ON EBAY: The Lord of the Rings is officially a more overbearing pop culture event than Harry Potter.

Peter Jackson, who directed the Rings trilogy, wants to set up a museum for the movie's props. But he's afraid the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien will block it.

He says the estate, run by the Tolkien family, says props can't be displayed when any of the films in the trilogy -- the other two are scheduled for release in 2002 and '03 -- are not on screen.

"But even that is a nebulous thing because when does that actually occur?" Jackson told the Evening Post of Wellington, New Zealand.

Not soon enough if this keeps up.

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