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Rosie O'Donnell: Price May Not Be Right

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

By Roger Friedman


Rosie O'Donnell: Price May Not Be Right

Bob Barker’s nice comments about Rosie O’Donnell taking over “The Price is Right” have started an avalanche of stories. Will Rosie be exclaiming “Come on down!” soon to contestants?

The story will get a little more focused on Thursday when O’Donnell meets with the game show’s producers in Hollywood. That’s the first time all parties will be in the same room.

But O’Donnell has issues that could scotch the entire set up. They are: she lives in New York, the show is shot in Los Angeles and the twain just don’t meet.

Rosie, I am told, simply is not moving west. And the show isn’t coming east. So what to do?

It’s not going to be about money, either, since Rosie is wealthier than ever. She turned down $10 million a year from “The View,” after all.

One solution that O’Donnell will propose is shooting a month’s worth of shows over a four-day period every 30 days. That way she won’t be away too long from her four kids and partner, Kelli. That would probably be the deal breaker as far as she’s concerned.

But there are other issues as well. O’Donnell, as I reported earlier, is in hot demand at all the networks, particularly NBC. New programming chief Ben Silverman really, really wants her, and that could prove a sticking point in the “Price” negotiations.” The game show is produced by Freemantle Media for CBS and is not syndicated. In fact, until this summer, “The Price is Right” wasn’t even shown in reruns.

And here’s a little trivia for those who aren’t completely sold on Barker as the kindly old gent of game shows. I’m told that the reason “Price” reruns are not syndicated to cable outlets like Game Show Network or TV Land has to do with his own bitterness about former female presenters who appeared in three decades of shows.

Barker, sources say, has nothing but enmity for Janice Pennington, Dian Parkinson, Holly Hallstrom and Kathleen Bradley — all known as Barker’s Beauties during their long runs on the show. Parkinson in particular was on Barker’s hit list after she appeared on the cover of Playboy twice toward the end of her run with him.

Parkinson made sure there was a stain on Barker’s legacy when she sued him for sexual harassment in 1993. The case was eventually dropped.

But Barker, sources say, has managed to get back at the Beauties by stopping the syndication.

“That way the girls have never gotten a dime for their reruns,” says my source. “They’d be making millions now by union rules. But Barker has made sure they haven’t gotten anything.”

Of course, things would be “Rosie-er” under an O’Donnell regime at “Price is Right.” But the whole thing seems a bit unlikely. Stay tuned. O’Donnell’s future has too many more exciting prospects, I’d say.

It’s funny how these “stories” of people “definitely” taking jobs become “fact” before anything substantive ever happens. Take Whoopi Goldberg, for instance. Even though last week it was “certain” that she’d join “The View” in the fall, I’m told that Whoopi still hadn’t even been approached by the show for anything other than a guest stint.

Madonna or Bono Hoodwinked?

It’s unclear who got the best of whom in Vanity Fair’s current Africa issue: Bono or Madonna.

Bono guest edited the issue that has 20 different covers, and it’s really a great read. In particular I loved Sebastian Junger’s piece on China’s role in funding the Sudanese. The connection between the ongoing horror in Darfur and the Beijing Olympics is about to be the big international headline. Now at least it’s been made clear why.

But a smaller question concerns Madonna’s role in the Africa issue. Madonna appears on two of the 20 covers, and that can only help sales among her fans. Bono isn’t stupid, and knows she still has drawing power.

However: inside the magazine, Madonna either gets short shift or gets away with something. It depends on how you look at it.

On page 80, buried among larger articles, is a smallish piece on her charity, Raising Malawi, which is credited with helping orphans in the impoverished neighbor of Botswana. It’s a nice bit of PR, albeit minuscule by comparison with more important stories in the magazine.

Was there a trade-off, though, for the covers? There’s no mention in the piece that Raising Malawi is run entirely by the Kabbalah Center of Los Angeles.

The VF piece notes that Malawian Victoria Keelan reached out to Madonna because of her work with Spirituality for Kids, described as “a non profit organization which aids children in impoverished areas around the globe…”

But again, there is no mention that Spirituality for Kids is one and the same as the Kabbalah Center. It’s an intentional oversight for sure.

Let’s hope Bono got more out of Madonna, and not the other way around.

Meanwhile, the VF story does mention that Madonna is making a documentary about Raising Malawi with filmmaker Nathan Rissman. Rissman has no credits on the Internet Movie Database, but someone with the same name endorses a power saw on an infomercial Web site. If it’s the same guy, maybe he’ll cut right to the heart of the matter of Kabbalah and Malawi.

Can Matchbox Save Bronfman, Et Al?

Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s Warner Music Group is at an all-time low this morning, trading at $15.09 a share. This is unbelievable and frightening.

It’s hard to imagine Bronfman’s backers, such as Thomas Lee, are happy with this situation. But for two years I’ve said it and will say it again: you can’t have a record company without records. Simply laying off everyone is not a way to claim fiscal propriety.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Bronfman could be saved. Atlantic Records’ megahit group, Matchbox Twenty, is in the studio with famed producer Steve Lillywhite.

Group leader Rob Thomas has put aside his second solo CD for a few weeks to put together the group’s greatest hits with some surprising new music.

I got to hear some of what they’re doing this week. It’s so good that Bronfman should send them something. At this point, a thank-you note will do.

The whole WMG disaster makes for snarky copy, but it’s worse than that for artists still associated with the company. Lots of musicians depend on WMG for royalties as their income.

If WMG fails, the ripple effect is enormous. This is something perhaps Bronfman is not thinking about. But lives are depending on him. It would be prudent of him and the rest of the WMG to remember that.


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So does she get to keep the hot female spokesmodels as assistants, like Bob Barker had? :rolleyes:

Yes she does but they will all have to have haircuts and listen to the Indigo Girls nonstop.

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So does she get to keep the hot female spokesmodels as assistants, like Bob Barker had? :rolleyes:

Yes she does but they will all have to have haircuts and listen to the Indigo Girls nonstop.

And hang out at LPGA events. :rolleyes:

Should this thread have been titled Going On Down?

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Given the demographic of the Price Is Right viewership, this would be a really dumb move. Those little old ladies would be switching over to the "$25,000 Pyramid" faster than you can say Joan Armatrading.

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