General News

NEWSMAKERS: Red-Hot Regis Cashes In

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

It's good to be Regis Philbin. If you are Regis Philbin, you have "television magic." If you are Regis Philbin, you are "the hottest thing in television." And if you are Regis Philbin, you have a fat, new contract with your TV bosses.

The suits at ABC and parent-company Disney announced today that they'd inked Reeg to long-term deals to continue as host of the network's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and the Disney-produced syndicated morning talker "Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee."

In making the announcement, Buena Vista Television President Janice Marinelli said all that stuff about Regis being hot and having magic. Unfortunately, she didn't say anything about how much they're going to be paying Reeg. (Reports that Philbin had secured a $20 million-per-year deal out of ABC for "Millionaire" recently were denied -- by Philbin.)

The deals come on the heels of: (1) "Millionaire" securing the Top Five slots in the latest Nielsen ratings; and, (2) Kathie Lee announcing her plans to cut out on "Regis & Kathie Lee" come July.

Can you say bargaining power?

We bet Regis can.

STUNNING NEWS! Following through on her threat to file for annulment from her "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" spouse, Darva Conger has, um, filed for annulment. The deed was done Tuesday in Nevada. Conger, 34, and Rick Rockwell, 42, were wed in Las Vegas on Feb. 15 for a Fox special. In court papers, Conger said the marriage "was entered into solely for an entertainment purpose." Clearly, that's usually what the honeymoon's for.

UNJUST COS? Bill Cosby is threatening to slap the National Enquirer with a $250 million lawsuit over a story in the tab's March 14 edition that details a reputed police complaint about a sex attack filed against him by a 20-year-old sometime-actress on his CBS sitcom "Cosby." Prosecutors in New York say they can't comment on any case unless there's an arrest; the Enquirer reported that authorities declined to press charges. Cosby's rep calls the Enquirer story "not true"; the tab say it is, too. So there.

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