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TV STUFF: Regis Wants to Be a Millionaire

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Although ABC's giant "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" is making lots of folks richer (including network suits), a couple of people still aren't happy. One, apparently, is host Regis Philbin, who reportedly is making eyes at his contestants' money.

According to today's New York Post, Philbin is asking to be paid $250,000 an episode -- more than double his current $100,000-per-episode haul. With the show said to be adding a fourth night (Wednesdays) to its schedule, that means Philbin would be angling to become a millionaire -- each and every week.

"It's all very friendly. It's just not resolved," an unnamed source tells the newspaper's Page Six gossip column. "Regis is so tied to ABC, he's not going to mess around. It's kind of a family deal. They are in business together."

All this probably doesn't mean much to contestant Bob Bass, who walked away with $32,000 on Thursday but is contesting the question that stumped him.

On the installment, Bass was asked: "Who was the youngest president at his inauguration?" Bass answered John F. Kennedy. He was told the answer was Theodore Roosevelt.

For the record, Kennedy was inaugurated Jan. 20, 1961, at age 43; Roosevelt was sworn in after President McKinley's assassination in 1901 at age 42. Roosevelt didn't get his own official inauguration until March 4, 1905, after he won his own election -- and by then he was 46.

Yes, we looked this all up. And, yes, we're standing by you, Bob.

No comment from ABC on the Regis contract situation -- or the suspicious question.

DOH! It's curtains for a cast member of Fox's "The Simpsons," which in the grand name of February sweeps plans to kill off one of its cast members. And, according to reports, Maude Flanders, wife of Homer's annoying neighbor Ned Flanders, seems to be the front-runner for the job. Other possibilities include school principal Seymour Skinner and Moe the bartender.

"We're in our 11th season, and we're always looking for new ways to shake up the show a little and do something that might open up new story possibilities," Mike Scully, the show's executive producer, told The Associated Press.

While Scully wouldn't confirm Maude's demise, there are clues: First, Maude's voice-over actor, Maggie Roswell, recently left the show. And secondly, the killer episode is titled, "Alone Again, Natura-Diddly" -- an apparently reference to Ned's annoying overuse of the word "diddly."

The episode airs Feb. 13.

TOUCHDOWN! The St. Louis Rams may have emerged the big winner in Sunday's Super Bowl, but ABC didn't do too shabbily, either.

The telecast drew a 43.2 rating and a 62 share, up 7 percent from last year. Overall, more than 130 million viewers watched the big game, making this year's St. Louis-Tennessee Titans rumble the 19th-highest rated Super Bowl and the fifth most-watched telecast in U.S. history.

We have no specific figures, but we're pretty sure beer-and-chips consumption was pretty high Sunday, too.

IT'S LIKE, A DEAL: Peter Mehlman, a former "Seinfeld" writer and the creator of "It's like, you know ..." has signed a three-year deal with DreamWorks Television worth a low eight figures, according to Daily Variety. Mehlman, whose show was recently canceled, will continue to develop and produce series programming. There won't be an "It's like, you know ..." movie, though. "I have a 22-minute personality," Mehlman said.

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