Regis Philbin, who’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” by hosting 11 fresh prime-time episodes of the show in August, is hoping for improvements in the program that will make his life easier.
He thinks back to the years he hosted the show from 1999 to 2004, when, he reveals, he had to contend with frequent breakdowns of the computers used by the semi-finalists to determine who would end up in the coveted hot seat.
“Everything looked so great watching the program on TV, but every time one of the computers died, there would be a half-hour wait and it would drive me crazy.”
The icon in television broadcasting reveals that such malfunctions were the reason he decided not to do the syndicated version of “Millionaire,” which Meredith Viera hosts.
“I thought the syndicated program would be the same as the prime time show, and that would have been too messy for me with the breakdown of computers and such, and so I took a pass. Who knew that the format would change and contestants would practically take the test walking in the door.”
He notes, “I hope, in all this time, they’ve improved the quality of their computers.” And then, he adds, “I’m sure they have. And, even if that not true, I can put up with it for 11 shows. The fact is I’m thrilled that ABC has honored the show by featuring this 10th anniversary package. It is,” he says, “‘Millionaire’ is my favorite game show of all time.”
CLOTHES MAKE THE WOMAN: With “Confessions of a Shopaholic” hitting DVD June 23, costume design superstar Patricia Field recalls being inspired by the movie’s Isla Fisher, as well as her fashion-obsessed character, Rebecca Bloomwood.
“Once I figured out my road map, it worked quite smoothly. It’s about trying to make logical sense out of who these characters are,” notes the styling guru. “I can work with the actor, take what the actor has to give, then you look at the main character and the philosophy behind what you are doing. Then, you go to the supporting characters — one is the antithesis, one is the friend…”
She reveled in putting vibrant colors on the red-haired beauty. “Isla Fisher, she’s very energetic, very active and alive,” she notes. “And, the character was always an energized character. That was good casting, absolutely, and that energy is what I sort of stayed close to in dressing her. These kinds of things — you stay on the fun and happy side.”
How does, say, her “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker contrast? “Sarah Jessica is very graceful. She’s ballet trained. She’s got beautiful posture. She takes care of herself,” says Field. “The way she moves makes things gorgeous.”
THE INDUSTRY EYE: It will be mighty interesting to see how Kenny Ortega’s “Footloose” remake lands. Now that “Gossip Girl’s” Chace Crawford is in place to play the lead role Kevin Bacon essayed in the 1984 original (rather than Zac Efron, who opted not to make another musical just now), all eyes turn to the leading lady. Several names of fetching young actresses have been bandied about, including Hayden Panettiere and Amanda Bynes.
Now, we understand a casting notice has gone out for the role of the preacher’s daughter — Ariel, in the 1984 version, played by Lori Singer, now named Sarah. They’re looking for a 16 to 22-year-old able to play 17. So, perhaps Ortega — whose latest successes include the “High School Musical” movies — is going to go with an unknown. Or, at least, is thinking about that. What a star-making vehicle it could be! Adding to Ortega’s challenges, he has to work around Crawford’s “Gossip Girl” schedule.
MEANWHILE: For those who can’t wait to see a new “Footloose,” well, it’s being done as a live theater show July 19-Aug. 29th at the Glendale Center Theater near L.A.. Casting is being done now for all the roles.
CASTING CORNER: Ever wonder how much stars make for fronting pharmaceuticals related to helping their various health concerns? In case you did, you might be interested to know that a pay rate of up to $500,000 is being dangled for a celebrity spokesperson conversant on Type 2 Diabetes. Wanted is “Someone who actually has it and is being treated with insulin,” per casting notices. Being well-known is an obvious must.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster