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Tipster Helps Web Site Give Kelley Dose of Reality

June 6, 2005 12:00 AM

"Boston Legal" exec producer David E. Kelley is being served a hard dose of reality. The former lawyer's first foray into unscripted TV has been tarnished by a mean-spirited tipster. An untraceable e-mail sent May 26 to about 100 industry figures e-mail claimed to reveal the winners of Kelley's upcoming NBC reality series, "The Law Firm." The e-mail was sent using a fee-based Web site that helps hide the real author. The site, still in the development stage and looking for publicity, then posted the spoiler on its homepage and awarded the sender its weekly "best anonymous e-mail" $100 prize. A spokeswoman for Kelley productions sounded disgusted by the stunt but declined to comment about the potential impact on the show or its ratings. Lawyers from 20th Century Fox Television ("Law Firm's" producer) have requested the tipster's identity, but web site creator Howard Baer told them, "Absolutely not," adding: "We don't know if this person did anything illegal." A Fox spokesman speculated the tipster was involved with the show, which has completed production. Mr. Kelley and Fox refused to confirm or deny the validity of the leaked list. An NBC spokeswoman said it shouldn't be considered credible. She noted the summer series, slated for a July 28 premiere, will proceed as scheduled. --NATALIE FINN

Know When to Compute Them …

In another likely sign of the apocalypse a start-up production company is mounting the 2005 World Series of Poker Robots-a competition in Las Vegas in which computerized robots face off later this month in a 72-hour Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament in front of a live audience and-concept co-creator Darren Shuster hopes-a television audience, though there is no deal as yet. Like mechanical BattleBots, each robot has its own programmer and backer who competes for a $100,000 prize put up by online gambling site GoldenPalace.net, which in the past sought media attention by buying a grilled cheese sandwich that supposedly carried an image of the Virgin Mary, and last month, Britney Spears' purported home pregnancy test. It hopes to steal some thunder from the World Series of Poker, which will be held at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas that week and will air in July on ESPN. Mr. Shuster, who said the GSN network has shown interest, insisted this is not just a publicity stunt: "Of course, GoldenPalace wants the publicity. What are they putting up the 100 grand for? It's called sponsorship. But this is not their company and this is going to happen." --JAMES HIBBERD

Special Delivery

The healthy birth last Wednesday of Lola Sheen means there shouldn't be any disruption in the production of the upcoming UPN dramatic series "Sex, Lies & Secrets," billed as an edgier version of "Friends." It stars an ensemble cast, including Lola's mother, "Wild Things" star Denise Richards. Lola joins sister Sam, born 15 months ago. Dad is Charlie Sheen, star of the hit CBS comedy "Two and a Half Men," about a man whose brother and nephew move it with him. Mr. Sheen was reportedly in the delivery room for the birth, even though Ms. Richards, 34, and Mr. Sheen, 39, separated in March and are seeking a divorce. The parents expressed delight at the arrival of Lola, who weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces. Production on "Sex, Lies & Secrets" is scheduled to start next month. Ms. Richards plays Jolene, who lives in Silver Lake, a trendy neighborhood near downtown L.A. No date has been set for the premiere, but the show should get sampled. It will air Tuesday nights right after one of UPN's most popular series, "America's Next Top Model." --NATALIE VERDUGO