Hollywood Notes

Sep 3, 2001  •  Post A Comment

`Big Brother’ cast member warned
Following evicted housemate Justin’s knife-wielding incident on CBS’s “Big Brother 2” in July, the reality show’s Nicole was the latest to be warned by series producers for threatening to cut fellow houseguest Will’s wrists “lengthwise” with a chef’s knife during a nontelevised segment of the show Aug. 23. According to “Big Brother 2” fan sites and confirmed by a CBS spokeswoman, Nicole, 31, a personal chef, was not brandishing the knife-a factor in her getting a warning instead of an instant eviction, such as the one accorded Justin.
Reportedly Nicole had been talking with Will about possibly maintaining an alliance by agreeing not to vote him off the show-although he is an admitted “serial liar.” After Nicole reportedly questioned Will’s allegiance and sincerity, she was said to have threatened to slit his wrists if he turned on her in subsequent votes for banishment from the house.
In related news, it has been announced that the special 8 p.m. (ET) Sept. 5, telecast of “BB2,” which will lead in to the 9 p.m. premiere of “The Amazing Race,” will include a visit from former “Survivor I” contestants Gervase Patterson and Sue Hawk to the “Big Brother” house.
`Becker’ cast members sue Paramount
After briefly staging a one-day sickout earlier this month, the supporting cast of CBS’s “Becker” sitcom filed a lawsuit claiming series producer Paramount Television Group reneged on renegotiating their salaries for the series’ upcoming fourth season. In a filing submitted Aug. 28 to the Los Angeles Superior Court, attorneys for cast members Terry Farrell, Hattie Winston, Alex Desert, Shawnee Smith and Saverio Guerra claimed Paramount has not given the supporting actors a pay raise since the show’s debut in fall 1998. The suit charges that Paramount “lulled the plaintiffs into acquiescence by expressly promising to renegotiate their compensation starting with the series’ fourth season but has since repeatedly reneged on this agreement in bad faith.” The suit also goes on to cite the pay raises handed to actors in Paramount’s other hit sitcom, NBC’s “Frasier,” although claiming that “Becker” has been a “consistently” stronger, top 20 ratings performer. “Becker” series star Ted Danson is not joined or named in the suit. A spokeswoman for Paramount said studio policy precludes it from commenting on pending litigation.
Yahoo! to promote Pax programming
Less than four months after former Warner Bros. studio chief Terry Semel took on the CEO post at Yahoo!, the Internet portal giant has reached an agreement with seventh broadcast network Pax TV to promote the “family-friendly” network’s soon-to-be-premiering 2001-02 season prime-time lineup. Web surfers will be able to visit a special promotional area on TV.yahoo.com to find information on such new Pax series as “The Ponderosa,” “Forbidden Secrets,” “Ed McMahon’s Next Big Star” and “Candid Camera,” in addition to information on Pax’s “Watch and Win Sweepstakes” (including a link to its www.pax.tv site). Under the deal, said to be part of Mr. Semel’s efforts to increase traffic to Yahoo! through traditional media exposure, the Internet giant will host a series of chats with Pax stars, including Mr. McMahon, the cast of “The Ponderosa” and Billy Ray Cyrus, the star of “Doc.”
Columbia TriStar, iN Demand enter deal
Following on the heels of other major video-on-demand rights initiatives mounted by the major Hollywood studios, Columbia TriStar International Television has entered a cable pay-per-view and VOD deal with PPV cable provider iN Demand. The agreement with CTIT, which becomes effective Sept. 1, complements iN Demand’s previous breakthrough VOD rights deals sealed with Artisan Entertainment and Universal Studios as part of the PPV player’s commitment to expanding its “support” for the new medium. Just last month, Columbia TriStar’s parent company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, entered into a joint arrangement with Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount and MGM to be equal equity partners in a new Internet-based movie-on-demand service called MovieFly, to launch early next year.