Hollywood Notes

May 27, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Man sues over ‘Candid Camera’ stunt
Paxson Communications, Peter Funt and his Candid Camera Inc. have been sued in Los Angeles Superior Court by a Ventura County, Calif., resident who claims to have been injured in a stunt at an Arizona airport on June 15, 2001. Phillip Zelnick alleges that he was passing through a security checkpoint at Laughlin-Bullhead International Airport when a man, under the employ of Paxson and Candid Camera and posing as a security guard, instructed him that in order to access his departure gate, Mr. Zelnick was to lie down on the conveyor belt and pass through the luggage X-ray machine to be scanned. The suit alleges that Mr. Zelnick, believing the man to be an airport security official, complied and was injured when his upper leg was caught in the machine’s rollers as the belt began to move. The rollers also caused a pen in Mr Zelnick’s pocket to twist and puncture his upper leg, according to the suit. Mr. Zelnick, who also named the airport and the Mojave County Airport Authority in his suit, is seeking an unspecified amount in damages for, among other things, emotional and mental distress, loss of earnings and punitive damages. Mr. Funt, who had not seen the filing, commented, “We never set out to injure anyone on our show, whether feelings or physical well-being. I was there that day, and I know a man pinched his leg in our prop. We turned it over to our insurance company, and that’s the last I heard of it.” “Candid Camera” just began production for a second season of shows on Pax.
`Rosie’ finale scores
“The Rosie O’Donnell Show” enjoyed a grand send-off for its final live show on May 22, scoring a season-high 5.7 rating/17 share in the overnight markets and winning its time period in 29 of those markets. The show improved its lead-in (3.3/11) by 73 percent in rating and 55 percent in share.
`Urban Latino TV’ gets firm go
“Urban Latino TV” has firmed up two key clearances to solidify its scheduled syndicated launch this fall and has been given a “firm go.” In Los Angeles, the nation’s top Latino market with more than 6 million Latinos, the series will air on KABC-TV in a weekend afternoon time period with a second weekend run likely. In Miami, the nation’s No. 3 Latino market with more than 1.5 million Latinos, the weekly series will air on CBS owned-and-operated stations WFOR-TV (a CBS affiliate) and WBFS-TV (a UPN affiliate). WFOR will be offering the show during weekend access with a second run on WBFS likely.
ABC to premiere `Houston Medical’
As part of its summer 2002 programming plans to offer a lineup of 40 percent original programming, ABC has announced a six-part “nonfiction” hospital series, “Houston Medical,” to premiere in the 10 p.m. (ET) Tuesday time slot on June 18. ABC said the second episode will air in the same time slot on June 25, while subsequent airdates and time slots will be announced at a later date. Shot in the digital TV format as a cinema verite documentary, “Houston Medical” follows the lives of patients, doctors and nurses as they interact in Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Louis Gorfain is the writer and executive producer, and Charles Bangert is executive producer and director of the limited-run reality series.
`We the Jury’ set for production
Telco Productions has placed the all-important “firm go” label on upcoming court show strip “We the Jury.” Telco and production partners Chambers Productions Corp. and SIMP have set production to begin June 3 on the daily reality strip, which has 60 percent of the country cleared on more than 100 stations. The strip features eight people who serve as jurors and decide real cases ripped from the headlines.
Short takes
Harry Friedman has signed a new multiyear deal with Columbia TriStar Domestic Television, where he will continue to serve as executive producer of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” and serve as executive consultant to “Pyramid.” … Veteran television producer Bridget Potter has been tapped as executive producer of “The Caroline Rhea Show,” the continuation of the talk/variety franchise created and established by Rosie O’Donnell and Telepictures Productions.