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Leaving La$ Vega$

Jan 22, 2007  •  Post A Comment

This is too good to stay in Las Vegas.

CBS spokespoohbah Gil Schwartz became The Insider’s lucky charm for life last week. She will rub his head every time she sees him until she dies (most likely at his hand).

The Scene: The spacious lobby of the Mandalay Bay. The Insider enters from stage left carrying a handful of expense sheets freshly copied at the hotel’s business center (as if there’s even an itty-bitty chance she would be able to get them done before falling asleep on the flight back to the balmy Big Apple). She spies the spokespoohbahman. Expressions of pleased recognition, hellos, cheek kisses and basic information are exchanged.

The spokespoohbahmeister is headed for Pasadena and the semiannual endurance test known as the Television Critics Association winter session, but has stopped in Las Vegas to attend that evening’s King World bash.

The Insider is headed for the airport, which is usually the only place she gambles, and then only on slot machines named for TV shows.

On the way to pick up her checked baggage, The Insider finds herself at the edge of the Mandalay casino floor. Her eye is caught by a bank of “Wheel of Fortune” slots. The King World connection reeks of fate. The Insider puts in a bedraggled $20 bill (again customary for last day in the gambling Mecca) and employs the usual strategy: bet one credit at a time, the 2-credit maximum only when the machine has given her a little somethin’ somethin’.

Suddenly, a longtime pattern is broken. The “Wheel” is paying off: a few extra credits here, a few spins of the extra-money wheel there. The gentlemen next to The Insider, who are about to leave their “Wheel” machine, sit back down, saying there is now hope for them.

The Insider is the only winner, however. To the tune of $600. As The Insider believes in giving back, she drops a cool, crisp $100 in the casino trying to keep the streak going before grabbing luggage and cab.

At the airport, she bumps into a prestige-print colleague and coaches him through her strategy on a “Wheel” slot at the airport. Alas, this means he is betting only one credit per spin when the “spin-wheel” symbol comes up. One only gets to spin that wheel when one is betting the two-credit max.

Oops! There goes 40 bucks.

This one’s for you, Mr. P.

As for the CBS spokespoohbahster: He’d better be wearing a hard hat the next time we cross paths, because The Insider is going to get her some good luck noogie.

And for the boss: Stay tuned. After five hours of drooling during sleep on the flight home, the expense sheets and a stack of magazines still haven’t dried out.

And for the readers, an e-mail (to mgreppi@tvweek.com ) will get you the location and number of the lucky “Wheel” slot.

But you’ll have to find your own lucky charm.

You might try the Penn & Teller show at the Rio. The Insider caught the bloody lucky rabbit’s foot there.