GOOD MORNING: Even (multi-) millionaires of show biz want to play “Who Wants To Be A Milionaire” and so another week of celeb participants is plotted for Nov. Of course, the celebs play for favorite charities. This week’s star-contested shows, generously policed by the always-cool Regis, have been hilarious. And “Millionaire” spins off another show, with an hour, behind-the-scenes May 18 special as cameras follow a contestant from Noble, Ill., from the time he phoned in his application to appear on the show to his finale. This special will follow the regular “Millionaire” show of that night. Despite the constantly increasing tangential chore$, Reege says he is in fine (physical) shape. And Michael Gelman, exec producer of the daytime “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee,” told me, “Regis deserves it (the good fortune). He is a wondeerful guy.” As for a replacement for Kathie Lee, the date is tentatively set for July 28. But Gelman said, “We’ll know when we’ve found her. It will show up in the chemistry between her and Regis.” He says they’ve received hundreds of tapes from would-be’s. “There are a lot of talented people out there — and there a lot of people out there who think that it’s easier than it IS.”
“BUT WHAT I REALLY WANT to do next is direct — a feature,” said Lili Fini Zanuck who had just won the Country Music Award for best music video, Faith Hill on “Breathe.” You recall it was the Zanuck-Hill friendship formed during the making of that video that encouraged Zanuck to SOS Faith to replace Whitney Houston on the eve of the Oscars. The week following the Zanucks-produced Oscar show, Lilli left for Paris to direct the new music video “Let’s Make Love” with Hill and husband Tim McGraw. They duetted the tune, backed by the video on Wednesday’s CMA’s. The video will air — with more performance values — in mid-June on VH1. Zanuck admitted, “I had such a good time. But it (country) is such a different world” — from the Oscars. As a result of her music video win, Lili has other offers from that world but she said doing a feature is her “priority.” She’s about to make a choice.
ED HARRIS AND WIFE AMY MADIGAN are expanding — to produce as well as star in a pic, “So I Am Glad.” They’re joining forces with Elton John’s Rocket Films. The Harrises have just completed co-starring in “Pollock,” the biopic of Jackson Pollack, which was also directed by Ed Harris. And he also is a partner, having put his money where his talents are — along with financing partners Peter Brant and Joseph Allen. It was Brant (financier-art collector) who encouraged Harris to debut-direct the film. “Pollock” was invited to Cannes but Harris, who also just wound costaring in “Enemy at the Gates” with Jude Law in Berlin, said he wants to put all finishing touches on his own film before showing to anyone. He’s set Jan Kaczmarek to score.
A LITTLE DEJA VU MUSIC, PLIZ: 30 years ago, “The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island” aired in syndication in back-to-back time slots. Now, Nickelodeon will again team the two shows, 9-10 p.m. starting June 5. Sherwood Schwartz who created, wrote and produced the two series, will be toasted by Nickelodeon affiliates Friday, May 12 at the Waldorf-Astoria. And, Nickelodeon is talking a diffferent “Brady Bunch” series by Schwartz to launch that web’s original programming. Sherwood is still going strong — at 83. … “Betty Boop” is also still going strong. Dick Fleischer, Chairman of the Board of Fleischer Studios, is the son of “Betty Boop” creator Max F. who created his animation studio in 1916 with “Out of the Inkwell.” Today there are over 1,000 different Betty Boop products licensed by King Features and Fleischer Studios. Her likeness is even on lottery tickets in Wisconsin with 17 other states’ lotteries upcoming. Dick Flesicher’s son (and Max’s grandson), attorney Mark F. are now readying to put Betty Boop on, you guessed it, the Internet, with her Web site. With BB established products, everybody wants her “so we’re being very careful,” admitted award-winning feature director Dick Fleischer. Meanwhile, the “Betty Boop” feature has gone in turnaround at MGM.
“BUZZ!!” AS IN BUSBY BERKELEY, is being readied as a musical by Larry Gelbart, David Zippel and Alan Menken. Gelbart and Zippel teamed on “City of Angels,” and Zippel and Menkel, on “Hercules.” Rob Roth is to direct “Buzz!!” Gelbart was one of those toasting Norman Corwin on his 90th birthday party at the Skirball Center. He called Corwin, “the Bard of Broadcasting.” It was Norman, with his mastery of images who, putting his craft at the service of his social conscience, shaped my aspirations as a writer and as a citizen. Corwin, whose accomplishments cover all phases of showbiz with awards for them all — and for his humanity over his many years, noted, “Altogether we tend to make too much of numbers. They’re useful and even vital in countless ways — shoe sizes, calling 911, measuring the magnitude of galaxies. But what, pray, is the number of moonlight and roses, or a meditation on a Grecian urn, or a child’s laughter, or grief, or pain, or compassion, or that common miracle of creation which makes each of us momently half a god?” Corwin addresses the USC Journalism School commencement May 12. Trojans, take notes. … Talking numbers: Jamie and Steve Tisch welcomed twins, Holden Victoria and Zachary Alexander April 29 at Cedars-Sinai.