Strictly personal news

Dick Van Patten tells me (on the phone) he has suffered a “slight stroke.” Although he admits to problems with both his left leg and arm, he sounded his inimitable cheery self as he added, “Other than that I’m feeling great. Everything else is O.K.” Van Patten, 77, started in the biz on B’way at the age of six and has taken bows in every showbiz medium. He recently made front page news when he successfully launched a line of pet foods called, “Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods.”

Oscar-winning lyricist Hal David underwent heart valve replacement surgery Jan.4  at Cedars-Sinai  Medical  Center and is fully recuperating at home. David has received every major music award and is a member of the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. He’s a former president of ASCAP and serves on its board, which meets next month in L.A.

Scott Baio, who was the victim of a rumor falsely reporting his death in 1997, will star in the series pilot, “Let’s Kill Scott Baio” for VH1. The series reveals the length to which a network will go to turn a low-rated reality show into a hit by falsely diagnosing its star (Baio) with a fictitious terminal disease. Baio plays the “dying man who would react as only a dying man would have the courage to say and do.” The show, from Windmill Entertainment, was created by company topper Craig J. Nevius, writer Bruce Clark and co-exec producer Nancy Valen, who gave us the reality show, “Chasing Farrah.” Farrah Fawcett tells me working with this group was a worthwhile life and professional experience.

Strictly legit: Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” is the latest presentation by the Center Theater Group’s artistic director Michael Ritchie  and another reason to fight the freeway traffic to see first class theater.  Sir Peter Hall, directing for his sixth time, told an applauding group of first niters at the Ahmanson that he’ll be back for a seventh outing because daughter Judy wants to do “12th Night.” Of course Ritchie was happy to hear the news of a venture for a future season. First, Hall heads to London and the Haymarket with Judi Dench to star in “Hay Fever.” Lynn Redgrave, who stars in “Earnest,” gives L.A.  theatergoers another treat when she appears additionally — for one night only on Feb.27 — in “Nightingale,” in which she recalls memories of her maternal grandmother. Meanwhile “Earnest” heads out from L.A.to Columbus, New Haven, Phoenix and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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  1. Mordred La Fey says:

    A tv pilot entitled “Let’s Kill Scott Baio”?!?!?
    VH-1 and the creators of this proposed show better be damn careful. It’s only been two or three years since another beloved ex-child star and former teen idol of movies and television (Jonathan Brandis) committed suicide.
    A lot of fans still care about Scott Baio very much and do not want to see him publicly hurt or humiliated in any manner.
    Upon winning her first Oscar for “The Accused”, Jodie Foster once commented: “Cruelty may be very cultural and even very human. But it’s not acceptable.”
    VH-1 should really think about that.

  2. joey says:

    To Mr. Archerd,
    As a longtime Scott Baio fan, I cannot help but feel a bit suspicious of this recent showbiz gossip concerning him. Last I heard in January 2005, Mr. Baio was developing an NBC sitcom for HBO Independent and Tagline Productions with creative help from producer Jace Richdale and writer Blake McCormack.
    Moreover, everyone knows that Scott is currently busy helping out at “Arrested Development” with his memorable recurring character Atty. Bob Loblaw, the troubled Bluth family’s expensive legal counsel. I read that Showtime plans to obtain the cult sitcom for their programming line-up this year but they’re presently waiting for the show’s creator to join them and provide the final go signal to consummate the deal.
    Mr. Baio’s quoted statements from the radaronline.com interview (as provided by the arcolytes) does appear to conflict with the proposed VH-1 project. Hopefully, said confusing news turns out to be erroneous. Or the new series is really a cleverly-scripted avant-garde new-wave sitcom which mockingly ridicules the unfortunate reality-show phenomena. We’ll see.
    Thanks for reading my letter. And good health to you, sir.

  3. mdstudio says:

    Sorry to hear Dick Van Patten had a stroke. I wish him well in his recovery.

  4. the arcolytes says:

    Dear Mr. Archerd,
    Your recent news item on Mr. Scott Baio doesn’t appear very credible in light of his recent statements during an interview with Mr. Tyler Gray for radaronline.com last October 2005 (“Baio Feedback”):
    TYLER: “What’s next for you? The Surreal Life or some other reality show?”
    SCOTT: “I just think it’s very indulgent, self-serving. It’s just not what I want to do with my life. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t have to be that guy. I know this is a cyclical business, and I’m not going to do something that’s going to hurt my future work. Plus, I just hate those shows. I can’t comment on why anyone else would do it. I just don’t know.”
    Now honestly, does that sound like Mr. Baio is eager to participate in the celebrity reality-show genre?? (UNLESS said program is a cleverly-written sitcom deceptively disguised as a “reality show”.)
    I still doubt and question the veracity of this news item.

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