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Forbes 400: The Richest People in America

Diverting spec--or Business 101 Lite--has host Maury Povich interviewing some of the richest people in America. Povich hopes the audience will gain insight into their money-making secrets (inheriting pots of cash is the most popular course taken by the men and women on the list). But although fairly entertaining , especially with Povich's borderline sleazy Everyman charm, it will take more than 400 Americans worth billions of dollars to tear viewers from the 12 millionaires playing basketball in Barcelona.

Diverting spec–or Business 101 Lite–has host Maury Povich interviewing some of the richest people in America. Povich hopes the audience will gain insight into their money-making secrets (inheriting pots of cash is the most popular course taken by the men and women on the list). But although fairly entertaining , especially with Povich’s borderline sleazy Everyman charm, it will take more than 400 Americans worth billions of dollars to tear viewers from the 12 millionaires playing basketball in Barcelona.

The lightly done, over-easy profiles range from syndication Kings Roger and Michael, to self-made trucking lord J.B. Hunt, to oilman David Koch to Houston lawyer Joseph Jamail.

One of the most interesting pieces involves Dennis Washington, a sincere man who revived heavy industry in Montana. His snippets of business advice and his comfortable manner suggest a businessman whose independent spirit salary slaves can take as inspiration.

But O. Stillman Rockefeller is an odd choice to profile: Although fabulously wealthy by inheritance, he doesn’t do anything except paint, and he considers himself a patron of the arts (his art). This selfish (but enviable) way of life contrasts sharply with the men and a woman who came from not much and built empires: Microsoft’s Bill Gates, cosmetics queen Estee Lauder and Penthouse publisher Bob Guccioni.

The unintentionally funny Guccioni really wanted to be a great painter, but he abandoned art for what some call pornography. There is irony in his tale, and his advice: “If you have an idea, you have to believe that the idea’s right.” Well, maybe some kid not watching the Dream Team will gain inspiration from the message: Money makes the world go ’round but art will get you a cold-water flat on the Lower East Side.

Forbes 400: The Richest People in America

(Wed. (29), 8-9 p.m., CBS-TV)

  • Production: Taped by Four Point Entertainment in association with Forbes Inc. Exec producers, Malcolm Forbes Jr., Ron Ziskin, Shukri Ghalayini. Producer and director, Michael J. Miller; supervising producer, Mack Anderson; associate producer, Linda Gaugel; coordinating producer, Mickey McKenzie.
  • Crew: Camera, Philip Hurn.
  • Cast: Host: Maury Povich.
  • Music By: