ABC giving Wayne Brady the ax

Posted: January 10, 2004

Smooth-tongued, suavely handsome Wayne Brady is getting booted off ABC-TV's airways, the Hollywood Reporter says. The reason? You.

Yeah, that's right, by not watching The Wayne Brady Show you helped give it a lowly 1.0 rating this season, forcing its syndicator, Buena Vista Television, to cancel the daytime talker. Feel ashamed, very ashamed. Especially considering this factoid: The show won two Emmy Awards this year, for best talk show and talk-show host.

In a show of really bad taste, Buena Vista will replace Brady's show with a talker to be hosted by monosyllabic tap dancer Tony Danza. (Danza's about as right for a talk show as Magic Johnson.)

Brady's show is scheduled to finish out the rest of its second season before biting the dust.

Rosie's love boat

* Former talk-show host, former magazine editor, and sometime comic Rosie O'Donnell is diversifying her portfolio by launching what she's billing as "the first gay cruise with family values."

Yep, it's The Love Boat with a twist: On R Family Vacations' cruise, which will leave New York for the Bahamas July 11, gay and lesbian passengers will not only be partying, they'll also be educated with discussion groups on adoption, artificial insemination, surrogacy, and other topics of interest to gay parents or parents to be.

"We welcome all families - however you define them - to join us on this cruise," O'Donnell said in a statement.

Cruisers, who will shell out primo bucks for the trip (prices range from $999 per person to $15,000 for a luxury cabin), will get to hang with Rosie and her life partner, Kelli O'Donnell, who will be accompanied by their four children on the chartered Norwegian Cruise Line ship.

Jackson on the silver screen?

* Truly outlandish motion-picture news comes in a report that Michael Jackson, who faces prosecution for alleged child molestation, will star in a flick about 30 beauty-pageant contestants stranded on a desert island, where they find Noah's Ark.

Say what?

In Miss Cast Away, which is slated for an April release, MJ will share the screen with such notable thespians as Joe Millionaire's Evan Marriott, B-movie staple Eric Roberts, and the very forgettable Charlie Schlatter (Police Academy). According to director Bryan Michael Stoller, Jackson plays Agent MJ, who's sent to the island by the Pope to dispense wisdom to the castaways. "Michael's got a great sense of humor," Stoller told the New York Daily News, adding, "He's popular, whether it's negative or positive press." We suggest a heavy dose of anti-psychotics for the person who came up with that idea.

Cojo flies the coup

* In a severe blow to the publishing industry, fashion guru Steven Cojocaru has announced he's leaving People mag, where he's been the West Coast style editor for a decade, to pursue his TV career. The 41-year-old self-described Glamour Boy, who has regular gigs on the Today show and Entertainment Tonight, is developing a talk show with Paramount.

Cojo, who lives in L.A. with his dog, Stinky, will write his last "Style Watch" column for People's Jan. 19 issue.

Radio reports

* WOGL-FM (98.1) has shaken up its lineup. Nighttimer Harvey Holiday, who had not worked a daytime shift in decades, moves to an expanded midday show (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Weekender Bob Charger moves to nights (7 p.m. to midnight). Staying put are morning man Don Cannon (5 to 9 a.m.), who will return from heart surgery Jan. 26, and afternooner "Big Ron" O'Brien (3 to 7 p.m.). Odd people out are the previous midday hosts, Christy Springfield and Mike St. John. Springfield goes to weekends and fill-in, and St. John is gone.

Phil Martelli's HawkTalk radio show debuts on Monday at a new location, Carmella's Restaurant in Manayunk. The St. Joseph's Hawks head coach hosts the show along with SJSN radio talent Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi. The show will air each Monday throughout the 2003-04 season from 7 to 8 p.m. on WPEN-AM (950) and can be heard live on the Web on www.sjuhawks.com.

Accessing the truth

* In our report Thursday about Jason Allen Alexander - the man Britney Spears married for a blink of an eye last weekend - we incorrectly stated that the 22-year-old college student was offered $1 million by Access Hollywood for the video of his Vegas wedding. Access Hollywood did not make the offer: The TV show reported that other media outlets had made the offer to Alexander.

Rose in town

* Disgraced baseball legend Pete Rose will sign his new book, My Prison Without Bars, at Barnes & Noble, 1805 Walnut St., at noon Jan. 23. Information: 215-665-0716.

Contact "Newsmakers" at 215-854-5797 or newsmakers@phillynews.com.

Staff writer Michael Klein and Inquirer wire services contributed to this column.

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