Rodeo cowboy David Smith saddles up as Joe Millionaire's latest not-so-straight shooter
Joe's back. Joe Millionaire, that is, the FOX reality show about love, money and lies that ended up being one of the biggest hits on television last season. (The finale drew about 40 million viewers.) In the first go-around, construction worker Evan Marriott pretended that he had $50 million and was looking for a bride. This time the task falls to David Smith, 24, a rodeo cowboy who earns $11,000 a year and lives in a trailer in Texas. "David is country and a little shy," says Millionaire creator Mike Darnell. "He's a little more innocent than Evan was. He's all, 'Yes, ma'am. No, ma'am.'"
So how were Darnell and the producers able to find female contestants who weren't aware of Millionaire's "Gotcha!" twist? Think foreign affairs. Since the original show never aired in Europe, producers gathered 14 women from places like Sweden, Spain and the Czech Republic and told them they would be on an American romance show filmed in Italy. One of them, the producers say, will make a love connection with Smith. "Absolutely," says Darnell. "Positively."
Evan Marriott, star of the first Joe Millionaire split with contestant Zora Andrich soon after choosing her to be his soul mate. He went on to make a commercial (KFC) and TV cameos (Mad TV the Entertainer Presents). Most recently he appeared in a made-for-TV romantic comedy, See Jane Date, and had a guest role oh Charmed, Marriott, 29, will also he heard this season on an upcoming episode of The Simpsons.
Survivor: A Sure Bet?
Did someone let the rat out of the bag regarding the winner of Survivor: Pearl Islands? An online wagering company isn't taking chances. According to Simon Noble, CEO of the St. John, Antigua-based BetWWTS.com, one of the reality show's contestants received unusually heavy action from gamblers betting on who will win the CBS program. (The final episode airs in December. Scoop has decided not to print the name of the contestant favored by the gamblers.) "We were absolutely stunned when, within two days, we got $33,485 on one contestant," says Noble, who shut down the game "because it seems as though certain people know who the winner is going to be."
Maybe. But another online firm received a heavy concentration of bets for two contestants. The reaction at CBS? "We're not worried—all the speculation is fun," says spokesman Chris Ender, who added that the show's producers have mechanisms in place to prevent leaks. Besides, it has happened before. Last season the online gambling site BoDog.com suspected hanky panky and stopped accepting wagers on Survivor winners.
Megan Mullally a Mrs.
With little fanfare, Will & Grace's Megan Mullally married actor Nick Offerman in the backyard of her Los Angeles home Sept. 20. "She wanted it to be small and romantic and personal," says costar Shelley Morrison. Guests included Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack. Mullally, 44, and Offer-man, 33, met more than three years ago at a play. "They make each other laugh," says Morrison.
If you build it, he will come. Which explains why Larry King arrived in Queen Creek, Ariz., last week to find his likeness carved into a 10-acre cornfield. It's an early birthday present from his wife, Shawn Southwick-King, 43, and friends Mark and Carrie Schnepf, who own the farm. Said the CNN host, who turns 70 on Nov. 19: "That is really wild."
THE FRATERNAL ORDERS OF STARS
It's rush season on many college campuses, a time of intricate, ritualized wooing between students and the sorority or fraternity of their dreams. Friendships made during the process could prove entertaining later on. After all, not everyone can say they shared Sigma Chi's secret handshake with Brad Pitt or sang Chi Omega's worship songs with Lucy Liu. Herewith, Scoop's Greek road map to the stars.
Sigma Chi: Traditionally Big Men on Campus. Best known for "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" ball held annually.
Kappa Kappa Gamma: Sorority boasts "a single sex oasis in a mainly coed campus environment."
Delta Tau Delta: Founded in 1858 by students angered by a rigged vote in an oratory contest.
Delta Delta Delta: The Tri Delts were lampooned in a Saturday Night Live skit ("Delta, Delta, Delta, can I help ya, help ya, help ya?").
Sigma Alpha Epsilon: The largest social frat in the U.S., with more than 260,000 initiated members.
Chi Omega: The country's largest sorority has many closely guarded worship songs that pledges must learn. Symbol is the skull and crossbones.
the smoking gun
Tobey Settles Up
Tobey Maguire has returned nearly $200,000 that was improperly given to the Spider-Man star by his disgraced former investment adviser Dana Giacchetto. Maguire, 28, is the latest celebrity to settle with the court-appointed trustee overseeing the financial ruins of the Cassandra Group, once headed by Giacchetto, who in August 2000 pleaded guilty to defrauding his lesser-known clients of millions. (He spent 28 months in federal prison.) Giacchetto had diverted some of those swindled funds to high-profile names such as Maguire and Cameron Diaz; the stars were led to believe the money represented investment returns. Earlier this year Diaz repaid $100,000 she got from Giacchetto. Like Diaz, Maguire has denied any wrongdoing, noting in a settlement agreement filed Sept. 18—which can be seen at Court TV's-www.thesmokinggun.com—that his $197,500 payment was made to "avoid the expense and delay of further litigation." Maguire's money will eventually be divvied among Giacchetto's many victims.
Call him the new King of All Media. Comic Steve Harvey, 46, stars in a WB series (Steve Harvey's Big Time), a feature film (The Fighting Temptations) and a syndicated morning radio show. Now, Scoop brings him to print.
You're one of the Original Kings of Comedy. Should we call you Your Highness?
Yeah, I prefer that. [Laughs]
You costar with Beyoncé in The Fighting Temptations. How did you resist temptation?
I've known Beyoncé since she was 14. I'm not really tempted. She's like a little sister to me.
The film revolves around gospel singing. Is there a lot of humor in religion?
There's a lot of humor in just about anything.
Even in church?
You're not supposed to laugh when the senior citizens' choir doesn't know the words or forgets their hymn books. But it can be pretty funny.
We have seen some pretty strange people perform on your new variety show. Any of them frighten you?
Last night a guy kind of lost control of his 14-ft. cobra. There were a lot of frightened people in the studio last night.
You also hosted Michael Jackson's 45th birthday party. What makes him laugh?
Me. We're friends. We laugh. We joke around. I remind Michael of where he comes from. He's from Gary Indiana—it wasn't always Neverland.
Is he a regular guy?
I love Michael Jackson. I think he's a beautiful human being. The media has caused him to become very shy and very standoffish.
What's the best source of comedy in the news?
Probably the [Calif.] recall. I mean, why is Gary Coleman running for governor? We don't have enough microphones his height.
If you weren't a comedian, what would you do?
A basketball coach or a pro bass fisherman.
ON THE BLOCK
OPRAH'S ENGLISH MANOR
PRICE: $8.5 million
PLACE: LaPorte County, Ind.
SPECS: Leave it to Oprah Winfrey to create an English country estate in Indiana, where the TV star is selling her 164-acre property because she is spending more and more time on the West Coast. The estate, which Winfrey bought in 1988 and renovated, features a 9,700-sq.-ft. main house, an 8-bed-room guest house, log cabin, an orchard, a 10-stall horse barn and riding rings and a pool.