In Brief

Oprah's Car Winners Face High Car Taxes

09/24/2004 at 09:00 AM EDT

Oprah's Car Winners Face High Car Taxes
REUTERS/Bob Davis/Harpo Productions
TAXED: Nothing comes for free, as evidenced by the Pontiac G6 cars that Oprah Winfrey gave to her 276 audience members during a dream giveaway last week on her show. The cars, which came courtesy of General Motors, normally carry a price tag of $28,500, and the Internal Revenue Service is claiming that those gifts constitute income. Typical recipients will be shelling out as much as $7,000 in taxes for their gift once next April 15 rolls around.

BOUGHT: Leonardo DiCaprio, 29, who stars as Howard Hughes in the upcoming biopic The Aviator, has bought into one of Hughes's old haunts, Las Vegas, with the purchase of a $1.5 million apartment in the gaming capital, the Wall Street Journal reports. The new pad, actually two apartments put together for 3,300 square feet of space, is in a 33-story glass high-rise called Panorama Towers. Meanwhile, in the Vegas suburbs, Siegfried Fischbacher has taken down the for-sale sign from the $2.9 million, 22,000-sq.ft. home he shares with Roy Horn, because of a cooling of the market for $1-million-plus homes.

COMPLAINED: Elton John, upset by a lack of airport security to protect him when he arrived in Taipei for a concert, swore at reporters who swarmed around him at the airport Thursday and called them "rude, vile pigs. Do you know what that means? Rude, vile pigs. That's what all of you are." One of the photographers shouted back: "Why don't you get out of Taiwan?" John replied: "We'd love to get out of Taiwan if it's full of people like you. Pig! Pig!"

TALLIED: For the 11th consecutive year, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, 48, took first place on the "Forbes 400" list of the richest people in the U.S. Joining him in the top 10 are fellow tech titans Paul Allen (No. 3), Michael Dell (No. 9) and Larry Ellison (No. 10). Allen co-founded Microsoft, Dell is the founder and chairman of Dell Inc., and Ellison is the co-founder and chief executive of Oracle Corp. Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Michael Eisner dropped off the list this year, but first lady hopeful Teresa Heinz Kerry, with an estimated inheritance of $750 million, returned to it.

RATED: CBS claimed victory over NBC in the first clash between two Manhattan crime dramas as the debut of CSI: NY attracted 19.3 million viewers, convincingly beating the 15th-season launch of Law & Order, which averaged 15.4 million viewers. ABC also did well for once, with its new castaway thriller Lost drawing 18.7 million viewers overall and placing No. 1 among young adults, say early Nielsen Media Research figures.

DISCUSSED: The next candidate for her own syndicated daytime talk show? Singer-actress Vanessa Williams, 41, who is close to signing a development deal with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution, says the Hollywood Reporter. Others hoping to prove themselves in a talk format by next year are Tom Arnold, Tyra Banks, Mo'Nique, Steve Harvey and designers Isaac Mizrahi and Vera Wang.

FOUND: A new "lost" episode of the classic 1950s TV comedy The Honeymooners, starring Jackie Gleason (who died in 1987), has been uncovered in the Peabody Awards archive at the University of Georgia. The episode, titled "Love Letter," originally aired on Oct. 16, 1954, on The Jackie Gleason Show, said Ruta Abolins, director of the Peabody Awards Collection and Media Archives at UGA. She said plans are being made by Gleason Enterprises to release the never-rebroadcast episode on home video.

PRAISED: Just when it seemed ready to dismiss the new CBS show Dr. Vegas starring Rob Lowe, for being a silly idea, The New York Times turned around and admitted that it "turns out to be kind of fun." Writes critic Alessandra Stanley: "Kino cards and colonoscopies do mix."

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