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Showbuzz

April 1, 1999
Web posted at: 4:02 p.m. EST (2102 GMT)

Today's buzz stories:

"Baywatch"

Hawaiian governor begs 'Baywatch' not to go down under

HONOLULU (CNN) -- Hawaiian Gov. Ben Cayetano is pleading with union leaders to accept wage cuts for their members so that the syndicated show "Baywatch" will make Hawaii its home and not head south to Australia.

At a meeting Tuesday, Cayetano told members of the International Alliance of Theatrical State Employees (IATSE) that having "Baywatch" filmed in Hawaii would give the state an economic and tourism boost.

According to IATSE business representative Al Burns, the governor asked members to "do the state a favor." Cayetano has until 5 p.m. Thursday to either convince the Teamsters to take the deal, or offer "Baywatch" owners Pearson Television some other financial incentive.

"Baywatch" has become a syndicated hit, featuring David Hasselhoff and a contingent of buff and busty lifeguards for 10 seasons. The first episode of the fall season of "Baywatch" must be delivered to distributors by September, according to Greg Bonann, "Baywatch" executive producer and creator.

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Schlessinger

Dr. Laura closes in on TV deal

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- The radio show host who "teaches, preaches and nags," Dr. Laura Schlessinger, is close to signing a deal with Paramount Domestic TV, which would throw her into the fray of daytime television talk shows.

According to sources, Schlessinger has been shopping around for a TV deal, despite backing out of final negotiations with CBS' Eyemark Entertainment last year. She apparently didn't want to be associated with late-night entertainer Howard Stern, whose show is distributed by Eyemark.

Schlessinger is currently one of the highest-rated nationally syndicated radio personalities. An adult convert to Orthodox Judaism, she dispenses advice to callers from a conservative religious perspective. She says she "teaches, preaches and nags."

She suffered embarrassment in November when a former boyfriend, with whom she had a relationship while they were both married, posted nude photos of her on the Internet.

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Jones and husband Marty Ingels

Shirley Jones' hometown doesn't want to care for her statue

SMITHTON, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Actress Shirley Jones' husband, Marty Ingels, wants to give the "Partridge Family" mom a statue and a park in her hometown for her birthday. The problem: The city doesn't want to have to pay to maintain them.

"Our entire city budget is $35,000," said City Council President Fred Foster. "I know the car Marty drives is worth more than that."

Smithton, located about 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh, is home to some 400 people.

Ingels says he is fed up with the town, and may have his gift reside instead at Westmoreland County Community College, 10 miles away.

"What started out to be a lovely, joyous thing has become Vietnam, Hiroshima -- a nightmare for me," Ingels said.

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Morton

Husband to Lucille Ball dies

PALM SPRINGS, California (CNN) -- Gary Morton, the comedian and television producer who was married to Lucille Ball until her death in 1989, died at his home in Palm Springs, a family spokesman said Wednesday.

The 74-year-old died of lung cancer.

Though more people knew of Ball's marriage to Cuban-actor Desi Arnaz because of the couple's TV show "I Love Lucy," Morton and Ball were married longer, nearly 29 years, according to Ball biographer Tom Gilbert.

Morton did appear occasionally on Ball's "The Lucy Show and "Here's Lucy." But he never had the exposure Arnaz did.

After Ball's death, Morton retired to Palm Springs and only made public appearances to attend tributes to Ball. He remarried three years ago and is survived by his second wife, Susie McAllister.

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CBS announces purchase of King World

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The answer is: CBS. The question is: What network is buying the company that distributes "Jeopardy"?

CBS has announced it will buy King World Productions for $2.5 billion in stock. King World is television's largest syndicator, with shows like "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and the game shows "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune."

Currently, those shows are offered to stations regardless of network affiliation. Eventually, CBS stations may have the inside track in obtaining those shows and other King World productions.

"We have considered many strategic options over the last several years and this merger is by far the most attractive," said Roger King, chairman of King World.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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