PEOPLE

‘Frasier’ star to earn $1.6 million per episode

associated press

‘Frasier’ star to earn $1.6 million per episode

Pomposity pays. “Frasier” star Kelsey Grammer will be the highest-salaried actor in television history at $1.6 million per episode. Daily Variety reported Friday that the deal, still being finalized, would keep the Emmy award-wining actor on the Emmy award-wining show as Seattle psychologist Dr. Frasier Crane through 2004. If that chump change isn’t enough, the paper said Grammer’s salary could increase through an advance on his share of revenues from syndication of the show, which begins its ninth season this fall.

Right now the most overpaid, er, highly-paid TV performers are the six stars on NBC’s “Friends,” who each take home a reported $20 million a year. Jerry Seinfeld of “Seinfeld,” Tim Allen of “Home Improvement” and Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt of “Mad About You” all earned more than $1 million an episode in their final seasons. Incidentally, no need to worry about Niles Crane, otherwise known as co-star David Hyde Pierce. Series producer Paramount Network Television, which produces “Frasier,” is working on a long-term deal with him as well.

A WORSE PAIRING THAN CRICKETS AND CHOCOLATE? We suspect some hideous rumor-mongering in overdrive, but we’re gonna pass this tidbit on anyway, because it’s just too gross to resist. Fashion Wire Daily reports that spies from Mariah Carey’s camp claim her friendship with foul-mouthed, bottle-blond rapper Eminem is a bit more heated than publicly acknowledged. “Em has broken up with this bimbo he had been dating in Detroit and is moving in on Mariah,” said the spy. I guess we’d have to toss a coin to decide which one is slumming.

Carey, for her part, maintains that the two are just pals and Eminem is helping her on the soundtrack for her movie, “All That Glitters.” She insists her enamorata is still the lovely Latin crooner Luis Miguel who has not been seen by her side in weeks.

WE JUST PLAY US ON TV AND NO ONE ELSE BETTER: “Cheers” alumni George Wendt and John Ratzenberger may be having a toast right now, but probably not at an airport bar. Paramount Pictures, owner of the show’s copyright and trademark, granted Host International a license to open bars in airports worldwide using the tavern decor and theme. Some bars feature two life-size robots one heavy-set, the other in a Postal Service uniform programmed to serve and banter. Wendt and Ratzenberger, who respectively played accountant Norm and mailman Cliff, claimed their likenesses were being used without permission and sued. A settlement agreement was reached last week, according to Host International, Inc. attorney William Rintala. Terms were not disclosed. The dispute raised but failed to answer the question of whether actors can be so closely identified with the fictional alter egos that they should be able to control any commercial use of them.

WOES OF A STALKER: Wring a tear of pity or wring his neck, you decide. Dubravko Rajcevic stalked Martina Hingis for a year, only to be sent to jail and see the prosecutor get the girl. Rajcevic’s lawyer Frank Abrams said his client is “incredulous, humiliated and embarrassed” after learning that Florida Assistant State Attorney Chris Calkin has a personal relationship with Hingis and wants to appeal his two-year prison sentence. “Not only has the prosecutor put him in a jail and fought for the longest possible jail sentence, he’s also kicked him in the rear end and taken away the woman he was pursuing,” Abrams said.

Rajcevic said he considers himself the victim of a “dirty plot.” A call to Calkin was referred to the State Attorney’s Office, which declined comment. The attorney notified his office that he had begun a personal relationship with the 20-year-old Hingis the weekend after Rajcevic’s sentencing in April. The relationship became public last week in a newspaper story, and Calkin is expected to attend Wimbledon next week.

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail spin@cctimes.com.

Milestones

Name change: For Jon Stewart. Born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, the Comedy Central host of “The Daily Show” filed a petition to legally change his name earlier this week. When “60 Minutes” recently asked him why he switched in the first place, he explained that Leibowitz “sounded too Hollywood.”

Move made: By Julia Child. The 88-year-old professional chef, who has lived in Cambridge, Mass., for the past 40 years, will live in the upscale retirement community Casa Dorinda in Montecito, near Santa Barbara. “I’m not a New Englander,” she told The Boston Globe. “I always had it on my mind, and why not now? You have to make a decision some time. Best to do it while I’m perfectly capable of doing everything.”

Birthdays: Actress Irene Worth (85), singer June Carter Cash (72), musical conductor James Levine (58), R&B singer Rosetta Hightower of The Orlons (57), actor Ted Shackelford (55), actor Bryan Brown (54), Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (53), actor Jim Metzler (46), actress Frances McDormand (44), actress Karin Gustafson (42), rock musician Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth (39), actor Paul La Greca (39), singer Chico DeBarge (31), actress Selma Blair (29), R&B singer Virgo Williams of Ghostowns DJs (26).

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