Britney not Celine; Shirley not Barbra


Entertainment times being tough, Britney Spears’ camp reportedly is encountering resistance to a deal that involves more than 20 shows a year.

That would explain the drawn-out negotiations after exaggerated claims of a Celine Dion-like $100 million deal.

The most likely scenario, I’m told, is a series of two-night engagements over two years, with extra dates possible during a convention week.

Planet Hollywood Resort, a Caesars Entertainment property, remains the leading candidate because of the 7,000-seat Theater of the Performing Arts, which can be downsized via curtains.

A source said the “challenging times” make longer-term deals riskier.

‘I’M NOT STREISAND’

Shirley Bassey’s stirring “Goldfinger” performance during the same Oscars show that featured Barbra Streisand sparked a flashback for longtime producer Joey Battig.

During rehearsals for Bassey’s appearance at the MGM Grand in 2000, she and Battig were riding a golf cart to a theme park behind the property. Bassey was in the passenger seat trying to carry on a conversation with the driver, who wouldn’t make eye contact with her.

Finally, an exasperated Bassey asked, “Excuse me, but have I offended you?” The driver apologized, explaining he was Streisand’s driver, and “I wasn’t supposed to look at her.”

According to Battig, the Welsh superstar said, “Well I’m not Streisand. I’m Shirley Bassey,” and had Battig provide shows tickets to the driver and his wife.

See colleague Mike Weatherford’s column in today’s Review-Journal Living Section for more on Bassey.

‘VEGAS’ RUMORS

Former Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb has been hearing the rumors after CBS-TV plugged “Golden Boy” into the “Vegas” time slot last Tuesday.

But he’s not fretting about it.

“The guys tell me the show’s getting better and better,” said Lamb, and “Golden Boy” is set to move to Fridays after another airing on Tuesday.

Lamb, 84, lost a good friend last week when actor Dale Robertson died. He was 89.

They met when Robertson was shooting a film in the Las Vegas area. “He moved here for a while. Ran some horses in Paradise Valley. That’s really all he wanted to be was a cowboy,” Lamb said.

Robertson made his name in TV and movie Westerns and was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. He also headlined as a singer at the Fremont Hotel and the Golden Nugget, Lamb recalled.

MEDIA UPDATE

Paula Francis marked her 25-year anniversary as an anchor at KLAS-TV, Channel 8. Her first day was Jan. 25, 1988, about three weeks after being let go at KTNV-TV, Channel 13. Three of her KLAS co-anchors, George Knapp, Gary Waddell and Dave Courvoisier, attended a luncheon that included a video put together by Knapp. It included changing hairstyles and a clip of a KTNV broadcast from 1987 that opened with co-anchors Steve Schorr and Francis (then Paula Dilworth), sports anchor Ron Futrell and weatherman Matt Baylow.  

THE SCENE AND HEARD

That planned beautification involving the steel skeleton of what was to be the four-hotel property called Echelon may be on hold. It was to be covered in June with a wrap resembling a building. Palm trees and desert landscaping were to help beautify the eyesore. Boyd Gaming pulled the plug early on the $4 billion project when the economy crashed. ...

Grammy winner Ne-Yo last week revealed he had a secret marriage fall apart 11 years ago because of an ultimatum: Give up music or else. Raised in Las Vegas as Shaffer Smith, Ne-Yo told TMZ.com, “(Music) is honestly the only thing I’ve ever loved, so I chose music over her. Now I’m here, and I don’t know where she is.”  

SIGHTINGS

Oscar-nominated actor Mickey Rourke and 1980s TV star Corey Feldman, at separate tables Friday at XS nightclub (Encore). ... At STK steakhouse (Cosmopolitan) on Friday: New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson and Washington Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall. ... Christina Aguilera, in the audience at CeeLo Green’s opening “Loberace” show at Planet Hollywood Resort on Wednesday. ... At the Boyz II Men opening at The Mirage on Friday: Joey Fatone, R&B star Johnny Gill, Frank Moreno and musical director Kevin Antunes, who has worked for Madonna and recently was on the Michael Jackson “Immortal” tour.

 THE PUNCH LINE 

“The pope spoke to 100 cardinals and said, ‘Among you is the future pope.’ And then he said, ‘Now enter the Octagon.’\u2009” — Conan O’Brien

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.