Former Las Vegas sports anchor Mario Diaz became an Internet sensation this weekend.
Diaz, a reporter at WPIX-TV in New York City, was delivering an on-air report Friday about the arrest of actor Shia LeBeouf when a woman tried to kiss him. Diaz fended her off with a forearm and continued, saying, “Excuse me.”
Moments earlier, the woman was standing behind Diaz and making a lewd sign with her fingers — the international gesture for copulation.
The woman was Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Erykah Badu, who later apologized to Diaz on Twitter, writing “sorry Mario.”
It wasn’t the first time Diaz had an on-the-air interruption.
On Nov. 6, 1993, Diaz was doing the Spanish play-by-play for the Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe heavyweight fight at Caesars Palace when the infamous “Fan Man” crashed into the ring in a paraglider near the broadcasters.
Diaz was a sports anchor at KTNV-TV, Channel 13 from 1994 to 2002 before going to Tampa, Fla., as a news anchor.
Other media notes:
During his battle with cancer in the past year, car-collecting TV powerhouse Jim Rogers put his top executives at KSNV-TV, Channel 3, in exotic company cars. It was viewed as a gesture of appreciation. Lisa Poe Howfield, the station’s vice president and general manager, chose the electric-powered Fisker while others received Jaguars and one got a Corvette. But one of his longtime top execs fell out of favor with the mercurial Rogers and the Jaguar dealership was dispatched to reclaim a car. …
Shawn Tempesta, co-host of “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13, and his girlfriend, Marsha MacEachern, got engaged Sunday. They met in Boston 15 years ago when Tempesta was an anchor on a kids show and she was an intern.
Russell Weiner, founder and chief executive of Las Vegas-based Rockstar Energy Drink, is one of the newest members of the billionaire club. Weiner, 44, is the son of conservative syndicated radio host Michael Savage. Rockstar sponsors the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro of 18-year-old NASCAR driver Dylan Kwasniewski, the hot prospect from Las Vegas. …
Jackie Oribello has been promoted to global director of public relations for Hakkasan Group and is moving to the London office. Oribello, who previously worked at Wynn Las Vegas and Kirvin Doak Communications, starts her new job July 9. Rosie Abrams is Hakkasan’s new Las Vegas-based director of PR. …
Alan Stock of KDWN radio (720 AM) will broadcast his weekday show (6-9 a.m.) from Israel from July 5-20. He will be interviewing mayors along with members of the Knesset, Israel’s legislature. …
Longtime radio deejay “Country Chuck” Manning is returning his personality-driven classic request show to the airwaves. Starting this week, he will host a Saturday show on KLAV-AM 1230 from 3-5 p.m.
Shaquille O’Neal, backstage after taking in Saturday’s late performance of “Michael Jackson One” (Mandalay Bay). He told cast members he almost jumped out of his seat during the Jackson hologram. The NBA legend debuted as DJ Diesel on Saturday night at Chateau (Paris Las Vegas). … Tyra Banks, in the audience at the Boyz II Men show on Saturday at The Mirage. … Actress/comedian Wanda Sykes, at Celine Dion’s show on Friday at Caesars Palace. … Twisted Sister frontman, Dee Snider, at “Rock of Ages” on Friday at The Venetian. He performed the role of “Dennis Dupree” in the Broadway show for three months in 2010. … Jane Fonda, chatting with Las Vegas vitamin D advocate and author Sue Rex Ryan at the American Library Association Annual Conference on Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. … Pia Zadora’s Friday show at Piero’s Italian Cuisine turned into a raucous celebration honoring Steve Rossi, whose funeral was earlier in the day. Zadora handed the mic over to a lineup that included Rich Little, Frankie Scinta, Rob Garrett, Bob Anderson, Geechy Guy and others.
THE PUNCH LINE
“FIFA, the world soccer governing body, says the guy who did the biting, the Uruguayan guy, has to wear one of those dog cones.” — David Letterman
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.