Montecito resort closes its doors

All bets are off on NBC’s “Las Vegas.”

The fictional Montecito resort has gone dark after a five-year run.

“That’s why they call it show business, emphasis on the business part,” creator Gary Scott Thompson told me by telephone Thursday.

NBC informed him Wednesday that the show would not be renewed, meaning last Friday’s 106th episode was the finale, three shows short of a full season.

“The cast was not happy,” said Thompson, adding, “We were really a victim of the (writers) strike.”

Another factor, he said, was the NFL’s anti-Las Vegas stance, which prohibited lead-in advertising on NBC’s Sunday NFL game. That forced the show to a Friday time slot, and “Friday night didn’t make any money. They told me they tried 18 or 19 scenarios to keep us.”

It was the fourth time slot the show had to deal with.

“That’s asking a lot of the fans, but we’ve had some loyal fans,” Thompson said.

Because the final episode, “Three Weddings and Funeral, Part I,” ended with a cliffhanger, NBC received a storm of fan reaction.

The episode ended with Delinda DeLine’s baby in jeopardy. Molly Sims played the role of Delinda.

“Apparently, there’s an online fan campaign, and people are sending baby booties, baby dolls,” Thompson said. “I sort of understand from the fans’ standpoint. They’re saying, ‘We invested five years, and we deserve an ending.’

“Tell Las Vegas that we appreciate all that the city did for us. We love that town, and we love the show, and we wish we could have done another 100.”

Most of the cast, co-producers, writers and NBC executives gathered at the Palms last month for a ceremony to mark the 100th episode. Mayor Oscar Goodman, who had three cameos on the show, presented the cast with ceremonial keys to the city.

The cast and crew will gather for a barbecue next week “to say our goodbyes,” said Thompson, who fell in love with Las Vegas when he visited here as a 19-year-old.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Impersonator Rich Little has been released from Summerlin Hospital after being treated for blood clots in his leg. Little, 69, had to cancel the remaining dates of his show at the Golden Nugget. His 20-week engagement was to conclude in early April. “He went home late yesterday afternoon and is in good spirits and is resting,” family spokesman Norm Johnson said. …

Las Vegas favorite Jimmy Hopper is back in town for a weekend engagement in the Lava Room at Trader Vic’s inside Planet Hollywood Resort. Best of all, his show (10 p.m.) is free. Table reservations: 405-4700.

MAY I RECOMMEND …

Forty-five NASCAR 18-wheel haulers will parade down the Strip this Thursday from the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign to Sahara Avenue on their way to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The haulers transport the team cars that will take part in NASCAR weekend. The parade will start at 2:45 p.m.

SIGHTINGS

TV’s Dog the Bounty Hunter, turning down a photo request with a curt “No, not in a casino,” while playing a Wheel of Fortune slot machine at Caesars Palace on Wednesday. Nearby, Siegfried & Roy obliged autograph seekers and shutterbugs. … At Bette Midler‘s premiere of “The Showgirl Must Go On” (Caesars Palace) on Wednesday: Sweden’s Queen Silvia; Angela Bassett; Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks; Steve and Elaine Wynn; Siegfried and Roy; Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Meat Loaf; Rita Rudner; Alan Thicke; Ricki Lake; Christina Ebersole; Taye Diggs and girlfriend Idina Menzel; and Nathan Burton. … At LAX (Luxor) on Wednesday: Poker pro Phil Ivey and friends, taking in the Miss LAX competition. Also there: choreographer Cris Judd, partying with the Fantasy Girls, and New York Giants running back Ruben Droughns. … NFL standouts Steve Hutchinson and John Randle, stopping at the Playboy Club and ghostbar at the Palms on Wednesday.

THE PUNCH LINE

Hillary is worried that Bill will wander off in Texas, so today she had him branded and gelded.” — David Letterman

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more at www.normclarke.com.

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