Thursday, August 11, 2005

Thursday 11 August 2005

Litigants Win First ABC Million Dollar Idea Prize - Before Broadcast

Cowell, Idol and Network Settle Case; Say Idea To Sue Was "Brilliant, Daring" and "Unexpected"

It came down to the old standard; When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

After being sued by two independent producers of an obscure Minnesota-based program of the same title, ABC, FremantleMedia North America, producers of "American Idol" and Simon Cowell, "Idol's" controversial judge announced they have reached a settlement.

Jean M. Golden and Todd P. Walker, the independent Minnesota producers, will be declared winners of the yet-to-be-broadcast 'The Million Dollar Idea' and receive the "$1-Million prize of business support, includes cash, top-notch entrepreneurial counseling and physical resources.

"This was quite unexpected", offered Cowell. "The concept to sue us was absolutely brilliant and daring. We can't overlook that when we take what 'The Million Dollar Idea' is about."

Cowell and staff had begun the process of seeking out contestants. Scores of hours had be spent reading business plans, listening to pitches and conducting primary interviews. Much of what had been reviewed for possible content for the show was "pretty much what we expected" said Cowell.

"We had everything from MBA's to Mom-and-Pop operations submitting ideas to us."

The settlement, which is under seal, does stipulate that Cowell, Fremantle and ABC were not "copycats" in developing 'The Million Dollar Idea' and there is no agreement that Golden and Walker will share in any of the revenues generated by the program.

Cowell indicated that they have already begun planning for Season Two.

"We're close to signing a contestant that is going to sue Golden and Walker, claiming that they first had the idea to sue us. This is going to be so exciting."

State and Federal Prosectors continue to investigate allegations of falsified records and poor quality of Boston's $14.6-Billion Big Dig Project.

IG's Tell Bush No Go On America Supports You Freedom Walk

"Too Much Time Out of Office"; Can't Stretch or Misuse Vacation, Sick Time

The Inspector Generals of both Labor and Justice have sent a memorandum to President Bush, indicating that he will not be able to attend or take part in the just-announced 'America Supports You Freedom Walk', sponsored by the Department of Defense to honor the victims and troops on the fourth anniversary of September 11th.

"Five-weeks vacation is the limit" said Gordon S. Heddell, the IG of Labor and Glen A. Fine, IG of Justice. "We get into some very grey areas if the President were to take the day off to attend. There is constitutional mandates to adhere to and the U.S. Government does not tolerate misuse of vacation or sick time."

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfield made the announcement of the celebration.

"Every year since the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans have commemorated that anniversary. This year the Department of Defense will initiate an American Supports You Freedom Walk. The walk will begin at the Pentagon and end at the National Mall. It will include many of the major monuments in Washington, D.C., reminding participants of the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation that have so successfully defended our freedoms," Rumsfeld said.

Country music star Clint Black will be a featured performer, with additional entertainers and events to-be-announced.

Rumsfield stated that "the goal for next year's walk is to get each state to host its own Freedom Walk to provide an opportunity for as many citizens as possible to reflect on the importance of freedom."

There's been no official comment from Crawford, Texas, where the President is vacationing.

White House Spokesperson, Scott McClellan did confirm that the President received the memo and that he was "disappointed."

"The President loves parades and marches. The music, the marching bands, it really gets him charged up."

Sources close to the White House said that staff members are negotiating with the Inspector Generals and the Department of Defense. At issue is, if the DOD reroutes the walk to pass by the White House, can the President, using one of the two 15-minutes breaks, go to the curb on Pennsylvania Avenue to view the march.

Rumsfield stated that "he hopes the President can attend".

"Goodness, we'd love to have him with us. He's the architect of our current freedom plans, he should be here."

By tradition, Vice President Dick Cheney will spend September 11th in his secret bunker, and not attend the walk.

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