A Maverick reality show

Dallas -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will give away $1 million of his own money this summer as the host of an ABC reality series called "The Benefactor."

About 30 contestants will compete on the six-episode series for the billionaire's cash.

"Everyone has dreamed of getting rich, and I want to help one lucky person get there," Cuban said.

"You don't need special talents," he said. "I'm not looking to find out who is the grossest, funniest, prettiest, smartest or able to go without food or water the longest.

"The right person is going to get on my good side at the right time, and whoever that is, is going to walk away with a check from me for $1 million," he said.

Nugent acknowledges paternity

Dover, N.H. -- Ted Nugent has acknowledged he fathered the 8-year-old son of a Dover woman suing the 1970s rocker for child support and custody, according to her lawyer.

Karen Gutowski, 43, sued Nugent for custody and support in August in Strafford County Superior Court. Her lawyer, Jeffrey Runge, said Nugent has acknowledged he's the father and paid minimal support but has never met the boy.

Nugent's lawyers, meanwhile, have asked the courts to make appropriate custodial and visitation rights for Nugent.

Runge says Nugent, 55, is trying to intimidate his client into withdrawing questions about Nugent's finances.

In a Foster's Daily Democrat interview last fall, Runge said that "given the fact he's worth millions and millions of dollars, he's paying the amount someone making about $20,000 per year would pay."

Battle of the garage bands

New York -- When Little Steven Van Zandt launches his search for the nation's No. 1 garage band, don't expect "American Idol II."

"More like 'American Hoodlums,"' Van Zandt said with a laugh about the talent search starting April 15 in Boston, where the first of nine local "Battles of the Bands" will produce finalists before a July finale in New York.

The winner of the competition will get a spot at a Van Zandt-sponsored "garage rock festival" this summer, along with new equipment.

The contest has band battles in Boston, Washington, Providence, R.I.; Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Cleveland, Farmingdale, N.Y. -- and of course, Van Zandt's breeding ground, the Jersey Shore.

Janet Jackson won't play Horne

Los Angeles -- Janet Jackson has been left out in the rain after "Stormy Weather" singer Lena Horne balked at having the younger star play her in a planned television movie.

The 86-year-old Horne reportedly is angry about Jackson's breast-baring stunt at Super Bowl and pressured ABC to drop Jackson from the project, the trade newspaper Variety reported Tuesday.

ABC executives resisted Horne's demand, but Jackson representatives told the trade newspaper that she left willingly after Horne and her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, asked that she not take part.


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