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Wedding Bells and Big Balls for ‘Wipeout’ Host John Henson

hollywoodexclusive1Wedding bells are going to ring for comedian and "Wipeout" host John Henson, who reveals that he and Chicago improv actress Jill Benjamin are into preparations for their nuptials in June. Deep into preparations. "We have to make sure the caterer is prepared, the bar stocked. There are so many details. It's like an entire industry," observes the funny man, for whom this will be a second marriage. "You start to feel like, 25 years from now, the only thing anyone will remember is, did you have monogrammed napkins?"

First, Henson's hosting this week's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" — a gig he loves. "I now have even more respect for Meredith (Vieira) and Regis (Philbin). You see that screen in front of Meredith on the show? It's like an air traffic control board, it's so complicated. To manage that while keeping up an ongoing conversation takes some doing."

And as far as "Wipeout," which returns for its third season this summer, Henson tips that "there are a lot of new obstacles, and two entirely new courses. They're now employing the concept of deceit. Contestants can get a false sense of security that they're in the clear when, actually, something bad is about to happen to them."

"Wipeout" has become so popular, a mini version of the course is touring around the country so that fans can have the chance to try out the insanity of the oversized obstacles, including the fabled Big Balls, themselves. As Henson notes, "There's potential for a real theme park here."

But he has no interest in participating. "No, seeing the contestants through the years is like its own 'Scared Straight' program."

MOVING RIGHT ALONG: Disney Channel star David Henrie tells us he's moved on from the Universal CityWalk altercation involving himself, his brother and some strangers that saw him wind up in post-midnight custody at a police station last month.

"That's all done with. There are no ramifications. It was an intense night. I'm not going to go into detail, but I'm good, I'm good," says the 20-year-old "Wizards of Waverly Place" hottie.

Indeed, Henrie is back to focusing on his burgeoning career, especially the May 21 episode of his show, which he wrote. "I'm so excited to finally get something done," says the actor. Early on in "Wizards," he asked the series' writers if he could "just come in the room and see how they work." He also wrote a "Two and a Half Men" script on spec, and from that, the "Wizards" team "could see that I could capture character voices, create a story structure, tell a joke.

"Once they thought I was on my own two feet, I got to do this story line. It was a dream come true for me," adds Henrie, who has designs on directing as well. His series father, David DeLuise, helmed the episode that has Henrie and series sister Selena Gomez squabbling over her getting a citizenship award on dubious grounds.

He says that he and DeLuise got into joking arguments over who was at fault if a piece of business didn't fly right. "I'd say it was bad blocking by the director; he'd say it was bad writing. It was a lot of fun."

While the series is on hiatus, "I'm trying to close in on a movie here, have a couple of other things working on the side there. When the show starts back up, hopefully, I'll get to direct. I really love being a part of the show creatively and learning as much as I can."

CASTING CORNER: They're picking up the pieces on "A Detour in Life," the indie feature that was to have been the late Corey Haim's directorial debut. A casting notice has gone out for "a very recognizable actor to, sadly, replace Corey Haim." The story has to do with a man who goes off on an alcoholic bender after his wife is killed in a horse accident — though his young teenage daughter needs his help.

With the Brad Pitt baseball flick "Moneyball" due to start shooting in July, casting forces have been on the lookout for a young teen who can match Pitt to play his character in early days. Yes, and we already know of some girls who want to meet this guy as soon as he is found.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.



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