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How Long Can ‘Psych’ Hang On?

Nancy O'Dell is about to head to fabulous Las Vegas, where she'll host Fox's "New Year's Eve Live" tomorrow night (12/31) — and says it'll be an adults-only affair.

"I'm bringing my husband with me, and my father," says the soon-to-be "Entertainment Tonight" correspondent, whose dad came to stay with her and her husband, stepsons and daughter for Christmas. "The kids will stay back in L.A., I think. My baby girl is 3 1/2, but knowing her, she'll stay wide awake. She can count to 40 or so, and she's been practicing counting backwards, so maybe I'll have her count down to 'Happy New Year.'"

Even if little Ashby's New Year's countdown doesn't make it to TV, O'Dell says she'll cherish the video. "I have a million and one videos of her. I'm a mamarazzi," she tells us.

For O'Dell, who'll preside over the Fox New Year's Eve show featuring Travie McCoy and David Archuleta, the gig is particularly special. "I've always wanted to do a New Year's Eve show, so now I get to check that off my bucket list."

A GOOD STEP: Saturday (1/1) not only marks the beginning of a brand-new year — it also marks the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of celebrities besieged by paparazzi. This is the day a new law intended to curb dangerous excesses by hounding photographers goes into effect, thanks to the tireless efforts of Paparazzi Reform Initiative Founder and CEO Sean Burke and former California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.

"We feel this newest law will make a difference — it increases penalties on reckless driving when someone is in pursuit of a photograph for commercial sale," Burke tells us. "In short — paparazzi chasing celebrities by car, when they run lights and otherwise drive recklessly, can be arrested for a misdemeanor (instead of a simple traffic infraction) and can be put in jail for up to a year if the car they were chasing had a minor in it and if that minor was put in any kind of danger as a result of the chase. We are already getting indications that the paparazzi won't be chasing like they have in the past. And with that, the general public (as well as the celebrity and their children) are safer."

Burke also notes, "To help ensure this is the case, we are designing a video system with an automotive audio/video installation company that celebrities can install in their car to shoot video out the back to capture footage of any paparazzi chasing them. Likewise, we have been coordinating with the L.A. County DA's office and L.A. City Attorney's office on exactly what they will need to prosecute offenders of the new law."

The bill — supported by celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon — passed months ago. You may recall a first paparazzi reform bill — which imposes fines on photogs who violate famous persons' right to privacy, and the media outlets that buy them — being signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009. That, too, was a result of former celebrity security man Burke's work. More information can be found at his organization's website, www.paparazzi-reform.org.

Media organizations have complained about these laws potentially interfering with First Amendment rights, but we sincerely disbelieve that amendment was intended to make camera mob harassment legal. Perhaps if the energy being put into those complaints went into efforts toward self-regulation instead, it would be more productive. Meanwhile, here's hoping that if California can manage to enforce reasonable safe practices, it will serve as a model for other states and countries.

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: With the USA Network's "Psych" having been renewed for a sixth season, how long can the popular James Roday-Dule Hill fake psychic crime caper comedy-ish show go on?

According to Roday, "We don't want people talking about it having held on for too long."

He notes, "As long as we either maintain the level or go to a higher level than we've been doing in the past, it makes sense to keep doing the show. As soon as we're not feeling that, it's time to walk away — and walk away feeling good and at the top of our game. At the end of the season, we all get together and honestly assess the work we've done, what we still need to do, what the potential is."

So far, so good.

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.

COPYRIGHT 2010 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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