Friday, March 19, 2004 | 10:46 a.m.
Show me the money.
That's how to predict who is going to be the winner of the next U.S. presidential election, according to Henderson resident and TV handicapper Wayne Allyn Root.
Root, who has a football prognosticating show during the season on Fox Sports Net, appears tonight on Dennis Miller's CNBC talker.
In addition to March Madness, Root will be handicapping the election between President Bush and the presumptive Democratic opponent, John Kerry.
"As a professional handicapper I always follow the money. Where the big money is going determines success most every time," Root told VegasBeat on Thursday. "It's like a puzzle -- and money provides the answer. Forget the players or coaches or strategy. Money provides the clue in sports handicapping. Same with politics."
So, Bush's fat war chest should be the decider, Root maintains.
"Kerry is dead even with Bush and he has zero in the bank. Bush has $150 million and much more flowing in. If Kerry had any chance to beat that kind of money, he should have been 15 points up by this point. Then he might have a chance. When all is said and done, I predict Bush spends close to $250 million and wins by five points."
So how did Root end up on Miller's national talk show?
"I think all talk show hosts appreciate a guest that's unique," Root said. "I may be the world's only Ivy League-educated (Columbia University), Jewish, Republican gambler from Las Vegas. Now that's unique!
"Someday soon, my goal is to be the only Ivy League Republican Jewish gambler who serves in the U.S. Senate from Nevada."
What about his basketball predictions? Watch the show, he told us. It airs locally at 6 p.m. on Cox cable channel 35, and is rebroadcast at 9 p.m.
The local Fox station, KVVU Channel 5, is launching a new local reality TV series this spring, "Fox 5 and Del Taco's Gimme the Mike!"
Open auditions will be held at United Nissan (at Sahara Avenue and Boulder Highway) starting at 9 a.m. March 26 and 27.
Judges (who have yet to be determined) will pick 25 finalists to compete on the show, which premieres at 6:30 p.m. May 26.
The half-hour series will run for six weeks and will end with a live one-hour finale at Sam's Town on July 13 following baseball's All-Star Game.
For details and more info, call the show's new hotline, (702) 855-3515.
Does the firing
Donald Trump, Nevada gaming license holder, billionaire developer and reality TV star, wants to keep his new catchphrase all to himself. The Donald has applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the legal right to exclusively slap the words "You're Fired" on clothing and "games and playthings," and use it in connection with "casino services."
The filing was posted Thursday on the website thesmokinggun.com.
Trump's trademark applications were made immediately after the Jan. 8 debut of "The Apprentice," the NBC hit that has thrust Trump (and the mogul's swirling hairdo) back onto the front pages.
And into the gossip columns.
Apparently, one of Trump's favorite guys on "The Apprentice," copier salesman Nick Warnock, didn't make the cut.
According to published reports in a few outlets, Warnock is in Los Angeles, working again as a copier salesman at "The Copy Doctor," a Xerox service outlet on Wilshire Boulevard.
What happens when two self-proclaimed "perverted fat guys" share the same birthday and decide to have a party that features games such as "Pin the Tail on the Midget" and drunken clowns as guests?
We're not sure we want to find out. But for the curious, there will be an answer. The Hard Rock's corpulent comedy headliner, Jeff Beacher, and OPM (Forum Shops at Caesars) nightclub partner Branden Powers, who both celebrate turning age 34 on Thursday, are having what promises to be a most unusual birthday celebration that night at OPM.
"I would recommend you lock up the kids," Powers told us.
"While we tie up the girls," Beacher added during a three-way phone conversation.
The party is open to any member of the public over age 21 who can stand it. This being Las Vegas, it should be jammed.
At an event this week to announce the 30th edition of UNLVino, we ran into noted Cape Cod, Mass., restaurateur Freeman Watson.
He said that he's joined the exodus to Las Vegas and is launching "The Passionate Palate," a new cooking show, next week on KVVU Channel 5.
We can't wait for the chowder episode.
Watson -- and every other foodie and wine drinker in town -- is gearing up for the UNLVino activities, which start April 27 and culminate in a May 1 Grand Tasting at Bally's Events Center.
The festival, started by Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada poobah Larry Ruvo in 1974, is a benefit for the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV.
Tickets for specific events and other info are available at www.unlvino.com.
Gary Sinise has signed on to star in "CSI: New York," his first foray into network series television.
The new show's characters will be introduced in an episode of "CSI: Miami" in May. Lt. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) goes to New York as part of a murder investigation. Of course, Caruso became a star 10 years ago on "NYPD Blue."
The show is the third in the "CSI" series by creator and Las Vegas native Anthony Zuiker.
New digs: We hear that The Rio is prepping a $4 million showroom for "Chippendales." The hotel is aiming for a July 1 opening ...
Ante up: The Palms will open its newly expanded Poker Room on Saturday ...
Over, out: The "Shade" movie premiere we reported on Wednesday that was scheduled for March 22 at the Hard Rock has been canceled, and is now taking place in Los Angeles on March 29. No immediate word on why the change was made.
From Sun wires
Messner has cancer: Former televangelist Tammy Faye Messner announced Thursday on CNN's "Larry King Live" that she has inoperable lung cancer.
Messner, 62, told one caller that she "believes in miracles" and told another that she is considering holistic medicine in addition to chemotherapy to treat her cancer.
The former Tammy Faye Bakker divorced televangelist Jim Bakker in 1992 while he was serving a sentence for financial fraud.