November 10, 2005


ONE of the two Oregon couples who won the $345 million Powerball Lottery last month are determined to save every cent they get — and even pitted the morning shows against each other in a bid to see whether "Today" or "Good Morning America" would shell out the most freebies.

Steven West and his wife, Carolyn, along with his in-laws Frances and Bob Chaney, immediately hired a publicist who sent the morning shows' bookers a list of demands that rivals any rock star's contract.

Doug Orr, the national director of marketing for the Multi-State Lottery Association, e-mailed "Today" execs: "I spoke with Curtis Bennett [the Wests' publicist] this morning again . . . I was able to convince Curtis that one of the smaller private jets really would not be nearly as comfortable as first class in the commercial airlines . . .

"It appears the Wests would like the following in order to give you their first live interview: [first class-tickets for] the Wests, three of their children, and Curt Bennett and his wife."
They also wanted: "Four rooms per evening for the entire stay at the Waldorf . . . Meal allowance for the entire [four-day] trip for the group . . . [perhaps] an NBC representative taking the Wests' group out to a nice restaurant as a possibility? The Wests really, really want to go to a 'Saturday Night Live' performance . . . The Wests would like theater tickets for a Broadway production. 'The Lion King' was mentioned . . . A guided tour of NYC . . . A limo to take them around during their entire stay."

A source from within "Today" said, "When [executive producer] Jim Bell heard about the demands he said, '[Bleep] them!' " Bell declined comment.
The Wests and their extended family did show up on "Good Morning America" yesterday morning.

ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said, "The facts are:
we [flew] the Wests and their kids commercial to NYC. We are putting them up at the Millennium Hotel in Times Square . . . We told the family we don't buy Broadway tickets for our guests or provide car service around New York except when we are moving them from one ABC location to another.
"Nevertheless, we are working all our contacts at NBC in an effort to get them 'Saturday Night Live' tickets, but so far NBC isn't returning our calls. Go figure."

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