TV's big noisemaker -- and proud of it
November 20, 2002
By Paul Brownfield, Times Staff Writer
Mike Fleiss is 6-foot-4, broad-shouldered, with long, close-shaven sideburns that form parentheses on either side of his face. He wears sunglasses during staff meetings and talks to his agent 10 times a day. Fleiss' second cousin is Heidi Fleiss, the infamous ex-Hollywood madam. But Mike Fleiss says the two are not really that close.
As a TV producer, a macher-in-progress, Fleiss, who is 38, has two offices -- one in the old Sherman Oaks Galleria, where he runs "The Bachelor," his hit ABC series whose second season climaxes tonight at 9, and another one on the Warner Bros. lot that Fleiss says used to belong to Tom Selleck. "I hardly ever go there," Fleiss said of the Selleck office, which he got when he signed a deal two years ago with Warner Bros.' Telepictures Productions. "It's awesome, it's got a shower."
Showering is what some people feel like doing after watching the television Fleiss makes, which before "The Bachelor" included cut-and-paste jobs like "Before They Were Stars" and, later, "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire." That Fox special drew great ratings but was promptly engulfed in scandal, when it was revealed that producers -- namely, executive producer Fleiss -- had failed to discover a restraining order in groom Rick Rockwell's past.