"BARBARA WALTERS PRESENTS THE 10 MOST FASCINATING PEOPLE OF 2004,"
AN ABC NEWS SPECIAL, AIRS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8
"Barbara Walters Presents the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2004," an hour-long ABC News special highlighting some of the year's most prominent names in entertainment, politics, sports and business, will air WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8 (9:00-10:02 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
Hosted by Barbara Walters, the special will include brand new interviews with World Series Champion Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling; controversial Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore; R&B superstar Usher; daytime dynamo Oprah Winfrey; heiress and reality star Paris Hilton; real estate mogul and "Apprentice" star Donald Trump; and record breaking "Jeopardy" winner Ken Jennings. The special also profiles Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as Mel Gibson. Barbara Walters also interviews the No. 1 Most Fascinating Person of 2004 - which has been kept a secret and will be announced on the program.
"This is our 11th year presenting 'The 10 Most Fascinating People' and it's been a record breaking year for all of our subjects. They have fascinated us as they brought their careers to new heights," says Barbara Walters.
World Series winning Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling arrived for his interview two days after ankle surgery and in a wheelchair. He did not believe in the curse that has shrouded the Boston Red Sox since 1918. He did, however, think there was a curse of talent. It was his first year pitching for the Red Sox and Curt admitted he was scared to death to go on the pitching mound. Schilling says to Ms. Walters: "Fear of failure is a tremendous motivator for people that have achieved things in their lives... fear of getting beat, getting embarrassed. I have so much respect for the game and the guys that I suit up with. And you want their respect at the end of day."
Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore admitted that he did not think the film "Fahrenheit 9/11," the highest grossing documentary film ever made, would be such a focal point during this year's election. He attributes the film's success to peoples' hunger for information. Moore was devastated when John Kerry lost to George Bush and he says, "I wasn't happy, I'll tell you that. I rolled out of bed three days later."
R&B superstar Usher made history this year by selling more records than any other artist. He grew up in the South singing in a church choir. With the guidance of his mother, who is also his manager, he garnered four No. 1 hit singles this year and won more than 25 awards. Usher confides to Ms. Walters about his relationship with Chili Thomas from T.L.C.
This is the year that Oprah Winfrey turned 50. She has continued to inspire young and old alike, and believes that she was born at the right time to do great things. She shares with Ms. Walters the personal choices she has made, especially not becoming a mother, and says: "I do feel in many ways that the world's children, the community's children, are my children. I feel I can be a voice for children who don't or are not allowed to speak for themselves."
Heiress and reality TV star Paris Hilton had a tumultuous year. Her book made the New York Times bestseller list, she had a hit TV show, and her celebrity was taken to another level with a scandalous private videotape. Ms. Walters asks Paris about her reputation of being ditzy. Paris says: "You know what, it's a television show, it's comedy, and I'm trying to be funny."
Real Estate mogul Donald Trump was already famous when his reality show, "The Apprentice," premiered earlier this year. Now he's hotter than ever, and joining him in his interview with Ms. Walters is his fiancie, Melania Knauss, who extols Trump's modesty: "He's a great man. He should live forever."
On November 30th Ken Jennings was dethroned as the reigning king of "Jeopardy." Jennings won more than $2.5 million dollars in 75 record breaking appearances on the show. Now knowsimply as 'The Jeopardy Guy," he tells Ms. Walters that his two-year-old son is also a "Jeopardy" fan and has gone from calling him "Daddy" to, "from Salt Lake City, Utah, Ken Jennings."
On August 19 of this year, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the low-key dot.com founders of Google -- the internet search engine -- became instant billionaires when their stock went public. They are worth over 6 billion dollars each, but they are not your typical billionaires. No fancy cars, private jets, mansions, jewels or movie star girlfriends. In fact, Larry drives a $24,000 Toyota Prius and Sergey gets around on rollerblades.
"Barbara Walters Presents the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2004" is executive-produced by Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie. Bill Geddie also directs the program.