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December 20, 2014

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VegasBeat — Timothy McDarrah: Charo y Aladdin hacen buena pareja

"Coochi-coochi" -- and goodbye.

Charo is leaving Sahara, where she has been a periodic headliner for decades.

She is leaving the property on Dec. 15, VegasBeat has learned, and she is taking her show, "Bravo," to a new showroom that is being built for her in Aladdin's Dessert Passage.

"Oh! How did you know about this!?" Charo said when reached by telephone. "It is too early to talk about it. We are going to have a press conference soon when all the details are worked out.

"But I love the Sahara and have had a wonderful relationship with them and could never say anything bad about them. It is a friendly situation."

The Latin bombshell first came to Las Vegas as the young bride of bandleader Xavier Cugat in 1966.

Charo opened after that for Buddy Hackett, who guided her to her first headline gig at the Sahara's old Congo Room in 1972.

She became an international phenomenon on the back of more than 45 appearances on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson and guest spots on "The Love Boat" and "Hollywood Squares."

No date for her Aladdin debut has been set.

Spokeswoman Germaine Thompson said the Sahara had just learned of Charo's departure and had not yet begun to decide on a replacement.

You talkin' to me?

When you first hear the name Tony Soprano, one does tend to think of the HBO series about a New Jersey mob family.

But once you meet Tonie M. Soprano it is abundantly clear that she is no mob boss, even a fictionalized version. Our Soprano is the director of marketing operations at the HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Henderson.

We made her an offer she could hardly refuse: to tell us whether she gets a lot of grief about her name. But refuse she did, preferring "omerta," the Sicilian word for the Mafia code of silence.

Channel changes

KVVU Channel 5 News Director Kathleen Sullivan is out at the Las Vegas Fox affiliate.

A source said Sullivan was told last week while she was on her honeymoon that she was being transferred to a sister Meredith Corp. station, WGNX Channel 46, the CBS affiliate in Atlanta.

Sullivan arrived at the Las Vegas station in April; she came from WCCO Channel 4 in Minneapolis, where she was an assistant news director.

Sullivan was not immediately available Tuesday for comment.

KVVU Vice President and General Manager Susan Lucas insisted that the parting was amicable, and that Sullivan wanted to go to her new posting.

"This isn't a story," Lucas said.

Meanwhile former Sun gossip columnist Kate Maddox, who left the newspaper to become the entertainment reporter at KLAS Channel 8 and pen a gossip column for Las Vegas Weekly, is expanding her broadcast duties.

She is about to be named anchor of KTUD Channel 14's 10 p.m. newscast, which is produced in conjunction with KLAS, where she will continue to present her entertainment reports.

Maddox is no stranger to hard news: Her father, James Glassman, was editor of Roll Call, the influential Washington, D.C., political newsletter, from 1988 to '93.

Big winner

Take solace, all ye casino losers.

Some of your money is going to a good cause.

Phil Satre, chairman and chief executive of Harrah's Entertainment, and his wife, Jennifer, have donated $1 million -- from their own pockets -- to establish a scholarship fund for children of Harrah's employees.

"Over the past 23 years, Jennifer and I have been inspired by the dedication and hard work of the people who built this company," Satre said. "We wanted to show our gratitude for their efforts by helping their children achieve their educational goals."

The Community Foundation of Western Nevada will administer the program.

Bigger winners

Hawaii loves Las Vegas.

After all, several residents of the 50th state have won some big jackpots in Las Vegas casinos lately.

Hideko Sakamoto of Aiea, Hawaii, recently won $3.7 million playing a 25-cent "Wheel of Fortune" game at Boyd's downtown California Hotel; David T. Tukunaga won $2.5 million on a different 25-cent "Wheel" slot machine.

Last week an unidentified Hawaiian woman won $4.3 million on a 25-cent slot -- playing on her birthday, no less -- at the Fremont.

'X'-hausted

Yes, them again.

The phone doesn't seem to stop ringing for the women of "X" from the show at the Aladdin.

First Leonardo DiCaprio, then Mick Jagger, and now 'N Sync.

The boy band has asked the ladies to escort them down the red carpet when they arrive at the Billboard Music Awards on Monday at MGM Grand Garden Arena, then attend the Chevrolet-sponsored after-party at an undisclosed location.

The Billboards air locally Monday on Fox (Channel 5), tape-delayed at 8 p.m.

Good breeding

Colline Drevet-Miller, who manages the restaurant olio! inside the MGM Grand, is an avid horse rider.

She graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island with a degree in Equine Business Management, which emphasizes the hands-on aspects of horse management, care and training.

So when Drevet-Miller saw an invitation floating around her office to the opening of "Cheval" she was thrilled -- until she saw it was addressed to someone else.

To cheer her up, her friends, including olio! Marketing Director Averill Mackin Conley, decided to take Drevet-Miller out for a birthday drink, as her birthday fell on the same night as the "Cheval" opening the other night.

As they were walking on the Strip, Conley suggested they wander over to look at the "Cheval" horses, under the Big Top near Bellagio.

Drevet-Miller demurred, but her friends insisted.

When she got there, they guided their befuddled friend up to the entrance.

"But we don't have tickets," Drevet-Muller protested.

"Oh yes we do!" Conley said.

"This is the best birthday surprise I've ever gotten," a stunned Drevet-Miller later told VegasBeat.

"Not only is the show incredible, but there are so many beautiful horses and rare breeds that you actually get to see up close in the stables before the show."

Now that is what friends are for.

Check out ...

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who finished the 108-mile El Tour de Tuscon bike race Nov. 23 in under six hours; only about half of the 6,000 cyclists completed the grueling course ... Sheryl Crow, who wants to have some fun on New Year's Eve, is going to ring in 2003 with a performance at The Venetian ... Martin Sheen and fellow "West Wing"-ers at the Riviera for a private high-roller party over the weekend ... Joan Rivers, staring down a heckler last week at the Forum Shops at Caesars when she was asked if she was really Frank Marino (who impersonates her in a show at the Riviera) ... George Lucas, Mike Tyson and Dennis Miller also at Forum Shops over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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