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TV's Wild Man Is Back---Online This Time

Stephen Chao got an MBA from Harvard, went to work for the National Enquirer, and then Rupert Murdoch brought him on to help Barry Diller create the Fox network back in the '80s.

Chao was famously fired by Murdoch, who was almost a father to him, after a speech on sex versus violence in the media at an event which included Murdoch and Dick Cheney. Legend has it that during his speech, Chao had a naked guy come out on stage, and then pointed a gun at him--asking the audience which was more disturbing.

That was the end of his tenure at Fox, even though he'd brought such hits as "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted" to the network.

Chao eventually worked with Diller again at USA Networks, before leaving TV. He re-emerged in January as co-creator of www.wonderhowto.com, and I'm doing a story on him and the site today. WonderHowTo hopes to be the next YouTube, but do Google one better--be cash flow positive on the site in three years.

The site links to 120,000 how-to videos all over the web, and that pretty much covers ANYTHING you would want to learn, plus thousands of other things you'd never imagine learning. Here's the playlist Chao made for me, which includes everything from how to make an air conditioner for $40, to how to potty train your cat on a toilet, to how to tell the difference between a hooker and an undercover cop.

The "not the escort" part of his reference to me refers to a DIFFERENT Jane Wells on the internet.

But speaking of hookers and undercover cops. I first met Chao back in 1987 when I was a reporter in Miami. He was looking for new "talent" to bring to the fledgling Fox network, and he saw a story where I posed as a hooker at the height of the AIDS crisis trying to find out what kind of "johns" were picking up streetwalkers and risking so much.

Jane Wells with Miami Vice Officers in 1987
CNBC.com
Jane Wells with Miami Vice Officers in 1987

The image here is a still shot of me with actual Miami Vice officers--no Crockett and Tubbs. The guy with his back to the camera is a "john" who's just been busted--a married guy, naturally. Yikes! Jane in '87! Bet you all thought I was a natural blonde.

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