LET’S FAKE A DEAL

Meet Derek Wayne, Hollywood’s hottest celebrity endorsement broker. His only crime? Daring to dream

Turn on the TV these days and you’ll spot chastened celebrities hawking everything from tampons to panini presses. But how far will companies go to lure a spokesmodel? In the first installment of a regular Radar series, we decided to test the bounds. Could we convince a top power tool company to enlist the services of a born-again ’80s actor?

Given his brave battle against the bottle, and his subsequent resurrection, Willie seemed ripe for an endorsement deal. But what exactly could he endorse?Our first guinea pig is Willie Aames, the homespun heartthrob widely celebrated for his poignant performances on Eight is Enough and his brief star turn as Scott Baio’s sidekick Buddy Lembeck on the NBC hit Charles in Charge. In the early 1980s, intoxicated by his outsized success, Aames fell into a life of drugs and debauchery, living it up in Los Angeles. After hitting bottom, he was able to claw his way back to respectability with the help of Jesus Christ. Now an ordained minister living in Kansas, the outdoorsy actor is back on top. Two years ago he wrote, directed, and starred in a television series, Bible Man, that briefly became the A-Team of Christian TV. And his new hunting show will debut on The Outdoor Channel this Spring, just as his book of inspirational life stories, co-authored with his wife, hits bookstores nationwide.

Given his brave battle against the bottle, and his subsequent resurrection, Willie seemed ripe for an endorsement deal. But what exactly could he endorse? After pondering the question day and night, we came up with the perfect concept for a man who had pledged his life to the teachings of a misunderstood carpenter: How about a line of Willie Aames power sanders?

Milwaukee is to power sanders what Smuckers is to jelly, a top-of-the-line company that boasts a dizzying array of abrasive products. Posing as an appropriately shady manager named Derek Wayne from the fictitious STAR Talent Agency, Radar‘s Teddy Wayne e-mailed a representative for Milwaukee to gauge interest. (We’ve changed the name of the genial rep to protect his privacy. But everything else in the correspondence, including spelling and grammatical errors, remains intact.) Then he went the other way, contacting Willie Aames’s manager as a licensing agent working on Milwaukee’s behalf. Willie himself was on the phone to us moments later.

As a courtesy to A.D.D.-addled readers with an aversion to text, we cobbled together highlights from our phone call with Willie into a short, Warholesque film. But more literary types can read actual transcripts of the phone calls, and a hilarious e-mail exchange with Milwaukee’s befuddled rep by clicking the links below.

Unlike Milwaukee, we can’t guarantee a smooth finish.

• READ DEREK’S E-MAIL EXCHANGE WITH MILWAUKEE

• READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF DEREK’S PHONE CALL WITH WILLIE