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The daily E.T. tapings, and the tedium that comes with professional facility. The concert tours: airport hours and hotel hours, the pressure of fan expectations. That old childhood desire to please, dogging him into adulthood and success, haunting him still. The rehearsals, the recording sessions. The new melodies forming in his mind's ear, each one like a tyrannical baby, demanding attention, patience, detachment. The necessary self-promotion: radio interviews, shopping-channel pitch sessions, endless PBS gigs. The autobiography with its imminent deadlines. The responsibilities of fatherhood. The time that a wife--a beautiful, independent, sought-after wife--requires. The record company business. The contempt from critics. The adoration of fans-- some dumb, some funny, some beautiful, some not--but all hoping breathlessly for a special moment only he can provide, all with their laser-beam attention focused completely on him...

It's not easy being Tesh.

And lately, it seems as if the never-ending demands of his multimedia, super-accelerated celebrity lifestyle are taking a toll on him.

Turn on your TV, switch the channel to Entertainment Tonight, and you might disagree. Behind the E.T. desk, flanked by the pharmacologically perky Mary Hart, Tesh looks as seamless as a computer simulation, a kind of version 5.0 Max Headroom: smoother mouth movement, more realistic-looking skin. His smallish eyes are bright and focused. The collar of his shirt is crisp. His fine blonde hair falls across his forehead in an obedient-but-casual swoop.

But image is Tesh's forte. You can concoct the worst nightmare scenarios--has-been has-been Gary Coleman hidden beneath the E.T. desk, say, sawing feverishly at Tesh's legs with a dull pair of scissors--and still imagine the unflappable anchorguy delivering the latest entertainment newz without flinch or stutter...