May 05, 1997 12:00 PM

When Baywatch bombshell Gena Lee Nolin announced in a magazine interview that she would cybercast her baby’s birth—complete with live pictures and a chat session from her hospital bed—it didn’t take long for the story to sweep the Net. The news that it was an April Fools’ prank, perpetrated by Nolin and The Web magazine, didn’t travel so well. “When she heard about it, my mom called and said, ‘Are you nuts?’ ” reports Nolin. “She said, ‘Oh my, Hollywood has clearly gotten the best of you.’ ” Actually, adds Nolin, now eight months pregnant, “I think having my husband [Greg Fahlman, 36, who runs a video-duplicating company] and doctor in the room when I give birth will be just fine, thank you very much.” The magazine also concocted a bogus sonogram and fake fetal heartbeat for Nolin’s Web site (www.genalee.com), drawing thousands of messages from fans who overlooked the accompanying footnote admitting the hoax. Why were so many fooled? When it comes to cyber publicity stunts, nothing is shocking, says James Oliver Cury, an editor at The Web. “For a lot of folks, this wasn’t stupid enough for them not to believe.”

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