The Fix

McCain stands up for Koppel, Schwarzenegger offended by bobblehead, and Tarantino has Brosnan's Bond support.

Salon Staff
April 30, 2004 1:35PM (UTC)

Afternoon Briefing:
The Koppel controversy continues: The Drudge Report is running a letter sent from Sen. John McCain to Sinclair Broadcasting that says, in part, "There is no valid reason for Sinclair to shirk its responsibility in what I assume is a very misguided attempt to prevent your viewers from completely appreciating the extraordinary sacrifices made on their behalf by Americans serving in Iraq. War is an awful, but sometimes necessary business. Your decision to deny your viewers an opportunity to be reminded of war's terrible costs, in all their heartbreaking detail, is a gross disservice to the public, and to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. It is, in short, sir, unpatriotic." (Drudge)

Arnold angry about bobblehead: Gov. Schwarzenegger is threatening to sue a company that makes bobblehead dolls for making one in his likeness, claiming "unauthorized commercial exploitation." The doll, which went on sale about a month ago for $19.99, portrays the guv in a suit and tie, holding a gun. The same company sells bobbleheads of Howard Dean, John Kerry, Wesley Clark for the same price. For some reason, the George W. Bush doll is only $14.95. (The Smoking Gun)


In other suit news: Two members of a rap group called Vokal are suing Nelly for using the name for his clothing label. James Tyrone Wilson and Cameron Caines say they have exclusive rights to and have recorded under the name Vokal since 1994 and want Nelly to cease and desist using it -- plus they're asking for an undisclosed sum in damages. (Ananova)

Adam Moss gets serious: New York Magazine's Intelligencer column has changed from a glitzy star rap sheet to one that covers business, politics and the media. Says the column's writer, Deborah Schoeneman, "We're trying to emphasize more New York power people than celebrities. We want to get away from what the other gossip columnists are doing." (WWD)

Tarantino to redo "Casino"? Everyone knows that Quentin Tarantino is hot to direct a Bond film, and now he's got 007 on his side. Pierce Brosnan says he's all for Q.T. directing a remake of the spoof "Casino Royale" because "What Tarantino would bring to the film is life, and just a great sense of excitement and danger, and the perspective of a filmmaker who has really made people sit up and watch his movies." (IMDB)


Got nothing to do this weekend? Why not read all of the "Friends" scripts? TV Guide online has them from all 10 years of the show so you can relive it all, just in time for next week's final finale. (TV Guide)

Elmo goes to Afghanistan: The "Sesame Street" gang is on its way to Afghanistan. About 400 kits, with videotapes of the Afghan version of the show ("Koche Sesame"), a teacher's handbook, poster and school supplies will be given to teachers to use in their classrooms. A spokesperson for the show's nonprofit arm said, "This material has been assembled specifically to address the needs of a post-conflict society." (Sky News)

-- Karen Croft


- - - - - - - - - - - -

Turn On:
On a special segment of "Nightline" ( 11:30 p.m. ET; ABC), the show will consist solely of pictures of soldiers killed in combat in Iraq, with Ted Koppel reading off their names. "Third Watch" (10 p.m. ET; NBC) flashes back to the '70s with guest appearances by Kate Jackson, Henry Winkler and Gene Simmons.


-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Koppel responds: Ted Koppel says he's completely surprised at the reaction he's gotten about his intention to dedicated "Nightline" tonight to the reading of the names of soldiers killed in Iraq -- and to the decision of ABC affiliate owner Sinclair Broadcasting to pull the show because it "appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq." Says Koppel, "I didn't expect that. I thought it would get attention, but did I think it would become so controversial, did I think that people would feel the need to question the patriotism of those who are putting it on the air? Did I think that it would descend to the depths of some people suggesting we were doing this because the networks are going into a sweeps period when ratings become important? You start to wonder after a while. I've been doing 'Nightline' for over 24 years, I've been at ABC for 41 years, if that's really the impression I've left with people then I have failed in such a colossal way that I can't even begin to consider the consequences of it." (Poynter)

And the names Joe Wilson is naming are ... Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff; Iran-Contra scandal figure Elliott Abrams; and White House chief political advisor Karl Rove. In his new book, "The Politics of Truth," out today, the former ambassador contends that those are the three people he most suspects of leaking the CIA operative status of his wife, Valerie Plame, to the press. (Washington Post via Associated Press)


Porn free ... for a little while longer: A third adult movie performer has tested positive for HIV. "This is not over," said Sharon Mitchell, executive director of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation. (Associated Press)

Too involved? Questions are being raised about the agenda of Santa Barbara prosecutor Tom Sneddon amid revelations that Sneddon did a fair amount of the police legwork to gather evidence in the Michael Jackson case himself. His personal involvement in the case has been deemed highly irregular by legal experts, who suggest it may derail the case. (ABC News)

Dean TV: Howard Dean may get his own syndicated TV talk show, brought to you by the people behind "Judge Judy." The topic? Not politics, but heart-tugging human-interest stories that tackle the issues of the day. The producer peddling the show, Larry Lyttle, says of Dean, "He's a little bit of Howard Beale, a little Dr. Phil and a little Donahue all rolled into one." (Variety)


Rebuilding ... Kenneth A. Paulson, the new editor of USA Today, says his top priority is "to eliminate that fear and open up lines of communication. I want to bring a spirit of openness and fun." Paulson comes to the post after seven years running the First Amendment Center. (Editor and Publisher)

Happy birthday, Jerry: Jerry Seinfeld just celebrated his 50th birthday -- and everyone from Chris Rock to Regis Philbin to the real-life inspiration for Elaine showed up at his surprise party. (Rush and Molloy)

Gender bender:"Matrix" co-creator Larry Wachowski is said to be ready to have the sex-change operation he's been moving toward. According to reports, Larry, post-op, plans to be known as Linda. (Rush and Molloy)

More trouble in Trier-ville: John C. Reilly reportedly walked off the set of Lars Von Trier's "Manderlay" in Sweden last month because he objected to the killing of a donkey for a scene. The film's executive producer, Peter Aalbaek Jensen, says the slaughter of the animal, who was old and sick, was handled in a humane way. "We didn't want 70,000 American animal rights groups on our back," he said. Reilly's role is now being played by Slovenian actor Zelijko Ivanek. (Entertainment Weekly via the U.K. Guardian)


Coming your way: Donald Trump, the doll. And yes, it does say "You're Fired!" (Page Six)

-- Amy Reiter

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