The Fix

Martha stock rises after perjury charges filed, Disney heads to the U.K. and Bill Gates endorses blogs.

By Salon Staff

Published May 21, 2004 9:49AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:
The plot thickens, the stock rises: On word that a perjury charge had been filed against a U.S. Secret Service employee involved in the Martha Stewart case, stock in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. rose as much as 20 percent today. (Forbes)

The mouse jumps the pond: Disney announced it will launch ABC 1 in the U.K. It will start off with daytime shows and then move into 24-hour programming. No one was saying exactly which shows would travel, but sitcoms such as "My Wife and Kids" and "Less Than Perfect" were mentioned as recent successes. (Financial Times)

Stolen idea? "O.C." producer Josh Schwartz was slapped with a lawsuit by two writers who say they had an agreement to do a show called "The Pointes," and then Schwartz went ahead without them and created the cult hit. The two, Scott Donnelly and Erik Lindsay, are asking for $10 million in damages. (IMDB)

Gates pushes the envelope: Microsoft founder Bill Gates told his CEO Summit that he thought blogging was a good thing for businesses. Said Mr. Gates, "What blogging and these notifications are about is that you make it very easy to communicate. The ultimate idea is that you should get the information you want when you want it." (BBC)

-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
PBS presents an in-depth documentary Friday about the Thai sex trade, "Trading Women" (PBS; check local listings) -- narrated by actress/Southeast Asia child-advocate Angelina Jolie -- that explores the link between sex, tourism, opium and the plight of the women of Thailand's hill tribes. And the farewells continue: finales for "Joan of Arcadia" (8 p.m. ET; CBS), "George Lopez" (8 p.m. ET; ABC), and "JAG" (9 p.m. ET; CBS).

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing
"Brown Bunny," hopping your way at last: Hard to believe that it's been a year since Vince Gallo screened a rough cut of his film "The Brown Bunny," in which he enjoyed a particularly explicit sex scene with Chloë Sevigny, at Cannes to overwhelmingly negative audience and critical responses -- a year, too, since he was quoted (misquoted, he insists) as saying he was sorry to have made such a rotten film and subsequently engaged in a long, drawn-out volley of insults with critic Roger Ebert culminating in Gallo placing a curse on the reviewer, who announced a short while later that he had salivary cancer. But the latest news out of this year's Cannes Film Festival? "Brown Bunny" has found a distributor -- Wellspring -- and is slated for U.S. theatrical release in August. Nevertheless, Gallo still isn't completely over last year's traumas. "On a personal note, I felt more unloved, or unliked, I felt more alone and more shaken up by the people that were around me," he tells "I used to be very friendly with the press, after [that] I just felt like my public life is now over, I'll never have a public life again and I definitely don't have any friend in the movie business. I had gone from a kid to an adult in some way ... I wasn't shocked by the reaction, no one is going to like me easily. I realized at that time that I had no support from anyone. It's a feeling I know well anyway; that's the way I live my life." (

Again with the phone: While Bill Clinton was writing his 900-page memoir, his friends were apparently griping that he kept calling them to read them passages. Now that he's finished, they're apparently griping that he's calling them to fact check it at all hours of the morning. Rep. Peter King, R-L.I., one of four Republicans who voted against Clinton's impeachment, says he was woken up the other day at 6:30 a.m. by Sen. Hillary Clinton, letting him know that her husband needed to check a few facts. But when Bill got on the line, King says, "He didn't seem like he needed to check facts so much as try out what he'd written on somebody. He was like a guy with a new Cadillac ... He's going to be the best book promoter the world has ever seen." (Rush and Molloy)

Save Washingtonienne? For those of you not closely following the Washington D.C. non-news, gossip hounds in our nation's capital are apparently all worked up about a blogger who says she's a staff assistant in the office of Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, who says, "Most of my living expenses are thankfully subsidized by a few generous older gentlemen. I'm sure I am not the only one who makes money on the side this way: how can anybody live on $25K/year??" and has been duly recording her various lucrative encounters. ("If you investigated every Staff Ass on the Hill," she adds, "I am sure you would find out some freaky shit. No way can anybody live on such a low salary. I am convinced that the Congressional offices are full of dealers and hos.") The latest trend in D.C., after speculating about Washingtonienne's identity, is apparently the "Save Washingtonienne" bumper sticker popping up on various cars in town. (

Wacko sucks? Kit Culkin, father of Macaulay and Kieran, says he once walked into a room to find Michael Jackson "sitting on the floor in the corner with my 2-year-old son Rory. Both of them [were] sucking on baby bottles. It was not one of my son's bottles that he was so busy with, leading me to surmise that he had a collection of his own." (Inside Edition via Rush and Molloy)

More than they asked for? At rush hour yesterday evening there was a murder on 6th Avenue and 47th Street in New York, near what is known as Jewelers' Row. A shooting in broad daylight, it looked like a planned hit. And who should rush to the scene along with police? Candice Bergen and Lorraine Bracco. Turns out they were participating in the police department's annual "Commanding Officer for a Day" program -- and got to see a little more action than they might have bargained for. (N.Y. Daily News)

They're calling it payback: People are talking now that ABC has announced its decision to pick up a sitcom -- "Savages," about a single father and his five rambunctious sons, produced by Mel Gibson. Why? Because it was ABC's Diane Sawyer whom Gibson opted to give his much-watched interview to, shortly before the release of his "The Passion of the Christ." ABC spokesman Jeff Schneider insists that "one has nothing to do with the other" and says the suggestion of payback is "utter crap, and it denigrates a great journalist who doesn't need any gimmick to land interviews." (Page Six)

Trudeau pulls a Koppel: Garry B. Trudeau will devote his Memorial Day "Doonesbury" strip to listing the more than 700 U.S. military personnel who have been killed in action in Iraq. It is believed to be the first time a comic strip has ever run such a list. (Hartford Courant via Romenesko)

Another comics controversy: A few folks were a little alarmed that the word "scumbag" was used in a Blondie cartoon. "We had a few complaints at our paper from readers who were upset about the term. There was a quiz around the newsroom of reporters to see if anyone was offended by it," Journal News writer David McKay Wilson e-mailed Romenesko. "I grew up in suburban Hartford, Ct., and only knew 'scumbag' to be associated with creepy characters, and occasionally, a less than savory politician. But a bunch of workers here who had grown up in the Bronx knew that a scumbag was a used condom." Who knew? (Romenesko)

-- Amy Reiter

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