The Fix

MTV refuses to run "Super Size Me" commercials, Gwyneth to play Marlene Dietrich, and Elizabeth Taylor doesn't want to let van Gogh go.

By Salon Staff

Published May 27, 2004 9:06AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:
MTV likes Micky D: MTV is refusing to run ads for "Super Size Me," Morgan Spurlock's film documenting the ill effects of eating nothing but McDonald's food for a month. The lack of ads on the music channel probably won't hurt the film's grosses. It has already made $2.9 million and came in No. 2 behind "Troy" last weekend. (CNN Money)

E! exec becomes the story: Mindy Herman, the head of the E! channel for the last four years, may be on her way out the door, accused of being a difficult boss, taking too much swag and engaging in fisticuffs after a party at a Hollywood burlesque club. Sources who talked to the L.A. Times said that Herman used company money to throw parties for herself and to redecorate her home. Not everyone wants her gone, however. Joan Rivers, who has been with the channel since 1996, said "Mindy has done an amazing job. E! was a little channel when she came in and now it's all around the world. They know me in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. She is fantastic." E! owners Comcast and Disney are said to be drawing up a $20 million severance package. (L.A. Times)

Not everyone sells out: Jim Caviezel, now sort of a household name after his title role in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," has turned down offers to do a series of commercials -- including one for a "Heavenly" line of apparel -- worth about $75 million. Said Caviezel, "That sum would secure your future, but I would never be able to forgive myself." (IMDB)

Don's not gone: Don Hewitt ends his run as "Mr. '60 Minutes'" this Sunday but he is staying at CBS to produce a slew of new shows called "30 Minutes." Each program will be in a different city, starting with "30 Minutes in San Francisco" to start shooting in mid-June. Maybe it's also a tutorial, since Hewitt told Variety's Army Archerd, "I want to travel to each city -- it's my baby and I want to pick the right people and teach them how to cover the news." (Variety)

Gwyneth to play Marlene: Gwyneth Paltrow will produce and star in a film about Marlene Dietrich, who died in 1992 at age 90 after having been the highest-paid and most sultry actress in pre-war Hollywood. Said Dietrich's grandson Peter Riva, [Paltrow] "has the stillness required in an aristocrat, and the ability to plumb the depths of character without too much emotion, which was Marlene's trademark." (Reuters)

Where should the van Gogh go? Actress Elizabeth Taylor bought the painting "View of the Asylum and Chapel at St. Remy" in 1963 from Sotheby's. Now the heirs to the original owner, Margarete Mauthner, say that the painting had been stolen by the Nazis and they want it -- or proceeds from its sale -- returned to the family. Taylor's people say the painting was sold by Mauthner and was never in Nazi possession. (BBC)

-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
See what Tom Ridge has to say about the recent warnings of terrorists threats when he appears on "The Charlie Rose Show" (PBS; check local listings) -- also appearing: Tony Kushner, whose "Caroline, or Change" on Broadway is up for a slew of Tony awards, and whose play "Homebody/Kabul" is currently at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. If you haven't see it yet, Thursday might be your night to check out "Kath and Kim" (11:30 p.m. ET; TRIO), the recently imported Aussie answer to "Absolutely Fabulous."

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Go-go Gore: Al Gore stepped up to the stump to give a speech at New York University on Wednesday in which he strongly denounced the Bush administration for its shaky grounds for war in Iraq and its treatment of prisoners there. Gore also called upon Bush to "condemn Rush Limbaugh, perhaps his strongest political supporter," calling the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib "a brilliant maneuver." That prompted Limbaugh to snicker, "I guess I've become the new Newt Gingrich of the Republican Party ... I guess those naked pyramids are just not in the national interest to Al Gore." At which point Limbaugh broke into a full-on fit of laughter. (

Nixing Nixon: Newly released transcripts of telephone call conversations that took place in the Nixon White House reveal that, five days into the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, with tensions high between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Henry Kissinger deemed President Nixon too drunk to take a phone call to discuss the crisis with the British Prime Minister Edward Heath. "Can we tell them no?" Kissinger asked Nixon's assistant, Brent Scowcroft. "When I talked to the president, he was loaded." (Associated Press)

Atkins under attack: A 53-year-old Florida man is suing the estate of Dr. Robert C. Atkins, contending that following the diet advocated by the late doctor -- a diet rich in red meat and saturated fats -- shot his cholesterol into the danger zone and clogged his arteries to the point where he needed surgery to reopen them. The man, who owns a company that makes solar panels for swimming pools, is seeking only $28,000 in damages, but says that he mostly just wants to raise awareness of the diet's dangers and encourage the company marketing the diet to include warnings on their books and other products. (N.Y. Times)

Total bird live? MTV's "Total Request Live" booted Avril Lavigne off the air before her allotted time was up after the 19-year-old singer gave the camera "the finger" in response to a question about what she thought of the media and her critics. "It wasn't a gesture of defiance," her spokeswoman explained. "She was laughing." A source at MTV called the on-air move "totally inappropriate." (Rush and Molloy)

Chicken nugget: Last weekend's domestic dispute was not the first time that Lindsay Lohan's father, Michael, has brushed up against the law. According to a man who says he was in jail with Michael at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center from August 1999 to September 2001, "He was definitely not popular. He was the jailhouse stoolie ... [and] he was always bragging that his kid was in the movies ... He was always [cozying up] to the warden, trying to get that extra piece of chicken." Lohan was apparently jailed three times in charges related to a 1990 federal conviction for commodities fraud. (Rush and Molloy)

O.J. for sale? Star magazine reports that O.J. Simpson's lawyer is peddling interviews with his client pegged to the 10th anniversary of Simpson's wife Nicole's murder. But any news organization wishing to speak to the Juice will have to pay a pretty penny. "It will be expensive," lawyer Yale Galanter tells the magazine. "TV rights are going for $100,000. For print rights, between $20,000 and $25,000." And for a photo shoot of O.J. at the crime scene or at Nicole's grave? "It would have to be a multimillion-type deal ... Our preference is a standard interview ... but it's just money." (Star magazine via Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

Bill's book: Former president Bill Clinton's book is headed your way sooner than expected. It will be released in less than a month -- on June 22 -- and weigh in at 957 pages, with 32 pages of photographs. Retail price $35. (Reuters)

Money Quotes:
Fantasia Barrino, upon being named the winner of "American Idol" last night: "Thank you so much. I broke my shoe!" (Associated Press)

-- Amy Reiter

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