The Fix

Stern returns, FCC may fine airers of Jackson wardrobe malfunction, and Halle Berry stands up for sexuality.

Published June 30, 2004 9:16AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:
He's baaaaack: Howard Stern, whose shock show was dropped in six cities after the recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nervousness, is back on most of them and has added four more to his roster. Infinity Broadcasting will carry the show in all of the cities in which Clear Channel dropped it except Louisville and will also bring it to the airwaves in Tampa, Houston, Austin and Fresno. Stern has always maintained that his show was dropped in reaction to Janet Jackson's peep show at last year's Super Bowl. He admits, "We do pee-pee jokes and doody humor" but says the Infinity decision "will teach the FCC a lesson -- that we will fight back." (Reuters)

Speaking of that Jackson flashing: The FCC is proposing that the 20 Viacom-owned television stations that aired the breast exposure should be fined $27,500 each. The CBS affiliates were let off the hook. (Reuters)

She's back, too: Jane Pauley will return in August with her own syndicated talk show on NBC -- somewhere in the daytime lineup that includes Ellen DeGeneres and Dr. Phil. The premiere will coincide with the release of Pauley's book "Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue." (Reuters)

Online ombudsman: Adam Penenberg, famous for rooting out the strange fabrications of Stephen Glass in 1998, has started his own watchdog blog on Wired News that will keep an eye on Internet journalism. In his introductory piece he explains, "I'll study how traditional publishers are approaching the Internet, and analyze the ways politicians and corporations spin the news and how info consumers process this information. I'll dissect blogs, which some believe could lead to a democratization of news (although in my opinion they merely represent the democratization of punditry) and report on trends. Whenever possible, I'll try to point out when reporters distort facts or advance personal agendas (it happens). Mostly, I'll take a good hard look at the evolving state of media in the online world, where more and more people are spending their time and money." (Wired News)

Sex advice from Halle: Newly single actress Halle Berry has advice for unattached women. "You can't forget your sexuality -- that's not good," she tells Harper's Bazaar. "You can still embrace your body by going to the gym or going to the Pleasure Chest!" (Ananova)

Woody gets Scarlett: After Kate Winslet pulled out of Woody Allen's latest project he was reportedly quite upset. But now the dour director can smile again, since hot actress Scarlett Johansson just signed on to take Winslet's place. The film will begin shooting in October -- the first to be shot in the U.K. (BBC)

-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
Even with the handover coming two days early, it should be interesting to hear what CNN anchorwoman Christiane Amanpour has to say when she appears live from Iraq on "Charlie Rose" (PBS; check local listings). Following the usual horror-movie sequence, "Wishmaster" was a pretty good movie, followed by increasingly bad sequels; fans of schadenfreude and bad films will enjoy watching the franchise go from the nightmare-inducing "Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies" (7 p.m. ET; Sci Fi) to the just plain nightmarish "Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell" (9 p.m. ET; Sci Fi) and "Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled" (11 p.m. ET; Sci Fi).

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Sharpton makes like The Donald: Al Sharpton has announced that he'll host a reality TV show on Spike TV --- "I Hate My Job," premiering this fall -- in which contestants will undergo career makeovers, quitting their jobs and getting groomed for something new. "I like the concept of trying to have people discover their purpose in life, and not have the world define them or settle for less than who they want to be just to pay their bills," Sharpton commented, adding, "I'm the working man's Trump. He brings people into the penthouse. We bring them into the house." (Associated Press)

Also peddling a reality TV show ... Paris Hilton's dad. Variety reports that hotel heir Rick Hilton is shopping a show called "777" -- the payoff number on slot machines -- to networks. The concept? Seven high rollers cough up $1 million apiece and then spend seven days in Vegas trying to win the entire $7 million kitty. Hilton and his fellow producers are currently on the lookout for the high rollers willing to risk the big cash. Don't all of you volunteer at once. (Variety via E! Online)

The secrets of Splitsville: Anyone hoping for Sen. John Kerry to get the Jack Ryan treatment may be in for some disappointment. Kerry says he's not planning to release the records of his 1988 divorce. "I have no intention of doing that at all. There's no reason whatsoever. It's history, ancient history," Kerry said in an interview with Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo during a campaign stop in Phoenix. "My ex-wife and I are terrific friends, very proud of our children. We have stayed close as an extended family in a sense through those years." Added Kerry of the circumstances of his divorce from first wife Julia Thorn, "It's none of anybody's business. Period." (Associated Press and Reuters)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, big spender? The California governor is under fire for talking big about shared sacrifice to rescue his state from financial crisis while boosting the salaries of his own staffers. "Schwarzenegger has slightly fewer employees than Gov. Gray Davis did toward the end of his term, but is spending nearly 8 percent more on salaries," reports the Associated Press. "He also is paying a higher average salary for each employee. And he is paying more six-figure incomes within his inner circle than Davis did." (Associated Press)

British Bush bash: "Fahrenheit 9/11" may not open in the U.K. until next month, but British celebrities got a little advance screening in London on Tuesday night. Who was there? Jude Law and girlfriend Sienna Miller, Elton John's partner David Furnish, Peter O'Toole, Bianca Jagger and two of Kate Moss' ex-boyfriends, among others. Said Jagger of President Bush before the screening, "Not only is he dangerous for America, he is dangerous for the rest of the world." (The Scotsman)

Rumor patrol: Britney Spears is engaged to dancer Kevin Federline, but she does not have a bun in the oven, according to her people. "I can definitely tell you today that Britney is not pregnant," says her rep. Then again, her knee seems to be healing quite well -- well enough, in fact, for her to stroll right into L.A.'s Fred Segal store in flip-flops and no knee brace. "The brace is just for support, and she took it off for a little bit because she was uncomfortable and hot," the rep explains. (Rush and Molloy)

A plot to kill President Bush? That's a key plot point in Nicholson Baker's new book, "Checkpoint," which is set for release the week before the Republican National Convention. "He is beyond the beyond," says one character in the book. "What he's done with this war. He's one dead armadillo." (Rush and Molloy)

Also not big on this administration: Yankees and Red Sox fans: Vice President Dick Cheney attended the Yankees-Red Sox game at Yankees Stadium Tuesday night, shook hands with the players, hung out in George Steinbrenner's private box. But when his image was broadcast on the scoreboard during the seventh-inning singing of "God Bless America," it was met with resounding boos from the crowd and so was hastily removed. (N.Y. Times)

They'va all got a book to peddle: Ambassador L. Paul Bremer 3rd, who presided over the handover of power in Iraq, is looking to write a book about his experiences. "I don't want to put any numbers on it, but I am talking to publishers about whether they have an interest in meeting with Ambassador Bremer, and we have gotten a very positive response," says his agent, Marvin Josephson, "He has an extraordinary story to tell." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

Another rumor debunked: Mary-Kate Olsen is not undergoing treatment for cocaine addiction, as the Star magazine has claimed. "The story in the Star is absolutely false," says her rep. "Lawyers for Mary-Kate Olsen and Dualstar Entertainment Group are evaluating their options." (Page Six)

Money Quote:
A woman accused of stalking and threatening Catherine Zeta-Jones, in a letter to the actress: "I want to apologize for any distress I have caused you and your families ... It would be a wonderful good deed if you would all forgive me so that I can go back to college to finish my studies in child psychology." (E! Online)

-- Amy Reiter

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