The Fix

Moore calls for change in Australia, Japan, Italy and China, and Schwarzenegger libel suit dismissed. Plus: Should the Donald, the Michael and the Woody be deprived of their ink?

Published July 7, 2004 9:16AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:
Moore feels the power: Michael Moore was using the phrase "regime change" freely Tuesday when he spoke to foreign journalists in New York ahead of the worldwide release of "Fahrenheit 9/11." Moore said he hoped the citizens of Australia, Japan and Italy would see his film and feel they can oust their current leaders for getting into bed with Bush on Iraq. As for China, he hopes for an easing of restrictions on creativity: "I hope Chinese people would come away with the realization that there are Americans, like myself, who can dissent. Perhaps some day anyone in China will have the right to pick up a camera and do whatever they want." (AFP)

Suit against Arnold dropped: A Los Angeles judge has dismissed the libel suit brought by former stuntwoman Rhonda Miller against Arnold Schwarzenegger claiming that he had taken pictures of and fondled her breasts and then defamed her through e-mails sent by his aides suggesting she was a prostitute. The judge said Arnold might have looked into the e-mails more carefully but "the court is not persuaded that it presents a purposeful avoidance of the truth." (Zap2it)

That Was the Week That Was ... remember? Those old enough to remember the quick-witted and scathingly humorous British show, nicknamed "TW3," will be interested in ABC's attempt to revive the format and add it to the "Primetime Live" lineup this fall. The show, hosted by David Frost, debuted in Britain in 1962, hit the U.S. in 1964 and was the "Daily Show" of its time. No word yet on who the 2004 host will be, but auditions for a theme-song singer have been announced. (ABC)

The new journalism: Jim Callaghan, waxing wishful in the New York Observer about a new journalism course to start at the City University of New York next year, says the courses should strive to offer real training, like boot camp, instead of the expensive "instruction in not giving offense" offered at places like Columbia. Callaghan suggests students should "in return for free tuition (paid for by the media conglomerates that make billions in profits every year ... be required to sign a pledge promising they will never write one word about Donald Trump, Michael Jackson, Barry Bonds, Woody Allen, models, actors and actresses, Al Sharpton and all the other annoying media hounds who hog far too much space in our newspapers." (New York Observer)

-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
Return from planet Melmac: Somehow managing the leap to TV from the 1-800 ad graveyard, everyone's favorite (and only) '80s sitcom alien returns on Wednesday with "ALF's Hit Talk Show" (10 p.m. ET; TV Land). The documentary "Big as Life: Obesity in America" (10 p.m. ET; Discovery Health) takes a look at the cultural obsession with weight, including a profile of clubs for fat people and interviews with weight-loss surgery patients.

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Post-announcement blues: The New York Post, which yesterday ran a front-page "exclusive" reporting that John Kerry had selected Dick Gephardt as his running mate, today arrived with a cover emblazoned with the following sheepish headline: "KERRY'S CHOICE: Dem picks Edwards as VP candidate (REALLY)." The story reporting Kerry's real pick -- a day late -- ran under the tag "Not Exclusive." To put it mildly. (N.Y. Post)

Britney: so smart, so well-equipped to deal with fame and fortune: Britney Spears is reportedly refusing to ask her fiancé, dancer Kevin Federline -- whom she's known for all of three months and who left the woman who was pregnant with his second child for her -- to sign a prenuptual agreement, despite the pleadings of her parents. Spears is worth a reported $100 million, half of which Federline would be entitled to under California law (they've just bought a house on Mulholland Drive) should the couple's marriage end in divorce. Spears is also reported to have bought her own $40,000, 5-carat engagement ring -- and has put Federline on her "permanent payroll." (Page Six)

Brando sendoff: Close family and friends of Marlon Brando held a private memorial service for him following his cremation in Los Angeles over the weekend. Sons Christian and Miko were there, though older sister Jocelyn failed to make it because, according to a source, "she's decimated." The star's ashes, an insider reports, "will be scattered in certain undisclosed locations internationally." Also soon to be dropped around the world, a feature-length documentary by Brando biographer Peter Manso, who is basing some of his research on Nixon-like secret phone tapes Brando recorded at his home. The actor apparently installed a system that "would record calls anytime someone picked up the phone," Manso reveals. (Rush and Molloy)

Bachelor Bob, bachelor no longer: Bob Guiney, known to fans of ABC's "The Bachelor" as Bachelor Bob, is hitched. No, not to Estella Gardinier, to whom he gave his last rose on the show. He married Rebecca Budig, host of the ABC Family series "Bachelor XYZ," in a private, surprise ceremony in Michigan, before 50 friends and family members -- and no cameras. (People magazine via N.Y. Daily News)

Money Quotes:
FCC chairman Michael Powell on the indecency crackdown: "Congress has passed a statute and the Supreme Court upheld it. So I don't have any choice other than to believe that it is a constitutionally permissible restriction that the people, through their representatives, have imposed as a matter of law. But if you're outraged by that, you've got to be principled all the way through. You can't pick when it aligns with your interest and then scream about it when it doesn't. We wouldn't have had as much steam in the media ownership debate if Rupert Murdoch hadn't come into the world. Conservatives were griping for decades about liberal media and nobody paid attention. Now, all of a sudden, one news channel has gotten a whole new community of people freaked out." (FMQB via Drudge)

Kid Rock, in an argument with Russell Simmons about whether to see "Fahrenheit 9/11": "I don't want to see that, it's all propaganda ... Russell, don't you understand, everything we got in this country, we got from fighting." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

-- Amy Reiter

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