The Fix

Johnny Depp crashes car and Ryan Seacrest's show crashes and burns. Plus: Is HBO fixing to bring you "Sex and the City" crossed with "Friends"?

Published July 28, 2004 9:47AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:
Whatever turns you on ... The Los Angeles Times is in the middle of a hot controversy because of an ad it accepted from a group called Exodus that claims its Christian leadership can help cure homosexuality. Readers complained to the paper that the ad, featuring a man named Randy who testifies that he's been cured, was spreading homophobia. The Times replied: "Advocacy ads must meet our advertising standards and communicate their points of view legally and responsibly. This particular ad met those requirements." A columnist in Wednesday's Times points out that two of the men who started Exodus ended up leaving the group, leaving their wives and wearing each others' wedding bands. (L.A. Times)

Sex with friends: TV Guide is reporting that "Sex and the City" writer Michael Patrick King is developing a series for HBO with "Friends" star Lisa Kudrow. (TV Guide)

Driver's training: Johnny Depp might need some help with his navigational skills behind the wheel. Neighbors reported seeing him cruise up to his villa in France, put his new Mercedes in reverse and crash right into his own gate. Maybe it was too much sugar -- Depp was on a break from playing Willy Wonka in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." (Ananova)

Never say never: Pierce Brosnan says he is out as James Bond, leaving fans to ponder which of the eligible gents on the short list will get it (Jude Law, Clive Owen and Hugh Jackman being the faves). But Sean Connery quit once, too, until he was brought back with a promise of more money and martinis. (Sky News)

Seacrest has crested: "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" has been canceled by Fox, with the final show to air Sept. 17. But the studio still loves the idol and may go with him on another, "appropriate project." (WNBC)

Beantown is no Big Apple: Scene: a party in Boston for D.C. journalists, Hill staffers and politicos there for the convention. At midnight a N.Y. Observer reporter asks writer Hans Nichols what it is about the party that makes it clear they aren't in New York. Says Nichols, "Because these people are more interested in networking than in sex." (N.Y. Observer)

-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
Wednesday night's debut of "Amish in the City" (8 p.m. ET; UPN) takes the idea behind shows like "Colonial House" and turns it on its head, releasing five Amish 20-somethings into the wilds of modern-day Hollywood. Look for John Edwards making his acceptance speech during coverage of the Democratic National Convention (multiple channels; check local listings). Also: the new "Al Roker Investigates" (10 p.m. ET; Court TV) looks at "" and the threat of predators in online chat rooms.

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Kimora in cuffs: Baby Phat founder Kimora Lee Simmons was arrested Sunday night by police in Saddle River, N.J., on charges of reckless driving, eluding a police officer, possessing marijuana, operating a vehicle while possessing a controlled substance, tailgating and having a taillight out. Her people say the pot belonged to someone else in the car and that the reason she didn't immediately stop for police was because the road she was driving on had no shoulder. Her husband, hip-hop mogul Russell Simons, expressed outrage at his wife's arrest, saying, "My wife is an excellent driver, and she's not guilty of any crime. You don't have to grab my wife and put handcuffs on her. Her wrists are all bruised up." (Rush and Molloy)

Speaking of designers and drugs ... Donatella Versace has checked into rehab at an undisclosed location to get treatment for cocaine addiction, which friends say she's been battling for years. "The family views this as a private matter," said a Versace spokesman. "We hope the press will respect this as such." (Page Six)

The latest on Martha? Word is Martha Stewart is ready to do her time immediately, while she waits for a verdict on the appeal of her case -- but only if she gets to do the five months she's been sentenced to serve at home before the five months she was sentenced to serve in the clink, a highly unusual arrangement, but one that will allow her to appease the people in her company who are anxious for her to get the matter behind her while keeping her out of an actual jail. Prosecutors are balking at Stewart's proposal, but it's not like being homebound on her sprawling, 153-acre Westchester estate will be a total cakewalk: Stewart would be restricted to only one building on the property, would be allowed to leave for only 48 hours per week for very specific reasons, would not be able to go online at home, and would have to get rid of both call-waiting and call-forwarding on her phone. (N.Y. Daily News)

Party boy, political animal: Yes, Ben Affleck has been all over the convention party scene speaking out on behalf of John Kerry, but whether he himself is eyeing a future in politics is still an open question. "It feels like I'm using my brain a little bit more. In some ways, I'm better at this than I am as an actor," says Affleck. But then, he admits, "This is a tough life. You have to eat a lot of stale Danishes." (Rush and Molloy)

Jackson's in-flight prison? Michael Jackson has been accused of imprisoning the young boy who has accused him of molestation when taking the boy and his family on "vacations" to luxury resorts on his private airplane. Prosecutors say Jackson's goal was to get his accuser and his accuser's family to absolve him from accusations of any impropriety connected with his penchant for sleeping with young boys, after Jackson called his habit "sweet" and non-sexual on a TV special. Jackson's lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. scoffed at the charges, however, telling the judge in the case, "The idea that they were imprisoned and forced to fly on private jets to Florida, to socialize with celebrities such as Chris Tucker, is absurd on its face. It would be laughed out of court by a jury." (Associated Press)

Buh-bye, Rocco's: A New York judge ruled that Jeffrey Chodorow -- the owner of Rocco's on 22nd Street, the restaurant in NBC's now-canceled "The Restaurant" -- could bar celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito from the eatery and close the restaurant, should he so desire. "I don't think you are obligated to run a restaurant that's losing money," Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman told Chodorow at a hearing on Tuesday. Chodorow says he may reopen it under a new name -- and with a different chef -- in late August. (Reuters)

Money Quote:
Dan Rather on how bored he is by political conventions and why the networks aren't airing much of them: "You have to take a speed-yawning course to get through some of this stuff, even when you're in the convention hall. I could see people nodding off, and I couldn't blame them ... If we were on for three hours a night, in a lot of places a test pattern would get better ratings." (The Dallas Morning News)

-- Amy Reiter

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