The Fix

The Vatican is upset by naked, pregnant Monica Belluci photo; Rivers calls Crowe "arrogant" and unsexy; and Clinton turns down SNL but says "yes" to Jon Stewart.

By Salon Staff
Published August 6, 2004 9:56AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:
But Demi did it! The Vatican is speaking out against a Vanity Fair cover showing the pregnant Monica Bellucci, unwrapped. Actually, the Vatican may be upset less about the nudity than about what Bellucci says in the article about Italian laws, which allow only married people to use in-vitro fertilization and donor sperm. Says Monica, "In Muslim countries women are forced to cover their heads and keep silent. In Italy, they are prevented from asking the help of science to become mothers, unless they are married." (IMDB)

Green room schedule: Bill Clinton said no to appearing on "Saturday Night Live" but will go on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" Monday for a chat about his memoir. His appearances seem to be doing the trick -- he's sold about 1.5 million copies of his book since its release June 22. (USA Today)

Green card dreams: The latest entry into the surreality TV lineup is a show broadcast on Hispanic stations in the L.A.-San Diego areas and in Texas called "Gana la Verde" ("Win the Green"). Contestants go for green cards by eating live worm burritos, washing skyscraper windows and jumping off speeding trucks. Winners aren't guaranteed a card, but are given the services of a legal team to handle their immigration case. (CNN)

Joan jousts: Joan Rivers lashed out at Russell Crowe recently, saying he was the worst person she's ever interviewed and that "He's only sexy in his head. He's so arrogant -- why would he want to go to bed with anyone but himself?" Ouch. (3am Girls)

Reason to smile: Brian Wilson will bring his "Smile" tour to the U.S. this fall after a successful tour of Europe. The album, which was never released after it was made in the late 1960s, will be released at last this September. (BBC)

-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
On Friday night, the Disney Channel tackles the issues of Sept. 11 through children's eyes in its telefilm "Tiger Cruise" (8 p.m. ET, Disney), in which Hayden Panettiere stars as a teenager who learns about herself, her country and her Navy commander father (played by Bill Pullman) while aboard aircraft carrier USS Constitution during those fateful days three years ago. And if even that's too heavy for you, try "Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story" (9 p.m. ET, VH1).

-- Amy Reiter

Morning Briefing:
Muzzled by Dr. Phil? A mental health activist under treatment for bipolar disorder is suing Dr. Phil and "Dr. Phil" show producer Paramount Domestic Television for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying him a chance to participate in the program or talk to its star on the air, though they did let him watch the taping, after he disclosed that he was being treated for a mental illness. The activist, Neal David Sutz, claims to have suffered mental and emotional anguish as a result of his experience as a prospective "Dr. Phil" audience member in 2003. (Associated Press)

Countless car wrecks, averted: A billboard on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles depicting the infamous oral sex scene between Vincent Gallo and Chloe Sevigny in Gallo's soon-to-be-released film "The Brown Bunny" has been taken down. Though he has not commented on the sign's removal, Gallo said earlier in the week that it was intended to "give the impression that the entire film is sophisticated and for adults." (Reuters)

Life after reality TV, courtesy of Tony Danza: Ereka Vetrini, of mild "Apprentice" fame, has been hired as Tony Danza's announcer and sidekick for his new talk show, "The Tony Danza Show," which will debut live on Sept. 13. Vetrini, who will chat with Danza about news and trends and wield a microphone at red-carpet events, issued the following statement to the press: "I couldn't be more thrilled about the opportunity to work with one of the most popular television personalities of all time. I'll be able to learn everything there is to know about television from a man whose career has stood the test of time." (Associated Press)

Oprah, forever: Oprah Winfrey has signed a contract to extend her talk show for three more years, through the 2010-2011 season and into its 25th year of syndication. "The thought of taking the show to its 25th anniversary is both exhilarating and challenging," Winfrey said in a statement released by King World Productions, which produces her show. "The years ahead will allow me to continue to grow along with my viewers and will give my production company the time and opportunity to use the show as a launching pad to create and develop additional projects and potential future shows." (Chicago Sun-Times)

Mystical house of learning: Madonna is reported to have spent $22 million to build the Kabbalist Grammar School for Children on New York's Upper East Side. The school, set to open in December, will emphasize the teachings of the particular brand of Jewish mysticism that is currently all the vogue with certain celebrities -- and is open only to parents who can prove themselves to be followers of said teachings. (WABC)

-- Amy Reiter

Money Quote:
Peggy Noonan upon being informed she "used to be" Rob Lowe's guilty fantasy: "Really? That's so nice. I am honored to have been his fantasy, and think he is a wonderful actor." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

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