The Fix

"Buffy," "Will & Grace" and the "dry hump" survive FCC scrutiny. Reporters gush over Amber Frey. Plus: Hoover, Nixon were keeping their eyes on that long-haired hipster Joe Namath.

By Salon Staff
Published August 11, 2004 2:42PM (EDT)

Turn On:
Expect more of Kobe and Scott and Amber (definitely Amber) for the rest of the week on "Larry King Live" (9 p.m. ET, CNN). Who will get booted from "Big Brother 5, " Jase or Marvin? (9 p.m., CBS)

Morning Briefing:
FCC: "Dry hump" away The FCC dismissed complaints Tuesday from conservative groups still hell-bent on cleaning up TV after the Janet Jackson flap. The shows that got their titties in a twist this time were "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (for an episode where Spike and Buffy fight before having sex) and "Will & Grace" (for an episode in which a "woman photographer passionately kissed (a) woman author and then humped her (what she called a 'dry hump')"). But neither of the two groups, Americans for Decency or Parents Television Council, issued a statement on their Websites about their defeat; on the PTC site, the group's president, L. Brent Bozell III, had already moved on to condemning those darn kids and their crazy pop music. "For parents of young girls, its past time to worry about 'Dip It Low' by Christina Milian, which unfolds like a tutorial on how to bring a man to orgasm," Bozell writes. "The chorus refers to the female pelvis: 'Dip it low, pick it up slow, roll it all around, poke it out like your back broke  pop, pop, pop that thing, Im a show you how to make your man say ooh.' Theres no time in this song for love or commitment, just a sexual calisthenics class." (Reuters, PTC)

Wallace cuffed: Mike Wallace, the 86-year-old star of "60 Minutes," was cuffed Tuesday night by Taxi and Limousine Commission officers who were interviewing his driver, apparently double-parked in front of Luke's, where Wallace was picking up a take out order. When the interview dragged on, Wallace apparently got antsy. "He was observed to be overly assertive. He was disrespectful to the inspectors. He was asked to step away three times. He did not comply," Allan Fromberg, a TLC spokesman said. "[Wallace] was seen to have seemingly lunged at one of the inspectors, and the other inspector feared for his partner's safety and at that point restrained Mr. Wallace." Wallace was taken to police custody before being released, but was given a summons for disorderly conduct and is due in court in October. "I'm an 86-year-old man," Wallace "chortled" to the New York Post. "Since the Democratic convention in 1968, this was the first time [I've been in cuffs]." Wallace, then a CBS News correspondent, was arrested by Chicago police officers at the 1968 convention after asking police about their treatment of anti-Vietnam protesters. (NY Post)

Amber alert: The circus surrounding the Scott Peterson trial hit a high Tuesday, with the beginning of testimony from Amber Frey, the woman Peterson allegedly had been having an affair with when his wife Laci went missing in December 2002. As the New York Daily News diplomatically put it, "Prosecutors say she was the reason the hunky Modesto fertilizer salesman killed his pregnant wife, Laci, in December 2002 and dumped her body in San Francisco Bay." Most gripping, Peterson, in a phone conversation Frey taped after going to the police, "pretended to be calling Frey from Paris on New Year's Eve 2002 - just one week after he reported his wife missing. Police and volunteers were searching for his wife when he made the phony call. 'I'm, uh ... near the Eiffel Tower, and the New Year's celebration is unreal," Peterson lies. . . Later, he says: 'It's pretty awesome. Fireworks there at the Eiffel Tower. A mass of people all playing American pop songs.'" Frey, young, blonde and girly-voiced, has become a media draw from the onset of the case, and the reporters covering Tuesday's trial could barely contain themselves. According to the Daily News, "wearing a prim black suit, the girlish Frey testified in a soft, halting voice" and the "lithe masseuse" was "a powerful, credible witness" when she "recounted how Peterson fed her champagne and strawberries, wined and dined her in a private room at a Japanese restaurant, sang karaoke to her and kissed her gently on the dance floor on their first date a month before Laci Peterson disappeared . . . [when they also] spent the night in his room at the Radisson in Fresno." When Frey was asked why she had sex with him on their first date, she said she felt awkward but "he reassured me that it was appropriate.'' Frey's testimony is expected to continue through next week, a prospect that clearly has reporters salivating. "Her history and character  such as a previous affair with a married man  are expected by legal pundits to come under fire by defense attorney Mark Geragos during cross-examination." (NY Daily News, San Jose Mercury News, San Mateo Daily Journal)

Slightly less big tent: The Republicans, whose celebrations of diversity at their conventions often give off a strong whiff of hypocrisy, lost its big multi-culti draw when it was announced Tuesday that Secretary of State Colin Powell would not participate at the convention at the end of the month. Powell, frequently at odds with President Bush during his tenure, said through a spokesman that he didnt think it appropriate to participate in parochial debate" -- which is too bad for the GOP, since Powell was one of the few speakers in 2000 to really make an impact. As Salon asked at the time: "Who else could get a crowd of GOP delegates in a frenzy calling for the construction of fewer jails?" (MSNBC, Salon)

Bryant accuser tries civil route: Kobe Bryant's accuser filed a civil suit against him Tuesday seeking monetary damages -- an odd move, since the criminal case is already underway. "Legal experts said the suit would severely complicate the prosecution's efforts, if only by giving Mr. Bryant's lawyers another means to challenge the woman's credibility. They can now strongly suggest to the jury . . . that she has financial reasons to lie, since a criminal conviction would help her win in civil court," reports the New York Times. "Lawyers for the woman . . . have complained in recent days that her ability to proceed in the criminal case has been compromised. . . . that rulings by the judge allowing Mr. Kobe's lawyers to explore her sexual history around the time of the incident, and missteps by court personnel who accidentally released sealed court documents about her, had shaken the woman's faith and given her second thoughts about cooperating with prosecutors." (NY Times)

Also: Will Donald Trump's advice be "worth as much now that his casinos aren't?". . . Reese Witherspoon allegedly threatened to sue Vanity Fair after it considered dumping her from its cover (which plugs her new movie, "Vanity Fair") in favor of Mark Spitz wannabe Michael Phelps. . . Because he had "long hair, wore mod clothes and loved the ladies" Joe Namath was tailed by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, and even made Nixon's "enemies list."

-- Kerry Lauerman

Salon Staff

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