The Fix

Oprah hands out snacks, finds man guilty of murder; Michael Moore set to release two -- count 'em, two -- new books; and Paris Hilton gets her dog back. Plus: Joe Piscopo for governor?

By Salon Staff
Published August 19, 2004 9:48AM (EDT)

Turn On:
Word freaks, take note: On Thursday night, Scrabble champs mix it up on tournament circuit in "Word Wars" (8 p.m. ET, Discovery Times). And BBC America offers the season premiere of "Trailer Park Boys," a faux reality TV show about a bunch of not exactly law-abiding Canadian trailer park dwellers.

Morning Briefing:
Oprah's trying day: After the jury on which Oprah Winfrey was serving in Chicago found a 27-year-old man guilty of first-degree murder after just two hours of deliberation, bringing him that much closer to spending the rest of his life in prison, Winfrey commented that rendering a verdict as a juror was "one of the saddest, saddest experiences I've ever had." And although Winfrey insisted that the trial was not about her -- and her fellow jurors, to whom she at one point handed out snacks of individually wrapped fruits and nuts, had nothing but glowing things to say about their famous fellow deliberator -- the mother of Dion Coleman, the man convicted in the trial, said this: "It wasn't a fair trial. They focused on Oprah instead of my son ... I don't watch her show, anyway. I watch Montel. And Maury." (BBC News, Chicago Sun Times)

"Fahrenheit 9/11," the book: Michael Moore has signed a contract with Simon & Schuster to publish "The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader," a companion book to his documentary film that will include transcripts from the film, along with other extras. But that's not all he and Simon & Schuster are cooking up together. The publishing house will also release Moore's "Will They Ever Trust Us Again?" a collection of letters sent to the filmmaker by U.S. troops in Iraq. (BBC News)

Book backlash: The woman who's been talking to the press about her days dating then-single John Kerry in the early 1990s has revealed her motive for seeking press: She's self-published a book featuring a Kerry-like character in search of the presidency. On her Web site promoting the book, Lee Whitnum, who writes under the pen name Lee Roystone, says that since going public with her Kerry memories earlier this week, she's received "500 hate emails from Republicans and Democrats. Ouch. Also, I'm dealing with the reality that I had 16,000 hits and absolutely zero book orders. I realized that this was an experiment that did not work." Let that be a lesson to the rest of you. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

Also: Five reporters -- H. Josef Hebert of the Associated Press; James Risen and Jeff Gerth of The New York Times; Robert Drogin of the Los Angeles Times; and Pierre Thomas of ABC, formerly of CNN -- have been held in contempt of court and fined $500 a day for withholding information about their sources for stories about former nuclear weapons scientist (and at one point suspected spy) Wen Ho Lee (AP) ... A judge has refused the request of the producers of "The Contender" to block the producers of rival reality boxing show "The Next Great Champ" from airing their show on Fox on Sept. 10 (Reuters) ... Two interns helping out with an architecture story for New York magazine and Dale Peck, also on assignment for the magazine, were detained for suspicious behavior in separate incidents by the New York Police Department after they were spotted taking photographs of New York buildings (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Joe Piscopo, the former "Saturday Night Live" comedian who we all know is from Jersey, is considering a run for governor of the state as an independent -- just for fun (Rush and Molloy) ... Lizzie Grubman, the P.R. woman who infamously rammed her SUV into Hamptons partiers a couple years back, is getting her own reality TV show, "Power Girls," which will focus on her work promoting and planning parties for the stars (New York Daily News) ... And Paris Hilton has been reunited with her lost dog, Tinkerbell, though how the dog found her way back home is not being disclosed. (Indianapolis Star)

-- Amy Reiter

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