The Fix

Which "Apprentice" star may get sued? Whom did Teresa Heinz Kerry call "scumbags"? And just how dumb is Paris Hilton, anyway?

Published September 21, 2004 11:03AM (EDT)

Turn On:
"My Wife and Kids" (8 p.m. ET, ABC), "According to Jim" (9 p.m. ET, ABC) and "N.Y.P.D. Blue" (10 p.m. ET, ABC) have their season premieres as "Big Brother 5" (8 p.m. ET, CBS) gets its season finale. And if you can't get quite enough "According to Jim," you can watch the debut of a new show that sounds just like it, "Rodney" (9:30 p.m. ET, ABC), starring country-western comedian Rodney Carrington as a shlubby blue-collar guy with a perky blond wife, played by Jennifer Aspen.

Morning Briefing:
Don't pay your respects just yet: Rodney Dangerfield's wife, Joan, has revealed that her 82-year-old comedian husband has been in a "light coma" for the weeks following his Aug. 25 heart valve replacement surgery, but that he's coming along nicely and is expected to make a complete recovery. His condition, she said, "remains stable," adding, "After recent visits from his family and close friends, Rodney is starting to show signs of awareness, and we are all hopeful that he will regain full consciousness soon." (Reuters)

Some fact-checkers a-- is on the line! The New Yorker magazine has been accused of taking a comment made by Teresa Heinz Kerry out of context. According to a Pittsburgh TV station that aired an interview with Heinz Kerry last April, the would-be first lady did not call her detractors "scumbags" during the sit-down, but rather used the term in a more general sense in response to the question "Do you think some of the nobility has gone out of public service?" Heinz Kerry's reply: "Oh, there is a lot of scumbags everywhere. Not just in politics. In everything. There are a lot of immoral people everywhere." (The Pittsburgh Channel via Drudge)

Simple lives, simple minds ... How dumb is Paris Hilton? When Merle Ginsberg, the co-author of her autobiography, "Confessions of an Heiress," congratulated her on her No. 5 spot on the Wall Street Journal's bestseller list, Paris is reported to have responded, "What's the Wall Street Journal? Is that good?" What's more, an editor who worked on the book has revealed that she was prevented from smartening up Hilton's book because its publishers wanted it "to be realistic." (Rush and Molloy)

Da question about Da Vinci: "Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown is suing a writer named Lewis Perdue, who has claimed that Brown swiped the idea for his bestseller from one of Perdue's own novels, "The Da Vinci Legacy." But Brown says he never read Perdue's book, published in 1983 and reissued this year following the success of Brown's book, and wants him to stop making claims to the contrary. (N.Y. Daily News)

Even worse than Omarosa? Controversial "Apprentice" contestant Stacie J. allegedly "gave interviews to reporters and talked about the show" at a post-Emmy party the other night, which is in clear violation of her contract with NBC. So will NBC bring suit? "Our lawyers have advised that we cannot comment on any legal action that may or may not be applied to Stacie J.," says an "Apprentice" spokesperson. (Page Six)

Money Quotes:
Animal rights activist Dan Matthews on a racy anti-rodeo poster featuring ESPN "Cold Pizza" contributor Bonnie-Jill Laflin, topless and rolling in the hay, unveiled this week at the Museum of Sex in New York: "We like to keep the 'T' and 'A' in PETA." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

Laura Bush on whether she still thinks Roe vs. Wade should be upheld: "Yeah." (GQ via the Reliable Source)

-- Amy Reiter

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By Salon Staff

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