Serious controversy in the funny papers: Aaron McGruder's comic strip, "Boondocks," is stirring up controversy again. The latest brouhaha has erupted over a comic in which characters discuss a fictional "Apprentice"-like reality TV show hosted by Russell Simmons called, "Can a N***a Get a Job?" The Washington Post, Newsday and the New York Daily News are among the papers that wouldn't run the strip in their papers, though gapers can get a gander at it here and here. The Daily News ran a notice saying the comic was on vacation. And the Washington Post substituted an old comic for the current one -- and refused even to allow its humor columnist Gene Weingarten to link to the strip in his online chat. (Romenesko, Editor & Publisher, Washington Post, U Comics, Snap Culture)
You could spend your Friday night watching a new show that's supposed to be pretty good, "Dr. Vegas (10 p.m. ET, CBS), in which Rob Lowe plays a do-good doctor who sets up practice in a casino and Joe Pantoliano plays his casino-managing buddy. Or you could spending it watching a new show that's supposed to be really bad, "Complete Savages" (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC), starring Keith Carradine as the slobby, icky father of five slobby, icky teenage boys. Or both. Your call.
Move over, Rosie and Ellen: There's a new celebrity lesbian in town. "Cynthia's Secret Lover," teases the New York Post on its front page; "Same Sex in the City," quips the headline of the article within. Or, as the New York Daily News puts it, "'Miranda' switches sides." Yep, for some reason it's big news that Cynthia Nixon -- who last year broke up with the father of her two children -- is in a relationship with a woman, and has been for the last 10 months. Asked about the relationship, Nixon told the Daily News, "My private life is private. But at the same time, I have nothing to hide. So what I will say is that I am very happy." (N.Y. Daily News, N.Y. Post)
Rather touching moment: At Barbara Walters' star-studded sayonara bash -- or tribute or whatever it was -- on Wednesday night (attendees included Geraldo Rivera, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Vernon Jordan, Donald Trump and Melania Knauss, Bill O'Reilly, Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, Diane Sawyer, and a surprisingly relaxed-looking Martha Stewart), Walters gave a heartfelt shout out to her buddy Dan Rather. "Know that you have the support of all of us here for your superb career," Walters said, prompting applause from the crowd. Witnesses say Rather, visibly moved by the tribute, appeared close to tears, but Rather's spokeswoman denies the tearshed. He was "deeply appreciative" of Walters' kind words, though, she said. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown, Page Six)
Apology, Elton-style: So that Elton John outburst that was all over last night's news? The one in which he was shown repeatedly calling photographers at Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek International Airport "rude, vile pigs!"? Well, Elton says he's sorry, sorta. "As you know, we had a little incident at the airport," the musician told his audience later that night, adding, "the television and photographers at the airport were the rudest people I've ever met. I've been to 60 countries, and they are a disgrace to your country." Nevertheless, he said, "I'm sorry if I offended anyone in Taiwan. I did not mean to. And to those guys, I meant every single word I said." (The Age)
Tony targets Dr. Phil: You're not the only one who was horrified by Dr. Phil's "Family First" special on Wednesday, during which he counted up the ways a 9-year-old kid on the show was like a serial killer. Tony Danza was, too. "How about the fact that Dr. Phil had a kid on last night, 9 years old, and evidently [McGraw] had this thing where he's got these 14 traits of a serial killer," Danza said on his show. "Evidently, this kid has 10 of these traits or something. So what does he do on Monday? He's got to go to school now ... I think there should be a fine for Dr. Phil." Added his sidekick, former "Apprentice" Ereka Vetrini, of the kid-bashing show, "It's wrong." (N.Y. Post)
Also: In a move somehow related to Michael Eisner's decision to leave Disney a couple years hence and Harvey Weinstein's decision to stay with Miramax, the latter company began cutting 13 percent of its staff on Thursday (Reuters) ... Bill Gates, whose net worth has climbed to $48 billion, tops Forbes magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans, released Thursday; Teresa Heinz Kerry is tied for the very last spot on the list, with a net worth of $750 million (Forbes via Associated Press) ... Kitty Kelley's Bush book has knocked the anti-Kerry Swift Boaters' "Unfit for Command" out of the top spot on the New York Times Bestseller List, to be published on Oct. 3 (N.Y. Daily News) ... The Olsen twins' lawyers have effectively put a stop to the marketing of a T-shirt carrying the message "Save Mary-Kate." Says one of the designers peddling the shirt: "We will no longer be selling the shirts. We can't really fight a billion-dollar company" (Page Six)
-- Amy Reiter