It's been called the meanest reality TV show yet, but if you want to see aspiring actors get mercilessly manipulated and humiliated, tune in to "Film Fakers," which premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on AMC. Or you could watch the season premiere of "South Park" (10 p.m. ET, Comedy Central), followed by "Drawn Together" (10:30 p.m. ET, Comedy Central), a new reality show satire that brings all sorts of cartoon characters together like some kind of crazy, animated "Surreal Life."
Cranky call: What did Howard Stern have to say when he got on the horn with FCC chairman Michael Powell on Tuesday? "It is apparent to most of us in broadcasting that your father got you your job," said Stern, who dialed in when Powell was being interviewed on a San Francisco radio show. Powell insisted that he got his job without any help from his dad, Secretary of State Colin Powell -- and called the nepotism accusation a "cheap shot." Later in the conversation, which lasted more than 10 minutes, Stern said, "I don't think that you personally hate me ... I think what you've been doing is dangerous to free speech. I think things have gotten way out of control." (KGO-AM via Reuters)
Chads a-dangle? Katherine Harris -- formerly of the hanging chads and overdone makeup, currently of the United States House of Representatives (R-Fla.) -- has once again captured the imagination of the nation. She's been accused of brazenly canoodling midsession with another member of Congress, Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz. But don't get too excited: The video posted on TheCanoodle.com shows little more than a whisper, a shoulder touch and a laugh. (TheCanoodle.com)
From the mouths of celebabes: Celebrity endorsements are one thing. But John Kerry's even racking up endorsements from celebrity offspring, it seems. In a letter to the editor published in the Southampton Press, Christie Brinkley's 9-year-old son, Jack Paris Brinkley Cook, writes, "George Bush lies a lot and John Kerry will not lead us into war . . . George Bush said there were weapons of mass destruction, so he sent in all the troops. And did they find [any]? No, no, no, no, no, no, no! I think John Kerry will not lie to us and he will lead us to peace . . . [Bush] wants to go to war with Iraq, to get oil and finish his daddy's war, and if we let him get any further there will not be a world." (Page Six)
Also: Lindsay Lohan's mystery fever was caused not by meningitis, but by an infection, for which she is now being treated (Rush and Molloy) ... Mark Burnett paid a visit to Martha Stewart in the clink, but he insists that the two did not talk business, as that would have been illegal (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Also in Martha's court, Bill Clinton, who told a group of reporters that he's "not entirely convinced" that Stewart is guilty as charged (Keith Kelly ... How does R. Kelly blow off steam? By working the drive-through window at McDonald's. Some people jog (Page Six) ... Pamela Day, the tough "Apprentice" contestant who was the sole woman on an all-male team this season before she got the boot from Mr. T, is getting a divorce from her husband, but denies that going on the show had anything to do with the split (N.Y. Post) ... Julia Roberts, who is pregnant with twins due in January, has been hospitalized for early contractions and confined to bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy (Ananova.com) -- and she and a bunch of other people have been nominated for People's Choice awards (Reuters)
Head-scratch-inducing correction in the Wall Street Journal: "NEWS CORP.'>WSJ via Gawker.com)
-- Amy Reiter