The Fix

Bashir to testify? Library ban on Stewart's "America" reversed. Greer explains "Big Brother" stunt.

By Salon Staff

Published January 12, 2005 12:57PM (EST)

Turn On:
PBS offers an intimate look at Osama bin Laden Wednesday night with "Meeting Osama bin Laden" (check local listings). Also on PBS Wednesday night, Kristin Chenoweth, Patti LuPone and others sing their hearts out on "Great Performances: Leonard Bernstein's 'Candide' With the New York Philharmonic" (check local listings).

Morning Briefing:
Further bashed by Bashir? The prosecutors in the Michael Jackson child molestation case are trying to draft Martin Bashir, the British journalist who made the TV documentary about the pop star that first introduced the world to Jackson's young accuser, to appear in court to testify against him. The court has termed Bashir, who filmed Jackson and the boy cuddling and discussing their penchant for sleeping in the same bed, a "necassary material witness" in the case. Meanwhile, in other Jackson trial news, E! has announced that it will link up with Britain's BSkyB to produce and televise daily reenactments of the trial with professional actors reciting lines based on transcripts. Cameras have been banned from the courtroom. (The Smoking Gun, Washington Post, BBC)

Read all about it: Those of you craving more speculation about what went wrong between Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt will be pleased to learn that all three big celebrity weeklies -- People, Us Weekly and In Touch Weekly -- have rushed out issues chock filled with just that. People deputy managing editor Larry Hackett called the breakup saga "the sister, brother and mother-in-law of celebrity stories." Speaking on behalf of Us Weekly, Wenner Media general manager Kent Brownridge put it this way: "For a celebrity weekly, this is our tsunami. I can't think of anything bigger than the king and queen of Hollywood breaking up." Meanwhile, somewhat mystifyingly, Star magazine did not move to knock last week's magazine, emblazoned with the coverline "Brad & Jen Back On! IT'S BABY TIME!" off the stand early, though it did hire a new Hollywood reporter, Mark Coleman, from Life & Style Weekly, to help prevent more such black eyes. Says David Pecker, CEO of Star parent American Media, of the "Back On!" snafu, "It's a colossal embarrassment." (N.Y. Daily News, N.Y. Post)

At last, an explanation: Now that Germaine Greer has seen fit to ditch Britain's "Celebrity Big Brother" after just four and a half days living under the camera's gaze with Caprice, Brigitte Nielsen and other C-list stars, she's also seen fit to shed a little light on her motives for having appeared on the show in the first place. "Why did I put myself through this entirely avoidable ordeal?" she asks herself in an essay in the London Telegraph. "My reason is the rainforest. I finance the rehabilitation of my 125 acres in south-east Queensland entirely out of my taxed income. If something were to happen to me, the project would collapse in a matter of days. Accepting the 'Celebrity Big Brother' challenge has earned me a lump of cash that will be the rainforest cushion." However, she now says, "I have to think of a better way of doing it. " I'll say. (Telegraph, Brand Republic)

Also: After receiving an onslaught of angry e-mail, the Jackson-George Regional Library System in Mississippi has reversed its decision to ban Jon Stewart's "America (The Book)" because of an image of the Supreme Court justices' heads atop naked bodies and has now put seven copies into circulation. (The Sun Herald) ... George Clooney and Bill O'Reilly have reportedly patched up their differences over Clooney's upcoming fundraiser for victims of the tsunami -- and O'Reilly has agreed to be a presenter on the show. (Rush and Molloy) ... Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal, together on and off for more than 24 years, are now talking about getting married on the actress's new reality TV show, "Chasing Farrah," which premieres on TV Land next Wednesday. (Rush and Molloy) ... Donald Trump has invited both his ex wives, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples, to his upcoming wedding to Melania Knauss on Jan. 22, but neither one is planning to attend. (Page Six)

Money Quote:
Most poetic line from Mr. Blackwell's worst-dressed list this year (about Ashlee and Jessica Simpson, who share the No. 3 spot -- behind Nicollette Sheridan and Lindsay Lohan): "From gaudy ... to grim ... to downright frenetic -- these two prove that bad taste is positively genetic!" (Blackwell via N.Y. Daily News)

-- Amy Reiter

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