The Fix

Star slapped by ABC. Turner trades barbs with Fox. Plus: The oddsmakers' Oscar favorites.

By Salon Staff

Published January 26, 2005 1:26PM (EST)

Turn On:
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie return to the small screen on Wednesday night with the third season of "The Simple Life" (9 p.m. EST on Fox), in which they travel the East Coast working as interns at various businesses. And at 10 p.m. on NBC, Katie Couric talks to teens and their parents about sex in "The 4-1-1: Teens and Sex."

Morning Briefing:
Oscar nods net Oscar odds: The oddsmakers at offshore gaming site are placing 4/7 odds on "The Aviator" to win the Academy Award for best picture. They're also predicting that the film's director, Martin Scorsese, will take home the Oscar for best director and are favoring Jamie Foxx for best actor, Hilary Swank for best actress, Thomas Haden Church for best supporting actor and Cate Blanchett for best supporting actress. The British bookies at Ladbrokes are also laying odds that Scorsese will best Clint Eastwood for best director, and that "The Aviator" will edge out "Million Dollar Baby" in the best picture category. "It looks like a scrap between those two films," Ladbrokes' chief oddsmaker, Warren Lush, said. (, N.Y. Post)

Ted's furor: Despite the fact that Variety describes Ted Turner as "more resigned than riled up" and not at all "feisty" during a Q&A session Tuesday morning at the National Association for Television Programming Executives' conference in Las Vegas, the CNN founder managed to rile things up by comparing his former rival Fox News to Hitler. Turner said that Fox may be popular, but pointed out that Hitler was popular too, having been elected to run Germany before World War II. Turner also called the network a propaganda tool for the Bush administration. "There's nothing wrong with that. It's certainly legal," Turner said. "But it does pose problems for our democracy. Particularly when the news is dumbed down." A Fox News spokesperson shot back, "Ted is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network, and now his mind. We wish him well." (Variety, Broadcasting & Cable)

Star's "sickout": Did ABC finally put a stop to Star Jones' shameless on-air plugs for the vendors who supplied goods and services to her wedding for free in exchange for publicity? According to Page Six, yes. And Jones wasn't too happy about it, calling in sick from "The View" after the network cut all the mentions of her wedding suppliers in an "InStyle Celebrity Weddings" special airing this Thursday night. "All was fine until the special was shown to Andrea Wong, [executive] v.p. of alternative programming, and the ABC Broadcast Standards Department. That's when the [bleep] hit the fan," an "insider" told the column. "ABC went ballistic and ordered a ton of edits." Then Jones went ballistic and stayed off "The View," and, according to the source, "that is when she was immediately notified that [if] she did not heed ABC's warnings, she was going to be fired from 'The View.' This word came down from as high as Bob Iger." Added the tattler, "Star has since not mentioned a word about her wedding on the advice of her own attorney and p.r. reps." Phew. (Page Six)

Also: Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz has revealed that conservative columnist Maggie Gallagher wrote columns in support of President Bush's marriage initiative for publications including the National Review but failed to mention that she had received $21,500 from the Department of Health and Human Services to promote the program. "Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it? I don't know. You tell me," she told Kurtz, but later wrote a column apologizing for the ethical lapse. (Washington Post) ... Elite Models founder John Casablancas is coming out of retirement to help guide his old agency out of bankruptcy and to save the whole modeling industry, which, he says, is "on its knees." (Rush and Molloy, Page Six) ... A former lawyer for Robert Blake's late wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, testified Tuesday that Bakley signed an "extraordinarily lopsided" prenup agreement with Blake according to which she would have to surrender custody of her daughter if she backed out of her plan to marry the actor now being tried for her murder. (Associated Press) ... Beverly Sills is stepping down as chairwoman of New York's Metropolitan Opera to focus on her own health and that of her husband, Peter Greenough. (Reuters) ... The mysterious Israeli at Donald Trump and Melania Knauss' wedding last Saturday was not Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as the New York Post reported yesterday, but rather Israel's finance minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who happened to be visiting friends at Mar-a-Lago the weekend of the wedding and was invited to the reception by Trump as his "special guest." (Jerusalem Post)

Money Quotes:
Bono on showing up at the White House the first time, years ago, to meet with President Clinton: "I think [the staffers] thought I was there [to do the] carpentry. I thought ... [Clinton] looked more like a pop star than I did. And I thought he might be thinking that, too." ("Bono: In Conversation With Michka Assayas" via Rush and Molloy)

James Earl Jones, supporting Bill Cosby's comments urging black parents to be more involved with the lives and education of their children, speaking at the Oxonian Society: "Bill is addressing some social problems that are the residue of racism past and present. You have a whole generation of activists who don't want to see change except in the way they perceive change. They don't want to lay responsibility on the parents of young black kids." (Rush and Molloy)

Dustin Hoffman on how he and Barbra Streisand captured that lovin' feelin' during the filming of "Meet the Fockers": "We didnt want those so-called amorous scenes you see on screen, which are bull[bleep]... where they've got their tongues down each other's throats and the camera pans down to the ground to see her panties. So we did what felt real. I whispered to Barbra in one scene 'I love your breasts, they look great today.'" (MSNBC's Scoop)

-- Amy Reiter

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