The Fix

Yogi Berra objects to "Sex" ad. Jackson's ex-wife to testify. PTC counts 3,056 flashes of nudity on MTV in one week.

Published February 2, 2005 3:04PM (EST)

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Morning Briefing:
If you see a fork in the road, call a lawyer: Yogi Berra has filed suit against Turner Broadcasting System for using his name in racy ads for "Sex and the City" without his permission. The splashy ads, which ran big on the sides of New York City buses and in subways, as well as in magazines, and which were first brought to the 79-year-old baseball legend's attention by his granddaughter, asked the public to guess at the definition of the word "Yogasm": choice b was "sex with Yogi Berra." (The correct answer was c: "what Samantha has with a guy from yoga class.") Berra "is a married man and has children and grandchildren. He is a deeply religious man who has maintained and continues to maintain a moral lifestyle, and has a spotless reputation for integrity, decency and moral character," the suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, contends. "The direct reference to the sexual act made in connection with Mr. Berra ... engenders a moral taint that has damaged his otherwise spotless reputation." (The Smoking Gun, N.Y. Post)

The baby mommy speaks: The fresh-dish prospects of the Michael Jackson trial just got a little better. According to the London Evening Standard, Jackson's ex-wife, nurse Debbie Rowe, the mother of two of his children, Prince and Paris, will testify for the prosecution in the child-molestation trial of the man to whom she signed over custody of her children back in 1999. Rowe was reportedly paid $1 million annually and given a Beverly Hills pad as part of the divorce settlement. But after she discussed Jackson in a TV interview, the payments reportedly dried up -- and she has since filed to regain custody of the kiddies. "Insiders say her testimony is likely to 'blow the lid' off Jackson's bizarre lifestyle," reports the paper. (This Is London)

MTV's bad taste? The monitors at the Parents Television Council have been busy again. The group has just released the results of a study in which it closely surveyed one week of programming on MTV -- "Spring Break" week, to be precise -- and counted 3,056 flashes of nudity or sexual situations and 2,881 verbal references to sex. "MTV has clearly chosen to cater to the lowest common denominator, to offer the cheapest form of programming to entice young boys ... dangling forbidden fruit before their eyes," the group's president, Brent Bozell, commented. Among the content in question: an episode of "One Bad Trip" featuring a "human sundae competition" in which men licked whipped cream and ate cherries off women's bodies. (Associated Press)

Also: The Rev. Al Sharpton is throwing his weight behind a PETA boycott of KFC, protesting the unkind treatment of chickens by the fast-food company's suppliers. (N.Y. Times) ... Us Weekly contends that Martha Stewart has been conducting business -- in code -- over the telephone from Alderson Federal Prison Camp with at least one member of her company, something that is strictly forbidden under the rules of her incarceration. (Us Weekly via Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are reportedly confusing celeb-watchers by continuing to hang out together, wear their wedding rings and share a house -- but their rep insists their split stands. (Rush and Molloy) ... Jay-Z has filed a countersuit against R. Kelly in the wake of their failed joint tour last year, claiming that Kelly routinely showed up for concerts late and unprepared and frequently left early (and in tears) to boot. ( N.Y. Daily News) ... Paris Hilton will host "Saturday Night Live" for the first time this weekend. (Associated Press) ... Bidders on eBay are at least somewhat fired up about souvenirs from the Trump-Knauss wedding, including an invitation "KEPT UNDER GLASS -- comes with Orchids and much more!" ($100 so far), a wedding menu in "perfect condition" ($75) and two wedding plates with "the official Trump logo and 24-karat gold seal" ($105). (eBay, Page Six) ... Rumors are afoot that Ted Koppel may be ousted from his "Nightline" spot and replaced by George Stephanopoulos, whose spot as host of the Sunday morning show "This Week" would be tossed Koppel's way. (Newsday) ... Tucker Carlson has officially signed on to host a show on MSNBC and is relocating from Washington to New Jersey. (Reliable Source) ... Usher scored nominations in five categories -- more than any other artist this year -- for the Soul Train awards, to be announced on Feb. 28. (Reuters/VNU)

Money Quotes:
Barbara Walters on the good things Martha Stewart has discovered about life in prison: "She said she loves scrubbing the floors in the bathroom." (ABC's "The View" via N.Y. Post)

First lady Laura Bush on her daughter Jenna's new boyfriend, Henry Hager, who we hope was not surprised by the news: "This is not a serious boyfriend -- I hate to have to be the one to say it on television. But he's a very nice young man." (ABC's "Good Morning America" via the Reliable Source)

-- Amy Reiter

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By Salon Staff

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