You know it's a night to turn off the TV and go out when our top tube recommendation is an A&E biography of Don Knotts (8 p.m. EST).
Jackson at large: Snippets from Geraldo Rivera's recent interview with Michael Jackson, to air on Fox News Channel's "At Large With Geraldo Rivera" on Saturday, are seeping out. Here's Jackson on why certain charges have been made against him: "The bigger the star, the bigger the target. I'm not trying to say I'm the super-duper star, I'm not saying that. I'm saying the fact that people come at celebrities, we're targets. But truth always prevails. I believe in that." On "Mr. Eminem's" recent video lampoon of him, which he called "pretty painful" and "sad": "I've been an artist most of my life and I've never attacked a fellow artist. Great artists don't do that. You don't have to do that." On his sister Janet's infamous Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction": "Actually, I was looking right at it and I didn't see it ... [I told her to] be strong. This too shall pass. Don't worry about it. I've seen worse things." And on watching the press coverage of his child-molestation case: "It's like looking at a fictitious movie. Because it's fiction. It's like watching science fiction." (Associated Press, N.Y. Daily News, N.Y. Post)
Messy, messy: Lawyers for Lindsay Lohan and her mother, Dina, have sent a seven-page letter to news outlets threatening them with legal action if they publish quotes from a press conference given earlier this week by Lohan's father, Michael, with whom Dina is locked in a bitter divorce battle. According to the letter, publication of Michael Lohan's "malicious, false, and outrageous statements" about Lindsay and Dina could result in "liability and a substantial damage verdict." The entire letter, which details Michael's troubles with the law and past allegations he's made about his estranged wife and eldest daughter, can be found here. (The Smoking Gun, N.Y. Post)
Marriage? Fuhgeddaboudit: James Gandolfini's fiancée, Lora Somoza, has decided that the "Sopranos" star's proposal of marriage, which she accepted early last year, is an offer she can refuse after all. The former production assistant, whom Gandolfini met on the set of "The Mexican" while he was still married to ex-wife Marcy, will reportedly move back to Los Angeles to take care of her grandmother, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and leave Gandolfini behind in New York. But don't expect any Tony Soprano-like reprisals from Gandolfini: According to the actor's manager, Gandolfini and Somoza are "still friends." (Rush and Molloy)
Also: Ray Charles' 45-year-old son, Ray Charles Jr., was arrested Thursday at a hotel in Los Angeles on charges of drug possession and being under the influence of cocaine and is now out on $1,000 bail. (Associated Press) ... Phil Spector is being sued for wrongful death by the mother of the woman he is accused of killing in his home on Feb. 3, 2003. (Associated Press) ... Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony are slated to perform together at the upcoming Grammy Awards. (Associated Press) ... Jerry Orbach's widow is considering taking action against the Senior Lending Network, citing the mortgage company's failure to discontinue ads in which Orbach appeared as a pitchman after his death in December. (Rush and Molloy) ... Michael Moore's bodyguard Patrick Burk, who was caught carrying a gun (not loaded, and also not licensed in New York) at Kennedy Airport last month, showed up in court Thursday to fight the charges -- and had his knife confiscated at the door. (N.Y. Daily News) ... Macaulay Culkin's court hearing on drug-possession charges stemming from his Oklahoma City arrest in September, after police found 17.3 grams of marijuana and 16 milligrams of Xanax in a car in which the 24-year-old actor was a passenger, has been delayed until April to allow his lawyers time to work out a plea bargain. (Associated Press) ... Madonna is reportedly not speaking with any of her siblings, so irked is she that they won't embrace the kabbalah movement as she has. (Foxnews.com via Page Six) ... "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry says he may set to work on a spinoff of the hit show to air in a few seasons. (TV Guide via N.Y. Post) ... The rapping nanny who auditioned for "American Idol" in the episode that aired Wednesday night was actually a comedian named Christopher Noll who played a prank on the judges to get a little extra exposure. (N.Y. Post) ... The surviving members of TLC are kicking off their multicity tour in search of a replacement for their late bandmate Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes. The auditions will be broadcast on UPN as a reality TV show, "R U The Girl With T-Boz & Chilli." (N.Y. Post) ... Scott Peterson's half-sister, Anne Bird, who was adopted by another family at birth and didn't meet her birth mom (Scott's mother) and Scott until 1997, has written a book detailing why she thinks Peterson is guilty of murdering his wife, Laci. (Associated Press)
Pamela Anderson on her famous (faux) assets: "My breasts have had a career of their own. I put them [implants] in, took them out and put them back in again. [But] I don't recommend surgery at all. Women's bodies are beautiful as they are, and I've had a love/hate relationship with my breasts my whole life." (N.Y. Post)
-- Amy Reiter