PBS kicks off a four-part series on slavery, "Slavery and the Making of America," narrated by Morgan Freeman, on Wednesday night (check local listings for times). Also, a liberal lesbian and an anti-gay conservative Christian trade places on ABC's "Wife Swap" (10 p.m. EST), and NBC's "Law and Order" (10 p.m. EST) includes a story line that sounds a lot like Bill O'Reilly's recent sexual harassment scandal, minus the loofah and the falafel.
Cosby, cornered? The bad news is piling up for Bill Cosby. The Philadelphia Daily News published a one-two punch in the drugging and groping allegations recently made against him by the 31-year-old Canadian woman who once ran the basketball program at the comedian's alma mater, Temple University, in Philadelphia: 1) The paper reports that tapes made by the young woman's mother of a telephone conversation she had with Cosby just after her daughter filed charges include a section in which Cosby offered the woman money to keep quiet, an offer the woman's mother turned down. Such tapes -- which sources say have been turned over to police -- would support the woman's position that she is after justice, not money. 2) Also bolstering the alleged victim's credibility: A California lawyer and former model has come forward to say that she, too, was drugged and groped by Cosby ... 30 years ago. The woman, Tamara Green, now 57, says she was motivated to come forward out of concern that the charges would be dismissed out of hand. "I heard his lawyer said her claims were preposterous and basically I thought, 'My eye. He did exactly the same thing to me,' " Green said, adding, " "Do I want everybody to know that he had his dirty paws all over me? No, but I don't think it's right that they're going to disregard this woman and her allegations." Cosby's lawyers insist that Green's claims are false. (Philadelphia Daily News)
Ugh, ugh, ugh: If you thought the U.S. had set the bar on reality shows as low as it could go, you haven't heard about the latest reality-TV show to hit British TV: "The Guantanamo Guidebook," which will be broadcast on the U.K.'s Channel 4, will trace the effects of 48 hours of torture (sorry, "torture lite") on seven volunteers, three of them Muslim, holed up inside mock Guantanamo prison. The seven volunteers, who responded to ads asking how "hard" they were, will be subjected to sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures, "mild" physical contact, and periods of "enforced nudity and religious and sexual humiliation." No, you're not the only one who feels a little sick now. (The Guardian)
Also: A federal judge has ruled that Elizabeth Taylor can keep the van Gogh painting she bought in 1963, which relatives of a woman who sold the work in the 1930s while fleeing the Nazis in Germany claim is rightly theirs. (Associated Press) ... Anna Kournikova is "very concerned and fearful for her safety," according to her publicist, after an obsessed fan stripped naked and swam across Miami's Biscayne Bay in hopes of reaching her at her mansion. The alleged stalker was arrested sunning himself by a Kournikova neighbor's pool and now faces charges on assault and indecent exposure. (N.Y. Daily News) ... Prince was the top-earning music act of 2004, raking in $56.5 million from concerts and CD sales. (Rolling Stone via N.Y. Post) ... Billy Joel has been in the hospital for the past week, suffering from "severe gastric pains" of indeterminate cause. (Page Six) ... Paul McCartney earned an estimated $3.3 million for his 12-minute Super Bowl halftime show. (N.Y. Post) ... Britney Spears' marriage to Kevin Federline is rumored to be on shaky ground amid reports that Federline has been stepping out with buddies -- drinking, gambling and getting lap dances -- without his wedding ring on. (In Touch Weekly via MSNBC's The Scoop) ... Nicole Richie's publicist has announced that the 23-year-old "Simple Life" co-star has gotten engaged to her boyfriend of one year, Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM. (Associated Press) ... Owen Wilson has written a letter to the New Yorker in which he takes issue with David Denby's recent thoughts on Ben Stiller and rips into Denby as "a villain ... bully ... jerk. Someone the audience can really root against." (New Yorker via Defamer)
And you thought your mother embarrassed you: Here's Judith Regan talking about how she came to publish Jenna Jameson's autobiography, "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star," speaking before the celeb-packed New York screening of "Inside Deep Throat": "My son, who is sitting out here tonight, is the one who introduced me to Jenna Jameson. I hope you don't mind, Patrick . He was a freshman at M.I.T. living in a fraternity, and he called me and told me he was moving out of the fraternity because all they do is watch Jenna Jameson. And I thought, 'Who is Jenna Jameson? Is she some kind of TV star I dont know about?'" (N.Y. Observer)
-- Amy Reiter