The Fix

Letterman's toddler target of foiled kidnap plot. Janet Jackson "stalker" thwarted. Monty Python takes Broadway.

By Salon Staff
Published March 18, 2005 1:58PM (EST)

Turn On:
Color your rooms beautiful? Friday night at 8 p.m. EST, HGTV premieres its new series "Get Color!" in which interior designer Jane Lockhart tailors the hues of people's homes to their personalities. Also at 8 p.m., TLC offers a two-hour special "What Not to Wear: Worst-Dressed Couple in America," in which a poorly dressed duo get tips and a few bucks from Clinton Kelly and Stacy London.

Morning Briefing:
Perils of celebrity, Part 1: A painter working at David Letterman's Montana estate has been arrested in a plot to kidnap the "Late Show" host's 2-year-old toddler and nanny and hold them in hopes of collecting a $5 million ransom. The fellow, an ex-con, was nabbed by police after a friend he let in on his plot turned him in. After being interrogated by police, the would-be kidnapper, one Kelly A. Frank, confessed not only to planning the baby heist (he had a key to the famous family's house and knew just where the baby slept), but also to overcharging Letterman for his painting services. But in case you think Kelly had no heart at all, he said he was planning to take the nanny along "so that she could take care of the child." So thoughtful. (Associated Press, N.Y. Daily News)

Perils of celebrity, Part 2: A judge has granted Janet Jackson a three-year restraining order against a man who she says "has been following me, sending me faxes and letters and attempting to arrange in-person meetings for nine years." The man, Robert Gardner, must stay at least 100 yards away from Jackson and steer clear of her family and agents as well. Gardner, who insists he has both a personal and business relationship with the performer, was nabbed trying to bring a box cutter and knife to a studio in which she was rehearsing for a "Saturday Night Live" appearance last year. But Gardner says he will contest the ruling, explaining, "I do not want to be considered a stalker." (Associated Press)

The next "Producers": "Monty Python's Spamalot" opened on Broadway last night. And? Critics agree that the show has lived up to its tremendous advance word of mouth. Yes, it's a certifiable hit. New York Times critic Ben Brantley calls the musical "resplendently silly." He writes, "That 'Spamalot' is the best new musical to open on Broadway this season is inarguable." Then again, he adds, "that's not saying much." But that's just a flesh wound ... (N.Y. Times)

The Jackson trial: The big picture: Michael Jackson's housekeeper testified Thursday that children often ran wild at Neverland, which she dubbed "Pinocchio's Pleasure Island," and that she believed she had seen children acting as if they were drunk on several occasions -- though not the two young boys currently leveling charges against him. She also said that Jackson's teen accuser and his younger brother were polite when they first appeared at Neverland, but that they soon became "demanding," disrespectful and dirty -- leaving their room looking "like a tornado or a whirlwind" hit it. The intriguing detail: One day, while she was washing dishes in the kitchen, the housekeeper said, the accuser's younger brother "stuck a knife in my back." No, he didn't exactly stab her and was probably "joking," she allowed, but "Who wants a knife in your back?. ... I didn't like it." (N.Y. Daily News, Associated Press)

Also: Lil' Kim was convicted of perjury in connection with statements she made related to a shooting involving two of her supporters. "However," she noted optimistically after the verdict was reached, "I was acquitted of the most serious charge, obstruction of justice.'' (Associated Press) ... The final chapter in Cintra Wilson's serialized story, "The Abounding Gutter," was posted on USA Today yesterday, which means you can read the whole strange tale at one sitting, instead of waiting for it chunk by chunk. (USA Today) ... Prosecutors are deciding whether to file charges against Paula Abdul in connection with an L.A. car accident involving a car owned by her, but not driven by her at the time. (Associated Press) ... Tim Russert is looking for stories about fathers to include in his next book -- but rather than paying cash for the publication rights, he's merely offering contributors an autographed copy of the book. (Russert's Web site via Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... John Cameron Mitchell is looking for "sextras" to, yes, have sex on camera in his new film, "Short Bus," which is expected to begin shooting in May. (Page Six) ... Heidi Klum and her fiancé, Seal, have announced that they're expecting a baby, who will be a half-sibling to Klum's daughter from a previous relationship, Leni. (Page Six)... "Buffy" creator Joss Wheadon has signed on to write and direct a big-screen version of "Wonder Woman." (BBC News)

Money Quotes:
George Lucas on the upcoming "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," out May 19: "I describe it as a 'Titanic' in space. It's a real tearjerker, and it will be received in a way that none of us can expect." (Reuters)

Radha Mitchell , star of Woody Allen's new "Melinda and Melinda," on her secret career ambitions: "If I had a chance to do something different, I would be a plastic surgeon. I'd do creative reconstructions, like if people wanted horns or tails, that kind of thing." Or she might like to be a dermatologist or facial-giver or something: "I like squeezing pimples, and I like blood and pus. And if you can turn that into some kind of artistic pursuit, that'd be kind of perfect." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

-- Amy Reiter

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