Friday looks to be a lovely night to turn off the TV and get out and enjoy the spring weather. The evening's best offerings include an A&E "Biography" of Lisa Marie Presley at 10 p.m. EDT and an appearance by "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest on the Food Network's "Inside Dish With Rachael Ray" at 9 p.m. EDT.
Jackson trial update: Big day for the prosecution, sort of: Two former household employees of Michael Jackson testified on Thursday that they saw the pop star fondle the young boys with whom he's fond of keeping company on three separate occasions. Former Neverland security guard Ralph Chacon said that in 1993, he peeped through a window and saw Jackson standing naked with the 13-year-old kid who eventually won a settlement of more than $20 million from the singer. "I saw Mr. Jackson was caressing the boy's hair, kissing his head, his face, his shoulders." Then, he said, he saw Jackson perform oral sex on the boy. Later still, Chacon testified, he saw Jackson give the boy a piggy-back ride toward the kitchen. Chacon says that in another instance, he saw Jackson "passionately" kiss the boy and grab the youngster's crotch. Adrian Marie McManus, a personal maid of Jackson's, said she too saw Jackson grope the boy and also testified that she once saw Jackson fondle Macaulay Culkin's butt while kissing him on the cheek. (Culkin has insisted that Jackson never touched him inappropriately.) What's more, she said, she often found the teeny underwear of Jackson's young visitors on the bottom of Jackson's hot tub during her cleaning duties. Jackson's legal team did their best to undermine the testimony from the two former employees, who they claim are disgruntled fabricators who once tried to sue Jackson, lost and were accused by a judge of perpetrating "fraud, oppression and malice" against their former employer. (N.Y. Daily News, N.Y. Post, Reuters, Associated Press)
Us, Pitted out? There's been big fallout from Us Weekly's story about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie looking like more than friends during a long Easter weekend spent together at the Parker Palm Springs Hotel: The two hotel employees quoted in the article have been booted and the hotel management is embarking on an investigation to find out if any of their other employees tattled to the press about what they may or may not have seen, in apparent violation of their confidentiality agreements. "Management takes allegations very seriously and is doing everything to bring to light the details," hotel rep told N.Y. Daily News gossip Lloyd Grove. "Once that is established, management will take the appropriate action." What's more, Pitt is denying the report, telling "Access Hollywood" that "This particular story is completely untrue." But a spokeswoman for Us Weekly says the magazine is standing by its story, adding, "Pitt has long denied stories involving his personal life, beginning with reports of trouble in his marriage to Jennifer Aniston prior to the separation. Multiple sources both on and off the record confirmed Pitt and Jolie were physically affectionate in public areas of the resort where they were staying." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown, Associated Press, "Access Hollywood")
Tant pis! Ah, the perils of educating your children. Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, are apparently paying a steep price for sending their children to London's Lucee Francais School, where they have learned French. Ritchie's father has told the U.K. Sun that his grandchildren now prattle on in French all day long, a language neither of their parents understand. "Rocco is certainly picking up a lot of French. He speaks it all the time at home because Lourdes is fluent. They talk to each other in French all day, chatting away non-stop," says grandpa Ritchie. "It's very funny. Neither Guy or Madonna speak a word of the language so they cannot understand anything." (Sky News)
Also: At the prayer service following their nuptials on Saturday, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles will eschew newer, more liberal prayers and read a confession of sin from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer: "We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us." (London Daily Mail) ... Tatum O'Neal is said to have gotten crocked on cosmos at the New York restaurant/bar Pop Burger and to have carried on steamily with a woman she met there before leaving with her hand in hand. (Page Six) ... Julia Roberts was spotted buying a shower curtain and rod all by herself at a New York City Home Depot, leaving witnesses to wonder "whether she was going to install it herself, too." (Page Six) ... Former New York Times executive editor Joe Lelyveld and Times metro reporter Janny Scott have come out as a couple, despite the fact that Scott is still married to -- and shares two children with -- New York TV newsman Bill Ritter. (Page Six, Rush and Molloy)
Ted Turner on his ex-wife Jane Fonda's allegations in her new book that she caught him having a "nooner" within a month of their marriage: "I haven't seen that. I don't remember seeing that, so no, I don't remember reading it. It was about a year ago that I looked at [the book]. My memory's not too good. But I'll refresh myself. I intend to read it very soon." (Boldface Names)
Dan Rather -- who, along with his fellow Memogate victim Mary Mapes, has just been handed a Peabody Award for the "60 Minutes" report on Abu Ghraib -- on Walter Cronkite, who had not particularly complimentary things to say about Rather's anchoring methods: "I did not think Walter Cronkite was too critical [of me] ... Walter has always been a mentor of mine and an idol of mine, and I've always tried to make that clear to him." (N.Y. Daily News)
-- Amy Reiter