The Fix

Why Paris and Nicole split up. Salman Rushdie rips into Michael Jackson.

Published April 20, 2005 2:32PM (EDT)

Turn On:
USA airs the documentary "Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story," about the fatal 1962 boxing match between Griffith and Benny Paret, on Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT.

Morning Briefing:
Life, simple; friendship, less so: There's a little juicy speculation making the rounds as to why Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are no longer friends, and likely will soon no longer be "Simple Life" co-stars either. (Hilton is trying to get her buddy Kimberly Stewart -- Rod Stewart's daughter -- tapped for the job, though Fox is still said to be considering other candidates.) Hilton has issued a terse statement in the matter: "It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends. I will not go into the details of what happened. All I will say is that Nicole knows what she did and that's all I am ever going to say about it." But word is that Hilton may think Richie had something to do with an incident in which a group of the girls' buddies gathered to watch a tape of Hilton on "Saturday Night Live." The tape in the VCR turned out to be not the "SNL" show but Hilton's infamous amateur sex tape instead. Ouch. (Rush and Molloy)

Jackson trial update: The mother of Michael Jackson's accuser wrapped up her testimony on Tuesday after facing off against Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau over the validity of photos allegedly showing abuse she suffered at the hands of J.C. Penney employees. Then her mother, the accuser's grandmother, took the stand, claiming that Jackson's henchmen surveyed her home, stalked her, bombarded her with phone calls and threw rocks at her house during the time that they allegedly held her daughter and grandchildren in captivity at Neverland. The grandmother, who speaks Spanish and addressed the court through an interpreter, said that she felt compelled to claim that she was sick and near death to wrest her family from Neverland's clutches and that her grandchildren were significantly changed after their stay at Jackson's ranch. "These children that came were not my grandkids," she said. "They didn't talk to me the same way. They were different kids and even up to now [the elder boy] is not the same child." (N.Y. Post, Associated Press)

In other Jackson news  Salman Rushdie has seen fit to weigh in on Michael Jackson, saying the pop singer is "insane! Off his f- head! I don't know which is worse, Michael Jackson or the people getting evidence against him. There are such sleazoids on both sides of this thing. He used to be a black man, and when he was, I used to like him." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

Tough love for an alleged doggie threatener: Not only does Natasha Lyonne have a warrant out for her arrest in connection with a scuffle with an ex-neighbor, but her former friend, landlord and fellow actor Michael Rapaport is now telling the world about her problems. Rapaport has actually written an article for the upcoming issue of Jane magazine in which he says the "American Pie" star was an ideal tenant until about fall 2003, when other tenants began to complain about the parade of people going in and out of her apartment and "the late-night parties, and random dudes sprawled out on her sofa at all times." It wasn't until after the increasingly emaciated star allegedly stormed into a neighbor's apartment, knocked things around and threatened to molest the neighbor's dog, though, that he evicted her. Afterwards, when he went to inspect Lyonne's apartment, he says, "It looked like a grenade had gone off. There was garbage everywhere. There were glasses smashed in the kitchen and standing water in the clogged tub with flies hovering over it." Added Rapaport, "That girl needs help." (Jane via N.Y. Daily News)

Also: After watching its "Today Show" ratings slide, NBC has ousted the morning show's executive producer Tom Touchet, who reportedly never quite gelled with cohost Katie Couric, from the post he'd held since 2002. (Variety)  Demi Moore had a paparazzo removed from the premiere of boyfriend Ashton Kutcher's "A Lot Like Love" on Monday after the photographer grew angry at her for refusing to pose for a picture and began hollering her home address to the crowd. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)  The publisher of Sylvester Stallone's new magazine for men over 40, Sly, is being sued for copyright infringement by the publishers of a women's fashion magazine also called Sly, which has a Web site and plans for a print rollout later this year. (N.Y. Daily News)  The trial of the man accused of plotting to kidnap David Letterman's toddler son has been set for July 18. (Associated Press) ... David Blaine has announced that his next stunt will be to walk along a high wire in Manhattan on Halloween. (Associated Press) ... Ashton Kutcher says that if his movie "A Lot Like Love" tops the box office this weekend, he'll model underwear for Calvin Klein. ("Access Hollywood" via Associated Press) ... James Caan and his wife of nine years have filed for divorce. (Associated Press) ... Scientologist actresses Kirstie Alley and Kelly Preston met with members of the House Education Council to weigh in on legislation about children and psychotropic drugs. (Associated Press)  PETA says it plans to make Jennifer Lopez's life miserable if she doesn't eschew fur pronto. (Page Six)  Ben Affleck has reportedly proposed to girlfriend Jennifer Garner, offering up a $500,000, 4.5-carat Harry Winston engagement ring. (The one he gave J.Lo was 6.1 carats -- and pink.) (Page Six)

Money Quotes:
Sam Donaldson on the state of network news today: "I think it's dead. Sorry." (Broadcasting & Cable via Drudge)

Mike Nichols on why he cast Dustin Hoffman, instead of Robert Redford, in "The Graduate": "I asked [Redford] if a girl had ever turned him down, and he replied, 'What do you mean?' [Redford] just couldn't play a loser." (Rush and Molloy)

-- Amy Reiter

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By Salon Staff

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