You know it's a slow gossip day when ... The New York gossips are still talking about a disastrous movie premiere that happened two nights ago. Apparently everything went wrong that could go wrong Wednesday night at what was supposed to be the splashy premiere of "Fantastic Four," for which stars and press were shipped out of Manhattan and onto Liberty Island. The fun was dampened by a torrential downpour that soaked the cast and shook up their ferry, rendering one of the movie's stars, Jessica Alba, too seasick to talk to the press. Another of the film's stars, Ioan Gruffudd, whose date "hobbled about in a broken Jimmy Choo heel," had but one word for a reporter who asked him how he felt on his big night: "Moist." Then the projector broke just a few minutes into the film, necessitating a retreat to a Manhattan theater; the firework finale was backward and obscured; the boats for the return trip were late to arrive; and the whole debacle didn't finish up until 2 a.m. Other gripes: "The chairs were soaking, and the only food was ice cream." Said one attendee, "It was quite possibly the worst film premiere ever." Come to think of it, maybe the gossip press still would have been talking about it even if it weren't a slow gossip day. (N.Y. Observer's Daily Transom, Page Six, Gatecrasher)
Paula goes ranching? Paula Jones may get her payday after all. No word yet on whether anyone has taken her up on her offer to advertise their product by wearing a logo-emblazoned T-shirt to visit the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark. But Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has offered Jones $250,000 to spend a week at his infamous Bunny Ranch. He plans to bill it as "Booty Good Enough for a President." (Gatecrasher)
Far-flung London fallout: The 1978 Range Rover in which Prince Charles wooed both Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles has been removed from sale on eBay. Tarquin Coe, who bought the car at auction last year knowing nothing of its royal pedigree and who has since done exhaustive research into the auto's many adventures, says he took his listing down out of respect for the victims of the London bombings. Coe is hoping a collector will pay much more for the car -- in which Charles took Diana on their first date as well as their honeymoon -- than the $5,000 it cost him, but "it just wasn't the right time" for the sale, he said. He plans to re-list the vehicle in a few months. (Page Six)
Also: The Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., has announced plans to honor Oprah Winfrey and Paul Rusesabagina, the man on whom "Hotel Rwanda" was based, with its 2005 Freedom Awards. (BBC News) ... Daryl Hall has had to beg off an upcoming tour with John Oates, prompting the tour's postponement, because he has contracted Lyme disease from the bite of an infected deer tick (insert your own "Maneater" joke here). (Associated Press) ... O.J. Simpson's girlfriend, Christie Prody, has hit back at the former football star's neighbor, who called police to report that she beat him and Simpson (in a scuffle over a bottle of vodka and her car keys) while they were trying to jump-start her car. "I never touched him," Prody said of the neighbor. "He lied to police." (Fox News) ... Zsa Zsa Gabor has had successful surgery to clear a blocked artery after suffering a stroke in her home in Los Angeles on Wednesday, according to her husband. (BBC News) ... Mariah Carey's estranged sister, Alison, has been arrested for prostitution on Long Island. Carey's camp has declined to comment. (N.Y. Post) ... The Writers Guild of America has filed a lawsuit against the producers of eight reality-TV shows, including "The Bachelor" "The Bachelorette," "Are You Hot?" and "The Real Gilligan's Island," claiming that their writers were made to work overtime without pay and to forgo meal breaks and turn in falsified time cards. (L.A. Times) ... Live 8 coverage on MTV and VH1 got good ratings on Saturday, but the ABC prime-time highlight show proved to be a ratings bust, pulling in a measly 2.9 million viewers. (Zap2It) ... Evan Hunter, aka best-selling novelist Ed McBain and the screenwriter who penned Hitchcock's "The Birds," has died of cancer at the age of 78. (Reuters)
U2 guitarist The Edge on a key difference between his band at the time of Live Aid and at the time of Live 8 -- the hair: "I don't think I'll be wearing the mullet again ... We can't take credit for inventing the mullet, but we can certainly lay claim to extending the envelope for what the mullet can mean ... Bono committed the more egregious crimes against fashion with his Live Aid hair ... our shining moment in mullet lore." (Guitar World magazine)
The wonderful Tony Shalhoub returns as Adrian Monk on Friday night in the season premiere of "Monk" (10 p.m. EDT on USA). And at 8 p.m. EDT, the Cartoon Network airs the series premiere of an animated show about summer camp, "Camp Lazlo."
-- Amy Reiter