The Fix

Harry Potter's huge! Courtney Love's huge too! Plus: Times critic gets nasty on Suzanne Somers.

Published July 18, 2005 12:10PM (EDT)

Morning Briefing:
They're potty for Potter! "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" racked up the biggest first-day sales numbers of any book in publishing history -- selling 6.9 million copies in the U.S. on Saturday alone, which its publisher, Scholastic, points out is about 250,000 copies an hour. In fact, the book took in more than $100 million over the weekend, which, just to give you some perspective, is considerably more than the weekend's two top-grossing movies -- "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Wedding Crashers," which took in an impressive $55.4 million and $32.2 million, respectively -- earned combined. Ka-ching! (N.Y. Daily News, Associated Press)

No fair, says Shar: What do Britney Spears and hubby Kevin Federline's ex Shar Jackson have in common, aside from Federline himself? They're both fed up with what Spears termed, some months ago, "false tabloids." Jackson is said to feel deeply betrayed by Star magazine, which reportedly duped her into sitting for an exclusive interview and photo shoot by telling her it wanted to run favorable coverage of her, focusing on her career as an actress and recording artist. The magazine then ran a story -- headlined "Kevin Still Loves Me" and accompanied by unflattering paparazzi photos of Jackson and her children -- that painted her as the ex-lover spurned. "She was baited," an unidentified source told Lloyd Grove's Lowdown. "She felt like it was a bait and switch." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

The look of Love: Courtney Love says she has the judicial system -- which ordered her into rehab a year ago -- to thank for her new drug- and alcohol-free self -- and the return of her daughter, Frances Bean. "I had really good judges," she tells Rush & Molloy. And, OK, so she's gained some weight since getting off drugs. But, she says, "I was really, really thin because of what I was doing." And now, she says, she's working out a lot -- with Pamela Anderson. "She's like my personal trainer," Love says of Anderson. "I'm a size-30 jeans now." (Rush & Molloy)

You know you've gotten a bad review when  a critic suggests that your one-woman show might be better if you brought an elephant onstage with you. Here's New York Times critic Charles Isherwood on Suzanne Somers' new solo Broadway show, which just opened for a limited run: "Ms. Somers is  probably not short on cash, which is why it seems forgivable to offer her this stern piece of advice: Should you brave Broadway again, dear, bring a sequin or two. Invest in some bugle beads. Hire a chorus boy or girl. Better yet, hire a half-dozen of each, in assorted sizes. (Perhaps they, too, can be acquired on the Home Shopping Network these days.) You might even consider a reunion with Tanya the elephant, with whom you shared a friendly professional rapport in Las Vegas some years back." Isherwood's review gets even nastier from there. (He claims to have found the coat rack with which Somers shares the stage more interesting than the actress herself.) But Somers can cheer up a bit: Other marginally more favorable reviews can be found here. (N.Y. Times, Google)

Also: Sandra Bullock married her boyfriend of two years, motorcycle maven Jesse James, in a sunset ceremony on Saturday in California's Santa Ynez valley. (Reuters) ... Looks like Sacha Baron Cohen may have picked the wrong Mississippi family to make fun of on a segment he filmed for "Da Ali G Show." The daughter of 75-year-old plantation owner George Matthews Marshall IV, whom Cohen, in the guise of "Borat Sagdiyev of Kazakhstan" tried to prank, turns out to be a documentary filmmaker now bent on revealing Cohen's questionable treatment of her father to the tabs. (Page Six)  Rumors continue to swirl that Matt Lauer may be splitting up with his wife, Annette Roque. (Page Six) ... Meanwhile, Katie Couric was seen at a New York restaurant wearing jeans that rode so low, you could see her "metallic-silver thong." (Page Six) ... Speculation is now afoot that Nicole Kidman didn't just take courses in Scientology when she was married to Tom Cruise, but actually became a full-fledged member -- and that they broke up when she rejected the faith. (Page Six) ... Jude Law has publicly apologized to his fiancée, actress Sienna Miller, saying he was "deeply ashamed and upset" at his own behavior, after the U.K. Sun reported that he'd been having an affair with his children's nanny. (CNN) ... Victor Edward Willis, the original policeman in the band the Village People, was arrested on Monday in Dale City, Calif., after police pulled him over and found a handgun and drugs in his car and -- in a subsequent search -- more drugs in his mobile home. (Fox News)

Money Quotes:
"Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry on his show's gay appeal: "I think any time you get four or five really strong women doing desperate, dastardly things, I think gay men get a big kick out of it. The moment you put a woman in an evening gown mowing the lawn, it's just gay." (AP Television News via Washington Blade)

This from an interview the New York Daily News did with Billy Bob Thornton and of his kid costars in the "Bad News Bears" remake:

"Billy Bob was like a father figure to us," says [11-year-old Troy] Gentile. "He gave us lots of advice, like 'Don't get stuff on my couch.' 'Don't eat too much at Hooters.'"

" 'Only talk to my assistants, not directly to me,'" adds Thornton.

"And 'Look out for the blonds,'" says [11-year-old Tyler Patrick] Jones.

"Where'd you learn that?!" Thornton growls with a grin. "I didn't teach you that."

(N.Y. Daily News)

Turn On:
On Monday night, PBS airs the second of its three-part series "Guns, Germs and Steel" (check local listings), based on Jared Diamond's best-selling book by the same name. Also, ABC airs the season finale of "The Scholar" (8 p.m. EDT), the WB brings you the season finale of "Summerland" (9 p.m. EDT) and Cinemax brings Zach Braff's "Garden State" to the small screen (8 p.m. EDT).

-- Amy Reiter

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