Trump dumps on Martha: If the ratings for the Trump version of "The Apprentice" are slipping, it has nothing to do with the show's basic premise wearing a little thin. Or at least not according to the Donald himself. "I think there was confusion between Martha's 'Apprentice' and mine," said Trump on Wednesday, talking to ABC News Radio. "And mine continues to do well and, as you know, the other one has struggled very severely. But I think it probably hurt mine, and I sort of predicted that it would because there was a lot of confusion [with] people that wanted to watch 'The Apprentice.'" According to the Post, "The Apprentice" was getting an average of 16 million viewers a week, but this year is at about 10 million (while Martha Stewart draws 6.6 million). Even Mark Burnett admits the doubling up may have been a mistake: "In hindsight, two nights in a row each week is hard to invest in. Thirty-two characters are a lot to follow in this format." (New York Post)
Hot-button Joan: Sounding eerily like Janice Dickinson on "The Surreal Life" after a few glasses of wine, Joan Rivers got into a shoutfest on a BBC radio show over the issue of race. On the show, with Rivers appearing as a guest along with Jackie Collins and social commentator Darcus Howe, she interrupted Howe's story about a documentary he'd done on his son about the effects of racism to offer this: "I'm so, so bored of race. I think people should intermarry. Everybody should be part this, part that and part everything. Race doesn't mean a damn thing. Everybody should just relax, take the best of their cultures and move forward." Howe later tried to return to the subject by saying, "Since black offends Joan ," which sent her into the stratosphere. "Wait!" she cried. "Just stop right now. Black does not offend me. How dare you? How dare you say that? 'Black offends me!' You know nothing about me. How dare you." The yelling stopped after Howe relented by saying, "No, she's not a racist." Rivers thanked him and got in a final shot: "Now please continue about your stupid film." Listen to the clip here (QuickTime). (Telegraph via Drudge)
Fox "family" best at being worst: The Parents Television Council, a group whose mission "is to promote and restore responsibility and decency to the entertainment industry in answer to America's demand for positive, family-oriented television programming," has released its list of the 10 best and worst family shows in prime time -- and it's a near sweep for Fox in the "worst" category. The PTC's list puts four Fox shows in the top five -- "The War at Home," "The Family Guy," "American Dad" and "The O.C." (Topping the "best" category are wholesome shows like "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "Three Wishes.") In an endorsement better than any P.R. person for "Family Guy" could come up with, the group's president, L. Brent Bozell, said: "The top three worst shows all contain crude and raunchy dialogue with sex-themed jokes and foul language. Even worse is the fact that Hollywood is peddling its filth to families with cartoons like 'The Family Guy' and 'American Dad.' These two shows have contained scenes in which characters are shown having sex, and topics such as masturbation, incest, bestiality, and necrophilia are routinely discussed." (CNN)
If you liked her role in formulating U.S. foreign policy under Bill Clinton, you'll love getting to see former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in "Gilmore Girls." She's set to appear on the show Oct. 25. Executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino says, "If you think she seems brilliant and sassy strutting around the Middle East, you should try talking to her in person" ... The simplest explanation here is that it's simply made up: Apparently Tara Reid has vowed to give up drinking ... Paris Hilton was taped walking into an L.A. club earlier this week, yapping on her cellphone about a "jealous, ugly, anorexic idiot" (you get three guesses). The clip also gives you a bit of a sense of the nightmarish world of the semi-amateur paparazzi lifestyle ... Sinéad O'Connor may never be getting an invite to the Vatican -- remember her tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II for viewers of "Saturday Night Live"? -- but she still has a soft spot in her heart for the Roman Catholic Church, sort of. "The belief that I have in God -- for lack of a better word -- or the love that I have for it, definitely I couldn't have if not for Catholicism," she says. "I wouldn't have known there was a God. What happens is, you see God despite the religion" ... Yes, Elisha Cuthbert was great in "24," but isn't there something just slightly creepy in Bill Gates admitting he "watches it obsessively while on the treadmill -- or at least he did until Cuthbert's scantily clad character disappeared this past season"? And what does this mean: "He says it takes him two full days to recover after a viewing."
Jeff Daniels on some of the drawbacks of bringing up his kids in Michigan: "The whole thing was we wanted not to raise the kids inside Hollywood, in the industry, which meant we kind of lose out on the Easter egg hunts at Sly Stallone's house." (ContactMusic)
John Leguizamo appears as a guest star on "ER" (NBC, 10 p.m. EDT) for the beginning of a 12-show run. On PBS is a documentary about the impact of domestic violence on kids, "Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories" (check local listings).
-- Scott Lamb