The Fix

Britney threatens suit over baby photos, while Janet Jackson's alleged daughter makes headlines. Plus: Betting on TomKat.

Published October 25, 2005 1:05PM (EDT)

Morning Briefing:
Bitten by the hand she fed, or something like that: Page Six, the New York gossip institution that played no small part in Paris Hilton's rise from mere heiress to renowned B-movie and reality TV starlet, is now playing an indirect role in a $10 million lawsuit against her. Model Zeta Graff is suing Paris for slander over allegedly feeding Page Six false stories about her -- or as her lawyers put it: "For motives which are not yet entirely clear, defendant Paris Hilton and others recently caused a number of vicious lies about Ms. [Zeta] Graff, a professional model, actress and film producer, to be published in the New York Post." The suit apparently stems from an item that appeared back in July and painted a picture of Graff attacking Hilton and her then beau Paris Latsis on the dance floor at Kabaret. The story quoted a Hilton spokesperson as saying, "Paris and Paris just want to be left alone. This woman keeps turning up wherever they go, almost like a stalker." Graff, who also used to date Latsis, says there was no attack, and that Paris' version of events isn't supported "by even a scintilla of truth." (Court TV)

Post it, baby, one more time: It's a shocking claim, but Britney's people are claiming the baby photos leaked online -- the same ones she tearfully decided not to sell to People magazine at the last minute -- must have been stolen. In a move aimed at scaring people off posting the images on the Web, a press release threatened, "Anyone who publishes, sells or otherwise exploits any of these images in any way will be subject to liability and damages for willful infringement of copyright." Even Justin Timberlake thinks the theft is "crossing the line." "When a person like her, who's obviously a sweet person, is having their first child, it's like, 'leave the girl alone,"' Timberlake told Access Hollywood. "That's her baby and those are her baby pictures." (Yahoo!, The Age)

Janet's secret baby? The Jackson scandal du jour revolves around a new claim by one of Janet's former in-laws about an old rumor: that Janet had a "secret baby" who's been hidden from the public. Young DeBarge, the brother of Janet's ex James, told New York's Hot 97 that Janet had a daughter during the couple's brief marriage 18 years ago. According to DeBarge, the daughter, named Renee, has been living with Rebbie Jackson, Janet's oldest sister. Might there be a reunion album in the future? DeBarge claims Renee "is a wonderful singer." (Associated Press)

This season's hottest gambling trend: celebrity proposition bets -- "props" -- that take wagers on the uncertain futures of the celebrity world, i.e. Baby TomKat's gender, how long Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher will last, whether Oprah will convert to Scientology. It's grim work, oddsmaker Justin Marios tells the New York Daily News. "It's one guy's job to keep up with all the gossip. If it is a divorce prop, we know that pretty much every marriage in Hollywood doesn't last. So we go largely by the amount of time they have been together. Anything under a year, we are never going to go over 5 to 1 of them divorcing because the probabilities are high that a new marriage will dissolve" ... Given the odds, it may not have come as a shock when Tori Spelling and actor Charlie Shanian announced they were getting divorced. What is shocking is how Tori went about delivering the bad news. Gossip-meister Ted Casablanca says she performed a breakup-by-therapist, having the family shrink call Shanian -- who, when he asked to speak to his wife, was told "Tori can't really talk right now. It's not a good time" ... In case you missed them, here are the very fine screen shots of Al Roker's battle with Hurricane Wilma (hint: he loses) ... It sounds like an episode of "The Office," but apparently Vincent D'Onofrio interrupted a harassment seminar for the cast and crew of his show "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" by objecting to an NBC lawyer's hypothetical example -- a costume assistant walking in on a male actor looking at hardcore porn in his trailer. "Why is it always a male actor?" D'Onofrio complained. "This policy is unfair! It's a matter of subjectivity, pitting one person's idea of what's acceptable against another's." Of course, his motives here are all very high-minded: "When you ask actors to do a provocative show with provocative material, they might need to study up on risqué things -- looking at a porn site to understand the character better. The policy discriminates against the artists, who might be doing things in the interest of their art" ... Moving into territory recently established by "Doom," the video game "Destroy All Humans!" is set to be turned into an animated sitcom. Former "King of the Hill" writer/co-executive producer Jim Dauterive, who's developing the project, says that if we're all very lucky, Hollywood and TV will start mining video games the same way they have comic books: "Hopefully, if we pull this off, people will be asking why haven't we done this before" ... Howard Stern is going out not with a bang but with a whimper, announcing that he expects a few more of the stations that carry his show to switch to Infinity Broadcasting's new (non-Howard Stern) Jack FM format. "Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., during our show, there will be a few small markets that we are presently on that will switch to the Jack-FM format and take us off the air," said Stern. "I guess it's the F.U. to Howard." Stern had a sentimental message to fans: "For those of you who listen to us and won't be hearing us tomorrow, I want to say farewell. I do not want you to think ever that I don't appreciate your support and your sticking with me through all the FCC stuff and everything the religious right is doing to us. My intention in all of this has always been to entertain you."

Money Quote:
Michael Caine on how people have received his various roles: "Every film I've ever made, people have said, 'Well, he's just playing himself' -- whether it's a sadistic Nazi officer or a psychopathic transvestite!" (N.Y. Daily News)

Danny Bonaduce -- whose profile notes that he studied martial arts under Chuck Norris for 20 years -- on what he considers good times: "It's embarrassing, but I'm at my happiest when I'm getting punched in the face." (Page Six)

Turn On:
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pops up (as herself) on "Gilmore Girls" (the WB, 8 p.m. EDT), Charlie Brown gets rocks in his trick-or-treat bag (again) in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (ABC, 8 p.m. EDT), and foodies get a makeover show of their own with the series debut of "Restaurant Makeover" (Food Network, 9 p.m. EDT).

-- Scott Lamb

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By Salon Staff

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