The Fix

Martha nearly fired the Donald? Was Kate Moss set up? Plus: Nobody -- not even "Boondocks" creator -- messes with Oprah!

Published November 1, 2005 2:00PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
Master and "Apprentice": Martha Stewart's version of "The Apprentice" hasn't done nearly as well in the ratings as its Trump-led sibling, but it's even more of a disappointment for the queen tastemaker knowing that she'd once thought she'd be taking over the series entirely from the Donald. "I thought I was replacing The Donald," Stewart says in the upcoming issue of Fortune magazine. "It was even discussed that I would be firing The Donald on the first show." Trump recently griped that Stewart's version of the show has probably cut into his ratings, which at around 10 million viewers a week is down 4 million from last season. (Martha's "Apprentice" hovers around 7 million.) It could, of course, have been much worse for him, but Stewart says he didn't realize he'd dodged a bullet. "I don't think he ever knew," she says of the plan to replace him. (Associated Press)

The man who outed Moss is outed himself, kinda: The thing we always wondered about the photographs that kicked off the whole questionable Kate Moss furor was: Who took that video? It would take real conviction, enmity or at least a damn good payoff to risk the ire of Pete Doherty. London's Evening Standard claims to have tracked the man down, finally, but now (what a tease!) can't reveal his identity. His lawyers "moved swiftly" to protect his identity, threatening the paper with an injunction. The mystery photographer, known now just as "the 25-year-old man," is thought not just to have snuck the camera in but possibly to have set Moss up by providing the coke as well. As a Scotland Yard source told the paper, "The images were not taken with a mobile phone. It was not opportunistic. Someone went in there with the specific intention of stitching her up and we are investigating where the cocaine came from and who had the hidden camera." (London Evening Standard)

Royal pain in the butt: Still honeymooning apparently, Charles and Camilla arrive in the U.S. today on their first postnuptial tour. As People reverently wonders, "Can Camilla dazzle as did Charles's first wife, Diana?" PETA is busy readying a campaign of harassment. What do the animal-loving activists have against the Prince of Wales? They want to see him end the use of real bearskins in the making of the guards' hats at Buckingham Palace. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk's media-ready barb: "The Prince's wife, Camilla, has recently undergone a fashion makeover, and it's time for the Palace Guards to get one, too." (People, the Scoop)

Just as the royals have arrived here, we've exported our own variety of royalty, Scientologists (or as locals near the U.K. headquarters in Sussex call them, the "sinos"). All the church bigwigs were at a gala at the manor once purchased by L. Ron Hubbard as his world H.Q. to fete Tom Cruise. Cruise (with Katie in tow) was honored with the Diamond Meritorious Award for being the largest donor ever to the cause: He's so far given over $3.5 million to Scientology ... It was a nasty scene in custody court on Monday as lawyers for Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger traded arguments about the relative mental states of their clients. Baldwin's lawyers stated that Basinger has "a pathological need" to turn the couple's daughter, Ireland, against him, and demanded she go through a psychological evaluation. Basinger's lawyer returned fire: "We believe that Mr. Baldwin has severe emotional problems," she said, then adding, without irony, "Mr. Baldwin's lawyers attempted to cast terrible aspersions toward Kim rather than focusing on the main issue, which is his daughter" ... Perhaps hoping to become Kabbalah's new Madonna (or maybe its C.S. Lewis) Britney Spears is thinking about writing a children's book based on the religion's teachings ... "Boondocks" creator Aaron McGruder has a warning: "We should all have a healthy fear of Oprah." McGruder's comic series is about to appear as an animated series on the Cartoon Network, and the show's producers asked that he "heavily edit" an episode wherein Oprah gets kidnapped. "They were scared of Oprah, which is O.K.," he said. "Oprah has the power to lay waste to entire industries with a mere utterance" ... Everyone needs a way to relax after a long day at work; for Jake Gyllenhaal, that way is chopping onions. Gyllenhaal is friends with chef Mario Batali -- he of the Food Network show "Molto Mario" -- and moonlights at Batali's Lower Manhattan restaurant Babbo. Someone at Babbo tells Star, "He does prep work in the kitchen, that's how he unwinds."

Money Quote:
Woody Allen, who'll be 70 on Dec. 1, on the wisdom that age doesn't bring: "All the crap they tell you about ... getting joy and having a kind of wisdom in your golden years -- it's all tripe. I've gained no insight, no mellowing. I would make the same mistakes again." (Vanity Fair via BBC)

Turn On:
It's the debut of the newest good Samaritan reality TV show, "Random 1" (A&E, 10 p.m. EDT), which, as the name implies, involves random acts of kindness. Jimmy Carter will be on "Charlie Rose" (PBS, check local listings) to discuss his new book on the rise of the religious right, "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis."

-- Scott Lamb

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