Madge attack: Madonna kicked off the MTV Europe Music Awards ceremony on Thursday night in style, appearing in a vintage purple leotard to perform her new single, "Hung Up." "She's an absolute legend and she makes us all look like amateurs," said Robbie Williams, who took home an award for best male, quipping, "I can't believe she's 89 and looks like that." Sacha Baron Cohen, appearing as his character Borat, hosted the show and said of Madonna: "It was very courageous of MTV to start the show with a genuine transvestite." While she wasn't up for any awards, she returned to the stage to present a humanitarian award to Bob Geldof, saying, "I know firsthand it's not always considered fashionable to work hard to make the world a better place because I've taken some s*** for that myself." (Drudge)
Tomlinson out: Another day, another broadcasting shake-up: The former Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman, who was behind the investigation of liberal bias in public broadcasting, was forced to step down from the CPB board yesterday on the eve of a report about his own political bias. Tomlinson has been the subject of a lot of criticism recently, and the New York Times lists the findings on him set out in the CPB report: "They included Mr. Tomlinson's decision to hire a researcher to monitor the political leanings of guests on the public policy program 'Now' with Bill Moyers; his use of a White House official to set up an ombudsman's office to scrutinize programs for political balance; and secret payments approved by Mr. Tomlinson to two Republican lobbyists." (Reuters, N.Y. Times)
Whither Nick? It has been over two weeks since Nick Lachey was last spotted in public, which means it's about time to organize a search party. Jessica Simpson, meanwhile, is trekking around Africa with her dad. The Lowdown, noting that Nick hasn't been seen since Ashlee Simpson's record-release party in Los Angeles a few weeks back, got a response from his rep: "He is out of the country working on his album." That's funny, because not so long ago another rep said Nick would be missing the Africa trip, which coincides with the pair's third anniversary, "because of work commitments in Los Angeles." (Lowdown)
Don Imus predicts that ousted CNN anchor Aaron Brown will probably soon appear on the "elephant's graveyard," MSNBC -- where Imus also has a show. "There will be, very soon, 'The Aaron Brown Report' here on MSNBC," Imus said during his Thursday broadcast, "because the MO for MSNBC is [that] anybody at either Fox or CNN who can't get it done, they hire 'em here, thinking I don't know what" ... In an exchange we have a hard time imagining, when Ozzy Osbourne ran into Prime Minister Tony Blair at a Downing Street party recently, all Blair -- who apparently plays guitar -- wanted to talk about was old Black Sabbath riffs. "All this Iraq thing's going on and I was amazed that he turned round to me and said, 'I could never quite understand how to get the riff to Iron Man,'" Osbourne said. "I'm going, 'Kids are dying, people are getting blown up and you're talking to me about f**king Iron Man'" ... Though he died just over two years ago, Johnny Cash set a career record last week. The debut of "The Legend of Johnny Cash" -- his 41st album to hit the charts -- debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, the highest debut of any Cash album ever ... Kristin Scott Thomas has apparently revived her "English Patient" role, writes the New York Post: She has left her husband to carry on a passionate affair with the (much younger) English actor Tobias Menzies ... With her husband's legislative agenda turning increasingly conservative, Maria Shriver, daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver, is catching flak from her Kennedy relatives. According to Radar magazine, the clan thinks she's "compromising her responsibility as a Kennedy by not saying anything" about the Governator's rightward moves. "I know that there are Kennedys, including her brothers and cousins, who find it extremely hard to continue standing by her," says one family friend. "They have already said publicly that Arnold is his own man, but I think they see some of these measures as a real stab in the back."
Sarah Michelle Gellar on what's wrong with women today: "Think about Rosa Parks. There was a woman who did so much for other women. And nowadays, women are famous for the way they wear their hair. Or designers they wear. Or who they date. Someone like Rosa Parks reminds you that fighting for women's causes is the most important thing we can do." (N.Y. Daily News)
Joe Jackson on how he and his wife, Katharine, divided the work of raising their children: "Katherine whipped Michael more than I did. She had to. I was working, I had two jobs. She was there with them all the time -- not just Michael, all the children." (Associated Press)
John Waters, Joe Scarborough and others appear on the season finale of "Real Time With Bill Maher" (HBO, 11 p.m. EDT); "NOW: Global Health" (PBS, check local listings) investigates the effects that the last quarter-century of global health policy in the U.S. has had on the rest of the world. And the start of sweeps brings a new episode of "Threshold" (CBS, 9 p.m. EDT).
-- Scott Lamb