The Fix

Has Paris been crank-calling Nicole? America won't have Michael Jackson to kick around anymore. Plus: Well-hung wild boar shocks Jane Austen fans!

Published November 10, 2005 2:15PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
The week in Paris, so far: After getting a subpoena last week, Paris Hilton's been on a bender the last few days -- though, to be fair, last night's car crash was really more boyfriend Stavros Niarchos' fault than hers. The man needs to take lessons in driving while wearing a jacket over his head (watch a clip here). And there's news in Hilton's ongoing war with Nicole Richie. As the Scoop reports, she might be the one behind all those recent late-night calls Richie's been getting. The Scoop quotes a source that told In Touch Weekly: "Nicole has been getting phony phone calls very late at night, practically every night, and she suspects the culprit is her ex-best friend." And there's something recognizable in the villain of Richie's about-to-come-out book, "The Truth About Diamonds," the evil Simone Westlake. As the N.Y. Daily News writes: "Simone, who is always 'accidentally on purpose' losing her cell phone, coerces 'rock royalty princess' Chloe Parker to pretend they're best friends for an ad campaign. Then Simone stabs Chloe in the back." Richie's description of Simone -- "a model, an actress and an all-around professional fake-rich girl," who hasn't been "seen out of pumps since puberty ... not even in her night-vision skin flicks" -- also sounds eerily familiar. (Associated Press, The Scoop, N.Y. Daily News)

He's outta here: The rumors that Michael Jackson would become a permanent expat have been swirling for at least as long as his Neverland ranch has been up for sale, but poppa Joe Jackson now confirms that his wayward son is heading abroad to find a new home. "He'll come back to visit, but not to stay, not to live," the elder Jackson told the AP. "They didn't treat him right here. I know if I was him, I wouldn't come back." Jackson is apparently now busy cutting all ties, and according to Fox's 411 gossip column, has fired two of his most loyal confidantes, his former stylist Karen Faye and assistant Evvy Tavasci, both of whom helped him through his sex-abuse trial. On top of that, Jackson's Web site, has mysteriously gone offline. (Associated Press, Fox 411)

I guess this means there won't be a Jane Austen movie club: There's nothing quite like a catfight between a mainstream movie and the subculture of fans who claim the movie's subject as their very own. Enter "Pride and Prejudice" and the Jane Austen Society of North America. The latest movie version of the film -- there have been at least two others, plus countless TV miniseries -- starring Keira Knightley comes out on Friday, and apparently has the JASNA all atwitter over its shallowness. "The film is full of sexual imagery, which is totally inappropriate to Austen's novel," the society's president, Joan Klingel Ray, a professor at the University of Colorado, tells NPR. "In one scene, a wild boar, which I assume is supposed to represent Darcy, wobbles through a farm with its sexual equipment on show." Or maybe Ray's just upset that Colin Firth, who played Darcy in one British TV version of the novel, wasn't cast this time around. "The Darcy in the film does not have the quality of attractiveness that Colin Firth has." The film's Brit director, Joe Wright, has a simple solution for the critics: "They can go jump in a lake." (N.Y. Daily News)

After prices for the book skyrocketed on Amazon, it's no surprise that St. Martin's Press, the publishers of I. Lewis Libby's racy novel, "The Apprentice," have announced they're going to be reissuing the book after all, with a new run of 25,000 copies. They may want to mull the decision a bit, though: While one copy of the book was going for $2,400 on Amazon, the prices over at eBay were in the $5 to $80 range ... Despite the best efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to keep nipples off the air, a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation says the amount of sex on TV has doubled since 1998, and that now 70 percent of all shows include some kind of sexual content ... Can we just chalk up the whole Brangelina thing to a little black magic? Yes, according to voodoo expert Doctor Snake. It came out recently that Brad Pitt keeps a vial of mysterious gray powder, a gift from Angelina Jolie, in the glove compartment of his car. "One dark voodoo spell uses Bat's Heart Incense, which is burnt to break up a love affair or marriage," the good doctor says. "Very ominous in the light of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston's split" ... Black Eyed Peas star Fergie, given an offer she couldn't refuse, has signed on to appear on "The Sopranos" as a guest star playing an undercover cop who tries to work her way into the Soprano family by (of course!) stripping at the Bada-Bing ... Star magazine has a nasty piece on how Julia Roberts is dealing with aging, characterizing her as a recluse and making merry with "Pretty Woman" puns. "She has become frumpy, grumpy and a bundle of nerves," a source dishes. "At one point she was viewed as the most beautiful woman in the world, but now she looks like a hobo" ... President Bush may not be known for his smooth public-speaking style, but that doesn't mean he can't occasionally rise to the moment. He got poetic on Wednesday when presenting Muhammad Ali with a Presidential Medal of Freedom: "As Muhammad Ali once said, 'It's not bragging if you can back it up.' And this man backed it up. Across the world, billions of people know Muhammad Ali as a brave, compassionate and charming man. The real mystery, I guess, is how he stayed so pretty. It probably had to do with his beautiful soul."

Money Quote:
Uma Thurman on how life has a funny way of sneaking up on you: "It's pretty much public knowledge that my life has been sort of road kill, like barely scraping the bodies off the sidewalk. I mean, you wake up after a decade with someone and you're single again and alone again. You thought you had a plan, and the plan got derailed." (Jeanne Wolf's Hollywood)

Turn On:
It's Part 1 of a special two-part "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 9 p.m. EDT) involving the death of a cop, and Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times, is on "Charlie Rose" (PBS, check local listings).

-- Scott Lamb

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