All the news that fits on talk TV: It was a New York Times double feature of sorts Thursday night on TV's two biggest talk shows. First, Judith Miller was on "Larry King Live" to discuss leaving the Times and -- to a limited degree -- to talk about her role in the Valerie Plame affair (see it: QuickTime or Windows Media). She said she wouldn't have done anything differently -- in fact, her entire performance was oddly blasé -- and also had some words for ex-colleague Maureen Dowd, who took Miller down in a recent column: "You don't trash colleagues, and you don't trash the institution you're working for," Miller said, adding later that she couldn't remember "a single columnist who ever attacked a colleague." (She also pointed King's viewers to the responses she's posted to her various attackers on her Web site.) A few hours later, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. was on "Charlie Rose" to talk about many of the same issues, and also came across rather flat -- saying that "morale is just great" at the paper and the Miller affair was "a rather small bore issue in the big scheme of things" seemed forced (watch it: Windows Media). He also went out of his way to stand behind Miller's work and reporting: "I don't believe Judy was running amok, and I mean that sincerely." (Editor & Publisher, Crooks and Liars)
Walking out on "Walk the Line": Kathy Cash, daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, was so put off watching the biopic on her dad that she walked out not once, not twice, but five times during a family screening of "Walk the Line." She said she was upset with how the film showed her mother, Vivian Liberto Distin, who was Johnny Cash's first wife. "My mom was basically a nonentity in the entire film except for the mad little psycho who hated his career," said Cash. "That's not true. She loved his career and was proud of him until he started taking drugs and stopped coming home." (Yahoo! News)
The Tom Cruise Superfan: Niki Yan, the Chinese woman who wrote "My Love for You, Tom Cruise -- A Desperate Chinese Girl's Confession," has had all her fan fantasies come true after getting to meet Cruise in person -- and luckily E! was there to cover the blessed event! Yan should be thanking her lucky stars that she made it from a little village in China all the way to a soundstage. After Cruise asked her if it had been difficult to get permission, Yan answered, "Well, I told them that I want to see Tom Cruise, so they let me in!" Cruise laughed: "Now you are on the set of 'Mission Impossible 3'!"
Perhaps Cruise's people should have done some more background work on Yan, though -- if the title of her book wasn't a dead giveaway, her Web site makes her out to be downright stalkerish:
"Ok, Folks, here are the reasons why I am perfect MS CRUISE:
1. I am pathetic.
2. I can jump up and down on the couch just like him, I can even do better, I can pouch and kick on a soft couch, like female Bruce Lee wants to kick your ass.
3. I already went to the court got my name changed, Niki Cruise is official now.
4. I want to have a dozen Little Toms and Nikis. So I can make them a football team, for Tom's sake."
(via Radar Online)
For an article titled "The Weird Story of How Tom Really Won Katie," this piece from Star magazine is actually one of the most normal-sounding accounts of the whole TomKat adventure we've yet read -- in fact, strip out the Scientology and celebrity, and it sounds just like a regular boy and girl falling in love, against the wishes of her parents ... We may finally know the real reason Paris Hilton was able to hold on to the $5 million engagement ring given to her by Greek heir Paris Latsis: She didn't. According to a source, says Page Six, the flashy ring Hilton has been sporting -- and claiming as her pricey gift -- was a cheap bauble she bought herself. "It's a cubic zirconia. The ring Paris [Latsis] gave her was a much smaller one [from Cartier]. She lied to Us Weekly about it and everyone picked it up" ... For your viewing pleasure: Ali G beat-boxing along as two women sing "We Shall Overcome" at an antiabortion rally ... Given his sparkling public persona, who would have thought that Russell Crowe would be the type to get into public shouting matches with his wife? The two reportedly got into a very nasty spat while out to dinner with director Ridley Scott and his wife at the Wolseley in London, though no phones were thrown ... 50 Cent's movie "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" got yanked from a Pennsylvania movie theater yesterday after a man was shot and killed following a screening, even though officials for the theater admitted they don't know if the film played any role in the shooting.
Geraldo Rivera insists Michael Jackson is just a regular guy once you get to know him: "He's a lot more normal in person. And more normal as a dad than you would ever, ever expect. He's really just a normal person once you get past the packaging." (Steppin' Out magazine via N.Y. Daily News)
TBS presents a digitally remastered version of "The Wizard of Oz" (9 p.m. EDT), catch Madonna's performance -- recorded last week but now airing in the U.S. -- at the "Europe Music Awards" (MTV, 9 p.m. EDT), and see what creepiness director Tobe Hooper, the man behind "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" and "Poltergeist," can cook up in the new installment of "Masters of Horror" (Showtime, 10 p.m. EDT).
-- Scott Lamb