The Fix

Nick and Jessica officially split. Borat responds to charges. And Russell Crowe threatens film industry with phone.

Published November 28, 2005 2:30PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
Thanksgiving leftovers: If, like us, you were far, far away from the media world over the holiday, here's what you missed, and it was a doozy: On Wednesday, knowing there was no way they could stuff themselves on turkey when they were already so full of lies, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey finally euthanized their long-suffering marriage. In a statement released to Us Weekly, which enthusiastically and prematurely announced the breakup a few weeks ago, the couple said, "After three years of marriage, and careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways." They also pleaded to be left alone: "We hope that you respect our privacy during this difficult time." Yeah, right. That's about as likely to come true as this wish: A source tells Star magazine that Lachey "just wants to be able to move on to living the rest of his life with as much dignity as he can." Happenings on Friday: Pat Morita, better known to you as Mr. Miyagi, died at age 73; Kate Moss got her first post-rehab modeling gig as the new face of Virgin Mobile (and became the subject of a series of paintings at a London gallery); Mischa Barton got engaged to Whitestarr frontman and former Kimberly Stewart fiancé Cisco Adler; and '70s glam icon Gary Glitter was charged with "obscene acts with children" in Vietnam, though officials still hold out the possibility that he'll be accused of child rape, which carries the penalty of death by firing squad. (E! Online, The Bosh, CNN, Mirror, USA Today, Starpulse, News24)

The breakup of an engagement foretold: Speaking of Kimberly Stewart, her two-week-old engagement to "Laguna Beach" actor Talan Torriero is finished. The couple had been seeing each other only a few weeks when they got engaged, so it's hardly a surprise their young love ended on the rocks. Someone in her camp possesses the wisdom of age, though -- their joint press release included this aphorism: "It is better to have a brief engagement than a short marriage." (Perez Hilton)

Borat speaks out: Responding to the Kazakhstan government's recent charges against "Ali G" creator Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat -- Cohen's Kazakhstan news reporter character -- has officially announced he's all for any legal action. "I like to state, I have no connection with Mr. Cohen and fully support my government's position to sue this Jew." He went on to add that "since 2003 ... Kazakhstan is as civilized as any other country in the world. Women can now travel on inside of bus, homosexuals no longer have to wear blue hat and age of consent has been raised to 8 years old." See the video here. (CNN, via Defamer)

A switchboard operator at CNN was canned over the weekend after losing his cool over the flood of calls about the mysterious "X" that appeared over Vice President Dick Cheney's face last week. "We did it just to make a point. Tell them to stop lying, Bush and Cheney," the operator told a caller. "If you don't like it, don't watch." (Drudge) ... White Stripes singer/strutter/songwriter Jack White and wife Karen Elson are expecting a baby, due in the spring. (Star) ... The Harry Potter juggernaut continues, with the fourth installment of the series set to pass the $200 million box-office sales mark sometime Monday or Tuesday (Fox 411) ... Was the Lachey-Simpson split timed specifically to irritate the same Hollywood media that have been haranguing the couple for months? The 10 p.m. Wednesday announcement meant staffers for shows like "Entertainment Tonight," "The Insider," "Access Hollywood" and "Extra!" went in to work on Thanksgiving. "They got their holidays, but we didn't," one told Page Six on Saturday. "They couldn't have waited one day? This was so calculated." (Page Six)

Money Quotes:
Russell Crowe, hosting the Australian Film Industry Awards in Melbourne, threatened nominees to keep their speeches short by bringing an old telephone onstage with him: "If there are any problems and you do get up here and go on too long, then 'hello' to my little friend." (USA Today)

Shirley MacLaine on finding a niche in Hollywood: "Until Meryl Streep decides that she can play grandmothers, and God knows I hope she never does, I usually get first crack." (ContactMusic)

Turn On:
It's the "fall finale" of "Prison Break" (Fox, 9 p.m. EDT), meaning the season isn't over, but the show is going on hiatus for a few months. Also: ABC debuts the new format of "Nightline" (ABC, 11:30 p.m. EDT), with its triumvirate of Martin Bashir, Cynthia McFadden and Terry Moran taking over from Ted Koppel. And HBO airs "Yesterday" (9 p.m. EDT), last year's foreign-film Oscar nominee from South Africa about the AIDS epidemic.

-- Scott Lamb

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