The Fix

Kidman's sister slips up. Spears' husband blowing through the bucks? Plus: Oprah's "Color Purple" getting big green.

By Salon Staff

Published December 7, 2005 1:45PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
Oprah's selling power: Despite mostly poor reviews, "The Color Purple," the new Broadway musical brought to you in part by Oprah Winfrey, is selling briskly at the box office -- most of which can be chalked up to the enormous sales power of the lady herself. Advance ticket sales have gone to $13 million, and it took in $300,000 on Friday, mostly to people buying outside of New York City. Though certainly no blockbuster -- "The Producers," by comparison, brought in $1 million on its opening day -- it's doing better than expected following the critical pan the show received. Addressing the Oprah effect, a source close to the production says, "It will be interesting to see if she can influence the people who were turned off by the critics. She's bringing in tourists from the Midwest who don't read reviews, but can she bring in people from the Upper West Side?" (Yahoo! News)

Kidman's kid sis slips up? It's not an out-and-out confirmation that Nicole Kidman and singer Keith Urban are getting married, but we'll take it. Kidman's younger sister Antonia may have slipped up when a reporter from the Sydney Daily Telegraph congratulated her on the "big news," and said the whole Kidman clan must be thrilled. A "radiant" Antonia replied, "Yes, yeah," before she began backpedaling: "I mean, ah, I guess, ah, no, I don't know." (The Scoop)

Britney's millions of reasons to get angry: There's been a lot of gossip ink spilled this week about how angry Britney Spears is at husband Kevin Federline (even rumors that she had his Ferrari repossessed), and there are any number of plausible explanations as to why. First, there was the weedman incident that ended in Federline's getting the boot from the pair's Malibu, Calif., home; now there's the news in the National Enquirer that he has blown through $1 million of Spears' money on his pet recording project (which has already been widely derided). The Enquirer's source is pretty handy with the metaphors: "Kevin's like a runaway freight train when it comes to blowing Britney's money." (National Enquirer, Us&V)

Gibson gets behind Holocaust series: So Mel Gibson has decided on his next project, and what a relief that it won't be controversial: His company is helping produce a nonfiction miniseries for ABC about the Holocaust. Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" was criticized by some for having anti-Semitic overtones, and his father is a documented Holocaust denier, so it's hard to gauge Gibson's motivation for the new project. At least ABC's Quinn Taylor, senior vice president in charge of movies for television, isn't getting defensive or anything about the controversy the made-for-TV movie might stir up. As far as critics prejudging the project: "I would tell them to shut up and wait to see the movie, and then judge," Quinn tells Daily Variety. To the New York Times, though, he admits having Gibson's name attached is good for business: "Controversy's publicity, and vice versa." (N.Y. Times, Variety)

Eminem says it's true: He and ex-wife Kim are back together. Talking to a Detroit morning radio show on Tuesday, Em said: "We have reconciled and are probably going to remarry." (Associated Press) ... More sightings of Sienna Miller with Leonardo DiCaprio -- the two have been spotted together off and on ever since Miller and Jude Law officially broke off their engagement back in October. (3 a.m. Girls) ... Grainy tabloid video at the premiere of "The Color Purple" confirms it: David Hasselhoff is alive and well. (Us&V)  This would be a lot bigger news if it were still 1987, but actress Valerie Bertinelli is asking for a divorce from Eddie Van Halen, her husband of almost 25 years, citing irreconcilable differences. (People) ... And Christina Applegate is on the road to splitsville, too, though in her case it's her husband, actor Johnathon Schaech, who's filed the papers. (Access Hollywood) ... It must be a slow day indeed for Paris Hilton when she has to call in to Page Six to get them to write about her. "I have so many enemies," Hilton told the gossip column, by way of warning them not to believe everything they hear about her. "There are a lot of jealous people." (Page Six) ... On Monday, the movies were blamed for getting teenagers started on smoking, and now a report blames entertainment marketing tie-ins for getting kids addicted to junk food. "We would like to think that SpongeBob SquarePants, Shrek and the Disney princesses are likable, kid-friendly characters," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said of the report, "But they are being used to manipulate vulnerable children to make unhealthy choices. This must stop." (Hollywood Reporter) ... Barbra Streisand has an open letter to the Los Angeles Times on her Web site, detailing why she has canceled her subscription to the paper after it fired columnist Robert Scheer, running alongside the edited version that finally ran in the paper's letters section. (Barbra via Drudge)

Money Quote:
Dita Von Teese, burlesque dancer and bride of Marilyn Manson, on how the rumors that she married the Goth rocker for his fame are simply not true: "There are things that I gained and things that I lost because of our relationship. But what it all comes down to is that I'm in love with Marilyn Manson, so there's no other choice in the matter. Plus, if I were looking to date someone to further my career  I don't think I would have picked the Antichrist!" (N.Y. Daily News)

Howard Stern, speaking to Bill O'Reilly in the first of a two-part interview airing tonight, on how switching to satellite radio won't affect the content of his show: "There will always be lesbians on this show. I make this vow to you. As long as I'm breathing, there will be lesbians. I will give the people lesbians because there is nothing sexier in this world than two women getting it on." (Reliable Source)

Turn On:
Runway mania: As "America's Next Top Model" (UPN, 8 p.m. EST) comes to a close, the new season of "Project Runway" (Bravo, 10 p.m. EST) begins. Also, director Ang Lee and actor Heath Ledger from "Brokeback Mountain" appear on "Charlie Rose" (PBS, check local listings), and the Sundance Channel airs episodes of the brilliant Australian series "Kath & Kim" (9-9:30 p.m. EST), perhaps best described as "The Office" meets "Roseanne."

-- Scott Lamb

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