Pinch's pukey sense of humor: The New Yorker has a profile this week of Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and it isn't going to do much to help the embattled Times publisher win many new fans. Ken Auletta cites several examples of Sulzberger's "immature or sarcastic" jokes, including his repeated references, at a publisher's lunch with Condi Rice, to the fact that a bomb-sniffing dog had vomited on the carpet. "As some of the reporters present cringed, Rice finally said, 'Thank you for sharing that.'" (The New Yorker, Rush and Molloy)
The reunion that never was: Jack Douglas, who produced Lennon's last record, "Double Fantasy," says that before he was murdered, John Lennon was planning to join Paul McCartney -- and possibly George Harrison -- and pitch in on a Ringo Starr solo album, though getting John, George, Ringo and Paul in one room was difficult enough. "Yoko discouraged Paul coming around," Douglas tells Page Six. "There was a writing session somewhere in the Dakota, and there was one canceled, which John did not know about, canceled by a third party. He was waiting for Paul to show up. He was told that Paul did not show. Paul was told that John was too busy." (Page Six)
Another week, another reality show: An unnamed Hollywood producer is interviewing staffers at AMI -- the publisher behind Star, Celebrity Living, Men's Fitness and Shape -- to find eight worthy of being followed by a camera crew 24 hours a day. The show, tentatively called "One Park Avenue," won't feature AMI's biggest personalities, like Star EIC Bonnie Fuller, nor, apparently, will it have anything to do with the magazine business. AMI spokesman Stu Zakim, talking about a previous project involving Us Weekly and Fuller that fell through, tells Radar Online, "The Us Weekly show was about how a magazine gets put together in the newsroom and all that shit. This concept has nothing to do with that." (Radar Online)
Play a thug, become a thug? An actor whom Robert De Niro had plucked from obscurity has been charged with the murder of a police officer. Lillo Brancato, who played De Niro's son in the 1993 film "A Bronx Tale," and later went on to play the role of Matt Bevilacqua in "The Sopranos," has been accused of using his newfound cachet to woo the daughter of his alleged accomplice, Steven Armento. According to the girl's mother, Brancato "would tell her, 'I was in "A Bronx Tale." I can show you what life is like.'" (N.Y. Daily News, BBC News)
Madonna reportedly went to New York's Mercer Kitchen and flirted with owner Andre Balazs -- right in front of Balazs' girlfriend, Uma Thurman (Lowdown) ... Rumors persist that Jessica Simpson got a little too friendly with Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine last fall, leading to her martial split (Lowdown) ... David Geffen has sold DreamWorks to Paramount for $1.6 billion, thumbing his nose at NBC-Universal (New York Times via Drudge) Demi Moore, who'll be singing "Louie Louie" in the upcoming biopic "Bobby," the story of the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, apparently has a pretty decent singing voice (Page Six) "The Chronicles of Narnia" raked in $72.6 million over the weekend, earning the second highest December opening weekend gross ever, after "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (BBC News) Richard Pryor fans will be glad to know that when the comedian died this weekend, it was with a smile on his face, according to his wife. (This is London)
Someone at NBC penned a rhyme about Katie Couric in the vein of Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit From St. Nicholas." The poem ends with the following lines: "It is now being rumored/That this diva's views/Will soon be transported/To CBS News/As NBC viewers/We say with delight/Oh please let that rumor/Be one hundred percent right." (Page Six)
Gather the kids for an airing of the 1971 version of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (Family Channel, 8 p.m. EST). Then go on a journey to Mount Ararat for the resting place of Noah's Ark with "Decoding the Past" (The History Channel, 10 p.m. EST).
-- Priya Jain