The Fix

Nick wants spousal support from Jessica. Katie Couric, the new Dan Rather? Plus: Martha and the Donald play blame game.

Published February 21, 2006 2:30PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
Nick wants alimony? In divorce papers for the Nick Lachey/Jessica Simpson split filed on Friday, Lachey asked for the mundane -- "miscellaneous jewelry and other personal effects" -- as well as the unusual -- spousal support from his (now far richer and more famous) wife. The papers cite "irreconcilable differences" as the grounds for the divorce, but even the divorce filings themselves are now the cause of a disagreement between the reality-TV couple: Lachey says they separated Dec. 12, while Simpson maintains it was Nov. 23. The pair didn't sign a prenuptial agreement, though, so Lachey has every right to ask for support. "Legally, it's Nick's right to ask for spousal support. 'Newlyweds' was the show that made them their money, and he's half of that couple," Jared Shapiro, a senior editor at Life & Style Weekly, told the New York Daily News. "It's just ironic that Nick was the bigger star before the marriage, but then Jessica quickly outearned him. So the battle's only just begun -- it's really going to get nasty!" (USA Today, N.Y. Daily News)

Katie Couric career watch: While Katie Couric can't officially be offered the job until May, there's been a lot of speculation over whether she'll be leaving her post at NBC's "Today" show to take over Dan Rather's space on "The CBS Evening News." If she does -- her current contract with NBC goes until May 31, and she's barred from entering talks with any other channels until then -- she'll be missing out on a big pile of money. Couric currently makes $13 million a year with her "Today" gig, and Fox 411 reports that NBC "wants her to stay put so badly they will offer her $20 million a year" rather than lose her; CBS, meanwhile, will probably offer her something closer to her current salary. (Fox 411)

"Brokeback" at BAFA: Awards season continued over the weekend, this time in London with the British Academy Film Awards. The night's big winner was "Brokeback Mountain," this time taking home four awards, for best film, director, adapted screenplay and supporting actor (for Jake Gyllenhaal). Other winners: Philip Seymour Hoffman won best actor for "Capote," Reese Witherspoon was named best actress for "Walk the Line" and Thandie Newton won best supporting actress for "Crash." In his acceptance speech for best film, "Brokeback" producer James Schamus pointed out that it was a "gay shepherd movie," not a gay cowboy movie. (Hollywood Reporter)

Former glam rocker Gary Glitter's trial date -- on charges of committing obscene acts with two underage girls in Vietnam -- has been set for March 2. (Detroit Free Press) ... Kate Moss' name is being tossed around as a possibility to play one of Dusty Springfield's lesbian lovers in an upcoming Ang Lee biopic on the '60s soul singer. (The Bosh) ... Spike Lee is making no secret of the fact he's not exactly a big 50 Cent fan: "50 Cent has made a lot of money, but whatever you are doing that makes you have to put a bulletproof vest on your 5-year-old son, that's time for some deep introspective s---." (Rush & Molloy) ... Roman Catholic groups in New Zealand are calling for a boycott of "South Park" because of an episode, "Bloody Mary" -- which deals, in the show's typical way, with a bleeding statue of the Virgin Mary -- that also caused a stir when it aired in the U.S. New Zealand TV station C4 has responded by moving the air date of the show up a few months, from May to Feb. 22. (BBC) ... Richard Bright, the character actor who, among other roles, played Al Neri in all three "Godfather" movies, was hit and killed by a bus in Manhattan on Saturday. He was 68. (Associated Press) ... William Cowsill, frontman of the '60s family group the Cowsills, which was the inspiration for the TV series "The Partridge Family," died on Friday. He was 58. (People)

Money Quote:
Martha Stewart -- after revealing that her version of "The Apprentice" was supposed to begin with her firing Donald Trump, thus making hers the only "Apprentice" -- blames the failure of the show on "Apprentice" overkill: "Having two 'Apprentices' was as unfair to him as it was unfair to me. But Donald really wanted to stay on." (Newsweek)

Donald Trump on Martha Stewart's veiled attempt to pin her show's demise on him: "I wish she would be able to take responsibility for her failure." (Associated Press via N.Y. Daily News)

Turn On:
PBS takes an in-depth look at the many faces of the insurgency in Iraq with "Frontline: The Insurgency" (check local listings), while Tom Selleck guest-stars on "Boston Legal" (ABC, 10 p.m. EST). Tonight's "Winter Olympic Games" (NBC, 8 p.m. EST) events: Men's speed skating, women's bobsled and women's short program ice skating.

-- Scott Lamb

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By Salon Staff

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