The Fix

Stern and Moonves face off. Anna Nicole Smith "the mother of probate law"? Plus: George Michael calls drug arrest "own stupid fault."

Published February 28, 2006 2:30PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
Radio stations struggling in Stern's wake: With the first Arbitron ratings for early 2006 released on Monday, it looks like some radio stations are having a hard time holding on to listeners in the wake of Howard Stern's departure to satellite radio. Both WFNY (formerly WXRK, K-Rock) in New York and KLSX in Los Angeles have seen steep losses since losing Stern's morning-drive show, and replacement David Lee Roth hasn't been able to make up the difference. At the same time, CBS/Infinity head Les Moonves is preparing a $500 million lawsuit against Stern for breach of contract for not disclosing the details of his satellite deal while still at Infinity radio. The enmity between Stern and Moonves is pretty deep -- Stern once called his boss a "snake in the grass" -- and a CBS source told Page Six, "When you mention the name Howard Stern to Les, his face turns red and his rage becomes uncontrollable." As for Stern, he claims he doesn't understand where all the ire is coming from, saying on his radio show yesterday: "I showed them a way to make money ... I syndicated the show ... I set record high profits for them. I did everything in this world that they never could have accomplished on their own ... But me they obsess on. And me they go after ... So when somebody tells you that it's not personal, it's personal. All hell is breaking loose over there." (R&R, Page Six)

Ms. Smith goes to Washington: The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in Anna Nicole Smith's case to get what she says is her rightful $88 million chunk of her deceased husband's estate. When J. Howard Marshall II died in 1995 at age 89, Smith, then 26, argued that he had intended to leave her a substantial sum, but that Marshall's son destroyed the evidence. She lost the case, but was awarded $88 million a few years later in a California bankruptcy proceeding. That ruling was then later overturned by a federal appeals court, after which Smith appealed to have the case heard by the Supreme Court. The outcome of the case will have a huge effect on probate law, deciding a key issue of state vs. federal power. "It's not particularly surprising that a fight between a former stripper and a millionaire's son is good copy," Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, told ABC News. "What is surprising is that this case is going to end up in a dozen casebooks and that Anna Nicole Smith will become the mother of probate law for many generations to come. That's not bad for a stripper." (Associated Press via Yahoo! News, ABC)

Page Six is reporting that "Arrested Development" has been picked up by Showtime, which also ordered an additional 26 episodes of the show. (Page Six) ... With his band, Babyshambles, just beginning a U.K. tour, Pete Doherty was arrested on Monday for stealing a car and drug possession. (BBC) ... The woes of nouveau James Bond actor Daniel Craig continue: He's come down with a case of prickly heat. A source told the Sun: "He constantly wants to scratch. It's worst when he does a costume change. He's in agony." (Sky News) ... Hero Builders, the same toy makers who brought you the "Bush in Baghdad" and "Trial Saddam" action figures, have just released the "You Don't Know Dick" vice-presidential figure, complete with "jeans or urban camo pants, shotgun, T-shirt and retractable kick spike shoes." ( via Lowdown) ... The editor of the New Republic, Peter Beinart, is stepping down to be replaced by senior editor Franklin Foer. (N.Y. Observer) ... Can you match the celebrity mug shot with the corresponding crime? (TMZ Games)

Money Quotes:
George Michael on his drug arrest in London over the weekend: "I have been through enough in 24 years of dealing with the media to know what I am in for from them this week. Much of it will be inaccurate or simply untrue. I can handle that; it is my own stupid fault, as usual." (Associated Press)

Bruce Willis on hair loss and masculinity: "You've seen it, read it, and seen the little things trying to make you feel less of a man because you're losing your hair, but they can all suck my -- you know what I mean? I'm a man and I will kick anybody's ass who tries to tell me that I'm not one because my hair's thinning." (

Turn On:
CBS airs the ninth season premiere of "The Amazing Race" (9 p.m. EST), while A&E offers the Oscar-nominated documentary "Murderball" (10 p.m. EST).

-- Scott Lamb

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