Pitt vs. Clooney? Last week's wild (and totally unfounded) rumors that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were getting married at George Clooney's lavish Italian villa were just the latest signs of the ongoing public lovefest between Pitt and Clooney. But E! Online gossip Ted Casablanca suggests that there may be trouble in paradise. "Brad is being a real dick right now," a source close to both tells Casablanca. "It's all about 'Ocean's Thirteen.'" The next installment of the film franchise is reportedly set to start filming over the summer, but Clooney and Pitt are at odds over the timing: While Clooney wants some downtime after a busy last few months, Pitt wants to start filming earlier in order to free up his schedule to take care of his adopted kids with Jolie, Maddox and Zahara, while Jolie shoots her next film, also scheduled for the summer. (The Awful Truth)
Sheen's conspiracy theories: During an interview on Wednesday on the GGN Radio Network program "The Alex Jones Show," Charlie Sheen aired his own skepticism over the official story of what happened on 9/11, suggesting the U.S. government may be covering up what "really" happened. "It seems to me like 19 amateurs with boxcutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory," said Sheen. "It raises a lot of questions. A couple of years ago, it was severely unpopular to talk about any of this. It feels like from the people I talk to, and the research I've done and around my circles, it feels like the worm is turning." Saying also that the destruction of the Twin Towers looked like "controlled demolition," Sheen called for a thorough investigation: "It is up to us to reveal the truth. It is up to us because we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims, we owe it to everyone's life who was drastically altered, horrifically, that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened." (Page Six)
A look behind the gossip curtain: After Gawker's revelations on Wednesday that the Page Six item about James Frey fleeing to France had nothing but an unsubstantiated (and apparently widely circulated) e-mail as its source, now there is more evidence that, yes, much of celebrity journalism is fueled by press releases. On Wednesday afternoon, Gawker posted an e-mail from Rubenstein Public Relations detailing the "scoop" that Ivanka Trump would make a comeback to modeling for just one issue of daddy's Trump World Magazine. On Thursday, the same bit runs, almost word for word from the press release, as the last item of Lowdown. (Gawker, Page Six, Lowdown)
A forthcoming book about Howard Stern says the radio man wears a wig. In "The Political Zoo," due out in April, rival radio host Michael Savage writes: "It is alleged that his mane is a wig; that beneath it all, without the hairpiece, Stern looks like a dentist from the Bronx (circa 1945), who sells condoms on the side." (Lowdown) ... The reports about Sting's plans for an orgy in New York may be greatly exaggerated: He's apparently just "having fun with us staid Americans, and getting a lot of laughs at our expense." (Fox 411) ... "America's Next Top Journalist"? MTV and Rolling Stone are partnering to bring you an as-yet unnamed reality show about aspiring writers competing for a one-year staff position at the magazine. (Associated Press) ... After two weeks out of the No. 1 spot, "High School Musical" is back at the top of the Billboard album charts, followed by James Blunt's "Back to Bedlam." And rapper E-40's "My Ghetto Report Card" came in at No. 3, his first top 10 appearance in a decade. (UPI via Post Chronicle) ... Putting our fears to rest, the Onion reports that High Times is, in fact, "Not a Gateway Magazine to Harder Readings." (The Onion) ... Vice President Dick Cheney's "tour" rider -- the instructions for his on-the-road downtime suite -- includes the somehow unsurprising request that all TVs be "tuned to Fox News." (The Smoking Gun)
Sir Ben Kingsley on the difficulty of gauging audience reaction: "A great film will never please everybody. Some people are still pissed off about 'Gandhi.'" (Rush & Molloy)
-- Scott Lamb
College ball fans, check out the NCAA regional semifinal doubleheader on CBS (check local listings for teams and times). For the more celebrity inclined, the second season of "The Showbiz Show With David Spade" premieres tonight on Comedy Central (10:30 p.m. EST). Also, ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" honors those who died in Hurricane Katrina (8 p.m. EST), and an old nemesis returns to Newport on "The O.C." (Fox, 9 p.m. EST).
-- Joe DiMento