The Fix

Did Michael Jackson try to adopt two more kids? Is People magazine picture-crazy? Plus: "Pirates" topples "Spider-Man"!


Salon Staff
July 10, 2006 5:30PM (UTC)

Morning Briefing:
Michael Jackson's creepy adoption plot? Michael Jackson reportedly attempted to adopt two Brazilian babies in 2002 and 2003, or at least tried to get someone to adopt them for him. Jackson's former associate Marc Schaffel -- who's suing Jackson for $3.8 million in unpaid royalties and other expenses -- claimed during his testimony on Friday in Los Angeles that he'd been sent by Jackson to adopt two boys in Brazil. Schaffel reportedly has a taped phone conversation with Jackson where the pop star requests, "Get me two boys, no, get me a girl and a boy." "He couldn't make up his mind," a source who's heard the tapes tells Fox 411. Another source says "It sounds like someone asking you to run down to the store and get ice cream." (Fox 411, The Independent)

Inside People: Variety has a long profile of the celebrity behemoth that is People magazine, looking at how it has increasingly turned its eye to Hollywood to help boost sales -- or as Variety writes: "Like the boob jobs ever more prominent in its pages, People has perked up." One of its key strategies has been throwing huge amounts of money at getting the best possible photographs -- it reportedly paid $4.1 million for the Shiloh Jolie-Pitt spread, though it denies the number was that high -- and in doing so, has affected the way the whole industry is run. "They are among the biggest spenders of celebrity photos in the industry," the totally unbiased Janice Min, Us Weekly editor-in-chief, tells Variety. "They pay staggering amounts for the most nominal things to the huge things. One of the first things they ever did, that led to the jacking up of photo prices, was to pay $75,000 to buy pictures of Jennifer Lopez reading Us magazine, so Us Weekly couldn't buy them." (Variety)

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Best weekend ever: Shattering already high expectations, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" broke a long list of box office records in its opening weekend, bringing in $132 million -- making it not only the biggest opening weekend of all time (a record formerly held by 2002's "Spider-Man," which had a $114 million debut weekend) and the fastest to make it past the $100 million mark, but also giving it the biggest single-day take ever ($54 million on Friday). (Deadline Hollywood Daily, Associated Press)

Also:
There were no bongos in sight and he remained clothed (mostly), but Matthew McConaughey still took things to extremes following his breakup with Penelope Cruz, partying for three straight days in Costa Rica over the weekend. (Us Online) ... Brigitte Nielsen married her fifth husband for a second time over the weekend in Malta -- her first marriage to former Italian model Mattia Dessi in February 2005 wasn't valid, as Nielsen hadn't finished divorcing her fourth husband. (People) ... According to the latest Nielsen SoundScan numbers, record sales were down 4.2 percent in the first half of 2006, but during the same period, music downloads jumped 77 percent. (Associated Press) ... Rumor has it that Eddie Murphy and erstwhile Spice Girl Melanie B. -- aka Scary Spice -- are together. "They've been lying low and trying to keep it quiet, but they are definitely an item," sources tell Perez Hilton. (Perez Hilton) ... Over the weekend, the London Sunday Mirror kicked off what the British tabloids have already dubbed Maccagate with a story about a bugged phone conversation between Sir Paul McCartney and daughter Stella about his soon-to-be-ex Heather Mills -- Stella reportedly tells her dad she believes Mills "worked as a high-class hooker." (Women's Wear Daily) ... Candy Spelling, Aaron Spelling's widow, has denied rumors that she put their 56,500-square-foot Los Angeles mansion, known as "The Manor," up for sale. (E! Online)

Money Quote:
Paris Hilton reveals that some reality shows are not, in fact, real: "'Simple Life' is a reality show and people might assume it's real. But it's fake." (London Sun via the Scoop)

-- Scott Lamb

Turn On:
VH1 premieres the new series "The World Series of Pop Culture" (10 p.m. EDT), hosted by news anchor Pat Kiernan, and Lifetime debuts "Not Like Everyone Else" (9 p.m. EDT), a fact-based cable drama about high-school harassment starring Alia Shawkat of "Arrested Development." Also, "Pee-wee's Playhouse" (Cartoon, 11 p.m. EDT) returns to syndication.

On the Talk Shows:
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EDT): Kathy Griffin
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings): Warren Buffett: The Man (Part 1 of 3 appearances)
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT): Michael Douglas, John Witherspoon, the Fray
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT): Kate Hudson, Kevin Smith, Soul Asylum
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Darrell Hammond, Jason Schwartzman, My Morning Jacket (repeat)
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Toni Collette, Lawrence Block, Joe Theismann
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT): Ed Burns, NBA Finals MVP Dwayne Wade, Flyleaf
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT): Amy Sedaris

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-- Lamar Clarkson

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