The Fix

Gibson charged, but forgiven by Holocaust survivor. Stones rake in the tax-free bucks. Plus: Hawking dismisses need for Bruce Willis.

Published August 3, 2006 1:30PM (EDT)

Morning Briefing:
Mel gets charged: It's two misdemeanor charges for Mel Gibson: The Los Angeles district attorney's office is hitting him for DUI as well as having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit to drive and having an open bottle of liquor in his car. The maximum sentence: six months in jail. At the same time, a group in Los Angeles has been trying to put up an anti-Mel billboard somewhere in the city, so far to no avail. "We wanted to make a statement that anti-Semitism is not OK in Hollywood -- or anywhere else," says P.R. guy Andy Behrman. He's organizing the drive to get the sign -- a picture of Gibson's face with the international red sign for "no" on top of it -- put up somewhere along Sunset Boulevard. "They tell us it will be fine, and then when they learn we want to protest Mel Gibson, there's suddenly some problem." And Fox 411 reports that while ABC has asked Gibson not to be a part of it, it may still go ahead with a story based on the life of Holocaust survivor Flory van Beek, who, for her part, has already forgiven Gibson: "I believe in atonement. In the Jewish religion, if you atone for your sins you have to be forgiven. I forgive Mel Gibson and accept his apology ... The American people are very sensational. In a week, this will be forgotten." (The Smoking Gun, the Scoop, Fox 411)

Ricky Bobby, brought to you by Wonder Bread: You may think "Talladega Nights" is just the new Will Ferrell comedy, but it's also the sort of marketing opportunity big brands dream of. As the Hollywood Reporter writes, stars Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Sacha Baron Cohen appear through most of the movie wearing uniforms sporting their sponsors' logos, and have appeared on late-night TV, on MTV and in posters and ads for the movie wearing the outfits as well. "The level of integration on- and offscreen in 'Talladega Nights' is unprecedented," Aaron Gordon, the president of entertainment marketing company Set Resources Inc., told the Reporter. "I can't remember ever seeing this much product placement displayed ... it's pretty unheard of." Ferrell and co-writer and director Adam McKay say they purposely brought dozens of brands into the film to lampoon NASCAR's over-the-top branding. (Hollywood Reporter)

Rolling Stones avoid the tax man: The Rolling Stones have had a company in the Netherlands handle all their royalties since 1972, apparently because Dutch law doesn't place a direct tax on royalties. And the savings add up: Records recently released by the company, Promogroup, show that the three original band members -- Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts -- made $450 million in royalties in the past 20 years, but paid only $7.2 million (that's 1.6 percent) in taxes. (Independent)

Marie Osmond was hospitalized for a few days after blacking out because of medication she was taking, but her manager says she's "doing fine" and denied rumors that the incident was the result of a botched suicide attempt. (BBC News) ... Jennifer Lopez has dropped out of the movie remake of "Dallas," in which she was set to play the role of Sue Ellen, J.R. Ewing's alcoholic wife. (Star) ... Us Weekly reports that tennis stars Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova are slowly going public with their relationship -- they've apparently been seeing each other in secret for a year, keeping it hush-hush because, according to a friend of Roddick's, "she was too young." Sharapova is 19; Roddick, 23. (Via Perez Hilton) ... Former Destiny's Child singer LeToya Luckett's album, "LeToya," hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart this week, selling 165,000 copies. (Hollywood Reporter) ... A guard dog in England -- brought in to protect a very valuable traveling exhibition of teddy bears at the Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset -- went on a rampage Tuesday; the pooch destroyed more than 100 stuffed animals, including Elvis Presley's favorite bear, Mabel. "We've told the security company we don't want anything nasty to happen to" the dog, said the manager of exhibition. "He's going to be retired to a farm where he can chase chickens." (Guardian)

Money Quote:
Stephen Hawking, answering a question about the global threats facing humanity: "The likelihood that we will need the services of Bruce Willis in the next 100 years is very small." (Yahoo! Answers)

-- Scott Lamb

Turn On:
The plastic-surgery reality series "Extreme Makeover" (ABC, 8 p.m. EDT) kicks off a new season, while "The World Series of Pop Culture" (VH1, 10 p.m. EDT) and "Making the Band 3" (MTV, 9 p.m. EDT) have their season enders. Also, Cinemax debuts "The Mushroom Club" (7 p.m. EDT), a documentary exploration of Hiroshima and its survivors filmed 60 years after the bomb fell.

On the Talk Shows:
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EDT): Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly; NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr., Richard Petty and Michael Waltrip
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings): Oliver Stone, Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT): Anne Hathaway, Jim Gaffigan, Dashboard Confessional (repeat)
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT): Courteney Cox-Arquette, Floyd Landis, Yung Joc
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Ice-T, Tim Gunn, Body Count
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Jaime Pressly, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Franti and Spearhead
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT): Lance Armstrong, Matt Dallas, Smoosh (repeat)
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT): Danny DeVito
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT): Paul Hackett

-- Lamar Clarkson

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By Salon Staff

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