The Fix

NBC cross with Madonna? Hepburn and Tracy both bi? Plus: Jared Leto hates bloggers!

Published September 22, 2006 1:30PM (EDT)

Morning Briefing:
NBC cross with Madonna: The disco crucifixion number that was a part of Madonna's just-finished "Confessions" tour stirred up trouble from the Netherlands to Russia and is now apparently becoming something of a headache for NBC executives. The network has long planned to run a filmed version of the concert as a special sometime in November, but as the New York Daily News wrote on Thursday, "NBC programming officials are expected to ask Madonna's camp to cut the scene in which she's hung on a cross wearing a crown of thorns while singing 'Live to Tell.' Madonna's camp is expected to reject the change and then pull the show from NBC completely." On Friday, Madonna defended herself: "It is no different than a person wearing a cross. My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. It is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another," the 48-year-old pop diva said in a statement. "I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing." (N.Y. Daily News, BBC)

Backlash against the FCC: In a joint statement sent to the Federal Communications Commission late on Thursday, Fox, CBS, NBC and Telemundo all warned that the commission's ongoing crackdown on indecency is putting the entire idea of live television at risk. The broadcasters say they've been forced to air controversial material late at night or cut it entirely, even citing a particular example: "When President Bush recently told British Prime Minister Tony Blair that the G-8 [nations] needed to 'get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop this s---,' some NPR affiliates declined to air Bush's comments unedited." The media group the Center for Creative Voices in Media also argued against the FCC's draconian rules on Thursday, though with a slightly different logic: Its report claims that the rules are not only hurting TV but also "harming America's children." (Reuters, Broadcasting & Cable)

Hepburn and Tracy and ...? A forthcoming book on Katharine Hepburn, "Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn," has a novel thesis about the true nature of Hepburn's famous relationship with Spencer Tracy -- the book says it was all "a fable cultivated by Hepburn to hide their bisexuality," as Rush & Molloy write. Author William J. Mann apparently draws on details from people close to the couple who wouldn't talk while the actress was still alive (she died in 2003), and contends that Hepburn and Tracy's lifelong companionship was close, but not sexual. (Rush & Molloy)

Axl Rose is being sued by a Los Angeles art dealer who says the rocker reneged on a deal to buy an Andy Warhol portrait of John Lennon: After allegedly agreeing to pay $2.36 million, Rose only ponied up $1.21 million because, according to the lawsuit, he thought "the painting was not worth the price he had agreed to pay." (Fox) ... HBO announced on Thursday that it has renewed "Entourage" for a fourth season. (E Online) ... Actor Lou Diamond Phillips -- "La Bamba," "Stand and Deliver" -- has been charged with domestic battery in an incident with his girlfriend last month in Los Angeles. (Associated Press) ... Def Leppard has announced it will be rereleasing "Hysteria," which, with 18 million copies sold worldwide, is already the biggest-selling hard-rock album of all time. (BBC News) ... A&E's special on Tuesday night about bounty hunter-turned-reality TV star Duane "Dog" Chapman's arrest last week, called "Dog: The Family Speaks," won the cable channel its best ratings ever, drawing 4.5 million viewers. (Broadcasting & Cable) ... Nielsen Media Research numbers show that America is watching more TV now than ever -- the total average TV-watching time for U.S. households for 2005-2006 rose to a record high eight hours and 14 minutes per day. (Reuters via Yahoo)

Money Quote:
Jared Leto, explaining why "blogging should die a sudden death" to the G4 network's blog, the Feed: "Pretty soon anybody with a cell phone is going to be able to be a news reporter. The blog is yesterday's parachute pants. It's here now but it's gone tomorrow." (The Feed)

Sting, explaining why his next album is all 16th century Elizabethan songs: "Today's music is not designed for me. I don't understand a Beyoncé or Justin Timberlake." (Cindy Adams)

Turn On:
Friday night sees its share of premieres, with "Ghost Whisperer" (CBS, 8 p.m. EDT), "Law & Order" (NBC, 10 p.m. EDT) and "Deal or No Deal (NBC, 8 p.m. EDT) debuting. On Sunday, new seasons start for "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 9 p.m. EDT) and "60 Minutes" (CBS, 7 p.m. EDT), plus it's the series premiere of "Brothers & Sisters" (ABC, 10 p.m. EDT) with Calista Flockhart, Balthazar Getty and Rachel Griffiths.

On the Talk Shows:
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EDT): Oprah Winfrey's beau, Stedman Graham
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings): UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT): LeBron James, ventriloquist Todd Oliver and Irving, Ludacris
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT): Calista Flockhart, Harland Williams, Gomez
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Jason Lee, Bridget Moynahan, Chingy
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Bradley Whitford, Trudie Styler, Kansas City Chief Larry Johnson, Sam Roberts
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT): Johnny Knoxville, Kim Raver, Patrizio

-- Scott Lamb

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By Salon Staff

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