The Fix

Nancy Grace won't relent. Gibson emerges, lashes out about Iraq. Plus: Bill Clinton explodes.

Published September 25, 2006 1:30PM (EDT)

Morning Briefing:
Grace sticks to her story: Nancy Grace's "Headline News" show isn't backing off the story of Melinda Duckett -- the Florida woman whose 2-year-old son, Trevor, disappeared in late August -- even after Duckett's suicide following a nasty interview with Grace, wherein the host repeatedly demanded, "Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?" But -- tasteless or not -- Grace's relentless focus on the topic has been good for ratings: Nielsen Media reports that the show averaged 689,000 viewers the first three days of last week, well above the show's average viewership of 534,000. Also, as Rush & Molloy report on Monday, Grace has refused to uphold her side of an agreement about the alleged plagiarism in her 2005 book, "Objection!" The book spent five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, but apparently included one chunk -- about 359 words -- lifted directly from a Times "Patents" column by Sabra Chartrand. Grace was supposed to write a letter for publication in the Times admitting to the "error" and promising that it would be fixed in a future edition of the book -- but so far hasn't done so. (Associated Press, Rush & Molloy)

"Apocalypto" now: After Mel Gibson's DUI/"sugartits"/"fucking Jews" debacle, it seemed like the chances of his Mayan thriller, "Apocalypto," ever making it to theaters were dim at best, but fortunes change quickly -- now Deadline Hollywood reports that both Time and Newsweek are planning to feature "Apocalypto" on their covers before the movie's Dec. 8 release. Gibson was in Oklahoma over the weekend to screen the movie to a largely Native American audience, where he showed up wearing a mask and a wig, apparently trying to avoid publicity. But at an Austin, Texas, screening of the film on Sunday, he was feeling more talkative, telling reporters his movie has obvious connections to modern-day America. "The precursors to a civilization that's going under are the same, time and time again. What's human sacrifice," Gibson asked, "if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?" (Deadline Hollywood Daily, Fox, Reuters)

The wrath of Clinton: The media story of the day on Monday is Chris Wallace's "Fox News Sunday" interview with Bill Clinton -- which went horribly awry when Wallace began probing Clinton on his response to the threat of terrorism, and specifically to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. Calling the move a "conservative hit job" and saying that Wallace was just "doing Fox's bidding" -- plus wagging his finger in Wallace's face -- Clinton in his rage is terrifying to behold. Watch the key part of the interview on Video Dog, and see a full transcript here. (Eat the Press)

Oprah Winfrey's satellite radio channel -- called "Oprah and Friends" and featuring shows hosted by Gayle King and Maya Angelou -- debuts today on XM. (BBC News) ... "Jackass: Number Two" was the big draw at the movies this weekend, taking the top box office slot with $28.1 million in ticket sales. (E Online) ... When Kevin Federline's debut album, "Playing With Fire," drops on Halloween, it will be without the nightmarish "PopoZao." (The Scoop) ... Aaron Carter has called off his weeklong engagement to actress/Playboy model Kari Ann Peniche, saying, "I got caught up in the moment and proposed. I then realized it was a hasty thing to do and I am not ready for marriage quite yet." (Us Online) ... More rumblings that Kate Moss is set to marry drug addict Pete Doherty -- the British tabloids are saying Doherty popped the question last week and the pair could tie the knot "within weeks." (Daily Mail)

Turn On:
Two new series debut tonight: "Runaway" (CW, 9 p.m. EDT), with Donny Wahlberg, and "Heroes" (NBC, 10 p.m. EDT). The long-running "7th Heaven" (CW, 8 p.m. EDT) starts a new season on a new channel, and PBS takes a look at the life of "Marie Antoinette" (check local listings). And in this week's "Monday Night Football" (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. EDT) game, the New Orleans Saints return to the Superdome for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

On the Talk Shows:
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EDT): Oprah Winfrey
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings): Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT): Ray Liotta, Elvis Costello & Tony Bennett, the latest "Survivor: Cook Islands" castaway
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT): Eva Longoria, Cole and Dylan Sprouse, Death Cab for Cutie
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Marcia Cross, David Gregory, Sam Moore
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Lauren Graham, Nick Griffin, Joan Jett
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT): Diane Lane, celebrity photographer Yehya Mohamed, Chingy (repeat)
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT): Pat Buchanan
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT): Arianna Huffington

-- Scott Lamb

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