The Fix

George Michael loves his weed. Madonna's cross scene censored. Plus: "I kicked Bono in the nuts."

Published October 20, 2006 1:30PM (EDT)

Morning Briefing:
George lights up: In a long interview for British television in which he pulls out a joint and starts smoking, George Michael defends his pot habit, reports the Daily Mirror: "This stuff keeps me sane and happy. I could write without it ... if I were sane and happy. I'd say it's a great drug -- but obviously it's not very healthy. You can't afford to smoke it if you've got anything to do." The interview, part of a segment for ITV1's "South Bank Show" that will air on Halloween, was shot backstage at a recent concert in Madrid, Spain, where the drug is legal. "I think my life might be somewhere else if I'd chosen another avenue," Michael says between drags. "Alcohol for instance. Christ, if I drank as much as I smoked. My God, I'd be like Keith Richards." (The Daily Mirror)

No Madonna on the cross: NBC has announced it will not show Madonna onstage affixed to a large, mirror-covered cross when it airs her concert special next month. As part of her "Confessions" tour act, Madonna emerges on the cross during a performance of "Live to Tell," but now the network says it will use different camera angles so that viewers won't see Madonna until she has dismounted. (Associated Press)

Scenes from Daniel Smith's burial: The reports coming from the burial of Anna Nicole Smith's son, Daniel, who died suddenly and mysteriously last month, are fittingly creepy: The sound of wailing and screaming from Smith, a gold-colored hearse and an apparently open-casket service. Police guarded the entrance to the cemetery in Nassau, Bahamas, as paparazzi hoped for a morbid shot of the coffin. "My dearest son Daniel, you were my rock, you were the only one who could keep me solid," read a program from the service. "Why God took you away from me now I do not understand." (TMZ)

Life on the pundit D-list: Friday's Wall Street Journal has a report on the world of would-be talk show pundits, the lesser known but still highly opinionated part-time talking heads who are trying to break into the big time. "They are the minor-league pundits," writes the Journal, "political consultants, professors, activists, actors, journalists, bloggers and opinionated civilians -- and they're using 21st-century stunts to troll for airtime," including blogging, buying airtime on AM radio and hiring media advisors. Debbie Schlussel, a suburban Detroit lawyer who specializes in alleging ties between Islamic-American groups and terrorists, says "I've become the master of the confrontational sound bite." "We call them 'street meat,'" Tammy Haddad, the executive producer of MSNBC's "Hardball With Chris Matthews," who hears from hundreds of wanna-be pundits a week, tells the paper. "They're always available, walking the streets, waiting for your call on their cellphones." (Wall Street Journal)

T.R. Knight, the actor who plays Dr. George O'Malley on "Grey's Anatomy," came out to People magazine Thursday, writing, "While I prefer to keep my personal life private, I hope the fact that I'm gay isn't the most interesting part of me." (People) ... The 700 layoffs NBC announced Thursday aren't the only big changes the network is making: NBC 2.0 will also restructure its early prime-time programming to focus on cheaper, unscripted shows like reality series and game shows. (Hollywood Reporter) ... Haley Joel Osment has pleaded no contest to the DUI and pot possession charges he faced stemming from his arrest in late July -- a judge put him on three years' probation. (People) ... British newspaper editor Piers Morgan, who first introduced Paul McCartney to Heather Mills, has written a long open letter wishing he could take it back: "I am filled with guilt and sorrow that, as a lifelong Beatles fan, I am at least partly responsible for the hell Paul McCartney is going through at the hands of this vengeful, shameless, ghastly woman. Paul, it may be a bit late now, but I'm sorry." (Daily Mirror) ... Headline of the day: "I Kicked Bono in the Nuts" -- the U2 frontman's former stylist says she kicked him during a show after he pulled her onstage and embarrassed her. (The Sun)

Money Quote:
James Woods on the current state of cinema: "I look at movies and they're all so f@&^ing terrible. People ask, 'Why aren't movies more successful?' It's really a simple answer: It's because they stink. Three simple words: Because they f@&^ing stink. That's four words, but you can't write the f@&^ing word. They stink, they stink, they stink, what's wrong with you? They stink. Do better movies ... Finally, I saw a good movie -- 'The Departed.' And look what it took: It took Marty Scorsese, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, [screenwriter] Bill Monahan -- and it's based on another movie." (Inside SoCal via Defamer)

Turn On:
Friday night brings the season premieres of both "Las Vegas" (NBC, 9 p.m. EDT) and "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy" (Fox, 8 p.m. EDT). On Saturday, it's the first game of the "World Series" (Fox, 7:30 p.m. EDT), and on Sunday, it's "World Series Game No. 2" (Fox, 7:30 p.m. EDT) and the season premiere of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" (Cartoon, 10:30 p.m. EDT).

On the Talk Shows:
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EDT): The Rev. Jesse Jackson
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT): Ashton Kutcher, Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr., TV on the Radio (repeat)
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT): Amanda Peet, John Landis, the Spiridellis brothers, JoJo
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Frank Black
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT): Edward Norton, Ethan Suplee, LeToya (repeat)
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT): Wentworth Miller, Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Lloyd Banks

-- Scott Lamb

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By Salon Staff

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