The Fix

Judith Regan reportedly canned for anti-Semitic remarks. Britney wears underwear -- photographic proof! Plus, Mamet: "Hollywood is like cocaine."

Published December 18, 2006 3:00PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
Judith Regan gets the ax: The big news on Friday that scandal-prone publisher Judith Regan had been terminated by HarperCollins -- a bit of news released just before News Corp., which owns the publishing house, held its big holiday bash -- was padded out Monday morning by the Times' report that Rupert Murdoch had personally ordered her firing. His reasons? Anti-Semitic comments Regan reportedly made to a company lawyer during a phone conversation on Friday. The Times also says that later that day at her offices, "a stunned Ms. Regan was confronted by security guards who arrived with boxes and ordered her to leave." The Wall Street Journal reports that Regan -- most recently in the headlines for being behind O.J. Simpson's "If I Did It" tome -- has hired big-time attorney Bert Fields to fight her dismissal. Fields says, "We'll take appropriate action for everything HarperCollins has done. They chose this path and I hope they remember it." Ron Goldman's sister, Kim, meanwhile, isn't too broken up about the news; she tells People, "I suppose that's what happens when you make poor decisions. My father and I have no remorse over Regan losing her job." (New York Times, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, People)

Bush "happy" for littlest Cheney: In a longish interview with the president and first lady on Friday, People magazine asked the commander in chief how he feels about V.P. Dick Cheney's recently announced grandchild-to-be, the baby his daughter Mary is having with her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe. The magazine asks, "You said in 2005 that ideally 'a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman.' Knowing Mary and her partner, Heather, do you still think that?" Bush: "I think Mary is going to be a loving soul to her child. And I'm happy for her." (People)

Comedy the new action movie? The Wall Street Journal reports on the evolution of comedy from one of Hollywood's low-budget staples to its "newest type of 'tentpole,' the big-budget movies designed to appeal to a wide audience." Pointing to high-priced comedies like Ben Stiller's upcoming "Night at the Museum" (budget: $110 million) and Steve Carell's "Evan Almighty" (budget: nearly $175 million), the paper writes, "Studios that once would have balked at spending more than $100 million on a comedy are now pouring money into expensive visual effects, international shoots and popular lead actors that can boost the cost substantially above that level ... Indeed, there may be more highly compensated comedians working today than drama or action stars." (Wall Street Journal via Hollywood Wiretap)

Britney Spears was again snapped by paparazzi in a revealing outfit over the weekend, though this time there's absolutely no doubt at all that she is wearing underwear -- the see-through dress makes that painfully clear. (Splash News) ... Will Smith's rags-to-riches tale, "The Pursuit of Happyness," came out on top in this weekend's box office totals, earning an estimated $27 million to fend off both "Eragon" and "Charlotte's Web." The big opening helped boost Sony Pictures to $1.573 billion in year-to-date box office grosses, the most any studio has ever made in a year. And it was the studio's 13th No. 1 opening of 2006, also a record. (Hollywood Reporter) ... "Apocalypto," meanwhile, slipped from No. 1 to No. 6, ringing up just $7.7 million at theaters this weekend, which brings its total take so far to just under $28 million. (Fox 411) ... Police in the U.K. warned Heather Mills-McCartney about a "nonspecific threat" made against her over the weekend -- since announcing her split with Sir Paul, she says she has received death threats. (BBC News) ... A recent poll of kids under 10 in the U.K. reveals they think being a celebrity is the "very best thing in the world." (Daily Mail)

Money Quote:
David Mamet in his new book on the movie biz: "Hollywood is like cocaine. You cannot understand its attraction until you are doing it. And when you are doing it, you are insane." (Rush & Molloy)

Turn On:
On Monday night, Penn Jillette hosts a new weeklong game show called "Identity" (NBC, 9 p.m. EST), Eddie Murphy visits "Inside the Actor's Studio" (Bravo, 7 p.m. EST) to talk about his role in "Dreamgirls," and Rob Lowe stars in the made-for-TV Christmas movie "A Perfect Day" (TNT, 8 p.m. EST).

On the Talk Shows:
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EST): Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro and Matt Damon
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings): Competing guest alert: Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro and Matt Damon
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EST): Frank Caliendo, Ben Stiller, Rodrigo & Gabriela
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EST): Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Thune, Scott Weiland
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EST): Jason Statham, Whitney Cummings (repeat)
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EST): Edward Norton, Jenna Fisher, Ming Tsai
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EST): Regis Philbin, Jay-Z (repeat)
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EST): Gov. Tom Vilsack
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EST): Jack Welch

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By Scott Lamb

Scott Lamb is a senior editor at

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Britney Spears George W. Bush