The Fix

Federline not ready to settle? Brandy hit with wrongful-death suit. Plus: Paris sues to block exposure.

Published January 31, 2007 2:30PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
No settlement for Federline: Kevin Federline is still holding out on a divorce settlement from Britney Spears, according to Star. Spears reportedly offered the erstwhile backup dancer $25 million, but also asked that he give up custody of their two children. "Kevin says that Britney offered him $10 million to walk away from their marriage and to relinquish custody of their kids," a source tells the mag. "Now he says she's offering a whopping $25 million, and that's her final offer. He told her to take a hike!" At the same time, Spears has put the Malibu, Calif., house the couple once shared up for sale. The $13.5 million asking price is almost double what she paid for it in 2004 just after she and Federline were married. (The Scoop, E Online)

Brandy faces civil suit: While police mull misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges against her, Brandy has been hit with a $50 million wrongful-death lawsuit from the family of the woman killed in a freeway traffic accident reportedly triggered by the R&B singer on Dec. 30 of last year. The parents of Awatef Aboudihaj, who died from injuries sustained in the crash, claim that Brandy's reckless driving was responsible for the incident, and are seeking punitive and compensatory damages. (The Smoking Gun)

The age of laissez-faire aesthetics? The New Republic's art critic, Jed Perl, writes about the current state of the art market in this week's issue in an article called "How the Art World Lost Its Mind." Laying out an argument that recalls the high-culture/low-culture debates of decades past, Perl says today's overheated art market has created "laissez-faire aesthetics" and takes a few swipes at current art world darlings John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage. "When the collecting of art takes on that familiar pop-culture buzz, we are seeing a diminishment of the variety of artistic experience, and this variety is among the glories of any culture," Perl writes. "The biggest danger currently faced by people who love painting and sculpture is this unitary view of culture, which in practice amounts to the view that all culture is, or should be, popular culture." (The New Republic)

Paris Hilton has responded to the launch of -- the subscription-based Web site that's offering hundreds of images and videos taken from her personal storage unit after she fell behind in payments -- by filing a lawsuit seeking to shut down the site. "I was appalled to learn that people are exploiting my and my sisters' [sic] private personal belongings for commercial gain," the heiress said in a statement. (Associated Press) ... Kate Moss and Pete Doherty reportedly checked into rehab -- together -- at a clinic in northwest London yesterday. (The Sun) ... Isaiah Washington is reportedly scheduled to return to the set of "Grey's Anatomy" from his stint in rehab on Thursday. (People) ... On the "Today" show Wednesday, Miss USA Tara Conner cops to her drug use, telling Matt Lauer, "I have done cocaine, yeah." (Page Six) ... Kevin Federline's upcoming Super Bowl ad -- wherein he plays a fry cook daydreaming about his rap career -- has irked representatives at the National Restaurant Association, who see it as a slight to food workers everywhere. CEO Steven Anderson said yesterday, "The ad is offensive to anyone who works in the restaurant industry." (ABC News) ... Writer and producer Sidney Sheldon -- best known for his books "Rage of Angels" and "The Other Side of Midnight," as well as for producing the TV show "I Dream of Jeannie" -- died yesterday near Palm Springs, Calif. He was 89. (Associated Press)

Money Quote:
Singer Michael Bublé on why he never gets recognized when attending premieres or awards shows with his girlfriend, Emily Blunt: "I'm not in the tabloids. We don't live that lifestyle. Never in the tabloids. Look -- I hate Hollywood parties, and I hate most other celebrities, to be really honest with you." (Rush & Molloy)

Turn On:
The auditions continue on "American Idol" (Fox, 9 p.m. EST) Wednesday night, David Strathairn narrates a doc about the history of "The Supreme Court" (PBS, check local listings), and it's season finale time for "Top Chef" (Bravo, 10 p.m. EST) -- will it be Ilan or Marcel? -- followed by the debut of a new "Project Runway"-style reality show, "Top Design" (Bravo, 11 p.m. EST), featuring competing interior designers and Todd Oldham as the Tim Gunn/Tom Colicchio stand-in.

On the Talk Shows:
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EST): Miss America Lauren Nelson
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings): French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EST): Holiday toy demo, Renée Zellweger, Taking Back Sunday (repeat)
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EST): Forest Whitaker, Daniel Powter
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EST): Sienna Miller, Goran Visnjic, Paul Weller
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EST): Chad Lowe, RZA
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EST): Kevin Bacon, Sofia Vergara, Robin Thicke with Pharrell
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EST): Sen. Joe Biden
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EST): Jed Babbin

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By Scott Lamb

Scott Lamb is a senior editor at

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