The Fix

Heather Mills settles? Critics on Andersen's "Heyday." Plus: Does gay porn violate "don't ask, don't tell"?

Published March 12, 2007 1:30PM (EDT)

First Word

Comic's suicide? Richard Jeni, the comic who was a regular on "The Tonight Show" and HBO, died on Saturday of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in Los Angeles. Police haven't yet deemed it suicide, but they responded to a 911 call from his girlfriend, who told dispatchers, "My boyfriend shot himself in the face." They found Jeni badly injured but still alive, but he died a short time later at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (Los Angeles Times)

Spartans slaughter at the box office: The first blockbuster of the year has arrived: "300" broke the opening-weekend box office record for March over the weekend, taking in an estimated $70 million (with a per-theater average of over $22,000). It was also the third-largest R opening of all time, behind only "Matrix Reloaded" and "The Passion of the Christ." As Nikki Finke reports, some other studios were concerned the film had been pitched to the youth market, despite the gore that got it an R, but Warner Bros. said, "We were very careful to market to 17 and above, in accordance with the R rating." As for the makeup of the filmgoers this weekend who shelled out in record numbers, Finke says it was "about 60/40 male-female and about evenly split younger/older." (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

Latte label: Starbucks, which has long been pushing compilation albums on soccer moms, is now planning to launch its very own record label. The New York Post reports that the new company will be called Starbucks Records, and will "sign, record and produce its own artists rather than licensing songs from other labels." To that end, Starbucks is apparently eyeing the talent of former Beatle Paul McCartney. Officially, though, the coffee giant is keeping mum, telling the paper: "We have no announcement regarding any new partnership at this time." (N.Y. Post)

White noise ... Heather Mills and Paul McCartney have reportedly settled their divorce battle -- London's News of the World says that in exchange for Mills' dropping her demand for sole custody of their daughter, 3-year-old Beatrice, she'll get a settlement worth $56 million, including one of McCartney's homes. (New York Daily News) ... Snoop Dogg was held overnight by police in Sweden on Sunday night on suspicion of drug use -- Snoop's car was stopped after he attended a concert with Diddy, and Snoop was taken to a police station and tested for drugs. He was released a few hours later. (Associated Press) ... Madonna's former nanny, Melissa Dumas, shopping an 80-page book proposal for a tell-all about life with the pop diva, is reportedly set to fetch a $5 million contract. (ContactMusic) ... Maggie Gyllenhaal will replace Katie Holmes in the romantic role for the next "Batman" movie -- Holmes, who'll next appear in a heist picture with Queen Latifah, had to pass on the role because of "scheduling conflicts." (Hollywood Reporter) ... Angelina Jolie tells Newsweek this week that her work with refugees through the United Nations has "transformed" her, and that at times she was driven to despair: "The first two years I just cried constantly like a woman does." (People)


Does porn violate "don't ask, don't tell"? Right-wing Marine/ex-gay-porn star and escort Matt Sanchez, who wrote a first-person account of his "outing" by lefty bloggers for Salon, is the focus of a Marine Corps inquiry, according to the Marine Corps Times. Marine Corps officials have been "unable to confirm whether Sanchez had enlisted [on May 14, 2003] prior to the end of his film career or if Reserve Marines were prohibited from doing porn when not in a drilling status." Officials also "were unable to say whether past participation in gay porn disqualifies a potential enlistee because it was unclear how the current 'don't ask, don't tell' policy might apply." Meanwhile, on his own blog, Sanchez seems to be doing even more telling. Last week, blogger Joe.My.God. wondered whether this recently updated Manhunt profile, which seeks men who better "be ready to fuck," is actually Sanchez. The speculation simmered among other gay blogs before Sanchez responded (in a since deleted post), saying that unknown bloggers had claimed to have "'verified' and confirmed that I had a faceless Manhunt account" and -- seeming to confirm the profile is indeed his -- wondered "is everyone comfortable out there with Manhunt verifying who is cruising on their website? Or are anonymous bloggers just lying so they can prove their point that I'm a hypocrite?" He continues, indulging in a little gossip from his escort days: "I remember several clients complaining about hustlers who used fake pictures in order to get people to call their ad. It turns out, it's not just the entrepreneurial rentboys who can pull this trick off, it's the ambitious bloggers too." Oh, and he added the demure photo to the right to illustrate his blog (though it's now been taken down as well).

Toyger, Toyger, burning bright: Life magazine reports on designer cat sensation the Toyger, "a house cat bred to look like a toy model of the largest member of the cat family" that, if perfected, could end up "fetching prices as high as $4,000." Of course, Franken-breeding is responsible for creating lines with horrible, debilitating side effects, and Toyger critics will rightly say that you're more apt to find a more genetically balanced -- and healthy -- cat from your local shelter. But boy, they sure are cute. And among their personality traits: "Unlike most cats, they adore water. In the summer, some of [the breeder's] tomcats splash around for hours in a plastic kiddie pool."

Buzz Index


Hey now: After the daily New York Times' fairly tepid review of "Heyday" -- the mammoth mid-19th century historical novel by Spy co-founder, "Radio 360" host and media maven Kurt Andersen that Janet Maslin called a "walking, talking almanac" -- the New York Times Book Review gives it a ... well, it's a little tough to tell actually. The most direct the review gets is with qualified on-the-one-hand-ism: "If his novel's back is broken by the weight of its minutiae, its flow dammed by the debris of its detail, there is something moving, a stirring spirit, in the energy of its amazement." In its Briefly Noted section, this week's New Yorker (not online) gives a less qualified rave, saying, "Andersen's intricate plotting and his command of period detail keep the book moving despite its great length," and that "the issues that the characters grapple with ... are as important now as they were in the nineteenth century."

Newer Republic: The New York Times looks at the new New Republic, which debuts today with a new face and less frequency, reduced from a weekly to a biweekly. Patricia Cohen writes that among the changes, some things remain the same: "Leon Wieseltier still presides over the books and arts section; Martin Peretz ... is still writing regularly; the TRB column, as well as the scarcity of female bylines, also remains." But the paper is thicker and slicker, there are more illustrations and a few new features, and, perhaps most notably, "the magazine's own editorial viewpoint will be reliably left of center," according to the editor, Franklin Foer. Cohen doesn't explain it all, but as TNR strayed to the right post-9/11 (pro-war, pro-Lieberman) it has lost some readers, and now its "combined Web and print circulation of 60,000" is about that of one of the bigger online political blogs that have emerged in the past decade.

"He was so insufferably satisfied with himself that I wanted to strangle him."

-- Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel on having Jared Leto as a guest. (Page Six)


Movie: Weekend total: Per-screen average:
1. "300" $70 million $22,600
2. "Wild Hogs" $28 million $8,500
3. "Bridge to Terabithia" $6.9 million $2,100
4. "Ghost Rider" $6.8 million $2,000
5. "Zodiac" $6.8 $2,800

(Rotten Tomatoes)

Turn On

"The New Adventures of Old Christine" (CBS, 8 p.m. EDT) returns on Monday night after an extended absence, "The Riches" (FX, 10 p.m. EDT) -- starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver as the heads of a family of con artists who luck into new, wealthy personas -- has its series debut, and "Web Shows" (Comedy Central, 2 a.m. EDT), also a new show, features all the greatest Internet stuff that you don't have time to troll for yourself.


Regis and Kelly (ABC, 9 a.m. EDT) Jim Belushi, the latest castoffs from "The Amazing Race"
The View (ABC, 11 a.m. EDT) Minnie Driver, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, guest co-host Jacque Reid
Ellen (Syndicated, check local listings) T.R. Knight, K.T. Tunstall (repeat)
Oprah (Syndicated, check local listings) The women of "What Not to Wear"
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings) Wynton Marsalis
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EDT) Bill Maher
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT) Sen. Chris Dodd
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT) Nicholas D. Kristof
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT) Chris Rock, Sandra Oh, Amy Winehouse
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT) Mark Wahlberg, Brad Garrett, My Chemical Romance
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT) Kate Walsh, Jackie Earle Haley, Brian McKnight (repeat)
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT) David Hyde Pierce, Kate Mara, Dr. Dog
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT) Kid Rock, Hank Williams Jr. and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gary Rossington, a performance by Phi Beta Sigma step team (repeat)


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