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Brandy's bro gets porn offer. Critics look at Tori's next reality show. Plus: The new "forever" stamp.

Published March 20, 2007 1:30PM (EDT)

First Word

Brandy's little brother offered porno deal? The adult entertainment company that's releasing the sex tape of Ray J and then-girlfriend Kim Kardashian is impressed. TMZ reports that Vivid Entertainment has offered Ray J a four-picture deal behind the camera as a director. Reps for Ray J have yet to comment, but Vivid CEO Steven Hirsch says, "Our first conversations were very uncomfortable, but after continuing to talk, the possibility was definitely in the air." One can only wonder what the singer's current flame, Whitney Houston, will have to say. (TMZ)

The James Beard nominations are in: The 2007 nominees for the James Beard Awards were announced Monday -- for those unfamiliar with them, the awards are, as New York's Grub Street blog writes, "the Oscars of the restaurant world." Here are some notable honorees. For outstanding restaurateur: Thomas Keller (French Laundry), Keith McNally (Balthazar), Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises), Drew Nierporent (Myriad Restaurant Group), Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Jean Georges). For best new restaurant: A Voce (New York), Cochon (New Orleans), Cut (Beverly Hills), Restaurant Guy Savoy (Las Vegas), L'Atelier de Jo&eumlaut;l Robuchon (New York). You can see a full list of the nominations here (PDF). (Grub Street,

Syndicated yuks mean comedy is king? A recent study by a media ad-buy firm says that TV comedies like "Seinfeld," "Friends" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" are actually more popular now, in syndication, than they were in their original broadcast lives; Magna Global reports that Americans, on average, watch more than four and a half hours of comedy a week. Plus there's more programming to choose from, as the Washington Post writes: "During the '93-'94 TV season, there were about 180 hours a week of comedies on TV ... this season, it's up to more than 600 hours a week." This season the 10 most popular comedies -- whether in broadcast or in syndication and on cable -- are "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Seinfeld," "King of Queens," "That '70s Show," "Fresh Prince," "Friends," "Full House," "Roseanne," "M*A*S*H" and "Home Improvement." (Washington Post)

White noise . . . After a failed rap album, Kevin Federline (right) is trying his hand at another potentially lucrative business: On Monday, he launched his own search engine. (Gizmodo) ... Amid recent rumors that Emma Watson won't be returning to the "Harry Potter" franchise, Warner Bros. say it's "extremely confident" that the actress will be back for films six and seven. (BBC News) ... Former reality TV couple Shanna Moakler and Travis Barker have gotten back together -- Moakler filed for a divorce last August, but now says, "I'm madly in love with my husband." (People) ... As an addendum to the recent story about Ralph Fiennes' mile-high adventure with flight attendant Lisa Robertson in a Qantas bathroom, the N.Y. Daily News reports that Robertson once worked in a New Zealand brothel, and says she returned to her sex-worker career after getting fired in the wake of the scandal: "I did one night's work because I couldn't pay the rent and I was too proud to ask anyone for money," Robertson apparently told Australia's Sunday Telegraph. (Rush & Molloy)


The forever stamp: The U.S. Postal Service announced on Monday that first-class mail will jump to 41 cents on May 14. That recommendation has been on the table since at least February, but it also announced the creation of a new type of stamp that will be immune to future rate hikes, the forever stamp: "The first forever stamps will sell for 41 cents apiece, but they won't have a price printed on them and they will remain valid for sending a letter regardless of any future rate increases." ("Stamp Goes to 41 Cents in May; Forever Stamp OK'd," CNN)

; )

"GRANDMOTHER: Did you see the politics? It made me angry." -- from "A Conversation at the Grownup Table, as Imagined at the Kids' Table" (Shouts & Murmurs, New Yorker)

Buzz Index


Books for thought: Michiko Kakutani reviews Clive James' "Cultural Amnesia" in today's New York Times, writing that the sprawling book is "not the sort of volume most people will want to read straight through, but rather one to dip into here and there -- a volume to be treasured less for its own sake than for all the other books it will make the reader want to read." Touching on the lives of artists and thinkers as varied as writer Thomas Mann and director Michael Mann, James "uses his fecund talents as a writer and critic to turn us on to the works of unfamiliar figures and to goad us to look at more famous personages from a new angle ... these essays are seasoned with lots of pungent asides, shards of literary gossip and a smattering of colorful anecdotes." ("One Man's Musings About Assorted Influential Lives," N.Y. Times)

NoTORIous redux: Tori Spelling has already had one reality show, but the second, which launches tonight, proves she can't pass up a pun. "Inn Love" follows Spelling and her husband, Dean McDermott, as they launch a B&B for hipsters in Hollywood. Virginia Heffernan in the Times writes that while, in almost every respect, the show is a rehash of the celebrity marriage reality genre (Nick and Jessica, Britney and Kevin), there is one difference: "Tori and Dean are television actors on a television show. Maybe they'll pull it off, ham up the scenes and make it last." The Boston Globe wonders, "Is 'Tori & Dean: Inn Love' just another banal, self-massaging reality show with a punny title? Or is it the height of basic cable reality entertainment?" while the Post warns "there's gas and poop overload."

"I shouldn't be saying this -- high treason really -- but I sometimes wonder if Americans aren't fooled by our accent into detecting a brilliance that may not really be there. I mean, would they notice if Jeremy Irons or Judi Dench gave a bad performance?"

-- British comic Stephen Fry on why English actors win so many awards in the U.S. (N.Y. Times)


No. 1 new fiction on next week's New York Times list: "Nineteen Minutes," by Jodi Picoult
No. 1 new nonfiction on next week's New York Times list: "In an Instant," by Lee and Bob Woodruff
No. 1 seller on and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," by J.K. Rowling (out July 21)

Turn On

On Tuesday, Sundance winner and Oscar-nominated documentary "Iraq in Fragments" (Cinemax, 7 p.m. EDT) -- James Longley's breathtaking documentary on life in Iraq before the war -- airs, as do the second season premieres of "Work Out" (Bravo, 11 p.m. EDT), a reality show about a gym owner and her annoying girlfriend, and the debut of "Tori & Dean: Inn Love" (Oxygen, 10:30 p.m. EDT), in which a broke Tori Spelling and her husband/babydaddy Dean McDermott try to make a buck on a hipster bed and breakfast.


Regis and Kelly (ABC, 9 a.m. EDT) Bernie Mac, Kirk Douglas, Elliott Yamin, guest co-host Howie Mandel
The View (ABC, 11 a.m. EDT) Bea Arthur, Adrienne Barbeau, guest co-host Audra McDonald
Ellen (Syndicated, check local listings) Kevin Bacon, Eddie Izzard, 6-year-old hero Briana Castillo
Oprah (Syndicated, check local listings) Oprah and Gayle's big adventure, part two
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings) TBA
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EDT) Heather Mills
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT) John Bolton
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT) Willie Nelson
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT) Adam Sandler, Danica Patrick, Lucinda Williams
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT) David Spade, Richard Engel, Hinder
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT) Mark Wahlberg, Wes Craven, Mims
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT) Bernie Mac, Chris Hansen, Daughtry
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT) Cuba Gooding Jr., Joely Richardson, Andy Vastola


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