The Fix

On the Peter Braunstein case. Reviewing Prince's Las Vegas show. Plus: Alanis Morissette covers Fergie.

Published April 3, 2007 1:55PM (EDT)

First Word

The ax falls on TV shows: Yesterday was another "bloody Monday in TV land," according to Variety. Network executives handed down death sentences -- either outright cancellations or announcements that the shows won't be returning for another season -- for a number of series, chief among them: "The Wedding Bells" (Fox), "Six Degrees" (ABC), "7th Heaven" (the CW) and "The Black Donnellys" (NBC). (Variety)

"Grindhouse" juice: Scandal on the set! Today's Page Six column has a long item alleging a steamy romance between married "Grindhouse" director Robert Rodriguez and starlet Rose McGowan, who, as the column writes, plays "a stripper who loses her leg and replaces it with a machine gun to battle flesh-eating zombies." A source says: "It was the worst-kept secret on the set. They were going off to his trailer, having meals together." When the liaison was discovered by Rodriguez's wife, Elizabeth, says Page Six, work on the movie came to a halt. "When Elizabeth found out, there was an eruption of emotions -- an emotional volcano." Variety reports that the affair broke up the director's 16-year marriage, and "the production had to shut down for a month while he recovered." A spokesperson for the movie would only say, "The hiatus had nothing to do with Robert's personal life." (Page Six)

Giuliani tells the media to lay off his wife: While most candidates were busy spinning their fundraising numbers to members of the press, GOP hopeful Rudy Giuliani had a slightly different message Monday: Stop attacking his wife. "Attack me all you want," Giuliani told reporters. "There's plenty to attack me about. Please do it. But maybe, you know, show a little decency." (WCBS)


Braunstein background: The article on playwright turned accused stalker and sexual abuser Peter Braunstein in the new Vanity Fair lays out most of what's known about the bizarre case -- Braunstein is charged with having disguised himself as a firefighter to break into a woman's apartment in Manhattan last fall and then tie her up and sexually and psychologically abuse her for 13 hours before going on a seven-week flight from authorities. But while the story says that new accounts from friends and family paint a softer picture of Braunstein than the "monster" portrayal he has received from the tabloids, some of his father Alberto Braunstein's quotes do just the opposite. Saying that he has never gotten a "clear answer" from his son about his motives, Alberto says Peter has seemed "pretty proud of his performance," and that he "planned everything very carefully." ("The Devil and W.W.D.," Vanity Fair)

Will Smith conquers Hollywood? It's both surprising and totally obvious that Will Smith has suddenly become the biggest male actor in Hollywood. Surprising because who knew he'd have a box office career of $4.4 billion? (That's better than Adam Sandler's take and Will Ferrell's take combined.) Obvious because who's more generally likable than Smith? As a Hollywood insider puts it in a long profile in Newsweek, "He's the black Jimmy Stewart. He invites the white community in, yet he's credible with the black community. That's a pretty hard trick." Picking up the mantle from Tom Hanks of affable, low-key star able to handle comedy and drama, Smith has quietly become the industry's most bankable star, at least according to Newsweek's power rankings, coming in above Johnny Depp, Ben Stiller and Brad Pitt. "Let's put it this way," one studio head tells the magazine, "there's Will Smith, and then there are the mortals." ("The $4 Billion Man," Newsweek)

White noise ... We should have an answer soon in the custody case of Dannielynn Smith -- on Monday, Howard K. Stern dropped his attempt to block the results of DNA tests that should reveal who the baby's real father is. (People) ... Former Spice Girl Mel B (right) gave birth to her second child, a girl, in Los Angeles on Tuesday -- she claims the father is ex-boyfriend Eddie Murphy, though he has denied it: "I don't know whose child that is until it comes out and has a blood test." (BBC News) ... The saga of the Scott Stapp sex tape that surfaced about a year ago has finally come to an end; on Monday, the ex-Creed singer settled a lawsuit with the company that distributed the film online, winning an undisclosed amount. (E Online)


Prince's new reign: After his spectacular halftime show at this year's Super Bowl, the artist formerly known as the Artist Formerly Known As was suddenly current again. Though his biggest hits are almost two decades behind him, the diminutive pop sensation is having another moment, and the New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones recently went to Las Vegas to take in one of Prince's twice-weekly midnight shows at Club 3121 at the Rio Hotel. What he found there echoes the popular sentiment the Super Bowl show generated: "He is perhaps the greatest living performer in the pop tradition. The fact that, as he says during his live shows, 'my friends all look different -- I look just the same' simply enhances the impression that he is our Dorian Gray, if Gray had been raised by Cher and James Brown." And while his live shows may now have a few too many songs from his recent, weaker albums, a rendition of his "Raspberry Beret" is enough to remind Frere-Jones that he's in the presence of greatness: "This is pop songwriting at its finest, where unlikely images seem more vivid than your own memories." ("Dorian Purple," New Yorker)

Buzz Index


This Alanis Morissette cover of Fergie's "My Humps" reveals a side of Morissette we haven't seen before -- the funny side.


425,371,511: Number of page views got in March, the biggest traffic month in the site's 12-year history. (Drudge)

Turn On

This Tuesday, "The Shield" (FX, 10 p.m. EDT) returns for a sixth season, Tony Bennett mentors "American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m. EDT), Anne Ramsay and Tyson Ritter guest-star on "House" (Fox, 9 p.m. EDT), and "Frontline" (PBS, check local listings) takes a look at Lou Gehrig's disease.


Regis and Kelly (ABC, 9 a.m. EDT) Wilmer Valderrama, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Martin (repeat)
The View (ABC, 11 a.m. EDT) Phyllis Diller (repeat)
Ellen (Syndicated, check local listings) Jennifer Lopez, Kym Douglas
Oprah (Syndicated, check local listings) I walked away from millions
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings) TBA
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EDT) Lou Dobbs
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT) Chris Hansen (repeat)
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT) Katie Couric (repeat)
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT) Sienna Miller, Jim Barber with Seville, Nas (repeat)
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT) Gerard Butler, Tim McGraw
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT) Hilary Swank, the latest "Dancing With the Stars" castoff, Hilary Duff
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT) Rosario Dawson, Martina McBride
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT) Rose McGowan, chef Wolfgang Puck, Billy D. Washington


Bookmark the Fix here | See a directory of recent columns | Send tips to

Fix contributors: Dipayan Gupta, Heather Havrilesky, Scott Lamb, Kerry Lauerman, David Marchese, Laura Miller, Andrew O'Hehir, Amy Reiter, Stephanie Zacharek

Fix logo by Rhonda Rubinstein

By Scott Lamb

Scott Lamb is a senior editor at

MORE FROM Scott Lamb

Related Topics ------------------------------------------