If It's Me, It's on TV
* For Johnnie Cochran, there's definitely life after O.J. Simpson. He's got his nightly talk show on Court TV, a growing civil-rights litigation practice with offices from New York to Los Angeles, and even the prospect of a television sitcom based on a satirical "Seinfeld" character based on, well, him.
"I'm real serious about practicing law, and what I do is not a joke, but I had no problem with the Jackie Chiles character in 'Seinfeld,' " Cochran said when we asked him his reaction to Castle Rock TV's efforts to develop "The Jackie Chiles Show."
"I was amazed and flattered at first that 'Seinfeld' would base a character on me," said Cochran, who was in town yesterday for the annual convention of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "But I think in that last episode, when Jackie Chiles was sleeping with one of his clients, that went too far. I would never do that." As for his most notorious client, Cochran said O.J. "should try and stay out of the news for a while, because there needs to be the passage of time"--advice we trust he won't follow himself.
Ask Not What Your Network Can Do for Your Purse
Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley--who claimed this week to be cutting down on his television appearances after virtually living on camera following the plane crash of his "friend" John F. Kennedy Jr.--has had a change of heart.
On Monday, the longtime George magazine contributing editor sounded extremely reluctant to do any more JFK TV and boasted that he'd just turned down appearances with CBS News's Dan Rather and CNN's Larry King. Now we think we know why. That very day, sources tell us, Brinkley shook hands on an exclusive $10,000 deal to be on-air JFK Jr. consultant for ABC News. But when "Today" executive producer Jeff Zucker matched that offer, Brinkley jumped to NBC News, where he's been hired to provide commentary for the rest of the week.
Brinkley might be able to use the spare change. The folks at George--enraged by what they consider his attempt to "cash in on John's death," as one put it--have dropped him from the masthead. Meanwhile, some of JFK Jr.'s other friends--the ones who aren't broadcasting their relationship--are even less amused. Brinkley didn't return our phone calls yesterday.
The Lighter Side of John Podhoretz
* New York Post staffers were livid yesterday over editorial page editor John Podhoretz's idea of a humor column blaming John F. Kennedy Jr.'s death on a deal with the Devil made by patriarch Joe Kennedy.
"Every time you think your family is on its way back to glory, I just have to do something," Satan tells the elder Kennedy in Hell. "Like I did this weekend, with your grandson John." Podhoretz, a former administration staffer under Presidents Reagan and Bush, also has the Devil taking credit for President Kennedy's murder and boasting that he cut a deal with Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick.
Editor Ken Chandler told The Post's Howard Kurtz that he killed the piece after reading it in the first edition. "I thought it was inappropriate," he ventured, "and ordered it removed from the paper immediately." Podhoretz says he didn't put up a fuss: "I had a chance to think about it and realized it was in questionable taste." Duh.
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Yesterday President Clinton repeated his mistaken claim that John F. Kennedy Jr. "actually had not been back to the White House since his father was killed, until I became president." Three years ago Kennedy told TV host Christopher Matthews on his CNBC show, "Hardball," that Richard Nixon hosted him, sister Caroline and mother Jacqueline Onassis at an intimate White House dinner in 1971.
* From the Associated Press we hear that Raquel Welch has taken a fourth husband, Beverly Hills restaurateur Richard Palmer.
* Thirteen years ago, rocker Dave Navarro trespassed at West L.A.'s Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club, threw ice cream all over the clubhouse kitchen and tore up the manicured greens with his heavy boots. Later he joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers and now, at 32, is playing solo guitar. The other day, our friend Kim Masters tells us, a reformed but still-tattooed Navarro returned to the club, apologized and handed over a substantial check. "It restores my faith in that generation," said club President Lionel Krisel.
CAPTION: "Choose a veggie dog in the kitchen for a whopper in the bedroom," said bikinied PETA employee Melynda DuVal, who approvingly watched Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) down one of the bunned delicacies yesterday at the Rayburn House Office Building. "Cholesterol and saturated fat can clog arteries going to all organs."
CAPTION: Cochran still has juice, post-O.J.
CAPTION: Brinkley signed on with NBC News, enraging the folks at George.
CAPTION: John Podhoretz.
CAPTION: Nixon hosted the Kennedys, too.