Britney Strings Along for a Cause
Britney Spears may not be able to play the guitar, but that's not stopping her from signing one and selling it to help the victims of Hurricane Charley.
Capitalizing on the endless consumer demand for celebrity souvenirs, radio giant Clear Channel Communications is auctioning off guitars inked by the stars to raise funds for displaced families and the American Red Cross.
The online sale at StormAid.com includes instruments signed by guitarists Tom Petty and John Mellencamp, and bands such as Stone Temple Pilots, Linkin Park, Incubus, Rush and ZZ Top. Music fans will find the guitars sorted by musical category: rock, classic rock, pop and urban, alternative and country.
So where does Brit fit?
Well, there's a nonmusical category that includes instruments signed by Rush Limbaugh and Mike Myers -- although Wayne did play air guitar.
Jackson and the Price of Infamy
How much does it cost to clear a bad name? If you're Michael Jackson, well, more than a house and money for college. That's what he offered the family of a boy who accused Jackson of molestation, according to court testimony. The boy's stepfather, identified in a pretrial hearing Thursday as "Mr. Doe," said he received a phone call from the Jackson camp not long after the boy appeared in a British documentary with Jackson at Neverland Ranch in 2003.
The man, who married the boy's mother last May, said Jackson's people asked the family to tape an interview that would portray the pop singer in a more positive light. In exchange, Jackson offered to "provide security for the family, college education and buy them a house." He said the family rejected the offer and now seeks even more compensation.
Jackson, who was absent from court Thursday with the judge's permission, released a statement that day in response to VH1's "Man in the Mirror," which the star said misrepresented him and his family. "We have watched as we have been vilified and humiliated," Jackson said.
And another thing, he says in the statement: Stop calling him "Wacko Jacko."
Regis & TV: A Broken Record
Move over, Cronkite. Step aside, Johnny. Regis Philbin is officially the new king of the tube, reaching 15,188 hours on camera with yesterday's broadcast of "Live With Regis and Kelly." The talk-show host, who began his career as a San Diego news anchor in 1958, has set the Guinness World Record for most hours on camera. Broadcaster Hugh Downs is the former record holder.
Philbin has been beaming into living rooms across America for 46 years on such shows as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and alongside co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa.
"Now it's all a big blur," Philbin told the Associated Press. "When you look back, that's a lot of hours on TV."
Director Rob Marshall is leaving "Chicago" for Kyoto. The Oscar-nominated director is on board to direct the film adaptation of "Memoirs of a Geisha," a project dropped by Steven Spielberg six years ago. Zhang Ziyi, the young co-star of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," is in final negotiations to play the lead role. Actors Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh and Ken Watanabe are all in final negotiations for supporting roles . . . Posh and Becks may be preggers again. Britain's Channel 4 said Victoria Beckham was spotted outside the office of the baby expert who delivered her son, Brooklyn, five years ago . . . Courtney Love pleaded not guilty yesterday to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. The infamous widow of Kurt Cobain is accused of attacking another woman with a bottle and metal flashlight at the Los Angeles home of Love's former boyfriend in April. A teary Love told reporters outside the courtroom: "I'm scared. It's scary. I just want to play music, and being in that court and having a judge say, 'The state of California versus me,' it's just scary."
-- Compiled by Laura Thomas
from staff and wire reports