L.A. mayor played drums as HBO Emmys party went on and on

CELEBRITY NEWS

September 19, 2007|By LIZ SMITH | LIZ SMITH,Tribune Media Services

Those who stayed late at HBO's post-Emmys party had the fun of seeing Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa hop onstage with ubiquitous Emmy winner Jeremy Piven and The Flight of the Conchords actor Bret McKenzie. The mayor played a drum set! Although HBO's party had been officially over for 45 minutes, West Hollywood fire marshals allowed the crowd to stay and go crazy for this impromptu performance. Then, very gently, they did their party-pooper stuff and persuaded everybody to go home.

Spears in a sitcom?

Is it possible to deliver one shred of good news in the matter of Britney Spears?!

Yes, actually. It's a long shot, everything considered, but here goes, anyway. Matthew Perry is said to be "attached" to an NBC sitcom tentatively titled Occasional Wife, about a guy who persuades a young woman - "a wacky artist" - to pretend to be his wife, the better for his career. (Yes, if it sounds familiar, it was a short-lived 1966 series. And the pretend-to-be-seriously-involved-for-professional-reasons plot was also the basis of the Jennifer Aniston big-screen comedy, Picture Perfect.)

Some high-ups at NBC think Britney Spears has the right quality to play the free-spirited girl who helps Perry put over his charade. These execs remember her SNL hosting stint, and also her funny bit on Will & Grace a couple of years ago.

Is Britney marketable as a sitcom star? One NBC honcho said, "There's something about her that just connects with the audience, and they want her to succeed now in spite of her adversity." This remark was uttered before Britney's charming bodyguard crawled out to say the falling pop star took drugs in front of her children, and revealed other salacious bits of nastiness. But that accusation is nothing new. Even Law & Order did one of its "ripped from the headlines" stories on a careless, druggie, actress/singer with kids.

There's nothing remotely amusing in the horrible decline of Britney Spears, or the great glee with which her troubles are reported.

So maybe somewhere down the road, there's salvation for Britney in the form of a TV series? Are we so mean-spirited as to deny some glimmer of hope?

All O.J., all the time

It is impossible to avoid the cable networks' orgy of "Alerts" and "Breaking News" in the matter of O.J. Simpson's Las Vegas burglary bungle. Blah, blah, blah.

The cream of the jest, whenever O.J. stumbles into trouble, is the appearance of disgraced former LAPD officer Mark Fuhrman, whose controversial testimony for the prosecution inadvertently helped put Simpson on the streets as a free man. Now Mr. Fuhrman is an author and a talking head on matters of crime. Let's hope Marcia Clark and Chris Darden, who failed in their attempt to convict Simpson for double murder, don't surface now.

It doesn't seem like much of a case, anyway. The other people involved are so shifty and sleazy that they actually make O.J. look, if not "good," then less shifty and sleazy. As for no bail, where would he flee? Most likely back to a golf course, where he has spent most of the past 14 years, "looking for the real killers."

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