WE WON'T bother to start with a quote today but with some choice gossip that doesn't need any help.
I ask -- isn't CBS grooming the appealing Neil Patrick Harris to take over when David Letterman leaves his post?
Tony Awards show. And, if he takes Letterman's spot, you might know him even better in the future!
"MISS FINKE prospers by exploiting a narcissistic industry that lives on fear and self-preservations," wrote the New York Times in reporting Hollywood's numero uno story -- the rivalry between gossip/business queens Nikki Finke and Sharon Waxman.
Waxman, a slightly newer face on the scene, has written that Finke was fired from her super-powerful column. It's the first thing everybody reads before their Pilates, yoga or morning coffee. This is a juicy story with both Finke and Waxman, who dislike each other with a vengeance, giving their sides of a murky tale that can't quite be pinned down.
The piece ends with writer David Carr declaring, that whatever she is, at least Nikki Finke hasn't tried to pretend she's anything else. "Hollywood deserves Nikki Finke!" is the final line. Is this supposed to be a put-down? I don't think it really works. Finke, whom I know only through her work, seems head and shoulders above most other online sites. (Except for my great entertainment friend Roger Friedman, who's a fearless reporter.)
Nikki doesn't gossip. She gathers facts, and usually before the subjects themselves know what's up. And she is almost unfailingly correct in predicting what will hit or miss.
The Times story refers to her as a "rage-aholic" with "excesses and mania" to burn. And this makes her different from 90 percent of Hollywood's denizens how?!
THE ORGANIZERS of Madonna's big "MDNA" film premiere this week have sworn me to silence as to exactly where this epochal event will occur. The last time I honored this kind of promise, 1,000 paparazzi had already gotten the word. But, I want to cooperate. So ... it's happening. You guess.
Madonna will soon be seen on ABC doing something about fitness with Elizabeth Vargas.
MELISSA McCarthy finally got around to reading the crushing film review of her appearance in the movie "Identity Thief." She was referred to infamously as "a female hippo."
Melissa said, "If I'd read that review at 20 it might have crushed me. But now "in a strange epidemic of body image and body dysmorphia, these comments just add to all those younger girls who are not in a place in life where they can say, 'That doesn't reflect on me.'"
INTERESTING NEWS that Linus Roache, formerly of "Law and Order," has been cast in the gritty, bloody History Channel surprise hit, "The Vikings." Roache appears to be a good actor, but was out of his element among the tough guys of "Law and Order." They even gave his character a baseball bat to swing around the office, but it didn't convince us he was hitting any home runs.
"The Vikings" is one of the most graphic and intense series on TV -- in fact, this year it was far more entertaining than "Game of Thrones." Perhaps Linus will tap his inner barbarian and surprise everybody.
BRITISH SINGING icon Lulu has done it again. Her new cosmetic Line, Time Bomb, is a great big hit over in Blighty and over here in the United States, too. It must work, because Lulu, a woman of "a certain age," still looks like a fresh 42, at the most.
Lulu continues to perform -- fans still talk about her recent stint at B.B. King's Club in NYC. Elton John, one of her great admirers, wants to corral a recording label for the R-and-B and blues goddess.
Meanwhile, she will have to content herself making a fortune on Time Bomb, which promises to blast away those pesky decades.
WE RECEIVED an outpouring of reactions from our recent column on the new HBO documentary "Love, Marilyn." Some people were unhappy that I didn't inject my own thoughts on the late star. (As if I haven't done that endlessly over the years!) Others complained about some of the pictures. One person hated the Milton Greene shot of Monroe swathed in fur. Another didn't care for the final George Barris picture of a wan, if beautiful Marilyn. (Others thought this was the most evocative.)
But my favorite note came from a Leo M. who told of taking The Circle Line Cruise. He said the tour guide dutifully pointed out the past residences of such as Greta Garbo and Frank Sinatra. But "I can tell you everybody craned their necks when he pointed out the former residence of Miss Monroe. I wonder what interesting tales the walls of her apartment could tell if they could talk. But truthfully, I'd rather not know and prefer to remember her as a sweet young girl whose memory and work has certainly stood the test of time."
I have two corrections for yesterday's column. I reported that the entertainer Charles Pierce died of AIDS and his pals say no; he died in 1999 of some other kind of fatal cancer. So I am sorry for my assumption.
COMMENTS on the character portrayed by the great actor Stanley Tucci in the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" -- the character is most probably brought back in the sequel to the book now out, titled "Revenge Wears Prada."
But some people insist this is not a portrait of Vogue's flamboyant Andre Leon Talley but actually of the more reasonable and rational real-life writer Billy Norwich.
OK! Keep 'em coming!
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)