PEOPLE

MTV host snuffs his controversial reality show

The horsemen of the Apocalypse are going back to the ranch. That’s right, defenders of decency and the American way will be swilling from their teacups to celebrate the end of “Jackass.” Was it the second Brad Pitt sighting that pushed the much-maligned MTV show to extinction? Nope, turns out it’s a case of ego: Host Johnny Knoxville is following the fine tradition of Farrah Fawcett and David Caruso by pulling out of a hit show for a life in the movies. Knoxville, whose real name is P.J. Clapp, told his hometown paper newspaper, the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “We told (MTV) we would do specials down the road, but this is enough. We have done enough.” So far, MTV is in denial. “We’re in ongoing discussions about new episodes,” says spokesperson Jeannie Kedas. Hey, maybe Pitt and his monkey suit would be happy to pinch-hit in the meantime.

ATTACK OF THE CLONES: How do you inject life into a dinosaur? Well, since the Miss America Pageant has already tried cloning its contestants, the organizers are now stealing from reality shows such as “Survivor” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

We jibe you not. The promoters are calling the pageant the original “reality TV.” Says CEO and president Robert M. Renneisen Jr., “People are out there inventing things like Survivor’ and portraying it as reality TV But, in fact, the Miss America telecast has been providing viewers with high-stakes reality television since its broadcast debut in 1954.” Some changes include allowing contestants who don’t make the final 10 to vote for the finalist (their votes would be added to the judges’ scores) and the five finalists get a current events and history quiz.

Competitions also will be renamed: For instance, the swimsuit competition, complete with videos showing how contestants stay in shape, will be called now “Lifestyle and Fitness.” All the changes came about from a survey which concluded that “the American public wants to see more competition among the women and a more accurate gauge of the intelligence that contestants possess. They also want the telecast to portray the contestants in a more natural way,” says Renneisen. The end of this way of life as we know it will be shown at 8 p.m. Sept. 22, on ABC.

NICKS NIXED FOR NOW: Hold on to your tickets. Ms. Stevie Nicks had to call off her Tuesday concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View and tonight’s show at the Chronicle Pavilion at Concord on account of illness, but she will return. According to concert promoters, ticketholders should keep their passes because makeup dates will be announced soon.

PEOPLE WHO NEED PEOPLE: The ever-savvy “Entertainment Tonight” reporters snuck a peek at the Williams-Sonoma bridal registry and uncovered the Oct. 28 wedding date for Anne Heche and 27-year-old cameraman Coleman Laffoon, even though the twosome had registered under a pseudonym. She’s already been espied checking out wedding gowns at Beverly Hills’ Saks Fifth Avenue.

Heche may be pulling a Catherine Zeta-Jones/Michael Douglas maneuver, however. Supposedly, the actress will grant People magazine exclusive coverage of her wedding if the magazine pays for security and other wedding expenses. “People is reluctant to engage in so-called checkbook journalism because it’s considered unethical,” a source told MSNBC. “But there are ways around it. They can, for example, pick up some of the expenses so that’s not technically giving Anne any money. The exact terms of the deal are being worked out.”

The same source says the weekly already paid out “big bucks” for exclusive rights to the wedding photos of Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith. England’s Hello! Magazine supposedly paid one million pounds (about $1.4 million) for the British rights to the Brosnan nups. A People spokeswoman says that the mag paid “a lot less than that” and donated the money to Brosnan’s favorite charity; however, she wasn’t so forthcoming on the Heche coverage.

Milestones

Contract renewed: For Ming-Na Wen. The Hollywood Reporter said Tuesday that the 33-year-old actress, who plays Dr. Deb Chen, will return to the cast of “ER” next year.

Show canceled: By the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The group canceled its Aug. 28 Jerusalem concert because the U.S. State Department had advised Americans not to travel to Israel. More than 15,000 tickets had been sold for the gig, and the band has promised fans they’ll get refunds.

Birthdays: Cooking expert Julia Child (89), actress Dame Wendy Hiller (89), conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly (77), actor Mike Connors (76), jazz musician Oscar Peterson (76), R&B singer Bill Pinckney of The Drifters (76), actress Janice Rule (70), actress Abby Dalton (69), actress Lori Nelson (68), singer-producer Bobby Byrd (67), civil rights activist Vernon Jordan (66), actor Jim Dale (66), actress Pat Priest (65), Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (63), musician Pete York of Spencer Davis Group (59), author-journalist Linda Ellerbee (57), songwriter Jimmy Webb (55), Britain’s Princess Anne Laurence (51), actress Tess Harper (51), actor Larry Mathews (46), actor Zeljko Ivanek (44), rock singer-musician Matt Johnson of The The(40), actress Debi Mazar (37), actress Debra Messing (33), actor Ben Affleck (29), singer Michael Graham of Boyzone (29), actress Natasha Henstridge (27).

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail spin@cctimes.com.

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