According to the New York Daily News, Liza Minnelli and her husband David Gest say it's VH1's fault that their reality show was canceled before it even showed up on the VH1 schedule -- because the cable channel's crew wrecked their house and the show's producer humiliated Gest. The paper, citing a story in The National Enquirer, said Minnelli denied VH1 officials' claims that Gest is a control freak who went back on a deal to give producers all-access to the couple's lives. "I even let them follow me to my AA meeting," said Minnelli. She said VH1 got more than 60 hours of her and Gest, but technicians damaged furniture, walls and the ceiling -- even the roof of their building. Gest says the last straw was on Oct. 21, when Ray Charles, Luther Vandross, Ashford & Simpson and Deborah Cox were having dinner with Gest and Minnelli. There had been reports that Gest and Minnelli refused to allow Michelle Branch and Destiny's Child star Kelly Rowland perform, but Gest said the two had turned down invitations to appear on the show. He said a VH1 producer screamed at him that if he didn't get Branch and Rowland on, the show would be canceled. He also said the producer said other guests "meant nothing" to him. "He insulted Ray Charles," said Gest.
JONI MITCHELL TEES OFF ON MADONNA
Joni Mitchell -- who wrote some of the most memorable songs of pop music's "peace and love" era -- has apparently gone negative on Madonna in an interview with W magazine. "Madonna has knocked the importance of talent out of the arena," the magazine quoted Mitchell. "She's manufactured. She's made a lot of money and become the biggest star in the world by hiring the right people." Madonna's publicist Liz Rosenberg told the New York Post she was disappointed by Mitchell's critique. "Wow," said Rosenberg. "What can I say? Madonna has always been a huge fan of Joni Mitchell's. I don't know what to say. I'm sorry she feels that way. Madonna speaks frequently about her admiration and worship of Joni's talent. Wow. The feeling isn't mutual." Mitchell also took off on David Letterman, Hollywood and the music business. "Letterman treats musicians like the armpit of the industry," she said. "He tags you on at the end, never talks to you -- while he talks to the dimmest actress." Of Hollywood, Mitchell said: "There is nothing duller to me than a room full of stars. There is too much effort, straining, and they're all exhibitionists. I need a climate of affection. You're not going to find a pocket of affection in a room full of stars." She said the music business is the most corrupt business of all. "They try not to pay you whenever possible. Part of me wants to spill the beans, but it doesn't seem to be effective ... They're not looking for talent. They're looking for a look and a willingness to cooperate. And a woman my age, no matter how well preserved, no longer has the look. And I have never had a willingness to cooperate."
WHEN IS THE WEDDING?
According to People magazine and "Entertainment Tonight," Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are engaged. The TV show quoted a source close to the couple for its report. Lopez -- appearing on MTV's "Total Request Live" -- didn't say yes, but she didn't say no. "I think everybody will know soon enough," she said on TRL. People reports in its current edition that the couple plans to be married on Valentine's Day 2003. Lopez's divorce from Chris Judd will be final Jan. 26. Affleck, who started dating Lopez three months ago, appears in the video for her new single, "Jenny From the Block" -- kissing her in several shots. Affleck and Lopez co-star in the upcoming Kevin Smith movie "Jersey Girl." Lopez will talk with ABC's Diane Sawyer for an interview next week, so maybe she'll provide some clarity at that time.
ROCKIN' INTO THE HALL
The next induction ceremony at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will have a decidedly 1970s new wave flavor to it -- as the hall in Cleveland welcomes The Police, The Clash and Elvis Costello and the Attractions. But it won't be an all British night, as the hall welcomes the Righteous Brothers -- leading figures in America's blue-eyed soul movement -- and the Australian heavy metal rockers AC/DC. The 18th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for March 10 in New York. The Police had a string of hits including "Roxanne," "Every Breath You Take" and "Don't Stand So Close to Me" before they broke up and pursued solo interests. The Clash brought punk to a relatively mainstream audience with their biggest radio hit "Rock the Casbah." Costello and the Attractions turned out such hits as "Alison" and "Veronica." Performing as the Righteous Brothers, Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley recorded the classic radio hits "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" and "Unchained Melody." With the teeth-chattering guitar and vocals of brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, AC/DC scored with "You Shook Me All Night Long" and set a standard for other hard rockers who came after them.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 454
Today we are asking: "During your lifetime, how many cars have you owned?" With some comments, put OWNED in the subject line and send to email@example.com via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 449 (COMEDIENNE)
Last week we continued out series on your favorite entertainers, asking about your favorite comediennes. Here, from a random dip into the e-mailbox is a listing of your replies, in order of popularity:
Mary Tyler Moore
Milton Berle (in drag, of course)